I was lucky enough to visit the Jökulsárlón Lagoon two days in a row, we weren’t there at the most perfect time for the light, with both visits coinciding with the middle of the day, as we were off to do the cave tours, we didn’t have hours to play with setting up for the perfect shot. In summer you can do zodiac boat tours on the lagoon, but these don’t run in the winter months as the lake freezes over in most areas. The lagoon is a tourist hot spot, but like most sights in Iceland, you can always find somewhere without people to enjoy the magnificent vistas. We walked around the main site, then headed to the black volcanic beach at the end of the river mouth where washed-up diamond like icebergs sparkle in the sunshine. We also headed further around the lagoon and hiked up a hill to get a more expansive view of the lagoon and its icebergs, with the many fat seals basking in the midday sun.
Jökulsárlón (“glacial river lagoon”) is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed about 60 years ago into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres away from the ocean’s edge and covers an area of about 25 km2, and it’s constantly getting larger as approximately 500 square meters of ice break off the glacier every year. Jokulsarlon is the deepest lake in Iceland with maximum depth of 260 meters in front of the glacier edge. The size of the lake has increased fourfold since the 1970s. It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland. The icebergs that calve from the glacier edge move towards the river mouth; the movement of the icebergs fluctuates with the tide, currents, and wind. They start floating as icebergs when their size is small enough to drift to the sea; the waves turn some of the icebergs back to the black sand beach where they lie scattered like sparkling gems. These icebergs are seen in two shades: milky white and bright blue, which depends on the air trapped within the ice and is an interplay of light and ice crystals. Jokulsarlon has been the film location of many Hollywood movies – A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins, as well as the reality TV series Amazing Race.
The following series of images give you some idea of the vastness of the lagoon and shows the vast areas of ice…. note the people below “playing” on icebergs- this is incredibly dangerous and really wound the Viking up- as the tourists disobey all the warning signs, putting themselves at risk, and then the poor locals who have to rescue them. The previous day a group of people had walked out onto the ice and got stuck, as some areas are not frozen enough to walk over… considering the temperature was -15°… I don’t think swimming is advisable!
The following images are from the beach with the bright blue icebergs, if you look carefully there are a few shots of a fat seal frolicking amongst the waves.