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Published: January 12th 2009
We began our trip today with a visit to Jokulsarlon Lagoon where we took a boat out amongst the blu-veined icebergs. Before 1950, the course of the Glacial River, Jokulsa, was about 1½ km long and the lagoon did not exist. Since then the glacier tongue has retreated and the lagoon is constantly growing in size. The average flow of the river is 250-300 m³/sec., and large chunks of ice break off the edge of the ice, which already floats on the water.
We were all able to pile into one boat. The boats used to belong to the US marines and went straight from land to water. Our boat trip did not take us around the largest pieces of ice, presumbly for those good old 'health and safety' reasons. However it was amazing to float past the natural ice sculptures, some of which were really blue in colour. The blue ice is actually an optical illusion caused by the ice being so compressed with no air inside. The blue ice from the lagoon is very popular to have in drinks, partially because of its colour and partially because the blue ice melts much slower than regular ice and makes an
impressively loud crack when dropped into drinks. Apparently some Japanese buisness men have been known to pay huge amounts of money to have blue ice sent over to Japan! We did get the opportunity to eat some authentic 1,000 year ice. It seemed a bit of a toursity gimick to me, but I suppose it is one of the more unusual things I have ever eaten.
The lagoon is also famous for starring in James Bond, Die Another Day. The river that runs out into the sea was blocked off, and the lagoon frozen over for the filming. Apparently 6 Aston Martin DB9s were lost to the lagoon while filming the scenes and presumably are still somewhere beneath the waters!!
The boat ride was only a little over half an hour but it was enough time to see numerous icebergs, some white, some blue, some streaked with dirt and all of them making elegant shapes floating on the water. We even saw some seals which was amazing. Back on dry land we were able to walk up the hill to get a good view over the entire lagoon and see some of the larger icebergs from a safe distance. We
could even see where some of the ice had been washed out onto the black sand beach further along.
We drove onwards to our next destination. We stopped for lunch in a small village. There was nothing much to see so for the most part we stayed in the warm restaurant and read the books in the shop until it was time to leave. We arrived at our next overnight accomodation. Again it is university accomodation. The area is very bleak and grey and the plain grey buildings look more like a prison than a university. The interior is much better and our rooms are quite nice. We have a TV lounge upstairs and a few seating areas. When we first arrived there were only a few of us as the rest had stopped off at a local swimming pool. We explored our accomodation, running around the corridors and then coming full circle by scrambling down the interior fire escape ladders and basically behaving like a pack of children... quite worrying when the youngest of us is 20 and the oldest in her 70s!!! We were soon joined by the rest of our group and all walked over to the
dining hall which surprisingly is really nice inside and we had an absolutely amazing dinner.
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