Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 13: July 8, 2011

We spent the morning hiking on and exploring the Svinafellsjokull Glacier, a large outflow of ice and rocks flowing from the looming Vatnajokull Glacier, which covers nearly 11% of Iceland. It was a remarkable experience - Sho and Saya bounded across the ice, excitedly pointing out ice caves, crevices, and invisible underground streams making loud gurgling sounds just below the surface. We also heard some deep booms, as chunks of the glacier broke off deep below.

All of the glaciers in Iceland are retreating, and we met some scientists monitoring the pace of change. "Make sure to stop by Jokulsarlon on your ride today," one of them told me. "There is a 17 square kilometer lagoon that formed about 75 years ago. Recently it has filled with large icebergs that calve off from the retreating glacier. The chunks of ice float in the lagoon for a few years sometimes, before flowing out to see. It's quite a sight."

Sho, Saya and I rode about 70 km (43 miles) today, bundled up against the cold, wet gray weather. We ate a marvelous dinner of asparagus soup and grilled fish at a restaurant in a tiny seaside village at Steinafjall. I was exhausted from the ride and relished the nutritious meal.

Here are some pics:

On the hike to Svinafellsjokull Glacier:

Sho and Saya with their favorite "Nona flowers", ubiquitous in Iceland and their grandma's favorite color:

Hiking on the glacier:

View while cycling:

From the road. We thought it looked like the waterfall was emerging from the clouds:

Taking a lunch break:

Looking at the floating ice in the lagoon at Jokulsarlon:

Saya throwing a rock into the lagoon:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

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