In my previous report I wrote about revisiting the Myvatn area. During the last two weeks of our stay, my husband, Erlend and I, continued our nostalgic trip in Iceland, starting with Jökulsárlón and then to Landmannalaugar.
However, first of all I collected my new friend, a Nikon D3 camera, which would have been great to have during the entire trip, but it is never too late!
It is good to know that Nikon finally has a camera that makes almost everything possible. Many thanks to Nikon for kindly supporting me with this equipment on my mission!
Jökulsárlón itself had not changed much since we left but it was a totally different experience this time, especially its wildlife. The nice male eiders left Jökulsárlón, and not many seals were residing in the meltwater lake any longer. The tern-colony had also disappeared, although the birds did not move far away – some chicks still needed to be fed so they were lying on the lake shore waiting for their parents to bring food. Their activity in Jökulsárlón was varied and depended on the amount of fish coming from the sea to the lake. If fish was in abundance, they were only interrupted in their busy fishing activity by the great skua, whose appearance always caused great panic among the terns. The great skua has its largest Icelandic breeding population in this area, keeping the terns constantly on alert for them, but it does not always prove enough to save their chicks – I have often witnessed that a skua managed to take young terns in order to feed their own hungry young.
I also observed many snow buntings, who had become a little overweight since our last visit, due to abundant food supply nearby the busy parking place.
So this time there were other things to take pictures of at Jökulsárlón.
The rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar were as beautiful as they were in June – this time without snow. We drove back there with the plan of walking part of the Hot Spring Road from Landmannalaugar to Hraftinnusker (our earlier trip to Markarfljótsgljúfur was at the other end of the trail), but the weather was not favourable. Whilst waiting for the right walking conditions, we were taking pictures nearby Landmannalaugar again. This was very inspiring, despite recurring rain-showers and spotlights only came during the hours when the sun was at its highest. After four days of waiting, with a forecast of continuously grey and rainy weather, we postponed our walk on the Hot Spring Road yet again…
As the end of our trip was nearing, we moved closer to Seydisfjordur, the harbour, where we left Iceland on the ferry the 14th of August.
But before our departure, we had one more place to visit, which was actually housing two natural pearls of extreme beauty. These pearls are two waterfalls in close proximity, on a hillside close to the town of Egilsstadir. The highest, and therefore the more famous one is called Hengifoss, which is cascading down from a 118m high wall of basalt. Layers of reddish sandy clay make this cliff wall especially interesting. These colourful layers are interspersing the greyish basalt at different heights and were created when basalt lava flowed over iron-rich soil time after time.
On the contrary, Litlanesfoss, which is a few hundred metres downstream from Hengifoss, is special for its basalt formations in the riverbed of the falls. They think that once in the past, basalt lava filled a streambed at Litlanesfoss. When basalt lava cools slowly, it forms beautiful vertical columns, as it happened here at Litlanesfoss, where the Hengifossá river is crossing a whole “forest” of these creatures. It is really beautiful but can be dangerous, if someone steps out on the crumbling edges of the gorge in order to get the best view over the small river, washing the feet of these basalt-trees. I had a long-lasting pain in my legs after taking pictures from these edges, as my muscles became stiff due to shaking and being nervous of slipping down. So you can probably believe that I will never become a rock-climber…Anyway, it was a great experience and a nice last memory to leave Iceland with.
At least for the moment as I am sure that I will be back again.
With my last words I would like to say thank you to all who followed my reports from Iceland! I am grateful for your lovely comments which helped to make this mission a beautiful memory and a once in a lifetime experience for me!
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.