Day 06: Saturday 08 July 2017
The weather improved overnight, with a nice bright, blue sky morning.
However, none of us had a good night sleep, due to constant bird cries and calling, over and around our tent.
The guided tour we chose (Glacier Wonders – Glacier Walk from Skaftafell) is a shorter but stunning guided walk, offering a fantastic introduction to the unique world of glaciers.
The tour took place on Falljökull glacier tongue (southern edge of the Vatnajökull glacier), which is quite unique in that it offers everything glaciers are best known for, without the need to travel great distances:
Crevasses, Jökladrýli (Dirt cones), glacier mice and Moulins.
The guided tour started with a walk along the bottom of the glacier carved valley, where the guide (Bryony) explained the unique features left by the retreating Falljökull and Vatnajökull glaciers and their surroundings.
When we arrive at the edge of Falljökull glacier, our guide assisted with crampons, and provided a short lesson on use of equipment provided and safety talk.
We then explored the lower part of the glacier, with many photo and Q&A opportunities along the way, surrounded by breath-taking landscape.
Neil has been Ice-Climbing and Glacier Exploring before in Chile, Norway and Iceland.
The Glacier Guides team (Bryony, Roxy, Mark, Ned & Unnar) were excellent, and we really had a great experience with these guys.
We would like to especially thank our guide for the day, Bryony, who made the whole trip a really great experience.
(Bryony: Look after the Gear Junki hat, and please keep in touch and send us some awesome photo from its future adventures….)
The Glacier Guides team were so positive and supportive, they gave us logo stickers for our Expedition Vehicles, which we later mounted on the bonnet (Arctic Adventures – Parent Company of Glacier Guides).
We then continued our drive southwest – clockwise along coastal Road 1, from Skaftfell to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, having Skeiðarárjökull (southern glacial tongue of Vatnajökull) on our right side, and the very wide grey sands flats of the Skeiðarásandur and the open sea (Atlantic Ocean) on our left hand side.
An attraction close to the village is Kirkjugólf (“Church floor”), a natural pavement of basalt.
These are basalt columns in the earth, but only the tops can be seen, and as the name suggests, they have the appearance of a paved church floor.
The village became well known in Iceland during the Lakagígar volcano eruptions in 1783.
The pastor of the local church and dean of Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla, Jón Steingrímsson (1728 – 1791), delivered what became known as the “Fire Sermon” (eldmessu) on July 20, 1783.
The legend says that this sermon stopped the lava flow, and the village was spared at the last moment.
The current church, constructed in 1974, was built in memory of the Reverend Jón Steingrímsson.
Stayed the night at Kirkjubær II campsite.
Once we got campsite established, we visited the local swimming pool, where we took a very welcome swim and relaxed in the hot tubs.
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