Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

I would have to say that Jokulsarlon is one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Iceland. Iceburgs that melt off a glacier and float out to land on a black sand beach. Need I say more?? Jokulsarlon was sort of the “end destination” for our little road trip, but we were having so much visual stimulation on the way there that we weren’t even really looking out for it. When we crossed a bridge and looked over to our left, the three of us let out a collective “WHOA.”

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Aneka actually said “let’s pull over and take some photos” and I said “No, we have to get to Jokulsarlon!” Ha! In fairness to me, we were rushing to be sure and secure a spot on the day’s last zodiac tour of the lagoon.DSC_6603a (Small)

Like everything else in Iceland, the photos just can’t capture the enormity of everything here. The icebergs and glacier lagoon are no exception. DSC_6616 (Small)

And like everywhere else in Iceland, although there are some people, it really wasn’t that crowded.DSC_6620 (Small)

We bought our tickets the zodiac and had a few minutes to kill, so we popped open a few bottles of red and took in the sights.

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And by sights, I mean icebergs. Loads and loads and loads of icebergs. DSC_6627 (Small)

There were also a bunch of seals playing around.DSC_6630 (Small)

This place was just magical.

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Just a few shots of some glaciers before we got on the tour.DSC_6635 (Small)

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This is where the icebergs leave the lagoon and float out into the ocean. A lot of them get beached on the black sand out front. Oddly enough, it was one of the only things I wanted to do in Iceland … walk on the black sand beach and exploring the glaciers … but after the zodiac tour, we just didn’t make time for it. And I didn’t really care. I think that’s the thing about traveling. You should have some plans, but you should definitely be flexible. In the end, I had seen more than enough to be grateful for and the icebergs on the beach would have just been gravy.DSC_6675a (Small)

We also climbed up to the top of the hill to get a better vantage point.DSC_6686 (Small)

In this pic you can see the actual glacier that the icebergs calve off of. It looks small, but when you get up close, the face of those peaks are taller than your average downtown building.DSC_6689 (Small)

The water was also very calm.DSC_6693 (Small)

If you’d like to check out some videos that I shot at Jokulsarlon, just check out my YouTube channelDSC_6714 (Small)

So we climbed up to the top and took some silly selfies. Aneka & Edwina were really really into these weird hand signs, mostly just high fives. But I taught them the art of the shaka and the Japanese favorite, the peace sign.DSC_6716 (Small)

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This was my “I heart Iceland,” obvi.DSC_6732 (Small)

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All of our group shots together were taken with the GoPro, so we pretty much only have a select few pics together. That’s why most of these pictures are all solos. This is another angle of the icebergs floating out toward the beach.DSC_6734 (Small)

The girls, having a moment.DSC_6795 (Small)

And another one.DSC_6814 (Small)

And finally, it was time for our zodiac tour of Jokulsarlon.DSC_6807 (Small)

I tried to talk my way out of wearing one of these dry suits, but they weren’t having it. “Everyone must wear one,” he said.DSC_6816 (Small)

This guy was sporting the typical Icelandic look … blonde hair, blue eyes. Red face. Just kidding, bad white balance on my part.DSC_6819 (Small)

Fortunately, all the pics of me in this horrid getup were lost forever on the GoPro 😉  But I did get some shots of the girls in this cute little outfit. They ran out of size smalls, so Aneka and I were forced to wear mediums and we were definitely swimming in them.DSC_6828 (Small)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a zodiac, this is a zodiac. It’s basically just a small pontoon boat that fits about this many people. DCIM101GOPRO

This is the other boat tour that they offer at Jokulsarlon, but I recommend springing for the zodiac if you can afford it. It’s much more intimate and the boat is smaller so you can get a lot closer to the icebergs and the glacier.DSC_6624 (Small)

And like that, we were off. DSC_6838 (Small)

They say that more than 90 percent of the iceberg is under water, so I stuck my GoPro underwater several times to try and get some shots. DSC_6843 (Small)

 

I actually pulled a couple of those pics off of my GoPro before dropping it down the glacier, but they definitely did not come out well. DCIM101GOPRO

The water was just way too murky, you couldn’t see anything.DCIM101GOPRO

The above water shots were definitely a lot better.DSC_6845 (Small)

They stopped and picked up an iceberg for us to play with along the way.IMG_8234 (Small)

And by “play with,” I mean eat. Ha!IMG_8229 (Small)

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Our captain.DSC_6860 (Small)

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We passed this killer ice cave on the way to the glacier, but we didn’t go inside.DSC_6917 (Small)

When I first invited these girls onto the road trip, they had zero clue about what they were getting themselves into. Neither of them had done any planning for Iceland, so they were pretty much on my time, on my agenda. Everything we did was a surprise to them, and I couldn’t help but think how awesome that must have been for them. I had a conversation about that with my friend Tommy, who says he almost never googles a place before he goes there because he wants to experience it untainted for the first time. I am almost the opposite in that I mainly go to places because I’ve already seen it in pictures. I can’t even really imagine going somewhere like Jokulsarlon, having never seen it in a picture before. It must be life altering.DSC_6938 (Small)

We followed another zodiac out to the glacier. You can see them in this pic on the bottom left hand corner. That should give you a sense for how large this glacier is.DSC_6954 (Small)

Here it is again, and they aren’t even really that close to the glacier yet.DSC_6963 (Small)

So. Gorgeous.DSC_6965 (Small)

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Okay maybe there are a couple of pics of me in that hideous getup. At least you know where to find us!DSC_7010 (Small)

I made lifelong friends with these Malta girls! I can’t wait to visit =)DSC_7017 (Small)

Just a couple of artsy fartsy pics of the icebergs from my Nikon D7000. As the sun was setting, the water got really flat and smooth. Perfect for reflection pieces.

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Edwina was cold. All the time, insanely cold. But on this particular trip, she was FREEZING. I felt bad for her, but it made for some good photo opps. I actually wasn’t very cold at all during my entire trip. In fact, I was in slippers (aka flip flops) and tank tops on some of the days.

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So that concluded our zodiac tour.DSC_7152 (Small)

As I had mentioned earlier, the further away you get from town, the harder it is to find accommodations. I had already booked a hotel, but since they seemed to have lost my reservation, I was gonna have to rough it with the girls. We got incredibly lucky because someone had canceled their one-night reservation for this cozy little 4-person cabin in Hof. It was by far the best place I stayed at in Iceland. And – it was the perfect place to catch the Northern Lights, which had just begun to start its season a couple nights earlier.DSC_7284 (Small)

Our cabin was modern, had a private bathroom and heating, and I was stoked. After a very long day, I was exhausted and ended up passing out. I woke up once to check the Northern Lights, but couldn’t see them and went back to sleep. As it turns out, they did appear again this night, but I’m not entirely sure if I would have been able to see them from this spot or not. In any event, I didn’t mind the rest.DSC_7288 (Small)

Oh and it had wifi, so I took the time to send out some snapchats.IMG_8327 (Small)

It was also right next door to this little grass-covered church.DSC_7295 (Small)

We stayed in the middle cabin in this pic. I can’t remember the name of this spot, but if you are overnighting in the Skaftafell region, I recommend it. And yes, it did have its own private waterfall out back.

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One of the things I hadn’t planned for was the annual fireworks show at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. But when I arrived in Iceland, it was all the buzz. And since we were out that way, we figured why not adjust our trip by a day and try to check them out? I mean, it happens once a year (and realistically for me, once in my lifetime), and it’s supposed to be ridiculously amazing. Imagine fireworks exploding over the area above. WHATTTT?!?! Well long story short, we couldn’t find a single place to stay for miles around the area, and after the long day we had (I went ice climbing and then did a trail run and they had hiked for 5 hours), we couldn’t fathom the idea of sleeping in the car on the side of the road and having to drive all the way back to Reykjavik in the early morning. We opted out of the adventure, but again – no regrets.

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And yup, that was our adventure at Jokulsarlon. A few more selfies salvaged from the GoPro and then a few more pics of the icebergs in case you haven’t had enough 😉DCIM101GOPRO

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Feel free to check out the videos from Jokulsarlon and the rest of my Iceland trip on my YouTube channel!

 

 

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