Glacier Lagoon & Stacks in Iceland – This day made possible by global warming!

One morning, we set of early for the 3 1/2 hour car ride through southern Iceland to visit the Jokulsarlon Glacier.

Luckily, we had a scenic drive, with lots of waterfalls to look at on our way.  Not to mention, lots of Finn Caspian episodes for the boys to listen to!

The landscape was fascinating – we drove through lots of lava fields.


And made a quick pit stop to walk through one of the lava fields.



As we got closer to Jokulsarlon, we got great views of the Skaftafellsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers.


We arrived at the Jokulsarlon, the largest glacier lake in southeast Iceland, which is on the edge of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.IMG_1357.JPG

The glacier lagoon only developed about 60 years ago, before that it was all frozen glacier.  The melting glacier has created this ever expanding lake.  In the last 15 years, the lake has doubled in size! Given the current rate of retreat of the glacier, it is likely this area will eventually become a fjord.

Here is a picture of the lagoon in 1991, then again 15 years later in 2006.


You can also see a very interesting (scary) visual of how the lagoon has grown in the last 30 years here. It is fascinating!

Alas, we are aware we certainly didn’t help by flying and driving there, but it is just a reminder to do what we can to ensure this world is still around and inhabitable for our children’s children.

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When we got there, we saw the beautiful blue-green water with lots of icebergs floating in the water.

We had booked a tour on an amphibious boat, so we hopped on and headed for the water.


Once on, we had a short little drive through the lagoon, checking out the various icebergs.



We had a tour guide who told us a bit about the lagoon and the glacier it comes from, and let us hold, and eat, 1,000 year old glacier ice.

holding glacier ice

The tour was okay, but we really didn’t see a lot more than what we would have seen from the shore, and it was pretty short (which honestly isn’t bad for a family with kids!)

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view of the lagoon from the shore

After the tour, we followed some of the ice as it flowed from the lagoon through a channel and into the sea.

following chunks of ice as it makes its way to the sea

It was a long walk all the way to the sea (and only getting longer!) so we opted to get in the car and drive to the sea (I know, I know – we really are part of the problem! In our defense, that was the way back home anyway).

Watching the icebergs go out to sea was fun.  They would go churning through the water, some flipping over or getting stuck on the beach.  You could come back the next day, or probably just hours later, and see a whole new set of icebergs and chunks.

We headed to another amazing black sand beach, and saw lots of chunks of ice of varying sizes laying around.



The little guys showed their typical appreciation for the amazing and unique experience we were having and chose to go sit in the car 🙄  #travelwithkids.

A and I explored the beach for a little longer.  Someday his younger brothers will be sorry they don’t have cool pictures of themselves on the beach like he does!



On our way back to our home in Iceland, we stopped at the Reynisfjara black sand beach in Vik.  As much as the glacier lagoon was not quite as good as my very high expectations for the place, this beach exceeded my somewhat lower expectations. It was pretty darn cool!

It was another black sand beach, but this one also had an amazing basalt column cliff and basalt sea stacks rising from the sea.


This was the perfect stop for the boys, since those columns are just made for climbing!



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We also explored a cool cave made of the same stacks



While the boys climbed, I enjoyed the views (along with a couple hundred other people).



And, one final treat on the drive home, we passed this adorable Icelandic church.

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But, of course, pictures don’t always tell the full story of travel, you don’t always see the tantrums, bad weather, crowds (though I do like to show you those!), or bright yellow cars parked in front of pretty Icelandic churches.  like this:



It’s all about angles, my friends! Anyway – that ends another great day in Iceland (yellow cars and all)!







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