Iceland Day 3 – South Coast
Day 3 in Iceland we awoke to a slightly cloudy and cool morning. We were excited that the tour we booked today would include a glacier hike, volcano and black sand beach. We were ready for the time the local agency handling the tour stated and at the assigned hotel for pick up. When the bus didn’t arrive we called the local tour company asking where the bus was we were informed that we were told the wrong pick up time! Needless to say we were all disappointed and scrambling to find a replacement tour! We called the company that we booked the tour through and were informed they would refund us the money for the tour but unfortunately they could not get us on another tour that day or the following day since they were booked full. So this started a few hour of us researching and calling various tour companies trying to get on one for that day.
We split up our group to see if we could either find a tour to book or if we could rent a car and do the touring on our own. The one company we found was a private jeep rental company that provides a tour guide to drive you around to the locations you want to go. When we initially called to see if there was any availability we were informed all of their jeeps were currently being rented but after we explained our predicament Hawk who went above and beyond for us and offered to call around to some freelancers he knows to see if they were available to take us around for a tour. When Hawk called us back he told us that due to the fact it was already after 10 am and a Saturday that he could not find a freelancer but that he had a tour guide that was coming off a morning tour at 12 and that he agreed to take us on an 8 – 9 hour tour starting a noon. We jumped on the opportunity and booked the private jeep. At noon we met savior of a tour guid – Snorri! We showed Snorri what our original itinerary was scheduled to be and he said that he would be able to mirror that trip for us! Needless to say we were happy with our choice so far! We drove out of Reykjavik and headed tour the South Coast of Iceland!
Our drive took us past gorgeous scenery for the second day in a row. This time saw many sheep and horses out on the mountains and many waterfalls. The sheep are released in the mountains in the beginning of summer and allowed to roam free and feed on the grass. In mid to late September the sheep are gathered up by the farmers.
Our first stop on our trip was the Skógafoss Waterfall. This is another impressive waterfall. You have the option to climb the set of steps to get a few of the waterfall from above. We took a little time to walk around ground level and take in the waterfall from below. We took a few minutes to take in the scenery and the tranquillity of the sound of the rushing waterfall and the stream babbling with the run off.
The next stop on our tour was Sólheimajökull glacier. Unfortunately due to the mix up with the original tour and rushing to find a replacement tour we weren’t able to actually hike the glacier as we had originally planned. Even though we were unable to actually hike the glacier we were able to hike up to the beginning of the trail on the glacier.
We walked about half way to the the glacier when Snorri told us that the glacier used to begin at that point. Over time and global warming the glacier has melted. It was amazing to see how much of the glacier has melted over time. The glacier itself it covered with ash from the surrounding volcano (Eyjafjallajökull) that erupted. The picture above shows a piece of the glacier that was chopped off showing how the massive pressure that created the glacier caused the ice that was formed to be so clear. The ice is clear due to the fact that very little oxygen is captured in the frozen water. It was definitely an impressive sight to be able to visit and yet another wonder of Mother Nature has created to be in awe of!
Next we drove to the tip of the South Coast of Iceland Vik. Here we have Reynisdrangar sea cliffs and Dyrholaey stone arch. We climbed on the top of the cliffs to over look the black sand beaches. We may have missed the opportunity to hike the glacier but we took the opportunity to to climb the nooks and crannies of the cliff as we could. One thing we all thought while we were standing there looking at the rock formations was that we were in the movie Goonies! We were all just waiting for One Eye Willie’s ship come sailing by! Below the cliffs churns the Atlantic Ocean. The waves that crash below are impressive and powerful. I stood on the cliff watching the waves break across the bottom of the cliffs and was caught off guard when one of the waves breaking and cresting above the cliffs!
After that adventure we made a stop to walk the black sand beach. The sand is black due to the ash from the nearby volcano and the fine sand is different than I am used to experiencing. When you handle the sand it does not stick to your hands/skin as sand normal would. Angie the waves on the beach were churning as if a storm was off the coast. Snorri told us that the waves on this beach are always this rough and even though they do look as if they would be great for surfing no one does since the water is so cold it would be hard for anyone to really stay in the water long enough.
Our final stop on our tour was Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. This waterfall is one of the most well known waterfalls in Iceland. The waterfall is part of the Selijalands River which originates in the volcano glacier Eyjafjnallajokull and drops 196 feet. The one amazing feature of this waterfall is that you are able to walk behind the waterfall that has a little cave behind it.
Even though we had to scramble to ensure we were able to get a tour booked for the day, but it ended up being a wonderful day of more beautiful sites thanks to Hawk and Snorri!