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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Iceland: Through the Eye's of an Artist part 12 Icebergs, Glaciers and Arctic Terns

'On Top of the World'               9.5x13         pastel             ©Karen Margulis
Iceland is green and Greenland is ice. That's what we learned in elementary school. I still wanted to see ice on my trip to Iceland. I wanted to walk on a glacier and see some icebergs. I came close to some glaciers and there are tours to take you out on them but I didn't walk on a glacier this trip. I did see icebergs though.

The spectacular glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon was 600 miles roundtrip from Reykjavik but it was well worth the drive. After the workshop I spent 5 nights in Reykjavik on my own. It was my plan to take some tours. The tour to see the South coast of Iceland and Jokulsarlon was my first tour. I went with Iceland Excursions and it was a wonderful experience. We rode on a comfortable brand new bus complete with wifi. Our tour guide was interesting and knowledgable. My seat mates turned out to be a wonderful couple from New Jersey of all places and one of them was a pastel artist. It truly is a small world.

The edge of a glacier reaching down to the highway

The entire drive was spectacular...from waterfalls to distant islands to the largest river bed in the world, to the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, it was all amazing. The glacial lagoon was the final stop on the tour before heading back home. It was more than I could ever imagined!

A couple of the spectacular waterfalls we stopped to see

You don't know what is coming before you get the lagoon. It is right off the main road but there is no 'preview'. You go over a bridge and there it is. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I was in awe and I know my jaw must have dropped. Yes it really was spectacular. It couldn't possibly be a real place and yet it was. We were greeted by the din of hundreds of Arctic Terns flying overhead. They would prove to be a distraction for me.

Hundreds of Arctic Terns greet us at Jokulsarlon

Part of the tour included a boat ride in the lagoon. We put on our life jackets and the amphibious boat slipped into the water. The colors and shapes were simply beyond my wildest dreams. Every shade of blue seemed to be represented in the sky, water, distant glacier and mountains and of course in the icebergs themselves. It was eerily quiet except for the sound of the boat. We learned about how the icebergs are chunks of ice broken off from the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull  We had a chance to taste some of the glacial ice which was interesting. 

A few photos from the boat tour among the icebergs

After the boat tour we had time to wander around the area. I was torn between taking more pictures of the lagoon or turning around and watching the Arctic Terns. They fascinated me.  Hundred of these little sea birds had made their nests on the grassy area beside the parking lot. These birds make the longest annual migration of any other bird. They fly 25,000 miles from Antarctica to their Arctic breeding grounds in Iceland and Greenland. (and I thought 600 miles on a bus was long!)  Since they nest out in the open on the ground they have to be fiercely protective of their nests and young. And they are!  They will attack anything that ventures onto the nesting area....they dive bomb the highest point (your head) and will even poop on you!  The chicks were well camouflaged in the grasses but I managed to see them through the telephoto lens of my camera.

protecting the nests

nesting in the grass

A crazy tourist. I hope she got pooped on!

Can you see the chick?

So well camouflaged 

Sheep....move out of the way...or I'll poop on your head!

I may have been a long day but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Many of the stops we made deserve more time but at least know I have more to see on my next trip to Iceland!

If you have missed any of my Iceland Travelog posts you can find links to them on my Pinterest page HERE


Nancy Young said...

Karen, I am just LOVING your photos, stories and paintings from your Iceland trip! What an incredible adventure!

Christine Troyer said...

These posts have really given me the pleasure of experiencing a land that I probably wouldn't have. Keep going, I love the stories!

Jane Springfield said...

Karen, I have enjoyed ALL your posts and feel like i travelled with you. The paintings are wonderful and fresh and immediate.

Patricia Powers said...

I loved your suggestions on using a few photos...and then I got started reading about your trip to Iceland.What a wonderful incredible experience for you.love the pony portraits. Thanks for sharing.