Home-2015-Iceland-Jokulsarlon-Sitemap-About
Jokulsarlon

Jokulsarlon is a glacial lake created by the Breidamerkurjokull Glacier that flowis down from Vatnajukull ice fielnd, at 8100 square kilometr Europe's largest glacier outside of the Arctic. The lake started forming 70 years ago as the glacier retreated. The retreat continues to this day and the lake is now 5 miles long. Icebergs calve into it and accumulate at the lake outlet before they melt enough to float out through a shallow outlet, under the Route 1 bridge, into the ocean, Pieces of varying size often litter the shoreline of the lake and many also wash up on the nearby black beaches. It is a surreal sight the likes of which are rare to find.


Dawn

I arrived in Iceland on a red-eye flight, hardly slept the first three nights because of my road trip to the Westfjords, and finally got the the first restful night after relaxing in the Blue Lagoon. So it was time for another sleepless night. I got up at 2am to catch the sunrise. It was more cloudy than I would have liked, windy and very cold, but I had the lagoon practically to myself and that alone was worth it.

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
Fragment in BW Ice at dawn Jukulsarlon lizard Whale Icy dawn My piece of ice
photo photo photo photo photo photo
So icy ... and cold Pebbles and bubbles
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Icy littering Mini iceberg Cold landscape Iceberg and clouds Southern shore
photo photo photo
Jokulsarlon and Breidamerkurjokull Jokulsarlon


Morning

It was a grey morning. Clouds thickened even more during periods of light showers as we explored the beach covered with small icebergs. Before embarking on a ride on Jokulsarlon, we drove to a lookout over Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon, just west and a bit smaller but hardly any less impressive than Jokulsarlon.

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
Jokulsarlon outlet Ice turtle Ice turtle On the rocks Icy ear
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Bridge Icy beach Irina on an iceberg Jokulsarlon outlet Photographing photographers
photo photo photo
Cyclist above Fjallsarlon Lagoon Cyclists above Fjallsarlon Lagoon


Ride among the icebergs

The Zodiac tour takes visitors on a small boat across Jokulsarlon, almost all the way to the head of the glacier, or at least as close as is safe. We were given floatation suits making everyone look twice as big. As we walked to the boat, we looked a bit like astronauts in space suits. The otherwordly arctic landscape was there to match. It was a cold rainy day and the proximity of icebergs around us and the icefield above made it seem even colder than it was. Even if one did not intend to jump overboard, One positive about the suits was that they kept us warm. As we made our way across the lagoon, the guide fished a piece of ice out of the lake for us to handle. It was thousands of years ago when the water frozen in it fell as snow onto the ice cap. I could not discern any stone age microbes in it, but the feeling of time scale was there anyway.

The weather remained miserable after the ride. Our attempt to try to drive up to the icefield was rejected by a road closure. It was too early in the season...

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
March of the icenauts Boarding Iceberg Returning tour Amphibian boat Blue and grey
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Sister boat Blue iceberg Blue iceberg Blue iceberg Engine view
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Glacial ice Irina and glacial ice Race from the glacier Amphibious boat Geese formation in transition
photo photo photo
Back on firm ground Jokulsarlon Looking toward Hofn


Sunset

I came out for the sunset. It was much warmer and peaceful. Most of the icebergs on the shores have melted, and the sun was shining through an opening in the clouds above Vatnajukull, reflecting og the remaining icebergs. As the sun set, low clouds rolled in, putting an end to the glimmering spectacle.

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
Horse Profile Langostini Lamb for dinner View from Hali Find your own seal
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Layer of dirt and ice Bridge across Jokulsarlon outlet Bridge
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Ducks
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Rocks
photo
Still ice


Dusk

After the last sun rays disappeared over the lagoon, I took a few more twilight shots and moved across the road to the beach. Some icebergs washed up by the waves remained. Some have melted into bizzare shapes and I played with long exposure shots for anoher hour or so before being overcome by the lack of sleep and heading back.

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
Racing ice Alone against the ice Couple on an iceberg
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Romance on ice Slip into my arms Keyhole Trio
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Melting beauty Stemming the tide
photo photo photo
Window to the soul Eye on the sea


Sunny morning

The sun was shining in the morning and we made a brief stop by the lake and on the beach one last time before turning back toward Reykjavik.

photo

photo photo photo photo photo photo
Racing the sheep Reflection of me Romance on the beach
photo photo photo photo photo photo
Chunk Chunk in BW Ice handle
photo photo photo photo
Suspended Bus above the icebergs Jokulsarlon outlet


Previous part: Trip south | Next part: Return from the south
Last updated: May 3, 2016
Please send any comments to  or, if you prefer, sign an entry in the guest book.