Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lobsters and Lagoons

Our time in the southeast continued with a visit to Ingolfshofdi, an isolated headland on the edge of Iceland separated by volcanic black sand beaches and the Atlantic Ocean. To get to the 'island', we took a 20 minute hay wagon ride, forded rivers, and endured the blowing sand until, finally, we saw land rising out of the mist. This beautiful place is home to birds such as the Arctic tern, skua, and puffin. While there, we learned to raise our hands against the great skua, so that they would not dive bomb our heads! The views of puffins nesting in the cliffs and the surf pounding below captured our imaginations and we spent some time shooting photos and enjoying the scenery.

In the afternoon, we made our way up the Ring Road to a gorgeous glacial lagoon called Jokulsarlon, where scenes from two James Bond movies were filmed. Seals popped their heads out of the water to greet us and blue ice formations led to more photo opportunities. After exploring from land, we took a boat out into the water, to see the formations up close. We even got to taste 1,000 year old ice!

That evening we arrived in Hofn (affectionately called “hup!”), a “base camp” for the next two days. Here, we had a chance to expand on our On Assignment projects. While Photography students met and shot photos of locals in this fishing town, Geology students got up close and personal with Hoffelsjokull, an outlet glacier from the Vatnajokull icecap that is undergoing some severe melting. Our guide was Thor from the University Centre in Hofn. He was very knowledgeable and we were grateful for the opportunity to see this less traveled to glacier. We even found some quicksand to play in!

Hofn is known for its amazing seafood, especially lobster. So, of course, we could not leave without trying some of these delicious langoustine tails. To round out our time here, we also visited the 'horn' where we walked along the beach, climbed some rocks, and shot beautiful landscapes of the multi-colored mountains. An abandoned farmhouse, wild horses, and, believe it or not, a Hollywood movie set (for a film called 'The Viking') provided opportunities for more exploration.

We now head to the Lake Myvatn region, the “Pearl of the North.”

Onwards and upwards!

Uly and Joseph