I continued on to Jökulsárlón, noticing huge numbers of fishing boats dotted along the horizon to my south; I'd only ever seen a couple of ships before, so this was quite an unusual sight (zooming in on one later it appeared to be from the Faroe Islands). I parked at the east beach and walked along the top of the beach to reach a slightly higher spot from where I set about taking some wave shots with the long lens. The place was packed with photographers - dotted all the way along the beach for as far as the icebergs were distributed. It was definitely busier this year than last and I can't think that February is any busier than March (for photographers).
Occasionally I'd include an iceberg, the boats or photographers in my shot, but I wanted to concentrate on the waves and their mesmerising beauty.
I sat in the car warming up for a while before heading over the pretty suspension bridge on my way west. As I drove over the bridge I noticed how stunning the bergs in the Jökulsá river looked - everything so turquoise! - so I pulled in just past the bridge and spent another half hour there, this time taking pictures of the river. While I was changing lenses I noticed two tiny figures out on the ice in the distance; I later read that they were stupid tourists who could easily have got themselves killed had they slipped into the water (luckily for them they were unharmed). You can just make out one or both of them in the photos below.
ómagnúpur. I passed the turn-offs to Svínafellsjökull and Skaftafell, also unvisited on this trip, before crossing the sandur towards Lómagnúpur, my favourite Icelandic mountain, visible this time. The winds were not as bad as expected, and at no point did the car get swiped by nasty gusts, which was a relief. It was, however, far too windy to get any decent shots at Lómagnúpur, so although I drove down the little track before it, I took a couple of shots and got straight back in the car and continued on.
By the time I left the unpronounceable canyon it was 4.45pm and I still had another 70km to drive to reach Vík. I wanted to catch the last light, but sunset wasn't until after 6pm, so I knew I'd make it. I was staying in the Nordur Vík hostel again (didn't treat myself to the beautiful Edda hotel with the view of the bird cliffs) and as usual wanted to get there in time to get a bottom bunk, but photographing sunset at the beach was my main priority. It took me exactly an hour to get there, and so by 5.45pm I was on my second-favourite black sandy Icelanic beach, this time using the long zoom to capture shots of the stacks with the waves in front of them. There was one other photographer on the beach and a couple came and quickly went. There was no sunset light to speak of, but with those big waves and stacks, it really didn't matter.
I got to the hostel to find the car park full but thankfully a lower bunk free. I felt a bit nervous about my camera gear, having forgotten to bring any padlocks. As a result I took my camera bag out to the nearby Suður-Vík restaurant with me. A young English guy from the hostel joined me and we ate and chatted together. He was an architecture graduate taking a year off before continuing on with his long training and had just driven speedily and solo around the ringroad in a Renault Clio. We both talked a lot, neither of us probably having had a long conversation with anyone else for days! He said he had begun talking to himself. I admitted that I did the same. I often shouted out "I love you Iceland!" for example. I ordered a large pizza, which gave me some leftovers for the next day's lunch, as I'd finished the bread I'd made sandwiches from. I wanted to make an early start, so packed all my bags so that I wouldn't disturb my room-mates at 7am the next morning, put my ear-plugs in and had an early night.
Click here for Day 7 - Lon & Stokksnes
Click here for Day 9 - From Vík to Þingvellir