10 Dec 2015

Iceland Nov 2015 - Day 7: Back to Jökulsárlón in the Rain

Day 7 started much as the previous day - waking up to depressingly grey skies and rain. I was annoyed - I wanted to enjoy the area and explore a bit more, but instead the rain was here to thwart my plans. I popped out when I got up to take a few shots and there were actually clear skies above me, but a huge bank of fog clung to the mountains to the west. I checked the forecast and it had deteriorated to rain and wind all day, instead of brightening up later on. I had to check out by lunchtime, but only had to drive as far as Höfn to stay the night, where I was trying out a new guesthouse (Apotek). I had hoped to go to Hvalnes for sunrise/morning and then Stokksnes for the afternoon/sunset, but neither seemed particularly appealing.

I had a leisurely breakfast, in no hurry to head out, and eventually packed up and paid the nice farmer before heading west towards the tunnel. As I approached the tunnel I stopped to capture the road winding up the hill, disappearing into fog.

As usual I hoped that the weather would miraculously be better on the other side of the tunnel, but again I was disappointed - more rain and fog. I pulled over at a picnic area to photograph some moody clouds on the horizon and fog clinging to the hills above; I still didn't know where I was heading.

My options included heading to Höfn to explore the town (I could always hang out in a bar all day!), or heading further west, back to Jökulsárlón. I remember once saying to someone that at least in Iceland there was stuff to photograph when the weather was bad, but now I realised that I only really meant capturing the icebergs on the beach; not much else. So onwards I went - 130km out of my way, in order to return to my beloved Jökulsárlón. I stopped a couple of times along the way - near the graffiti house and at my favourite tree. Unlike the previous day, there was at least some contrast in the clouds - I could actually see some of the landscape.

I reached Jökulsárlón and it looked pretty grim - the rain had not abated at all. Along the last straight stretch the rain had belted towards me and I knew it wasn't going to be nice. I was already kitted up in my waterproofs, with lots of warm layers underneath, so didn't waste much time before heading out onto the beach. Sometimes when I get there I momentarily forget what I see in the place, and this was one of those occasions. The sky was grey, the black sand looked ugly, littered with footprints, and the shoreline was full of uneven chunks of ice. It certainly wasn't the beautiful serene scene I'd left a couple of days earlier. I got to work, regardless, remembering that the camera still manages to capture some beauty, particularly once a couple of filters are added to create the smooth water from the waves returning to the sea.

I wandered a little further along the beach in search of a few more spaced-out icebergs. Finally I found a few that were well-spaced and the waves just kept on coming over them, creating the trails that I love as they receded. I found a couple of larger, more turquoise bergs sitting in the surf, but the force of the waves moved them around from time to time.

I didn't really realise just how wet I was getting, and indeed how wet my beloved 5Diii was getting; I was so well covered in waterproofs I kind of neglected the camera... I only gave up and headed back to the car because the drizzle was getting onto the lens or filter faster than I could wipe it off. Each filter I tried ended up with a rainy/sea-watery smear across it. I got back into the car in my wet over-trousers, hanging the waterproof jacket over the seat behind me to dry. I lay the camera on the passenger's seat, wiped off the rain from the body and the lens, but clearly there was something wrong - as I noticed that I wasn't able to turn the camera off. I took the battery out and dried it off and tried again a few times, but the only way I could turn it off was to actually remove the battery. I felt a little worried. 

I popped across to have a quick look at the lagoon - the mountains not visible behind, but a few chunks of blue ice in the distance, took a few photos through the car window, and then headed back east towards Höfn. Although I like that drive, I was a bit over the whole day by now - and having to drive 80 miles was just painful.

I didn't stop again, but drove past Hali, the lovely tree, and onwards into Höfn and to my guesthouse (Apotek). There was no-one there, but there was a telephone number and a phone at reception to call. A few minutes later a woman came and checked me in and showed me to my (beautiful!) room, and told me to help myself to breakfast in the morning. The room was exquisite! The place was brand new, and the room was more like a boutique hotel than a good value guesthouse. The camera still wasn't right - not turning off, and now with signs of condensation formed in droplets on the panel at the top. I took a few test shots and found that there were also spots on the back screen. I thought I'd destroyed my camera. A lot of Googling ensued, and the conclusion was that I was extremely stupid to take Canon's description of "weatherproof" with any faith. Perhaps these things are okay in a little drizzle, but it had been raining quite hard and I was out there some time. The best course of action was to place the camera in a bag of rice. Obviously it was too late for the shop by now, so I'd have to wait until the following day. The spare camera was then dug out from the bottom of the bag for the next day.

It was now extremely windy, and forecast to be that way all night. I did pop out - by car - to the restaurant up the road where I'd eaten twice before. I ate a bowl of warming langoustine soup, washed down by another of the delicious Borg beers, before heading home to the safety of my lovely room for the night.

Click here for Day 6 blog - A Rainy Day in Stafafell
Click here for Day 8 blog - From Höfn to Vík

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful Photos Sophie.... Really Great !! Thanks !!