|iPhoneSE view of my window|
I got dressed and went upstairs for breakfast, where there was a better view of the storm, although still some on the windows. The storm was still going strong. The sky was dark, a snow-drift covered a fair amount of all the cars parked outside, and the wind howled. Fortunately the place was well-insulated. I sat around for a while, checking the road website every five or ten minutes. Unlike the forecast sites, this actually gave updates on the wind speeds at various sites every ten minutes. The roads were all closed along the southern ring-road. At 9.41am a gust of 52 m/s (116 mph!!) was recorded at Steinar (where my beloved rocks are), although around Vik it was only max gusts of 30m/s (a calm 67mph...).
|Screenshot from the very useful road.is|
To my surprise, other guests began to leave at around 10am. The roads were still closed, and the wind speeds were generally between 16 and 22m/s along the local stretch of road, but obviously with higher gusts. I didn't know if there were any physical barriers along this stretch of road, but I thought people were very reckless setting off already. The car-park was almost empty by 11am. I went upstairs a little later to get some tea and was surprised to hear "Sophie?!" - I looked round and it was a guy that sat behind me at the job that I'd just left the week before. I'd remembered him talking about Iceland ages before, but to be in the same guesthouse at the same time was a massive coincidence. Also, I hadn't seen him the previous night, or earlier at breakfast, so might have easily missed each other altogether and never known of the coincidence.
Just before midday I went outside to take a few shots - the sky was foreboding but beautiful. It was bitterly cold, especially when one of those gusts came along.
|My window was the middle one at the bottom!|
It would've been nice to just enjoy the storm and walk around the local area a little, but I did have to leave at some point. I began to get a bit worried about timing as I wanted to be at Sigrún's for 6pm (for supper (!) and before it got too dark) and had hoped to pop into my jewellers beforehand. The latter was looking very unlikely.
Finally at 1pm I made the decision to leave, even though the road was still closed according to road.is; a few cars were now passing by in each direction. The wind speeds were still around 15m/s, but the gusts had come down to around 22m/s. Given that the guesthouse was almost directly opposite the road to Dyrholaey I decided to head down there, to see if I could get any views. The conditions were fine until about half way to the car-park a snow-drift blocked the whole road. I could have tried to drive across it, but being alone it would have been a foolhardy thing to do (no-one to help push me if I got stuck). It also didn't bode well for the rest of the journey to the shore. There was a nice enough view from there and some stunning light in the sky, so I took a few photos before heading back up to the main road and started my journey westwards.
I stopped shortly afterwards as I approached Petursey - the light on the horizon still magical.
Not far after that I pulled in at the almost-empty parking lot for the walk down to the crashed DC3. A couple were heading down there on foot - not the brightest idea, given that the weather could easily get a lot worse very quickly; at least the trail appeared to be marked with yellow way-markers. A raven posed on a fence post for me.
I dragged myself away, next stop Steinar, where fortunately the 52 m/s winds had most definitely died down! Once again I found some stunning light to the south, with snow showers almost obscuring Vestmannæyjar. In spite of the havoc it wreaks, big storms certainly provide some wonderful drama in the skies.
As it was it was already getting late, so I headed onwards, with the last part of the journey ahead of me. I had a slight worry that the road from Hveragerði to Reykjavik might be closed (it was still showing as closed when I checked every time I stopped), but I hoped that it might have miraculously opened by the time I arrived.
The rest of the journey to Hveragerði was uneventful, with the sun now out in between lighter clouds; the worst of the storms appeared to be behind me (or to the south still). I arrived at the foot of the big hill at 4.45pm, so I'd still have time to make it back in time for a 6pm supper, but lo-and-behold, the road was still closed.
|iPhoneSE shot of the damned closed road!|
I parked at the petrol station at the roundabout, as did everyone else, and wandered up to check with the police. I asked the same question as everyone else: any idea what time the road might open. The guy was friendly and just shrugged, as he had been doing all day. It might open soon or it might not. I had two options: sit it out and wait, or take a rather long detour via the south coast and Reykjanes peninsula to wind my way back to Álftanes. I took the latter option, thinking that the road might not open for hours and I'd just be stuck there. I made the right decision: I checked later in the evening and the pass was still not open. The journey along the south coast was a pleasant one, although it's nicer when there's nothing else on the road. It added 75km to the journey, which was obviously annoying, and all hopes of nipping into Orr were gone, but I didn't end up arriving for dinner too late. As always I had a lovely welcome (and dinner!) from Sigrún and family (including the adorable Jökull the cat).
|iPhoneSE shot of the most adorable cat ever!|
I told them all about my trip, and heard that they'd both had bad flu while I was away; thankfully they were both better, and also thankfully I hadn't caught it, as that wouldn't be very convenient for a road trip (I had it a month later instead, where it also wasn't very convenient as I'd just started a new job!). I did my least favourite job of the whole trip - repacking the backpack (trying to fit in the tripod, and beer I hadn't drunk inside boots) and had an early night. My last day would involve a trip to Orr, driving to the airport, and the flight home.
Click here for my blog from Day 9: Jökulsárlón to Vík
Click here for my pictures from the flight home