Iceland with its rolling green fields and Greenland with its icy landscape, it is an on-going joke on how these two island ended up with completely messed up name and there is a long Viking related saga accompanying the intertwined name too.
Nonetheless, when you travel to Iceland one shall expect to see ice. Maybe it is easier to do so when you come to the country during winter season, where you don’t even need to travel out of Reykjavik to see the landscape covered in frost. But coming during the other times of the year, after seeing the volcanoes and the lava fields, it requires venturing out to the Southeast part of the island to put the “ice” part onto the title “The Land of Fire and Ice”.
Located not too far from the Icelandic Ring Road, of what once a mass of frozen landscape a hundred years ago, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a lake of broken icebergs in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Each visit to Jokulsarlon is unique, the iceberg formations will be different and the size of the lake is expected to increase. These previous changes in the lagoon and the one expected to happen in the future is directly associated with the effects of global warming- the Earth is heating up causing the icebergs to break off from the nearby Vatnajökull glacier, the chunks of ice floating around and melting into the lagoon, while some drifting its way to the sea.
Setting aside the significant environmental representation of the rapid change in the lagoon size, for any visitor, a trip to Jokulsarlon is one of the most unique experience anyone will ever have in Iceland. The landscape is immensely wonderful, the view of the lagoon quite waters lined with arrays of scattered icebergs illuminated by the blue skies and sun rays is otherworldly.
Coming to Iceland off-season, I thought that admiring the glacier lagoon from the shoreline is all there is, so I was surprised when the tour guide announces that the amphibian boat tour is open. The 40-minute boat ride with up close views of huge icebergs comes with an additional hefty fee of 5,700 ISK , but I know that I have to do it, I traveled all the way to this side of the world for experiences such as this. Now I can say that I’ve seen an iceberg and tasted a 1,000 year old ice chip too.
No wonder why Jokulsarlon is such a popular filming location, the boats navigating the picturesque vast water of the lagoon while circling the icebergs seems like straight out taken from a James Bond movie.
The lagoon might look shallow when viewed from the shore, but it is considered as the deepest lake in the whole country, the icebergs floating at the top of the lake is only a small portion of what is underneath. I doubt people can actually swim in Jokulsarlon or climbed on top of the iceberg , I guess such extreme idea better be left to the like of action stars.
I reside from the other side of the world, where it is summer all year round, and I don’t know when will be the next time I will be seeing icebergs too , so I try to fill my mind with as many memories of the wonderful landscape that is Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.
As I was standing across the shore, just when the sun is about to disappear, while staring at the icebergs I had some sort of epiphany, I read it numerous times but only right there and then is when I understand what it really means, we are truly such small creatures in this vast and magnificent world we called home.