Driving around Iceland: Day 9

Svartifoss – puffins – Fjallsjokull - Jokulsarlon

It was raining in the morning, but we got accustomed to such weather in Iceland. So we packed all our stuff into the car (wet tent, sleeping bags, electric range, etc) and went to our first destination point  - Svartifoss waterfall by foot, as we lived in the camping near the visitor center.

Svartifoss means black fall, due to the dark basalt columns that surround the waterfall. It takes about 30 minutes to reach waterfall by footpath from visitor center. Fisrt, path go up and then you could see waterfall on the horizont. 

Rain spoiled overall impression of walking (and photo's quality), but the nature is very beautiful there and the waterfall is worth visiting for sure. Basalt columns are so sharp-cut there, that it seems a miracle that nature could create such well-defined shape. After we got wet under the rain we returned back, sat down into the car and go on.....

From the first day in Iceland I was dreaming to see puffins. We were travelling around Iceland for 9 days and still I haven’t seen any puffin (even though many people said they saw them on Dyrholaey, but we didn't meet them there). By this time I almost totally lost a hope to see these birds. 

But occasionally, when I looked through the Lonely planet guide once again, I saw information about tours to the isolated cape where puffins nested. This tours usually start from the place we were going to pass by car in several kilometers, so I began to stare looking for any signs.

And, yeah, I saw a small sign looked like this. We don’t know whether we found something there but we turned onto a side road.

Soon we saw a small house with information about a tour. (You  could read all necessary information on their website and even book a ticket)

We waited for half an hour when tourists from the previous tour came back with big smiles, absolutely happy. I asked one man with big photo camera if he saw a puffin there, and he said that there are many of them and generally tour was incredible. So we immediately bought the tickets and continued waiting for the beginning of next tour.  The price was big for us - 34 euro per person, (and furthermore we have already got accustomed to that fact that everything we visited in Iceland is free of charge) but now we were full of hope to see the birds of our dreams.

Eventually, tour started. We jumped into the tractor-drawn hay cart and drove through sand and water exactly as it was written in the description of the tour. 

Finally we arrived to the isolated cape, where we expected to witness puffins. 

After small ascent we continued our tour around the cape.

This is our guide who tells us a little story about this cape, nature of Iceland and its wildlife.

And finally, hooray! We saw puffins! Many of them! For the first several seconds I could barely believe that I am not sleeping :)

Puffins come to Iceland from May to mid August  for breeding.  

They nest in fissures among rocks or dig a hole in the soil. 

Their main food is fish, that is why puffins swim very well and the form of their beak allows them to carry many fishes at a time.

There are many skuas as well here. They are rather big and very aggressive at this period of time because of breeding. They have nests on the ground and  some of them already have chicks.

The weather was so nice while we were walking around the cape, it was warm and sunny.

We spent about one hour and a half strolling around the cape and when it was time to came back I was really sad to leave this place, this isolated paradise with breathtaking views. But of course I was so glad to see so many puffins! 

We descended to our vehicle and drove back to our car.

Our next destination points were two glacier lakes Fjallsjokull and Jokulsarlon, located next to one another.

Everything in Iceland is so impressive, so are these glacier lakes. Huge amount of ice slip down to the lake, breaking into pieces that swim on the water… Color of the ice is wonderful – absolutely blue.

Jokulsarlon is much bigger than Fjallsjokull. Both of them are worth visiting, more so they are easily accessed from the highway (there is free parking nearby)

We saw a seal there; he was swimming in the lake far far away from the shore. So it was hardly visible without zooming photocamera

It was enough excitement for today so we drove to the camping in the town Hofn (GPS: 64.258030°, -15.203398°). It is nice camping with small house where you could cook a dinner and sit inside if it is cold or rain. Hot showers were for an additional fee. 

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