Djúpivogur, Iceland

Jul 15, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer

Today is ice day! In the land of ice and fire, this is the day we approach the extreme glacier ice landscapes. Currently, there are 269 glaciers in Iceland that cover eleven percent of the land surface, but many are rapidly melting. Nonetheless, we saw excellent examples of glacial landforms throughout the day. 

Djúpivogur, or deep harbour, is our departure port for a scenic ride along Iceland’s southeast coast. The dramatic scenery and cloudy vistas made our imaginations overflow with the stories of the hidden people and trolls that our local Icelandic guide shared with us. 

As we approached Vatnajökull, the sky cleared up and perfect weather came together for our ice exploration. Vatnajökull is not only the largest glacier by volume in Europe, it is also the largest glacier in Iceland, occupying eight percent of the country. We hiked a trail Skaftafell National Park until we reached the glacier and walked on ice! 

Using the duck boats, in Jokulsárlón we sailed around beautiful icebergs. This lagoon is the deepest in Iceland at about 200 m. The icebergs that calve from the glacier are slowly pulled away, melting until they find their way to the ocean. At the end of their path is the famous Diamond Beach, where the contrast of the ice and black-sand beach make for spectacular photographs. 

The Iceland coast is full of absolutely beautiful scenery—glaciers, green tundra, harsh mountains and in the backgound, the ocean.

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About the Author

Madalena Patacho


Madalena was born and raised in Portugal. Her childhood was spent in Belem, surrounded by Portuguese maritime monuments and history, always dreaming about exploring the oceans. Her love for nature has led her to study biology and later a Master’s in management of natural resources, specialized in ecotourism. She has lived on Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa, working with local communities on a responsible tourism project. She is inspired by the principles of ecotourism and is always looking for the best ways to contribute and leave a positive footprint everywhere.

About the Photographer

Andrew Peacock

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Andrew was born in Adelaide, South Australia and (mis)spent his youth surfing and kayaking in the ocean, as is the case for many Aussies! After graduating from medical school, he spent a year working as a surgical resident in Santa Barbara, California where he also began rock climbing. Taking up this new activity with a passion, Andrew began to explore the mountainous regions of the world and volunteered his medical skills in Nepal and India where he has since led numerous treks. Documenting his experiences with a camera led Andrew into the world of professional photography and he began contributing photos to what was then the Lonely Planet image library. So began a ‘side-line career’ using the creative side of his brain.

About the Videographer

Ashley Karitis

Video Chronicler

Ashley was raised in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. After childhood careers in ski racing, equestrian sports, classical piano, and summer jobs on a dude ranch, she emerged as a unique hybrid of adventuress, hobby farmer, and storyteller. 

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