Today waterfalls are the main theme of the day. Starting with Seljalandsfoss famous for a cave that allows to walk around the veils of water falling off the high cliffs. The waterfall drops 60 m and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Smaller waterfalls fall close by and a stream lined with yellow blooms of Marsh-marigolds leads to another amazing sight – a waterfall inside such narrow a canyon it seems more of a cave – Gljúfrabúi waterfall.
Further east we pass an information point regarding the famous eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 offering a distant view of the peak.
Turning left we reach powerful Skógafoss waterfall. Water falls down approxiamtely 62m from the edge of cliff marking the former coastline. With the width of 25 meters it is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland.
Lava fields and Jökulhlaups
Next stop of the trip is to Sólheimasandur beach to visit the site of 1973 US Navy Douglas C-117D plane crash. The aircraft was flying from Hofn Hornafjördur Airport to Naval Air Station Keflavik, after delivering supplies for the radar station at Stokksnes. En-route it encountered severe icing and the crew were forced to crash land on a frozen river at Sólheimasandur. All 7 crew members survived and were rescued by helicopter, but the aircraft was written off. The unsalvaged remains of the aircraft were left at the scene. The 3+ km hike over black and bleak plain to the remains is boring – and unfortunately is a statement to greed of people organizing rides from the parking to crash site.
Far away from the black beach of Sólheimasandur we can see a huge gate in a rock protruding into ocean. That is a first sight of Dyrhólaey peninsula – our next destination. Dyrhólaey, meaning “door hill island” is the southernmost point in mainland Iceland. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin, which is also known by the Icelandic word eyja meaning island. It is a nesting ground of a colony of Barnacle geese as well as – supposedly – Atlantic puffins though we have not seen any of those. The peninsula has an elevation of 120 metres and the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse rises at the top of the formation facing the sea.
We briefly stop at Víkurkirkja a lovely church built above a town of Vik i Myrdal and later continue on through wasteland and lava fields – the geopark of Katla volcano ending the day with a peak into Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.