Monthly Archives

October 2015

Iceland’s two blue water pools: The Blue Lagoon vs. Mývatn Nature Baths

By | Icelandic Nature, TaxiTravel.is Tours | No Comments

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions. In the Northeast region of the country lies another man made nature bath, Mývatn Nature Baths, also with blue water. Frequent swimmer Dr. Gunni measures the lagoons against each other in Iceland Mag’s weekly Versus column.

What is it?
Blue Lagoon Man made lagoon with 6 million liters of 37-39°C hot geothermal seawater. The bottom is made of white silica mud. The lagoon has some underwater benches and caves to sit in. Also pails of the white mud on the bank to rub on your skin. It is good for you!
Mývatn Nature Baths Man made lagoon with 3.5 million liters of 36-40°C hot water. The bottom is made of sand and gravel. Some underwater benches.

CC MindsEye_PJ

Mývatn Nature Baths are in north Iceland. Photo/MindsEye_PJ

What is there besides hot water?
Blue Lagoon Skin care shop, clinic for psoriasistreatment, Lava restaurant and bar.
Mývatn Nature Baths Kvika restaurant.

Background
Blue Lagoon The lagoon was formed in 1976 following the operation of the regional heating corporation in Svartsengi geothermal area. Soon people started to sneak into the lagoon and in 1987 the first first modest public bathing facilities opened. The current spa facilities opened in 1999.
Mývatn Nature Baths The baths opened in 2004, but people had been taking baths and steam baths in the area for centuries.

Distance from Reyjavík
Blue Lagoon 45 km
Mývatn Nature Baths  487 km

Admission fee (Okt 2015)
Blue Lagoon Adults: 35 EUR / Teenagers 14-15 years old: 15 EUR
Mývatn Nature Baths  Adults: 19 EUR / Teenagers 12-15 years old: 1.000 7 EUR

Opening hours
Blue Lagoon June – Aug 09:00-21:00 / Sept-May 10:00-20:00
Mývatn Nature Baths June-Aug 09:00-24:00 / Sept-May 12:00-22:00

Annual number of guests
Blue Lagoon More than 400,000
Mývatn Nature Baths Less than 100,000

Websites
Blue Lagoon bluelagoon.com
Mývatn Nature Baths jardbodin.is

Experience
Blue Lagoon After clever marketing for a long period the Blue Lagoon has become one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. It is close to the Keflavík airport and Reykjavík so it may become very crowded during peak season. Due to it’s pricy admission fee The Blue Lagoon is not much visited by regular Icelanders. But still: it is an unusal and otherworldly place, that lives up to it’s legend. Plus, soothing in hot water is always good!
Mývatn Nature Baths The Mývatn baths is more intimate than the Blue lagoon and not as touristic. On the other hand, it is smaller and less picturesque, even though the landscape view is very nice. It is of course further away from Reykjavík and the airport and it is yet to earn its’“must do” status. Still, soothing in hot water is always good!

From: //icelandmag.visir.is

Beautiful video of crystal clear waters in lava fissure Silfra in Þingvellir national park

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

The deep and frequently dramatic lava fissures are one of the things which give Þingvellir national park its captivating beauty. The fissures offer a striking contrast between the delicate and fragile plant life and the most dramatic forces of nature, as the fissures are formed as the European and American tectonic plates drift away from one another.

One of the best known fissures in Þingvellir is Silfra, which is filled with ice cold water which has been filtered crystal clear by the lava field. All of this makes Silfra a stunning diving spot, visited by thousands of travellers every year.

Big News: Geysir (the Real One) Said to Have Erupted this Afternoon

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

Photo: Roger Goodman. Geysir and Strokker erupting simultaneously. June 1984.

According to Attila Balatoni, a tour guide, Geysir – the old and original one – erupted this afternoon. He said on his Facebook page around 4 PM on Tuesday : “Geysir erupted again right in front of my eyes! This is not Strokkur!”

Geysir does not blow very often in contrast to Strokkur, which erupts every few minutes. As far as we know this may be the first incidence in some years.

From: icelandreview.com

easyJet least likely to be tardy at Keflavík Airport, second month in a row

By | Local News From Iceland | No Comments

For the second month in a row, the British low-cost airline Easy-Jet is least likely to be tardy at Keflavík Airport. The Icelandic airline WOW Air was most likely to be tardy of the major airlines at Keflavík.

The local news site visir.is reports that according to the Icelandic travel search engine Dohop, the airline which was most likely to be on time in September was easyJet. The airline‘s departures were on time 77% of the time and 84% of its arrivals. WOW Air came in last place with 68% of its departures on time and 59% of its arrivals. The average delay for departures for easyJet was 8.03 minutes and 5.65 minutes for arrivals.

Service at Keflavík has grown by 50% in two years
According to the local travel website turisti.is the number of flights in and out of Keflavík in September has grown by more than 50% between 2013 and 2015. A total of 1,566 flights departed Keflavík in September 2015, compared to 1,253 in September 2014 and 1,029 in September 2013.

The five largest airlines flying out of Keflavík in September 2015 were Icelandair with 66% of flights, WOW air with 14%, easyJet with 5%, Airberlin with 3.3% and SAS with 2.1%. Other airlines had a combined 9.6% of all traffic. The share of Icelandair has shrunk from 73.4% in 2013.

From: icelandmag.visir.is

Traffic Increases in Iceland’s West Fjords

By | Local News From Iceland | No Comments

The average traffic in the West Fjords has never been heavier than in July, 2015, or 1,017 cars per day. The total traffic over the summer months also increased compared to last year, at 747 cars per day on average, up from 712, even though August was slower this year than last.

Díana Jóhannsdóttir, a representative of Visit Westfjords, the West Fjords marketing office, told RÚV that residents have noticed an increased number of tourists in the region and that tourists arrived earlier in the season than usual.

She believes that closures in the highlands and a wet and cold summer in East Iceland may have driven tourists westwards.

The vehicles which entered the region were counted by the Icelandic Road Administration’s automatic meter in Svínadalur valley on Road 60, and cars which entered the region through Þröskuldar, Reykhólahreppur, and Laxárdalsvegur were also included.

It is considered likely that the total traffic this year will exceed that of 2014, which was a record year. It is assumed that the average number of vehicles to enter the region daily will be 425, or more than double the traffic in 2005, when the daily average was 211 cars.

The new road across Þröskuldar, which opened in 2009, resulted in a significant increase in traffic to the West Fjords.

From: icelandreview.com

A good night ahead for northern lights enthusiasts

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

Tomorrow (Saturday) should be great for northern lights enthusiasts around the country. According to the Icelandic Met Office’s (IMO) excellent Aurora forecast service we can expect a grade five activity (scale 1-9). IMO explains that grade 2 (low activity) can be beautiful and grade 3 (moderate) can be dazzling.

IMO builds its forecast on combined information on aurora activity, cloud cover, sunlight and moonlight.

The conditions will be ideal along the south coast and in the northeast half of Iceland where the skies will be clear, but we can also expect quite a good show in the northwest and on the southwest corner where the skies will be partly clear.

The good conditions will remain in place in the south part of the Eastfjords and at the mouth of Eyjafjörður fjord, according to IMO’s forecast.

Be sure to dress warmly if you are heading into the night as it will be rather chilly around the country. See IMO’s forecast.

A new landslide in the Askja region, the nature is still at work

By | Icelandic Nature | No Comments

Lake Víti The tsunami wave travelled across Öskjuvatn lake (on top) and into the much smaller explosive crater.

A new landslide is believed to have fallen in the region of Lake Askja in the remote Northeast central highlands. Last year a massive landslide fell into the lake just before midnight on July 21st causing a great tsunami wave, which travelled across the lake, over its eastern shore and into the famous Víti crater.

Experts estimated that around 60 million cubic metres (2.118.880.002 cubic feet) had fallen from the slopes of Mount Askja and into the lake, making it the largest landslide known to have fallen since Iceland was settled, more that 1.100 years ago.  Water levels in the lake rose over two metres (6.5 feet) following the landslide.

Ármann Höskuldsson, a volcanologist at the Institution of Earth Sciences at the National University, explained in an interview last year that area is still being formed and predicted that we would see more movement there. “Askja’s southern rim is clearly very unstable, meaning more landslides will fall this winter and next spring,” he told the National Broadcasting Company.

About the area
The Askja region is located in the Northeast part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The name refers to a complex of calderas within the surrounding Dyngjufjöll mountains (that peak at 1,510 metres).

Mount Askja is a stratovolcano found within the area and was virtually unknown until a enormous eruption began in 1875.
Öskjuvatn is a large lake that fills the caldera that formed in the 1875 eruption. It is 11 km² (4.2 sqm) and is the is the second deepest lake in Iceland with a depth of 217 m (712 ft). The deepest lake is Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.

Víti is a much smaller explosion crater, situated Northeast of Öskjuvatn. It contains a mineral-rich, opaque blue water which stays a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit) all year around.

From: //icelandmag.visir.is

Glacial Outburst Flood in Skaftá

By | Icelandic Nature, Local News From Iceland | No Comments

A glacial outburst flood has begun in Skaftá river, South Iceland, according to the Facebook page of the Icelandic Met Office. The ice cover over the Eastern Skaftá Cauldron subsided last night and continues to do so at an increased rate. Glacial outburst floods from the Easter Cauldron are generally larger and occur more rarely than those from the Western Cauldron. Such a flood last took place in June, 2010.

CC Veðurstofa Íslands

Glacial outburst flood, Skaftá river, 2010. Photo: Jórunn Harðardóttir.

Update: from mbl.is: The flood is still under the glacier and hasn’t surfaced yet. The flow of water is expected to reach 1.300 to1,400 m2 per second when it reaches the first observation station of the Icelandic Met Office.

Meetings are underway at the Met Office, where the situation is being assessed. An announcement is expected later today from the Met Office and from the Civil Protection in Iceland.

A glacial outburst flood has never before been detected at such an early stage. What makes it possible is a GPS device located on the ice sheet.

Snorri Zóphóníasson, geologist at the Met Office, reports that we can expect the flood to peak by the Ringroad within 48 hours.

Update:

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police in association with the District Commissioner in South Iceland declared an Alert Phase yesterday due to the fast rising flash flood in Skaftá glacial river which began yesterday and will continue for several days.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, much uncertainty surrounds the size of the flood and the area affected by floodwater. Travelers are advised to stay at a good distance away from the rivers Skaftá and Hverfisfljót.

Alert Phase means that if hazard assessment indicates increased threat, immediate measures must be taken to ensure the safety and security of people in the area, as explained in a press release from the Civil Protection Department.

This is done by increasing preparedness of the emergency and security services in the area and by taking preventive measures, such as restrictions, closures, evacuations and relocation of inhabitants.

The public will be kept informed: the authorities will provide advice and issue warning messages if necessary.

Skaftá originates in Skaftárjökull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull in South Iceland near Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Click here to see a map of the area.

From: icelandreview.com