While we had previously visited Sólheimajökull, today was the first time we hiked on part of it. We met with two guides, Gummi and Odur, who showed us how to attach crampons to our feet and helped us navigate the treacherous terrain. We tried not to get distracted by the beauty of the landscape and started screwing in sliced-up orange shirts in the ice to locate the ground control points in our pictures (a location whose coordinates we recorded). Naturally, this brought us some attention as the average tourist does not bring a drill. Part of the group separated and went farther ahead to screw in the shirts and record the coordinates while the rest flew the drones; Charlie went farther up that glacier than he ever had before, which made him quite joyful. Overall, we had a very productive day and a fantastic time.
Today, we woke up early to catch a ferry to Heimaey, a small island off Iceland’s southern coast. We went to Eldheimar, a museum about Eldfell‘s 1973 volcanic eruption and its consequences on Heimaey’s population. Some of us then hiked Eldfell and Helgafell, the volcano right next to Eldfell, which allowed us to find some cool rocks. This was a free day, meaning we didn’t have to work on our projects, so everyone went their own way to observe the island and ended up with unique stories about our time there!
Today we visited the Heimaey, the most populated island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. It was a long day, we left Vik at 6:30 for the ferry and didn’t get back until 10:30 that night, but it was full of cool things.
In the morning we visited the museum memorializing the 1973 Eldfell eruption which almost destroyed the town and closed the harbor. The experience was both sobering and uplifting, seeing before and after images of the town, along with the still half buried ruins of peoples homes really put the danger of volcanic eruptions into perspective; but people all over Iceland, and the entire planet, came together to help and now the town has bounced back from the disaster. Afterwards we hiked up to the top of the Eldfell volcano itself, it was exhausting, but the view was amazing.
Afterwards we split up into small groups to explore the island at our own pace, people visited the lava fields created by the eruption, the town’s aquarium, and many other things.
I ended up taking a trail up the west side of the Blátindur mountain, more or less diagonally opposite of Eldfell, which also had a spectacular view.
Finally here is a gallery of some fantastic drone photography from the groups photography expert Joe
There was a storm today, a ton of wind and rain. We were stuck inside for most of the day, we did the work we could while inside. We also compared the ground truthing images we had collected yesterday to what the algorithm said so we could test the accuracy of the algorithm. A few of our team members watched footage from the GoPros we had put in the fjord to count the fish, jellyfish, or other marine life that our cameras had seen. A couple folks worked on getting the weather station at Skálanes up and running again.
Despite the bad weather in the morning it cleared up in the afternoon enough to fly part of the Ytri-Sanda, as well as, the archaeological site.
Our ten day adventure at Skálanes has come to an end. After days full of exciting research, hiking, and more, we departed early in the morning yesterday on our drive to Vík, where we’ll be staying for the next five days doing some glacial research. Yesterday, we arrived at our cabins in the late afternoon and had a delicious dinner (and ice cream!) at a restaurant only a couple minutes walk away. This morning, some of the group went to the glacier to do some work with drones, and on Monday, we will all be going to continue research. Our time at Skálanes may be over, but there is still adventure ahead.
Work for the day started with some of us (including myself) assisting Emmet in the analysis of the soil samples collected by the alumni, while others took a hike and collected the first set of Ground Truthing points.
After lunch we all went to Seydisfjordur to listen to presentations at the community center. The first presentation was delivered by the students from Glasgow about their research involving the birds and arctic foxes around Skálanes. The second was delivered by Charlie about what we have been doing a Skálanes. The stird presentation was given by Kate and Autum discussing a documentary that they want to make about the fjord and the salmon farms that are coming.
After the presentations we were allowed to explore Seydifjordur at our leisure, and spend our per diem, as well as buying dinner. Isaac, Mary, and myself went to Skaftfell Bistro, where I ate the most delicious cod that I have ever had.