Kayaking is easily my favorite of all water sports. It does take a little technical skill, but it is easy to master, and it works on almost any body of water. I have been out on the Pacific Ocean exploring small islands out outside of Ketchakan, Alaska, the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea leaving the bay of Dubrovnik before it became King’s Landing, and a canal in Tokyo letting the gentle leaves of the cherry blossoms fall on me during the Sakura Festivals. Except for extreme whitewater, I felt I had experienced every way there is to go out on a kayak, but that was until I wound my way up to Iceland, and hooked up with the Ice Guides as they took me out on an isolated lagoon, Heinabergslon, at the base of a calving glacier.
I would like to start by saying that Ice Guides are not aware that I am writing a review on my blog about their services. Rarely do I make that disclaimer, but I enjoyed my time so much with them that I felt that I should not only write about the experience, but also let others know that this small company is worth looking into if you happen to make your way out to the southeast part of Iceland. They have access to this amazing lagoon, and the guides are experienced, knowledgable about not icebergs, but the geology of Iceland, and personable and fun as well. This company is worth connecting up with, and you won’t regret the experience.
It started off with an early morning to make it to our 8:50 time. We had stayed the night before at a campsite only twenty minutes away and we did not bother taking a shower because we knew we were going to get a little bit of a workout. I started to get a little nervous when they had us slip into these elaborate wetsuits. I have never flipped a kayak, and though I knew I would want to stay warm while kayaking next to a glacier, I was not really worried about falling in. Our guide wanted us to be sure that we were still safe anyway, and looking back, I am glad that he did. The wetsuit kept us not only dry, but warm as well.
He also took some time to explain how to paddle on the lagoon. At first, I was insulted by this because how different could it be kayaking in Thailand. As soon as he started to explain himself, I started to see why this quick demonstration was necessary. We would be kayaking through icebergs, and though they look small from above the water, they actually are huge. In this lagoon, they melt from the top which creates these hidden ice shelves right below the water that you can get stuck on, and if you do not know how to navigate yourself off of the ice, you can easily flip your kayak and find yourself in very cold water. Another reason that I was happy that I was wearing that extremely large wetsuit.
After all of this, we set off on our two and a half hour tour of the bay, and it was a great way of getting close to these icebergs. We were able to wind our ways through narrow passageways to find ourselves in this ever changing landscape f unimaginable ice sculptures. The display of colors was maybe my favorite part of the journey. I have always enjoyed the intensity of the deep blue that can only be found from the ice of glaciers, but to get right next to it and marvel at how blue it actually was without having to disturb the landscape with motor or gas just made me feel like the first explorers ever to discover an iceberg and how they must have felt to have seen it.
I did not think that this experience could get any better, but that was until he had us pull up on to an iceberg that they had nicknamed Africa because it was the oldest iceberg in the lagoon. We were given crampons, and then allowed to trek over the iceberg until we reached its peak so we could look over the whole lagoon. Our guide pointed out certain features such as deep holes of ice water, and the formation of ash cones while explaining how the whole lagoon was formed in the first place with a combination of volcanoes and glaciers. It was the perfect time to get away from the kayak for a bit so we could stretch our legs, and the perfect activity to do it with.
It was a great way to spend a morning, and it has easily been my favorite experience in Iceland so far. I highly recommend doing it as well, but keep in mind that due to conditions, which are always unpredictable in Iceland, they may have to cancel a trip at the last moment. But if you find yourself out this way, it will easily be one of the highlights of your trip, and one you won’t want to skip out on.
If you would like to book a tour with Ice Guides please check out their website at: https://www.iceguide.is/