After raising anchor early in the morning in Skalanes, the captain and crew successfully navigated National Geographic Explorer to Djúpivogur (Deep Harbour) on the southeast coast of Iceland.

With an early start to the day, some of our guests chose options to explore the town and countryside of Djúpivogur. One group hiked Hálsar, a local mountain, and visited a forest! A forest is a truly unique environment in a country with very few trees. The other hiking group explored one of the black sand beaches in the area. In the afternoon, groups of guests explored the small community of Djúpivogur. They enjoyed music and snacks provided by our guides.

Most of the guests were accompanied by naturalists and local guides on a motor coach tour along the southeast coast. They traveled past Vatnajökull to Jökulsárlón, a glacier lagoon on the southern coast. Greeted at the lagoon by clearing skies, we boarded an amphibious boat to cruise the lagoon and experience the aquamarine glow of icebergs from a closer vantage point. Many of the icebergs showed dramatic contrast with layers of black volcanic ash embedded in the ice.

As the weather cleared, we were able to see glaciers descending from Iceland’s highest mountains. Our guides spoke to the dramatic changes in the glacier that have occurred in the last 20, 50, and 100 years. As the local and global climate warms, the glacier is retreating higher into the mountains. Combined with deflation (thinning) of the glacier, the size of the lagoon is rapidly increasing.

Following the lagoon tour, we crossed the mouth of the river and visited the “diamond beach,” a photographer’s dream. Here the sparkling ice meets the Atlantic, where the warm saltwater and the black volcanic sands sculpt small bits of ice, creating gems of indescribable beauty.

While guests and many of the staff were exploring above the sea, our expedition divers and undersea specialists, Saevor and Caitlyn, took to the sea. During evening recap, they shared video and images of their undersea exploration near Djúpivogur.