On meeting Eyjafjallajokull: Iceland’s erupting volcano
Upon our arrival to Reykjavik, Iceland, one of the first things at the top of our agenda to do was to go see the erupting volcano, Eyjafjallajokull.
There are a vast array of tour companies you can choose from. Many offering tours at different times of day in a variety of vehicles. We had a great experience with Go Travel, on their super jeep tour. The super jeeps get you as close as possible to the volcano – much closer than the vans or buses can because of the roads. If you want an even closer look – you can also take the snow mobile tour.
Either way, make sure you’re dressed appropriately when you go. It can get very cool, especially with any rain drizzle and the general humidity. In Iceland, you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get. Layers are the way to go, and make sure you have very sturdy footwear. If you want great photos, I’d definitely recommend bringing a tripod.
The night we went, unfortunately, it was clear all day, but ended up getting cloudy in the evening. We stopped in the ash fields around the volcano, and drove around to another side and hiked up an inactive volcano close by to get a better view. We could see the rivers of ash all around us, and the big plume of smoke, but the full visibility was interrupted by the cloud cover. Still, an incredible sight.
What we learned later on the trip, which sounds obvious in retrospect now, is that the tour agents get reports on the expected weather conditions on the day or night of the tours in terms of general clarity of sky. The weather around Eyjafjallajokull is very different than in Reykjavik, so it’s worth checking. The tours generally will go rain or shine. It has to be really bad for them to cancel the trip. So if you’re in Iceland for a shorter period of time and want to have the best possible sighting of the volcano, it’s a good idea to check with your tour group on the weather. If you want to wait for a clearer day or night, everyone’s very accommodating in moving your tour date for you.
That said, regardless of how or when you go, Eyjafjallajokull is an awesome sight to be seen. When you remember that this entire country emerged from the ocean due to volcanic activity at a hotspot along the Mid-Atlantic rift, and that everywhere you look is actually volcano – inactive, active and one that is currently erupting. It’s awe-inspiring. No matter what, it’s an experience of a lifetime.