Fagradalsfjall Volcano, Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland. Trip 1.
There is something about the raw beauty of an active volcano that draws us - perhaps something from our past as a species that still calls to us; hard wired into modern day humans.
On 19th March 2021, the Fagradalsfjall Volcano, Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, became active. This was the first eruption on the peninsula in about 800 years. I spoke with one of the volunteers at the Geopark Tourist Information Center in Keflavik, who relayed her feelings about the weeks before the eruption. She said that all the constant tremors actually made her feel sea sick - such was the movement being experienced there...and this from a woman that has worked on rough seas in fishing trawlers. It makes one wonder how those who have never journeyed on a boat coped.
Life carried on growing in the Geldingadalir Valley, as the icy grip of Winter gave way to the warmer cycle of Spring. Perhaps the life forms more deeply connected with the Earth knew what was coming.
Tourists and volcanology enthusiasts have been streaming to Iceland to view the volcano, subject to Covid measures in force at the borders. Iceland is dependent on tourism and fishing as a nation, so as the Covid related restrictions have been lifting, more flights have been scheduled and there is optimism that things will get back to normal sooner rather than later.
Lava gathered via molten rivers and burned it's way through valley walls to gather and solidify in different parts of the valley; giving the impression it had solidified, when the truth was that the rivers of lava were still moving within the illusion.
At the time of filming, path A to the site was open and a regular stream of people ventured up at all hours of the day in the Summer time of increased daylight. Those who are able-bodied and those with various disabilities could be seen making their way back and forth, to witness the beauty of the Earth making herself.
The various rescue services were ever present, assessing the situation to see where the lava would break from next and assisting those who encountered difficulties.
Many of the visitors mistakingly assumed that the solidified lava was safe to walk upon or near. By using a drone, I was able to see that various streams of lava were freely moving away from the volcano craters and that what seemed like solid ground could easily give way to the possibility of serious injuries or death.
If you're still planning your trip to Iceland, please read this website for their current Covid guidelines and the form that needs to be completed before you fly there. Please be aware that neither Heathrow Airport nor Iceland accept the NHS issued Covid Vaccination card anymore, following the discovery of fraudulent certificates. They will now insist on seeing a proper digital certificate - which you can get here. If you're going back to the UK after travelling, you'll need this website. You must also fill out a Passenger Locator form on that website before being allowed on a flight home and you will need the barcode from a private purchased Covid test.