Mount Hekla

Iceland is known for its volcanic activity and many travellers make their way here in the hopes of seeing red lava flowing brightly down from mountains. While it is not always the case, there is a volcano here that is on the verge of bursting…

Hekla is the most renowned and powerful volcano in Iceland, and arguably the world. It is the volcano that produces the most volcanic material on the island. Hekla is a stratovolcano, which means it is a tall, conical volcano composed of one layer of hardened lava, tephra, and volcanic ash.  The explosive eruptions result in lava that flows viciously, and cools and hardens before spreading very far. This particular volcano has produced one of the largest volumes of lava of any in the world in the last millennium, which was around 8 km3

Currently, Hekla’s magma chamber is almost full which means it is due to erupt! Hekla has erupted over 20 times in the last 2000 years, with its most recent eruption in the year 2000. It is being monitored closely right now, and there are even warning signs to not hike it at the moment in case of possible activity. When it erupted in 2000 it started only 79 minutes after the first warning quake. At Norðurflug we make special trips when this natural occurrence happens! As long as it is safe, we will take you straight to the action.

 

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Taking A Helicopter Ride

Helicopter rides might not be the most common thing to do but, in my opinion, they are the most exciting thing to do. During a flight over Iceland you are able to see the landscape in a way you’ve never seen before. There is a certain uniqueness you feel while being in a helicopter, that begins from the moment you take off to the moment you land, and of course every incredible second in between!

We get asked the question, “is it scary?”, a lot from first time helicopter riders. I believe that it is not frightening at all, because of two main reasons:

First, our pilots are experienced and professional. After years of flying in Iceland they have basically seen and experienced it all. They will always make you feel safe and secure, and always have a joke or two to lighten to mood.

Second, because the scenery is so breathtaking you will have a hard time thinking about anything other than that!

When you take off in a helicopter, it is much quicker than in an air plane. The “take-off” is not typical, or along a runway as it is with a plane. With a helicopter, you simply lift off the ground. This means it feels less like you’re being pushed back in your seat, and more like you’re going up in an elevator. I think the best way to describe a helicopter ride is, smooth. To pair with the beautiful scenery here in Iceland, the amazing view you get in a helicopter also takes away from any nerves. Almost all of our helicopters are open cabin, with a 180 degree view so you are always guaranteed excellent sight seeing to distract your mind.

Basically what I am trying to say, DO NOT hesitate to book your first ever helicopter flight. I can speak from experience, that with Norðurflug, you will not regret your decision.

 

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By: Kelsey Heide

Black Sand Beaches

Black sand beaches are made up of volcanic materials and lava fragments. When lava contacts water, it cools rapidly and shatters into sand and fragments into pieces of all sizes.  My first experience with the black sand beaches were by Superjeep. Our guide sped up to the edge of the sheer piece of ice we had been driving on that was clearly farmland in the summer, and drifted onto the infamous black sand beaches of Iceland. We hugged the shore as he rode up and down the sand drifts while kicking up pieces of ancient volcanic eruptions. The black sand beaches are so unique, and totally worth making the trek to go see. Being on the ground was really great, but I feel like I need to see it from the air to truly appreciate it’s mystique!

In Iceland, you will find these beaches on the south coast, near Vik. There is an area of vast expanse where the beach seems to go on forever. And further up is where you find the free standing basalt rock formations the line the coast as cliffs or standing alone, slowly being worn out by the tireless sea. This place is called Dyrhólaey. As a Canadian, the black sand beaches are a beautiful reminder that there are places that can feel so familiar yet strange. I’ve spent summers growing up on a lake front beach in Canada so it felt slightly comforting, but never have I experienced black sand near the ocean. There’s a first time for everything, and this is a phrase I seem to be using often in Iceland as there is no place like it.

 

Black sand beaches- Kelsey

 

By: Kelsey Heide

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