Ice Cave

Fujifilm x-100t, ISO 4000, FL 23 mm, 1/125 sec @ f/14

Fujifilm x-100t, ISO 4000, FL 23 mm, 1/125 sec @ f/14

I was fortunate enough on my trip to Iceland this winter to spend a few hours in an ice cave, sometimes called a crystal cave.  Ice caves often form at the melting front of glaciers but are only briefly stabilized and accessible in winter when the glacial lagoon is frozen sufficiently for you to walk on it and get to the summer ice/lagoon melting point.  Ice caves can be very dangerous because they are ever-changing and can collapse without warning, so a competent guide is imperative.  I was very glad to have Daniel Bergmann, a knowledgable and trusted guide and a highly skilled photographer and artist, to guide me through the ice cave in southern Iceland, in the region of the Jokulsarlon glacier and lagoon.  It was an incredible experience.  Layers of blue ice sculpted in waves formed the ceiling of the cave.  An ice channel undulated through sculptural forms of ice – black, crystalline, blue – that formed the walls.  If you looked close, you could see layers and layers of ice with different crevices, angles, bubbles throughout so you felt as though you were looking through frozen time itself.  There was enough light from the entrance of the cave to be reflected back and forth and so the air itself seemed to sparkle with light reflections.  But as you walked deeper into the cave, the passage became more narrow and darker so that by the time I got to the point where I could not stand upright, I was next to a glistening dark blue wave of ice and it was cold, dark, ominous.  Crystalline icicles hung from the walls in different patterns and there was black sand and larger black stones on the ground.  In some ways, the experience was very similar to seeing the slot canyons in Arizona.  You drop down a small passageway and into huge tunnels of limestone with different patterns and forms, sculptural waves of color whereas with an ice cave the colors are formed by different layers and forms of ice.  But both are experienced the same way –  it’s like being transported to another reality.

About Diana Davidson

Physician, traveler, photographer, tennis player, reader, teacher, student

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