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Arnarker - caving near Þórlakshöfn

Pictures are at the bottom...

I'd driven to Arnarker on a snowy winters day before but this time it was earlier in the winter, I ihad lights, and I had friends! Iveta, Logi and Soley all came along for the ride. And a beautiful ride it was. Unfortunately no pictures from the drive, but it was one of those glorious post storm days, where the snow drifts lazily across the road, lit by a low winter sun, puffy clouds and blue skies, and barely a soul about. It really is beautiful to watch the snow blow across the road under a blue sky.

Of course, it was also a teensy bit windy, so even the 500m or so from the road to the cave entrance was rather chilly, but we just promptly climbed down into the pit, and were instantly out of the wind.

Arnarker has two tubes, and we picked the "left" side first, which is the shortest. This was possibly also the nicest side. This side had the really nice drippy roof section, and according to the map, is also where the best ice formations form up in good conditions. It was mostly just an icey puddle at the moment however. The roof section here is very nice, with some of the biggest drippy bits I recall seeing in a lava tube, and a very nice segment of it lying on the floor reminding you where all the floor came from.

The other side starts off with a quite low section, past lots and lots of icicles, really quite pretty. Just after the entrance it opens up into basically a great big huge long tube, with the entire floor for the entire length being covered in breakdown. Not the most pleasant walking, but hey, at least you never had to duck your head. There was a section early on that had lots and lots of ice, and a guestbook, indicating we were about the 6th or 7th group this year. Not many, to be sure, but a lot more than Ufsi for instance, where we were the 6th or 7th group ever :)

The breakdown had some very interesting pieces in it, some reds, some yellow, some flashes of green even, and in a few places further down the tube, some amazingly bright silver. However, because it was all breakdown, the pieces were all over the place, with nothing really matching up with anything. Slow travelling as well, especially in the portions where the rocks were covered in ice. Soley and I stopped for a break and let Iveta and Logi continue to the end, but they said it was just more of the same. I've not seen such shiney silver before, but this really did start to become just a mission to get to the end.

On our exit out of the cave, the wind had died down completley, and it was glorious strolling back across the snowy lava to the car, bathed in golden winter sun, and warm and comfortable, happy with a day well spent.

Footnotes: I left the tripod in the car, and didn't want to go back in the rain to get it, and once inside the cave, realised that the batteries in my flash were just about dead, so I don't have many pictures from here. Also, breakdown has some pretty parts, but it's hard to make a dramatic photo of a pile of breakdown :)

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