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Science experiments in Laxárdalur and Grjótagjá

Pictures are at the bottom...

4-6 March, 2011

So, always remember, charge your phone before a trip, especially when you have a new smartphone that eats batteries. Oh, and remember to charge your camera batteries when you come home from a trip, not leave them to be discovered at the start of the next trip. Oh, and pack your tripod so you can actually get to it. It's not much use at the bottom of a pile of gear in the back of the car.

I think that's all the "oh"s for this trip.

Bjöggi, Jón Torfi and I headed up north, to test the theory that the pool at Grjótagjá was cooler in winter than in summer, and so, much nicer to swim in. (it's a touch hot in summer, around 42-43°C) Jón Torfi had the family connections, so we stayed in a beautiful, but cold, old farmhouse in Laxárdalur, NW of Mývatn.

Briefly, we went, we saw, we kicked arse. Or in the lingo of the week, we were WINNING!

In Leirásveit, between Hvalfjörður and Borgarnes, we stopped the car to look at some simply stunning aurora, probably the best I've ever seen. Incredibly active and bright, and lots of red and purple. A fabulous time to find that the battery in the camera was just about dead and the spare was also dead. So, no pictures from this trip. Not even phone camera pictures. The phone had been plugged into a charger all afternoon before we left, but when I went to unplug it, noticed that the charger was not plugged into a live powerpoint. Doh.

But a great time was had. We got our song played on the radio while driving north, (Canned Heat's fantastic On the road again) played with lego in Akureyri, cooked salted meat and potatoes on a wood burning stove, sang songs, and managed to not die, crossing three snowy icy mountain passes on the way home.

Tar cleaner works miracles on the tires though. I'd had a trip earlier (XXX add link when finished XXX) where my "new" (1998) patrol really wasn't performing on the snow and ice as well as I thought it should have, and was told, "just soak the tires in tar cleaner and wait five minutes" I was rather sceptical of how much of a difference it could make, but trust me, it works miracles. Soooo much more traction in the snow and ice. The jeep now even made it up the bobsled track up to the farm. The farm road really was an almost continuous sheet of ice, I learnt a lot watching Bjöggi drive it flawlessly on the way in, and by sliding off the road myself a couple of times on the way back out. (Not quite so flawlessly)

Oh, and for science? Yes, Grjótagjá is slightly cooler in winter. Deliciously so. Perfect bathing temperature. A slight pity about the howling winds outside blowing dust and gravel into the cave on top of us.