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Caving in a Lava Tube in Iceland

Caving in a Lava Tube in Iceland
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Viktória is the “new girl” – here at What’s On and in Iceland. She comes from Hungary, studies Viking Stuff at the University and loves photography, so we’re sending her on ALL the tours to get a fresh perspective on what they’re like. As the old Icelandic saying goes “perceptive is the eye of the visitor.”

Photos by Á Viktória Jávorszky.

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My exploration of all that Iceland has to offer shows no signs of stopping and this time I was going caving! Caving in a lava tube cave formed thousands of years ago to be exact. Today’s guide was Kommi, who picked us up one by one and drove us to the Leiðarendi cave. We were given helmets and headlamps for safety, and in we went. After we descended to the cave entrance down a rocky slope, (not a difficult climb, but you still had to pay attention where you stepped) Kommi announced that we were going to go the hard way. There are two ways you can go, and the guide decides which one the group is up for each time. Apparently, Kommi had been testing us on the way down and decided we were up for it.

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I soon found out that having my camera swinging around my neck is not ideal for caving and I spent the rest of the tour with a Canon-shaped bulge under my coat, especially whenever we had to climb through cracks in the cave walls. In fact, I had it under my coat at all times save for when we stopped to take a break and talk a bit. Be warned, future travellers: do not take DSLR cameras into the cave if you have smaller, compact ones.

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The cave was a little moist and cool, but it wasn’t too cold. We had to stoop most of the first part of it and there was even one point where we had to crawl through as there was no other way. After that ordeal, we could walk again but the ceilings still weren’t high enough for us to be able to walk upright. The only light sources in the cave were the lamps on our helmets and at one point, we stopped and sat down, turned off all the lamps and just sat there listening to Kommi’s stories about Icelandic lullabies. That’s some scary stuff!

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After a good ten minutes of just sitting there listening to the water dripping and the sounds of the cave, we continued our way. We reached the end of the tube before we turned back, and quite soon we were out in the open air again. It felt like only a few minutes had gone by, even though it had been at least an hour.

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To conclude our little caving experience, we got hot chocolate by the cave entrance and after taking in the view, we were on our way home again. The cave itself was a completely new experience for me, perhaps not surprisingly as I had never been near anything lava-related in my entire life before I came to Iceland. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but they still won’t do the experience justice. The caving is not very dangerous at Leiðarendi, but of course you still have to be very careful not to trip and fall. I’d describe this trip as a fairly easy and short introduction to Iceland’s caves and landscape, perfect for a first-time caving in Iceland.

Photos by Á Viktória Jávorszky.

Want to go Caving in a Lava Tube in Iceland?