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Plane Wreck Remains on an Icelandic Beach After More Than 40 Years
In 1973, a US Navy airplane (a Douglas Super DC-3) crashed on a black sand beach in southern Iceland. The reason for the crash remains an eerie mystery, but amazingly, all crew members survived. The plane was abandoned and never recovered.
More than 40 years later, the weather-beaten plane remains right where it crashed on Sólheimasandur Beach, about 115 miles southeast of Reykjavik. The site has become a bit of a tourist destination, with most visitors arriving on superjeeps.
The terrain in Iceland is otherworldly-often during the trip, I felt as if we were roaming around on alien landscapes.”
I was always curious to see Black sand, black shiny smooth pebbles, Towering basalt columns and dramatic green cliffs line the coast, as described excitedly by my friend in Iceland. I got the chance during my recent visit to Iceland in October 2015. I went on this village of Vík ( or Vík í Mýrdal in full) as part of a trip to the south of the Iceland. This black beach was amazing. It was very strange to see a beach were the sand is completely black. There was some wonderful cut outside in the rocks.The basalt columns here were out of this world. Cool mini-caves to stick your head in and some nice rock formations out in the water and pretty harsh weather. A peculiar combination that makes this place very special. Avoid the monster truck tours, as they rush to and from one particular rock formation. Instead take a long walk along the beach and enjoy the "silence" You might see puffins nesting on ledges.
That is an incredible place and unique in the whole world. It is impossible going there and not feeling the power of nature and its stunning beauty. It is a must go place in Iceland.
The fact that this beach is made up of various geological components is worthy of the trip in itself, black sands, smooth tumbled tiny basalt pebbles, combined with geodesic style walls, volcanic stone,etc. Unusual outcroppings, caves, and and an enormous surf make this a location that be enjoyed for hours. It was fun to watch the sheep on the incredibly sheer hills, and the rocks out in the water were beautiful. Would love to spend more time here, but it was pretty cold and windy.Make sure to arrive at the right time so the tide isn't too high. Otherwise you can't see the bigger second cave around the corner.
Leaves you speechless, witnessing all the sea strength...
Know Before You Go
• Vik is the last service station between Skógar and Skaftafell, so stop for gas here. The gas station is a self-service pump that accepts credit cards only and a Pin is required.
• A cafe by the beach offers expensive but tasty food. We paid about 1500 ISK each for soup and bread. But the service (buffet style) was quick, so if you're cold or tired it's a perfect stop even when crowded with tour buses. There is also a small tourist information center.
• The Wool Center is worth a visit and features a second level balcony where you can see women hand-knitting Icelandic sweaters.
TOWN'S TINY CHURCH- LAST RESCUE
My tour guide found me curious about the history of the place and poured whole lot of her knowledge out for me. She told me that the village of Vík was the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, around 180 km (110 mi) by road southeast of Reykjavík. In 1991, the US journal Islands Magazine counted this beach as one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth. It’s easy to see why! It's stretch of black basalt sand is one of the wettest places in Iceland. The cliffs west of the beach are home to many seabirds, most notably puffins which burrow into the shallow soils during the nesting season. Offshore lie fingers of basalt rock (stacks) remnants of a once more extensive cliffline Reynisfjall, now battered by the sea. There is no landmass between here and Antarctica and the Atlantic rollers can attack with full force. Folklore tells us that they are former trolls who tried to drag their boats out to sea only to be caught by the rising dawn. The sea around them is rather wild and stormy, so travelers will not be surprised to discover a monument to the memory of drowned seamen on the beach.
The village was affected by volcanic ash during the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.
Danger from Katla
I also came to know of a dangerous fact that Vík lies directly beneath the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which itself is on top of the Katla volcano. Katla has not erupted since 1918, and this longer than typical repose period has led to speculation that an eruption may occur soon. An eruption of Katla could melt enough ice to trigger an enormous flash flood, potentially large enough to obliterate the entire town. The town's church, located high on a hill, is believed to be the only building that would survive such a flood. Thus, the people of Vík practice periodic drills and are trained to rush to the church at the first sign of an eruption.
There are two ways to do this. Go by yourself in a car and get completely overpowered by the force of nature, or go in a tour bus and feel the same way but with a lot of people running around with selfie sticks... In both cases you will still have a hard time believing where you are. It feels like you are on a foreign planet, the salty air is incredible and this is probably where you will take your most unbelievable pictures.We arrived in Vik on a very cold and windy morning. The sea was really rough, so the waves were really impressive to watch! We had a great morning exploring the black sand beach and looking at all the scenery around us. There were also lots of great little caves and things to crawl into and hide in - a great place to just sit, watch and take it all in. Huge crashing waves onto black sand and an amazing cave circled by sea birds. Brilliant! All picturesque and fascinating.
The black beach in Vik with its basalt sea stacks.
Stunning geological creations... One can only be in awe to see these knowing that they were made by nature. These columns are world famous and access is free!
The folklore is made upon these columnar creations. The legend says that these are the remains of two night trolls who were petrified as they were trying to pull three-masted ship out of the sea. The dawn caught them and had them turned into stone. Well ofcourse, we all know now that these are created by lava flows that cooled down. It created hexagonal forms due to the contraction of the lava as it slowly flows and cools down. In overall view they have formed more like of a staircase. Climbing on these rock formations is easier than it looks as long as you watch your step on each of the blocks. When you reach the top, which is where you can view on different directions the places that are also rewarding to continue your expedition with.
WHITE BOAT ON BLACK SAND
AMAZING MYSTERIOUS TROLLS OF ALL THE FOLKLORES
Enjoy the FROTH & FORCE of the waves
Stop for a photo of the cute little church against picturesque cliffs. This place is magical! No words to describe it! Just don't miss it. The lighthouses, the black sand, the beautiful columns, it's like a fairytale.
The colours on this beach are so stunning in winter sunlight, as the sun is so low and makes everything dramatic. You don't really think of beaches when you think of Iceland but look out for them now - Iceland has some of the most stunning beaches I've seen. The sea of blue, pink, orange, and purple swirled in the sky above the crashing waves of the Atlantic and black and gray oval rocks dotted the black sand beach. Simply amazing. If you're in Iceland, Vik is a MUST STOP. The black sand beaches go on for miles and look like something out of this world. It was like being in a movie. I highly recommend it. Lots of photographers there with their tripods trying to catch the beach and rock formations in the morning light.
Recently an upcoming 2015 Indian romantic action comedy film Dilwale ( The big hearted) is shot at this magical and mystic Black Sand Beach. Walking a step or two on pebbles (of course he can't run on them), lying on the white boat and standing on the ruins of the plane, the director was successful in capturing all the spectacular beauty he could. Wonderful effects it added to the chemistry of the song.