Good morning! I loved getting up this morning and to discover both my friend and myself taking photos of the area around our guesthouse. This is almost from the same viewpoint taken about 5 minutes apart. One of us was a little closer and zoomed in on the water inlet with the higher contrast of blues and the sharper colors in the sunrise. And the other stayed a step back to have more of the soft wheat colored grasses in the foreground and leading the eye out to the water and the horizon.
An inviting but dangerous beach, Reynisfjara black sand beach and adjacent cliffs draw us in to see the dramatic basalt formations. During the summer you could also see nesting puffins. There were lots of people climbing the uneven stair-steps formed by the splintered rock of this pyramidal cliff, known as Gardar.
The Reynisdranger Sea Cliffs are towering columns of basalt rock rising out of the shore line. According to legend, they are the result of three trolls who were turned to rock by the sunlight: Skessudrangur, Landdrangur and Langhamar. They were actually created when lava flowed into the ocean and slowly cooled.
A sea stack stands proud, immovable in the wild storm. Known as Arnardrangur or “Eagle Rock” it takes its name from the eagles that nested in its crevices in the past. I knew this was something as there was a group of photographers setting up. I checked my guide book afterwards. If the tide had been a bit lower, we would have seen a beach that looks like a vast thick oil slick with black volcanic sand oozing out from the coastline. There are also possible massive waves which can be very dangerous.
We decided to head up the path in our car, the twisty road up is not for the faint of heart! However, the view from the lighthouse is amazing and you can see for miles. This was another occasion where you need to park into the wind so you are able to carefully open your car door without them blowing off!
Dyrhólaey Promontory literally means “Door Hill Island” and it describes this feature perfectly. Once an island known as Cape Portland it is now joined to the mainland. In calm conditions it is possible to walk the bridge 120 metres above the sea below. I would not even slightly consider this on our morning visit!
Dyrhólaeyjarviti, a beautiful castle like lighthouse was established in 1910. The current tower was completed in 1927 and looks out over the lava arch and the wild Atlantic Ocean. It guides shipping around the coast with a single white light every 10 seconds.
Reynisfjara Beach has been recognized by National Geographic magazine as one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches. We kept up a quick hiking pace as we took in the views both north and south around the lighthouse as the winds were extremely strong and holding just an iPhone camera still was challenging!
We continued our drive back into Reykjavik, returning the rental car with huge relief. Besides worries about wind and sand, we were prepared to change a flat tire, which is common. Thankfully we stayed safe and free from any damages! Jumping on a local bus, we made our way back into town and enjoyed a wonderful bowl of lamb soup with bread at Café Loki near our guesthouse. Time to prepare for the next part of our adventure!