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Staying safe on the black beaches and glaciers of Iceland

Inviting isn´t it? But here, as elsewhere, looks can be deceiving. PIC Matt Malone

Inviting isn´t it? But here, as elsewhere, looks can be deceiving. PIC Matt Malone

Ahhhh. Those awesome and tantalizing black beaches of Iceland. Practically the whole South coast of the country is one long black beach. But although enticing to most foreigners, caution should be used.

Trouble and danger is not something you automatically tie to those enticing sandy beaches. But you´d be amazed how many foreigners get into really deep trouble by not respecting the forces of the nature here.

Also keep in mind, if you fall into one, your days are numbered

Take a look at the pic above. Nothing would suggest much wrong with wading a little bit out into the ocean to get a cooler selfie or a nicer view of the cliffs along the coast. The sea is calm and the day is nice.

Ah, but looks can be deceiving. Currents close to many of the black beaches are stronger than many think. Indeed, so strong as to drag people out to sea in seconds in some cases. No, that is the truth. A number of folks have come close to being swept far out to sea in Reynisfjara beach near Vík village. The pic is of a chunk of that particular beach which is the most popular along the Southern route in Iceland.

Also keep in mind the tide. On occasion the sea around here gets so wild as to pummel the cliff wall and fill the small cave seen in the pic. That also means the sand gets wetter and one might get stuck trying to race across.

The answer here is to exercise caution even in the best of times if you are traveling by your lonesome. Stay at least 20 meters away from the waters edge at all times to be completely safe. Else, go with a trusted guide who knows what to look out for.

Same deal goes for glacier walks. Many of those are on offer and many with reliable tour guides. But not all. The thing to remember here is that glaciers are a living thing so to speak. They move unexpectedly and can surprise even the best professional tour guide. Make sure you are with a good one, follow all instructions to the hilt and hope for the best.

If going solo or without a guide you are taking a hell of a risk but the least you can do is to stay far from edges of the glacier and not least any visible crevasses too. Keep firmly in mind many crevasses are hidden under thin layers of snow. Also keep in mind, if you fall into one, your days are numbered.

Be safe out there folks.

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