Tag: Iceland

Black Sand, Big Waves and Waterfalls

Thursday 5th January 2017 

I sifted the black sand at Reynisfjara Beach through my fingers and looked onto the crashing waves, thinking of the endless swell of the Atlantic Ocean, how it surged without the interruption of land all the way to Antarctica. “Don’t turn your back on the sea, not even for a moment” our guide had told us, a party of five travellers: one couple and two other women travelling solo.  ‘Sneaker waves’ prowled the shore here; creeping, powerful things hiding behind small, innocent waves that lured naive tourists to the water’s edge before the lurking breakers pounced. “I worked in sea rescue for years but let me tell you, if one of those waves gets you, there’s no hope. Either the current or the cold will get you before I can.”

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As Above is Not as it is Below

Friday 6th January 2017

It was with some trepidation that I had booked the ‘Black and Blue’ tour with Arctic Adventures, safe and warm in the comfort of my parents’ house in England. When the day rolled around however, waiting for my pick-up outside my hostel on the outskirts of Reykjavik, 9:00am, still in the pitch black (the sun does not rise until ~11am in early January in Iceland), a howling wind and snowing, I entertained the idea of spending a day poring over a book in a hygge-ish coffee shop in Reykjavik instead. But Arctic Adventure’s spiel had sold me – it had told of exploring Leiðarendi, a lava tube, learning of tales of the Icelandic elves, and then an afternoon spent snorkelling in Silfra, the fissure between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. The water would be around 2 degrees Celsius. I had been snorkelling before, mainly in Australia where the water was more like 25 degrees Celsius (but then the prospect of shark attacks did add an element of worry there, too). There were to be no sharks here. What there would be though, I hoped, was the promise of crystal clear water, and up to 100m visibility, even on a cloudy day.

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