Monday, May 25, 2015

Finding the Sólheimasandur flight wreck

Iceland's remarkable and diverse nature is what tickles most visitors' hearts and certainly those with a big heart for outdoors adventure. However, in the middle of nowhereland there is a place where a man-made object is taking all the spotlight and nature is the stage. In 1973, a United States Navy airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur's black sand beach in the south of Iceland. All crew members survived the crash and you can still find the airplane’s remains at the crash site. I have known about this site for several years and have desperately wished to photograph it - so of course we had to find it!

Reaching the crash site was an adventure on its own. Only equipted with a few guidelines on how to get there, we parked our car near the Ring Road and marched our way through Sólheimasandur's black sandy beach. For miles on end we kept walking with no signs of anything in the horizon. This was truely no man's land. Flat like a pancake. Dead. Deserted. And windy. In every direction we found ourselves surrounded by the same scene of long stretches of black sand. At times it felt surreal. Almost like we were walking on another planet isolated from any form of human contact. Occasionally this bubble of solitude would burst as a few cars drove past us opting out for the easy way to get there. We were the only true adventurers taking on the deserted beach by foot. When we finally spotted the metallic bird in the horizon it felt like finding a hidden treasure in the black Sahara desert!

The flight wreck was haunting yet beautiful in its own right. It kind of looked like a ghost plane taking out of a war movie! The wings and tail are missing and the wreck is filled with fresh scars from visitors with a strange need to carve their existence into the metal body. We had the place to ourselves for a good fifteen minutes before two cars joined us. At this point we decided to take on the 45 minutes walk back to the car.

For the little adventurer in you, listen up. There are no signs leading to this place and it is not possible to spot it from the road. You can find guides on the Internet telling you exactly how to get there even by car. However, we encourage you not to follow these guides blindly. The journey of trying to find the flight wreck is just as much as the experience as actually seeing the wreck itself. But do not just go there by car. Walk the distance! It adds so much to the total experience of the place and sight. Do not cheat yourself from this small adventure. You will not regret it.