It was cold and raining as we walked up to the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara. Up to that moment, my little sister had asked me every day on our road trip when we were going to the black sand beach. She and I had both seen hundreds of pictures of the geologic creations on this magnificent beach, and we were both really excited.
We made sure to wake up early that morning so that we could beat the crowds, but the rain started to come down as soon as we stepped onto the sand. We took shelter under the Hálsanefshellir sea cave and waited for the cold, sideways rain to die down. When it subsided, we had the cave and columns to ourselves for nearly thirty minutes. We climbed all over the hexagonal steps and the sea cave on the other side. It was really nice to have it to ourselves for a short while.
When the groups finally started to arrive, we started back to the car to see the nearby Dryhólaey Cliff. We got to the top of the road, and there wasn't really a good view of the cliff. Although we were a bit disappointed in the vantage point, the view of the beach and farmland on the opposite side were beautiful. We then stopped by a multi-level, shallow cave and explored it for a few minutes, but its coolness was no match for the US Navy plane crash we would see next at the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck .
Back in 1973. the pilot of a US Navy DC-3 super bus plane had to make an emergency landing on the black sands of Sólheimasandur Beach after switching to the wrong fuel tank and thinking the plane had run out of fuel. Luckily, no one was injured, and they didn't crash into anything. The only downside is that it is a very long walk to the plane, because it crashed in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived at the crash scene after a desolate, hour-long walk. The plane has held up surprisingly well over the 40 years that it has been taking a beating from the wind and rain of Iceland's shore. There was a small group of people taking pictures alongside us, but we patiently waited for them to scoot out of our frame. Again, our timing was lucky, because we passed herds of people going toward the plane on our walk back to the van.
We continued along the eastern coast, stopping along at Skogafoss and Gullfoss before wrapping up our day in Vik. We had planned our day perfectly and managed to see all of the things we had planned. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day on the East Coast of Iceland near the city of Vik.