Iceland Part 3 – Ships and Wrecks


Iceland Photo Essay 3 – Ships and Wrecks: The Vikings were born to the sea and the Icelandic people have inherited a love of ships from their forefathers. In fact, fishing is the number one industry in Iceland accounting for nearly a third of the GDP. Iceland has a reputation for running an responsible fishery with a strict quota system.


Sun Voyager, a sculpture representing a Viking longboat, by Jon Gunnar Arnason, overlooks Reykjavik harbor

Our first exposure to the fishing fleet was on a trip to the Westman Islands off the south shore. The ferry sails to the main town of Vestmannaeyjar, a small community that was nearly wiped off the map by a volcanic eruption in 1973.


The Westman Island ferry


The busy harbor in the Westman Islands


A modern trawler, Westman Islands

In our week-end trip to the Snaefellsnes, we saw several pretty harbors, but the best of all was in Stykkishólmur, located in the north-east part of the peninsula.


The lighthouse and smaller boats in the Stykkisholmur harbor


The wonderful, colored houses of Stykkisholmur


Another shot of the Stykkisholmur harbor

Now, you may have noticed that the title of the essay was Ships and Wrecks. What about the shipwrecks? Iceland has a very rough coastline, with rocks and shoals. And then, there’s the weather. Stormy, foggy and icy, downright dangerous. So, there are abundant wrecks along the coast. Here are some pictures of two of them.

The first wreck is on a black volcanic beach called Djúpalónssandur Beach. The metal fragments are from the British Trawler Epine which ran aground during a storm in 1948 just off of the southern shore of Snæfellsnes. These shipwreck remnants are meant to be a memorial to the 15 sailors who lost their lives. Five sailors did survive.


Epine remnant on black volcanic sand


More metal from the Epine


The rough seas and rocky shoals must be tough to navigate


A larger part from the Epine

On the very north east part of the peninsula, well off the beaten track of the ring road, we found this trawler beached in an inlet. So far, I haven’t found any mention of it in guides or other websites.


Trawler wreck, north-east Snefellsnes peninsula


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