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Djupalon & Dritvik Coves

Region: West Iceland
Coordinates: 64.7494407° N 23.9174081° W

Djupalon og Dritvik

Djupalon is a pebble beach cove with bizarre lava formations and gorges at its end. From there it is only one kilometer’s walk to the west along the coastline to another cove, where there are prominent ruins of fishermen’s huts, the sheds for storing the catch after processing it and lava walls used for drying the flattened fish in the sun. All the huts and sheds in Djupalon were washed away by the sea, but a replica of one of them was built there to give people some idea of how they looked.

It is estimated that there were between 60 and 70 fishing outfits situated on the cove Dritvik and the number of fishermen and their housekeepers was between 300 and 400. The fisheries from the Dritvik cove started as early as the 16th century and continued into the 19th. The only house standing on the Dritvik cove now, is a refuge hut for the seafaring people, who run aground in that area.

At the beach are situated 4 big stones which people tried to lift and test their strength: Fully Strong 154 kg, Half-Strong 100 kg, Weakling 54 kg and Bungler 23 kg.

The latest such incident happened only a few decades ago. No one travelling around the Snaefellsnes peninsula should miss visiting these coves. It is only a short detour of 3 kilometres each way from the main road.

The iron wreckage on the beach partly belongs to the British trawler Epine GY-7, which ran aground just east of the skerry Dritvikurflogur in the evening of March 13th 1948. Rescue Corps from Arnarstapi, Hellnar and Hellissandur came immediately to the rescue. They saw the crew seeking shelter on board, some tied to the mast, when the breakers of the high tide hit the vessel. One man was washed ashore and lived. The rescue teams could not shoot a line to the trawler until the tide went out, when only four crewmembers were left alive. They were brought ashore in the rescue stool. More vessels have run aground in the same area, such as the trawler Asa RE-18 on December 21st 1925. The crew got into one of the life boats and spent seven hours there before a Norwegian freighter and a German travler came to the rescue.

Visitors are kindly asked not to move the wreckage!

Photo Credit: Visit West Iceland

Links in Djupalon & Dritvik Coves