Djúpalónssandur beach is one of the highlights of Snæfellsnes peninsula. It is is a sandy beach on the south-west part of the peninsula. To be a bit more precise, it is located between Dritvík to the west and Einarslón to the east.
Dritvík an ancient fishing port was for centuries one of the main fishing centers in Iceland and the it’s name is often mentioned when people are having a conversation about then sand. Very short was to sail near rich fishing grounds and. Most likely It must have been a very hectic place at times having up to 600 fishing men staying there and 70 small boats. Most of the boats needed eight people for rowing it. Most likely the fisheries started there during the 16th century and remained for about three centuries. When spending a moment there in the beautiful landscape it is hard to imagine the place full of people and boats, until one sees some ruins of the camp making the place adventurous and reminiscent of faraway day. Dritvík is surrounded by lava flows on three sides making it difficult to reach there unless crossing ruffled lava. It is possible though to go there one feet by walking about 1 km along the Djúpalónssandur beach.
At the other hand, Einarslón was also a fishing port but not as much as Dritvík because the landing there for boats was much more difficult and dangerous than the one in Dritvík. There used to be a church there. The workers at the church had lit a fire and kept it alive 24 seven hour to prevent sailors from heading to a wrong landing place. Each sailor gave the church one fish as a reward for the light service. This must have been a great business for the church since the fish was much more value than the oil needed to keep the fire alive. This system was in fact predecessor of the light houses.
When visiting the beach Djúpalónssandur usually people notice two things. First of all, it’s a beautiful nature and secondly there are parts of iron dug in the sand. This is because of ship wreck. In 13th of march 1948 the British fishing trawler Epine GY7 crashed on the beach in violent storm. Fourteen people got killed, but 5 people were saved by the rescue squad of Snæfellsnes under very tough circumstances.
By the send there is a peculiar rock called Gatklettur and below some lifting stones are found. They are much heavier than the seems to be at first glance.Nowadays, Djúpalónssandur is best known for these four stones. They are of various size and weight. They were used by fishermen to test their strength. Their names in icelandic and weights are as follows:
- Fullsterkur (Full strength) with 154 kg weight.
- Hálfsterkur (Half strength) with 100 kg weight.
- Hálfdrættingur (Weakling) with 54 kg weight.
- Amlóði (Useless) with 23 kg weight.
They were traditionally used to qualify men for work on fishing boats, with the Hálfdrættingur being the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify. The sport of lifting them up is still used as an entertainment or challenge.