Safety Signs, Cameras Installed at Reynisfjara Beach

Safety signs

Informatory signage has been installed at Reynisfjara beach to better ensure the safety of tourists. Cameras, mounted on masts on the beach ridge, will relay a live stream from the beach to the police authorities in Selfoss.

Creeping waves and a strong undertow

As noted in an article in Iceland Review from 2019, the tides that lap the beautiful black sand beaches of Reynisfjara beach – a popular travel destination near the town of Vík in South Iceland – possess “an immensely strong undertow,” with waves that “creep quickly upon travellers.” As of last summer, five travellers had died on Reynisfjara beach since 2013.

In response to these tragedies, a consultation team was established last summer in order to better ensure the safety of visitors. The consultation team recommended the installation of informatory signage on the beach, which has now been installed. In addition to the signs, a 300-metre-long chain has been strung along the parking lot, guiding visitors along a path and past the signs. Cameras, which have been installed on a mast on the beach ridge, will also stream live video from the beach to the police authorities in Selfoss.

“The signs emphasise information,” a press release from the Icelandic Tourist Board reads, “aiming to make the information accessible and interesting, explaining what can be done in the area – as opposed to simply highlighting what is prohibited. One illuminated sign, which relays information from the Icelandic Road Administration’s wave-prediction system; three big informatory signs, one of which highlights the dangers of the undertow; and six guiding signs have been installed.”

Beach divided into zones according to conditions

The press release also notes that the Reynisfjara beach will never be closed to the public. Instead, the beach will be divided into zones, which will serve to guide visitors based on conditions: a flashing yellow light indicates that visitors should not enter the yellow zone, and a flashing red light indicates that visitors should not enter the red zone (i.e. not past the illuminated sign). Visitors are encouraged to stay on the beach ridge, which affords a safe view of the beautiful scenery.

“The safety measures at Reynisfjara beach will only extend as far as signage, and no lifeguards will be employed at this time. Such a thing could, however, prove a logical next step – if only during those days when conditions are labelled ‘red.’ In order to finance such measures, landowners would need to collect fees from visitors.”

Lastly, the parties affiliated with the consultation team hope that the new safety measures will mean that visitors to the beach will become “more mindful of hazards” and comport themselves accordingly. “Signs, no matter how well designed, will not stop anyone from venturing near the tide; they are, however, useful in keeping most visitors within a safe zone, so as to enjoy the beach in all its majesty.”

The consultation team comprised representatives of landowners, the South Icelandic police, the Icelandic Tourist Board, ICE-SAR, the Icelandic Road Administration, and the Katla Geopark.

Peace Tower Lighting Streamed from Reykjavík Tonight

Imagine Peace Tower

Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower, located on Viðey island off the coast of Reykjavík, will be lit in a ceremony tonight to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. The white stone monument, which emits a tower of light that illuminates the sky, was conceived by Ono in memory of her late husband. The yearly lighting is normally open to the public, but this year it will be streamed instead.

“I hope you will join us in celebrating the relighting of IMAGINE PEACE TOWER,” Ono wrote in a Facebook post, “in Iceland and around the world. Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world.”


The Peace Tower’s light extends upward at least 4,000 metres (13,100 feet) on a clear night. The words “Imagine Peace” are inscribed on the monument in 24 languages. The tower is lit every year from October 9th, Lennon’s birthday, through December 8th, the date of his assassination.

This year, New York’s empire state building was also lit blue in honour of Lennon’s birthday.

Readers can watch the lighting ceremony on the Peace Tower’s official website tonight at 9.00pm UTC.

Blackbird Cam Comes to an Abrupt End

Bird lovers tuning into a popular live feed of a blackbird nest were witness to some of the starker realities of nature on Sunday when a raven was caught overturning the nest, sending its eggs tumbling to the ground. RÚV reports that the episode was broadcast around noon on Sunday, leading many concerned viewers to call the station.

The blackbird cam, which was overseen by the RÚV program Landinn and film director and bird lover Magnús Magnússon, went live on Tuesday last week. Viewers were immediately delighted watching the blackbird tend its eggs, which were expected to hatch in the coming days.

See Also: Live Feed of Blackbird Nest Delights Bird Lovers

Originally, there were three eggs in the nest, but one of these appeared to be rotten and was removed from the nest by the blackbird on Sunday morning. The other two appeared to be viable and were being diligently brooded by the blackbird.

Everything was going swimmingly until around noon on Sunday, when the blackbird left the nest. Shortly after, there was a rustling in the surrounding branches and a hungry raven, not the blackbird, appeared. Spotting the nest, it quickly and unceremoniously overturned it, sending the eggs plunging to the ground. (See video clip here.)

See Also: Raven Reality Stars in Selfoss

Disturbing as the event may have been for some viewers, it’s worth noting that Icelanders have a long-standing love of bird cams and ravens are often the stars of their own live feeds. For instance, ravens have nested in the eaves of the Byko home improvement store in Selfoss, South Iceland, for years, prompting the owners to install a live cam there as well.

The Byko ravens have built their nests, nurtured their chicks, and taught them to fly, and have drawn viewers from all over Iceland, as well as a group of particularly avid raven enthusiasts in Germany.

‘Such is nature’

Jæja, good people,” remarked the filmmaker, Magnús, on the live stream just minutes after the event. “This didn’t go as planned. I’d hoped we’d have a couple of chicks after this weekend.”

“This is naturally a great shock and a sad event, but such is nature, so it maybe it needn’t come as a surprise – it’s something we were prepared for,” remarked Gíslí Einarsson, the editor of Landinn. “We hoped, of course, that Icelanders would get to watch the chicks growing and thriving.”

“We are bowed, but not broken,” he continued, explaining that the program would be determining whether to start live streaming the progress of another nest or just call the whole endeavor off for now. “It wasn’t our intention to prompt sorrow, rather the broadcast was intended to elicit happiness and optimism.”

Online Literary Festival Features Five Icelandic Authors

Sant Jordi Landing Page

New York City’s Sant Jordi Online Literary Festival will feature five Icelandic authors in readings, book chats, and performances this weekend. The festival, running from April 23-25, decided to move its programming online when COVID-19 shut down New York City.

The Sant Jordi NYC Online Literary Festival is dedicated to literature in translation. In addition to celebrating literature from Iceland, the festival will also include work translated from Arabic, Catalan, Danish, French, Galician, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Urdu.

Author, actor, and stand-up comic Bergur Ebbi will headline Iceland Night on Thursday, April 23 with a live reading and performance based on his new book Screenshot. The book is an entertaining look at technology, fake news, artificial intelligence, and what we can learn about and from our digital existence in the time of COVID-19.

Iceland Night will also feature a dynamic performance by Elías Knörr, a Galician poet living in Reykjavík who writes in both his native Galician as well as Icelandic. Author and poet Fríða Ísberg will chat with translator Larissa Kyzer about imposter syndrome, the Imposter Poets, the all-female poetry collective of which Fríða is a member, and her debut short story collection, Kláði (‘Itch’), which was nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Literature Prize.

Kári Tulinius is an Icelandic novelist and poet who splits his time between Reykjavík, Iceland and Helsinki, Finland. His bilingual reading includes work from his most recent collection, Jökulhvörf, (‘Glacier Line’). Visual artist, poet, and novelist Steinunn G. Helgadóttir and translator Larissa Kyzer will give a reading from Steinunn’s latest novel, Sterkasta kona í heimi (‘The Strongest Woman in the World’). The reading will interweave the original Icelandic text with the English translation.

Readers can visit the festival website for more information.