HOW I SURVIVED NOAH’S “APOCALYPSE”
I never expected to get an all-natural sand-and-salt exfoliating “facial” while in Iceland. But the morning I visited the famous volcanic-black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, where parts of Noah were filmed, the sky was dark and furious and sand-filled winds clocked in at 90 kilometres an hour. (I looked it up later—after my face stopped stinging.) The gusts made it difficult to walk—I had to bend my knees and lean into the wind so I wouldn’t get knocked over into patches of sand-covered snow...or be blown out to sea. The surf was so high that the imposing cave where Russell Crowe’s Noah wallowed post-ark landing (with lots of wine and little clothing) was inaccessible.
For most of the biblically set flick, the actors are pummelled by sheeting rain—and the wrath of God. I think I got a pretty good sense of how they felt. I was awed and exhilarated but also humbled. Still, I slowly made my way toward Gardar, a basalt cliff made of rectangular Tetris-like blocks that are crumbling off what looks like the side of an Egyptian step pyramid. (You can even spot this iconic site in the movie’s trailer.)
I did eventually make it back to my monster-truck ride, which was parked right on the sand. Phew, what a rush! But this particular beach location is one of the few in the movie where the weather appears peaceful—shockingly sunny. Even that was deceiving. Crowe tweeted that in one scene shot on this beach, he went for a dip in the ocean. “I can’t describe the shock of cold,” he wrote. (The water was just 4.2ºC.) The post went on to say he later learned that it was “the most dangerous beach in Iceland.” (The rip currents have been called “devious,” and swimming is strongly discouraged; the footage never made it into the film.) Amusingly, the locals also refer to it as “Bikini beach” because it’s the southernmost point in Iceland. Nearby, there are cabins for rent, and a small hotel is under construction. If you watch Noah, you’ll see how magnificent—and less exfoliating—the place can be on a beautiful day.
is at Iceland’s southernmost tip.
The stars of Noah spent a lot of time in