Diving Iceland, All You Need To Know

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The Only Place On Earth

As a keen diver, I’m always on the lookout for a place that offers a unique and challenging experience. Diving Iceland offers just that. Located in the Þingvellir national park in Iceland, Silfra offers a diving opportunity that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. Here is how and why you should get to diving Iceland!

This incredible freshwater dive site at Silfra offers divers the chance to explore one of the planets most phenomenal geological features. The mid-Atlantic ridge, a fissure in the earths crust created by the divergence of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This fissure just happens to slice straight through Iceland!

Water from a melting glacier seeps into the fissure, creating a heavenly opportunity for divers. Essentially, what this means is that you can dive between two continents, simultaneously touching both tectonic plates along the way!

100m Visibility

Getting Your Money’s Worth When Diving Iceland!

Admittedly, diving Iceland is fairly pricey, considering you generally only get one dive for your money at Silfra. One good way around the expense is to take this as an opportunity to do your PADI dry suit speciality course. For not much difference in price, you’ll not only get two dives, but a certification too!

There are two main companies that offer diving in Iceland (or the dry suit course), DIVE.IS and SCUBA Iceland. The first of which is more popular, but the second of which is cheaper and offers the course for a single student. (The experience is all the same!)

It’s Cold…

The drive to Silfra takes the best part of an hour from Reykjavik, but it’s spectacular. The mountains and plains adorned with a thick coat of snow make for a humbling sight. As beautiful as it is, it’s still winter; getting into your dry suit at Thinvellir national park is gruelling to say the least.

Although it’s not essential to have had any dry suit experience when diving Iceland, you will have to wear one, and previous experience is highly recommended. Even more reason to sign up for your dry suit course!

Diving Silfra

The focus of the first dive is getting used to the suit, establishing buoyancy, and practicing various scenarios (such as inversion and BCD procedures). The second dive is a lot more relaxed, giving you the opportunity to take it all in!

If you’ve never used a dry suit, your first dive could end up being somewhat of a disaster. It’s not only the suit that needs getting used to, but there’s also the dynamics of freshwater buoyancy to contend with. As any diver knows, freshwater is less buoyant than salt water, which adds to the challenge of keeping yourself neutral.

The Site

As I made my way through the fissure, my face numb from the cold, I was overwhelmed by the clarity of the water offering 100m visibility throughout. There were a few narrow or shallow areas to negotiate, but again, once you’ve got the hang of your dry suit, it’s not too difficult.

The majority of the dive is pretty straight forward at 18m with plenty of space to manoeuvre. Dark rugged rocks fortified either side of the fissure, boulders were sprinkled along the bed, and sand cushioned the shallows. As we came to the end of the dive, shallowing in a lake, I was tickled by the sight of paddling duck legs and undercarriage’s pressing the surface.

The walk back after the dive is pretty long, and while carrying weights in the snow, with a numb face and hands, it’s fairly tedious. Nonetheless, this is a must do for every diver; it’s well worth every penny. My conclusion; make sure diving Iceland is on your bucket list! Oh, and once your back in Reykjavik, why not take to the skies of Iceland….?

Tips:

  • Opt in to do your dry suit course! It’s better value for money!
  • If it’s your first time diving with a dry suit, leave your camera behind on the first dive! – It’ll only make it harder to control your buoyancy.
  • Have your camera ready on the drive to the dive site, there are some spectacular views to capture.
  • Silfra isn’t the only dive site in Iceland, but it’s certainly the most popular and accessible all year round.
  • Make sure you have everything before walking to the entry point, it’s a long way back!
  • Try to get ready quickly but efficiently, the entry point can get busy and you want to spend as little time waiting in the cold as possible.
  • Snorkelling is also available, if you have a friend that doesn’t dive, bring them along, they don’t have to miss out!
  • Finally, diving Iceland is a must!
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