We stayed up late on our stop in Reykjavik. Christina and I were excited for to dive Silfra Iceland in Thingvellir National Park the next day. We were cramming our brains to get our dry suit certification. After waking up early in the morning, we left C with a nanny service at the Hilton Hotel in Reykjavik and were picked up by the folks at Dive.is for our two dive session at the Silfra fissure. After an hour and a half drive, we arrived and donned our dry suits as we prepared to dip into the icy glacier water in Iceland.
What continent is Iceland on?
Silfra Iceland is a monument to geology. It’s an ever widening crack down the center of Iceland where the North American and European tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart. Although Iceland is generally considered to be European, it is actually divided neatly into both continents! What makes this even cooler is how the tectonic plates are pulling apart a little bit more each year.
Why is Thingvellir National Park so Important to the Icelandic People?
Often referred to as Pingvellir National Park due to the Icelandic alphabet, Thingvellir National Park is often considered the heart and soul of Iceland. The name means Parliament Plans. And it was where the country’s tribes met from 930 till 1798. This is where meetings were held, laws were passed, and celebrations took place for citizens across the country. Thingvellir National park was made a protected property in 1928 for all time.
SCUBA Diving in Silfra Iceland
As we prepared for scuba diving Iceland in the crystal clear glacier water, we were reminded of the power of our ever-changing Earth. The Silfra fissure is considered to be one of the best and most unique dive sites in the world. This is due to having some of the clearest water in the world. In fact, the water is so clear, that the visibility is only limited by the length of the actual fissure!
Thingvellir National Park is the only known place where you can dive between continental plates. Along with its spectacular geology, the glacial water, which trickles down from the Langjökull glacier is so clean you can remove your regulator and sip at the Icelandic water for refreshment whenever you need.
The walk to the Silfra Fissure
The hike to the water from the van isn’t long, but it isn’t easy. We had spent a good part of our trip hiking Iceland with kids, so we were at least a little prepared. But lugging our dive tanks and gear while wearing the hot and cumbersome dry suit for a quarter kilometer had our blood pumping in time for our dip into the ice-cold water. Luckily at the entrance to the fissure, there is a conveniently placed half-stair to help you get started.
Diving spots in Silfra Iceland
Silfra has four areas, the Silfra Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral and Silfra Lagoon. And over the course of two dives, you generally have the opportunity to experience the site in its entirety. The dry suits kept our core warm, but at 2 degrees above freezing, our face and toes were a little tingly by the end.
How to experience Silfra Iceland
The Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park isn’t solely for SCUBA divers. Visitors can try their hand at snorkeling in Silfra or simply exploring the beautiful surroundings of the region through hikes. Or just dip your toes into the water to check the temperature!
Where can you SCUBA Dive in Iceland?
The Silfra crack isn’t the only place to SCUBA dive in Iceland. In fact, with the boom in tourism, SCUBA diving is becoming a more popular activity. And new sites are being discovered all the time.
- Strýtan in Northern Iceland’s Eyjafjörður. With a depths of between 25 and 70 meters, divers can explore geothermal chimneys and unique marine life.
- Gardur, located just an hour from Reykjavik contains over 42 types of algae. The dive also features kelp forests and marine life such as wolf fish, scorpion fish, and monkfish.
- Kleifarvatn is a large lake not far from Reykjavik. Surrounded by the incredible landscape, getting there is half the fun. But inside the lake are thermal hot springs that vibrate from the tectonic activity.
- Seyðisfjörður is the perfect spot for wreck divers in Iceland. Located near a fishing village on far east Iceland, the El Grillo is a 150 meter, 7,000-ton oil tanker that was sunk by German fighters in WWII.
Do We Recommend SCUBA Diving in Silfra Iceland?
After two dives through the incredible waters, we humped our equipment back to the van and were dropped off back in Reykjavik for a relaxing dinner and a great sleep. The day was incredible, and we enthusiastically recommend this as a unique and incredible experience for SCUBA divers or those interested in snorkeling in Iceland.
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.
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