Iceland Photography scuba travel

Diving Iceland

The primary reason we started planning this journey to Iceland was due to a television show we saw about 20 years ago called ‘Descending’. We were hooked on the idea of experiencing such a unique location. Then came the challenge of getting the skills and finances to make it come to life. Mission accomplished!

As it has been 3 years since we had dove and 10 years since we took our dry suit course we thought it appropriate to retake the dry suit course to brush up on our skills. It was a cool, 11C, day at Kleifarvatn with the water temperature at 8C. It was a very physically demanding day and reminded us how easy warm water diving is. Fortunately, the weather kept us from overheating in all the gear and our excellent instructor, Jennifer, guided us through the necessary maneuvers to get us set for the next day.

Though the first day was all about skills and therefore the dive site had nothing to offer as far as views, that all changed on the second day of diving. We were driven the 45 minutes out to Thingvellir National Park, the home of the Icelandic Parliament from the 10th to the 18th century, but more to the point for us, the location of the Silfra fissure.

The Silfra fissure is an exposed portion of the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. They move apart about 2cm each year and provide an amazing glimpse into the dynamic structure of our earth.
Its is a very busy area that is tightly regulated by the National Park authorities. We were diving with Dive.IS which is one of the big 4 companies that offer tours out of the area. They are the only one that is also a PADI Dive Centre as well. All the companies seem to work very well to coordinate the passage of tourists through the area with a minimum of congestion.
The Silfra fissure was the first dive we did that day, lasting about 30 minutes. the red line on the map is the route we followed. The depths ranged from right on the surface down to about 11.5 metres.
My dive computer showed the water temperature at 2C with it dipping down to 1C at one point. The visibly was ridiculously good, easily 150+ metres. Because the glacial water takes about 30 years to filter from the glacier down to the lake through volcanic rock, it is considered to be the cleanest water in the world. If you are thirsty you just remove your regulator and drink, but it is oh so cold.
The sights were simply breathtaking. The only thing that lives in the fissure is some red and green algae in the summer. Because the water is so pure there are no nutrients to support vegetation or animals.
The guide takes plenty of photos which is a good thing because soaking in the sights, dealing with buoyancy, and operating a camera would have been too much for this novice.
Once you come out of the fissure into the lagoon you start to see more vegetation.
We were allowed to just hover around and absorb the beauty with whatever air we had left in our tanks. And no, we were not chilled at all despite the water temperature. The dry suits work incredibly well.
For our second dive we headed around the lake to the Daviosgja dive site. It is not set up for the large crowds so we were the only ones there. Even though the water was only 2C, the weather could not have been any better, for Iceland. It was a balmy 17C with no wind as we were prepping for our dives.
I have to be honest that I did feel a bit guilty at times watching the Dive Masters preparing all our gear, but Jake and JC maintained great attitudes and were incredibly helpful all day.

Daviosgja does not have quite as good of visibility, however I found it just as impressive as the size of the rocks displaced by the movement of the earths crust was even more dynamic here. This area experiences about 30 micro earthquakes a day, which is why you do not dive too deep here. The last thing you want is stones being dislodged and falling down on you. There was also a thermocline at this dive site. As you descended the water was 8C then at about 10 metres it suddenly drops to 2C. There are no photos from this dive so you will have to take my word for it, it was awesome.

If you ever want your place in this world put into perspective I highly recommend experiencing these dives. Truly humbling.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

5 comments on “Diving Iceland

  1. kevinjpattison

    Damn that is amazingly beautiful.

  2. Anonymous

    Incredible photos you two 😁
    What an experience…. Not sure how you sleep after that 😁 amazing 👏👏👏👏

  3. I can’t even imagine how you keep your face from freezing. Even with a dry suit it would be my worst nightmare. Ricki from Vanuatu.

    • The only part full exposed are your lips. It is cold, but goes numb quickly 😂. It really isn’t as bad as you would thinks.

  4. Pingback: Reykjavik, Iceland – Peter & Karen Pecksen

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