Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure was one of the highlights of my week in Iceland. It is the only place in the world where you can swim between two continental plates. The fissure separates North America from Eurasia and is one of the most coveted diving destinations on the planet. Divers love it because the underwater visibility is an unheard of 300 feet! That means if your mom was floating 300 feet away you would be able to see her clear as day. Plus, the water is super clean and totally drinkable. At about 35°F, this was the coldest and purest tasting water I’ve ever had the pleasure of choking on.
Getting Ready to Snorkel in the Silfra Fissure
The Silfra Fissure is located just a 45 minute drive outside of Reykjavik in Þingvallavegur National Park. To get there in time for our 10 am plunge, we decided to camp nearby the night before. So happy we did because the national park doubled as the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights for the first time. After a night of midnight delights, we were ready for an underwater excursion.
We drove over to the diving site to meet our guide Louis from Dive.is and suit up for the day. Interestingly enough, this process actually took about the same amount of time as the actual dive.
Since the water is icy cold and none of us are equipped with polar bear genes, we had to prep hardcore. First, we put on a cozy onesie and two pairs of thick socks. By this point I was ready to curl in a ball and hop back in the van. Next up, the dry suit. These look more like space suits than wet suits and are entirely uncomfortable but they do the trick. The idea is to have all the seals be super tight so that no water can get in. Just when I thought the suit couldn’t get any tighter, Louis came around with some chokers he liked to call Fifty Shades of Scuba collars. Afterwards, he shoved some neoprene gloves on our hands and slipped Men in Black style hoods over our heads.
Looking entirely like alien invaders ready for some S&M, we terrified a few children on our walk to the fissure. As if things could get any weirder, Louis instructed us to embrace our inner animal and spit into our goggles. This apparently helps keep them from fogging up, sure Louis. He came around and secured our masks to our faces which immediately gave everyone Angelina Jolie lips. To complete the horrendous outfits, we put on our flippers and hopped in.
Snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure
Although I was extremely cold and wildly uncomfortable, the moment my face graced the water I forgot about it all. From the surface, the fissure looks like nothing special. Underwater there is an entirely new planet. Shortly your face and lips go numb and the water starts to seep into your gloves while the rest of your body remains dry. If you ignore the cold and move as little as possible, simply letting the suit and the current do the work for you, you can truly appreciate this underwater paradise.
After about 30 minutes of exploring, we stumbled out of the cold water and walked back to de-robe. Louis rewarded us with a cozy cup of hot chocolate – pure heaven. Another unforgettable experience to add to the books. This one is right up there with rock climbing in Thailand.
All underwater photos were taken by Louis