Warning: diving in Silfra will give you several moments of clarity.
Iceland may not be the first country to enter your mind when you think about snorkeling or scuba diving — as we’re sure you do, like, all the time. It’s cold and the underwater life hardly rates high on the Attenborough-scale.
Still, there are some remarkable sites to see underwater, and — even better — to compensate for the cold, you get to wear an extremely sexy Cat-Woman dry suit (sort of like the one seen here below, on Emma Peel of the Avengers).
The place to go diving or snorkeling in Iceland is definitely Silfra, a fissure crack at Þingvellir National Park. It’s a no-man’s-land where the plateaus of Europe and America are gliding apart.
Someone at Dive Magazine says Silfra is among the top ten diving sites in the world, and according to him it’s “probably best described as the closest experience to space-walking you are ever likely to get.” Because of the extreme clarity of the water, people apparently often suffer from vertigo when they first enter the water.
One of the reasons for all this clarity is the temperature, which remains constant at around 3°C all year round. Another reason is the purity of the water itself. If some of it gets in your snorkeling device, just drink it: it’s just melted glacier, sieved through lava, and has been over 2000 years on its way there.
The water is so clear that far below you will see down an endless gully leading probably to the middle of the earth. Two things enter the mind simultaneously: a) Feeling of being tiny in this geological context, and b) If there is a sudden earthquake, your tiny body is going down there, fast.
But no worries. The worst thing that will happen to you is that your face will be numb for some time, which is fabulous. Some people actually pay lots of money for injections that do exactly that.
If you’re one of those fancy PADI certified divers, you can go under the lava and into a labyrinth of lava formations in Silfra, but pretty much everyone is allowed to go snorkeling.
There’s not much life in Silfra, it is too cold for the trout that lives in the lake. Sorry, no Finding Nemo here. The colours are really rather nice though, and if you are a true geological Iceland nerd, check it out.