Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck & Arctic Adventures
Iceland is slowly being stretched apart.
Every year, two or three more centimeters of the island are exposed as the North American and European tectonic plates pull away from each other. The results are fascinating – large ‘scars’ of jagged rock running thru the landscape, deep cracks and canyons revealing more each year.
Snorkelers and divers should be especially appreciative of this natural wonder, as one particular fissure, Silfra, is heralded as one of the best freshwater dive sites in the world. It’s one of the most unique and best tours in Iceland. It is fed by water from a glacier that takes upwards of 50 years to arrive, and as the water streams its way through lava fields, is filtered to pure brilliance.
The visibility is remarkable in this small rift. And if the weather wasn’t going to agree with us above the surface, than we were happy to go underneath. Even if it was a wee bit cold.
But not near as cold as you might think. Underneath the dry suits we were in full body sleeping bags with legs, and thick socks under the boots and flippers. In fact, once the neoprene gloves soaked up the water and warmed our hands, the only thing that was exposed and freezing were our lips.
That chill was soon forgotten. The numbing state of awe took care of that.
The water was fish-free, and save for some algae that appeared as neon green silly string sprayed all over the rocky bottom, it was the rich blues that mesmerized.
It was a short, very impressive swim – skimming over high rocks and making tight turns in the erratic fissure, all the while gaping at the many luminous hues visible just below the surface.
Nature’s wonders never cease to amaze.
(^^^I’m speaking of how I look in a snorkel mask, clearly.)
The Silfra Fissure is a must-stop on Iceland’s most popular tourist route. For more on what to do there, read this guide to Iceland’s Golden Circle.
Many thanks to Arctic Adventures for this outstanding complimentary excursion called “Into the Blue”. All opinions, as always, are our own.