Into the Blue

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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.

Nervously awaiting my turn to take the plunge.

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.

Photo credit Arctic Adventures –

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.

Photo credit Arctic Adventures –

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.

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    1. It’s not really that different, except for the fact that it is impossible to drown with all that fabric helping you float! Oh, and the freezing lips part. 🙂

  1. Fun! I tried to convince Tim to do this with me the first time I went to Iceland when he was living there. That was at the end of August and he didn’t want to. So we ended up snorkeling Silfra on our last trip. It was December, snowing, and 50 MPH winds. I think the temp that day was 17F before the windchill. My hair literally froze when we got out of the water since your head also gets wet. But it was so worth it!

  2. I’m so jealous! Even if this it is bloody cold, this is one underwater adventure I can’t wait to have. Normally I’m all for seeing underwater life & colorful fishes when I dive, but the visibility and the vibrancy of the Silfra Fissure looks completely out of this world!

  3. I was not aware that Iceland was slowly being pulled part that is very interesting to say the least. The fissure looks like a great place to dive I’m sure the sights are very interesting as you descend. Would love to dive it someday.

  4. Iceland has been on the bucket list for a while but I’ve got to admit, snorkeling or diving while visiting there didn’t cross my mind. These are awesome photos. I can’t believe how clear the water is. Just amazing.

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