Into the Blue

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.

20 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • September 25 2013

    Niiiceee ! I also did that tour this summer !
    SUPER SUPER COLD, but awesome.
    Cécile from France.

  • September 25 2013

    An awesome adventure. I love snorkeling and diving but I’ve never been in water cold enough for a dry suit. Some day!
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Whale Watching – Pacific Coast, Costa Rica

    • September 27 2013

      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. 🙂

  • September 25 2013

    Incredible! What a cool experience. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin recently posted..‘Travel Your Way’ Photo Competition!

  • September 25 2013

    Excellent photos!

  • September 25 2013

    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!
    Jennifer recently posted..Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral #gAdvRussia

  • September 26 2013

    Well, being spoiled by diving in the toasty Caribbean waters, I think I would die there, but I absolutely HAVE to do it – what incredible visibility!

    • September 27 2013

      But it’s not even cold – with all the layers! Just your lips, but then the plus side is you don’t have to put on lipstick that day. 🙂

  • September 26 2013

    Every time I read a post about snorkeling Silfra, I kick myself for not doing it when I was in Iceland! It looks amazing. Next time, for sure.
    Amanda recently posted..That Time I Went on a Rafting Pub Crawl

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    September 26 2013

    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!

    • September 27 2013

      It is that: out of this world. A totally unexpected and unique experience!

  • September 27 2013

    I am a bit scared of open water, which is why I have never tried diving. This however looks really cool. The water looks so clear.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Icebreaker shirt review and exclusive giveaway

    • September 27 2013

      It is so clear, and not very deep at all. You would love it!

  • September 29 2013

    Tops on the list of things I want to do when I finally get to Iceland.

  • Alex | Partial Parallax
    September 30 2013

    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.

  • Ali
    October 13 2013

    I don’t think I could handle that cold water, but it does look amazing. Plate tectonics fascinate me!

  • We had so much fun doing this as well! It surprised me how beautiful and mesmerizing everything was since there were no fish. Beautiful photos–makes me want to go back again!

  • May 22 2014

    Brrr that cold water doesn’t sound appealing, but the photos are stunning!!
    Jo (The Blond) recently posted..A short plan for your 3 days in Siem Reap

  • August 21 2017

    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.
    Sharon recently posted..2017 Tribord Subea Easybreath Full Face Snorkel Mask Review

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