Having spent an increasing amount of time enjoying the world of scuba diving on my travels I’ve created a rather extensive scuba diving bucket list which I’m currently trying to work my way through.
Luckily I managed to tick off one of the most anticipated and unique experiences last month during my travels to Iceland – where I met up with the guys from Dive.IS to experience scuba diving at the famous Silfra.
Where The Continents Meet
I’ve already touched on how amazing Silfra is as a dive site through my Freediving in Iceland post. But for those of you who haven’t heard of Silfra it’s a truly magical and unique dive site. Thousands of tourists flock to the site where the tectonic plates of America and Europe meet – to have their photograph taking touching them or on top of the bridge linking them.
But for those who aren’t content with the standard shot the real beauty of Silfra lies below the surface – where the jagged faces of the continental plates open up into an incredible underwater landscape allowing you to dive between them!
If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime dive experience this is certainly one of the most unique!
Now having clocked up well over 100 dives now I’m pretty comfortable under the water. However Iceland was the first real opportunity I’ve had (or needed!) to dive in a drysuit, I’m much more accustomed to wetsuit or board shorts!
Given that the water here is around the 2 degree mark it was something that needed to be done though and layered up with thermals, a good few tshirts and even socks (yes shock horror I was wearing socks!) I donned the dry suit.
For those of you who haven’t don’e drysuit diving before getting these bad boys on is far from a dignified experience – it’s pretty hilarious watching others squeeze their faces through tight rubber neck seals but not so fun doing it yourself!
Still, having awkwardly zipped myself in, and shoved my hand into 5mm gloves (seriously I don’t even use this much rubber surfing in the UK in winter!) I felt the instant effects and apart from my slightly obscured face I was totally protected from the Icelandic elements.
…a good job too as we then kitted up fully and enjoyed the short walk to the dive platform.
Under The Surface
Having been freediving in Silfra the night before I was admittedly a bit dubious about how the scuba experience would differ.
I wasn’t disappointed though as the sheer natural beauty of the underwater landscape was just as incredible the second time around!
Having slowly managed to get used to the slightly awkward buoyancy control of the drysuit (seriously it’s a whole different ball game!) I enjoyed spending a more prolonged period of time submerged beneath the surface in near perfect visibility.
Cruising through the crevasse of Silfra, up its long sloping sandbanks and amongst the neon green algae fields is frankly amazing experience.
I know I’ve repeated myself a lot with the words ‘amazing’, ‘unique’ and ‘incredible’ throughout this post but it really is all of those things!
Being able to literally touch two continents is a pretty bizarre when you think about it but getting that picture for the bragging rights is worth the numbing sensation in your fingers and the blue lips you emerge with!
One of my favourite parts though – and something you should remind yourself to do – is to take the time to sink to 18m and look up.
Through the dappling light and the crystal clear water you get a real sense of how perfect the visibility is and it’s unlike any view I’ve had on any scuba dives across the world.
I sat there mesmerised and I could feel the smile emerging across my face!
After a 45 min dive it was time to warm back up at the van with some well needed hot chocolate – as soon as the feeling had returned to our extremities it was time to kit it up and do it all over again, this time with even more enjoyment knowing I had nailed the buoyancy side of things and could truly take in all the beauty that Silfra offers up!
The Dive.IS Experience
Throughout my entire day trip the crew from Dive.IS were pretty incredible – briefings, kitting up and eternal customer service were thorough and professional and even with my slight issues with the drysuit I felt in safe, secure hands – and they were always on hand to help with anything.
In fact I got on well with 2 of my guides so much we’re meeting up in Thailand later this year to do some more diving together!
As well as scuba diving in Silfra they also offer snorkel trips too (perfect if you’re not certified or have someone joining you who doesn’t dive) and they also dive other sites across Iceland if you want to spend some serious time underwater during your trip.
**PLEASE NOTE – I received a complimentary scuba thanks to the guys at Dive.IS but rest assured all opinions are honest and my own**