Iceland Day 2: Reykjavik and Scuba Diving Silfra

Today was spent in the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik. The shoreline path from Laugarnes Peninsula continued all the way to town and was a scenic, easy 30 minute walk from home and had interesting sculptures dotting the trail, most notably the Sun Voyager by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason.

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The Harpa Concert Hall

Hallgrímskirkja Church

SILFRA. 

Iceland is splitting down the middle. At a rate of about 2 cm per year, the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are pulling apart from each other right in the middle of a lake in Thingvellir. Of course, it’s turned into the perfect spot for divers and snorkelers to experience geology in a whole new way–by swimming in between the tectonic plates in some of the clearest water on the planet.

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As we geared up in our drysuits near the entry ladder in the Silfra Fissure, our Dive.IS guide described the area surrounding us and motioned to the incredibly clear water below.

” This place–Thingvellir–is a dark place. You won’t find colorful fish and dolphins here. This is where the elves and the trolls live.”

It was after 7 p.m. when we made our first descent, but the sky was no darker than this morning’s trip into town. The 2 degree celsuis water felt like icy needles against my face as we submerged beneath the surface. The  jagged tectonic walls formed a skinny path that we slowly followed, hanging out just below 30 ft. for most of the fissure. As the walls widened into a shallow room, we frog-kicked at the surface to avoid disturbing the silty floor. It was my first time in a drysuit, but I found it easy to learn, and after a few careful minutes, my swim was relaxing and easy.

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By the time we reached the second ladder, my lips were completely numb. We warmed up with some hot cocoa back at the van. It only took a few minutes and I was ready to jump back in for another 25 minute dive. The second dive was slightly more stirred up than the first (a group of snorkelers had gone through) but I was still just as awestruck by the underwater topography and brilliant greens and blues throughout the fissure.

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the wandering alligator

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