If you asked me a few weeks ago if I’d ever step foot in freezing cold, zero degree water… I’d ask you if you’re mad! Because, let’s face it.. who really wants to go for a swim just to get hypothermia and potential frost bite? Fast forward to our snorkeling adventure and I’d now tell you I’d do it all over again. This was probably the highlight of our trip to Iceland and just such a fantastic day I wanted to share with you all.
One of the main reasons we booked this adventure was because of the novelty factor. Novelty what?! you ask.. Ok, so this is actually the only place in the world that you can swim in 2 places at once. The water is right in between the two continental plates of Europe and North America. If you dive there you can actually touch both sides! It’s one of the coolest things we’ve done and is high on the scuba divers list of must-dive places around the world.
The day started with an 8am pick up from the best dive company around, Dive.is (that’s Dive-dot-I.S.) at our hotel by the friendliest of staff members ever and a van full of excited individuals who were just as eager to participate in this experience as we were. We drove from Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park where the Silfra is located. The National Park is an absolute wonder, it’s incredibly beautiful with rolling hills, greenery, cliffs and water everywhere. Our guide dropped us off at the new Information and Tourist center for a little hike down to the starting point of the snorkeling adventure.
I have to admit as we started to get into our dry suits I began to feel slightly panicked.. the thought of entering ZERO degree water and having to stay there for 30 minutes kind of creeped me out.. But there were just so many excited people there and the guides were incredibly reassuring so we suited up and headed to the water. The dry suits feel very strange to wear and consist of 2 main layers – a fleece-y under layer and a neoprene wetsuit outer layer. The outer layer is quite thick and comes with boots attached so the absolute only way water is going to get in is through the tight rubber bands at the neck and wrists.
The guides really really know there stuff though so they ensure everything is on just perfect so as to minimize the water entry. They then proceed to inform you of the best way to swim so as to not get wet – don’t look ‘down’ as in down down – by turning your neck you’ll let some water in under the head mask and don’t curl your fingers into a fist to ‘warm up’.. you’ll actually end up feeling colder as each time you do so you let more cold water into your gloves.
Now that I’ve freaked some of you out…. haha Honestly, it’s not that bad and I was incredibly thankful for the tips as I followed them the whole time and came out feeling only a tiny bit cold. SO! We then entered the water and BAM – amazing-ness. The clearest most crystal blue water you’ll ever see. You can see clearly at least 100 meters deep in the Silfra, which is truly incredible. The dry suit keeps you afloat and your flippers guide you through the channels to keep up with the group. The water almost immediately numbs your lips but you get used to it and it’s almost in the oddest way, refreshing.
Our guide advised us at anytime we could take our snorkel out and drink the water. So I did. And it was delicious. But honestly, it’s not some hoax or prank, the water in the Silfra is so pure as it comes from a glacial source and is filtered through mineral rich rocks.
In the end the 30 minutes felt like nothing and I was almost ready to go back for another round! I can’t begin to recommend this tour to anyone interested in a unique experience. Dive.is offers snorkeling and Scuba Diving tours in the Silfra along with package tours that include other adventures and sights. We booked the Golden Circle Tour + Silfra Snorkeling tour and found it was well worth every penny.
Have you been to Iceland? What was your experience? Did you go snorkelling or scuba diving?