Snorkeling in Iceland’s Silfra Fissure

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Since I received my PADI Open Water Diver certificate in Bocas del Toro I have been searching for amazing dive sites and adventures underwater all over the globe.

The Silfra fissure is one the most amazing dive spots on Earth, so it was a must-see when I visited Iceland.

Interesting facts about the Silfra Fissure

  • Silfra is a crack that separates the Eurasian and North American continental plates.
  • This is the only spot in the world that allows you to snorkel or dive directly between two continental plates.
  • The Silfra fissure has an underwater visibility of over 100 metres, making it one of the most clear waters on Earth.
  • The water is filtered through porous undergroundlava for 30 to 100 years before it reaches Thingvellir lake’s north end. It seeps out through underground wells and the fissure. This is how the water becomes super clear and drinkable.
  • It is almost freezing water because it is glacial water from Langjokull’s ice cap.
Snorkeling The Silfra Fissure In Iceland The Blonde Abroad
Snorkeling The Silfra Fissure In Iceland The Blonde Abroad

My friend, Matt, a fellow travel blogger, and I were traveling through Iceland together. We partnered with Arctic Adventures to explore and do some of Iceland’s best attractions.

I arrived in Iceland less than 24 hours ago and was soon on the road with Arctic Adventures to take their Black and Blue Caving and Snorkel Tour. We were going snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure and exploring a lava tube.

The Silfra Fissure can be found in Thingvellir National Park, which is just a short drive away from Reykjavik. (Aside note: Thingvellir also serves as a stop on Iceland’s Golden Circle Road Trip.

We wore dry suits as the water temperature is only a few degrees above freezing. We started by putting on warm, fuzzy body suits that were similar to one-piece pajamas. The actual dry suit was then put on and our wrists were closed.

Dry suits would render everything, except our heads and hands, completely waterproof.

We wore thick neoprene gloves on our hands and thick hoodies on top of our heads. Our hands and heads might get wet but the neoprene would keep the water out and heat our bodies to warm it.

Flippers and a snorkel face mask were the last items needed. Then it was on to the fissure!

As I slowly entered the water, I felt like an astronaut. The suit made sure I floated right on the surface, and the current gently dragged me down the fissure.

The Silfra Fissure

Silfra Snorkeling Day Tour From Reykjavik Extreme Iceland
Silfra Snorkeling Day Tour From Reykjavik Extreme Iceland

I immediately felt the extreme cold as I immersed my face in the water. However, after only a few minutes, I didn’t feel anything, as I was told.

Matt and I were both able to take lots of photos due to our Water-proof and Freeze-proof LifeProof iPhone Cases. However, my hands got unbearably cold halfway through the dive so I must thank him for the Silfra photos. “Thanks Matt!”

My body was mostly dry after the cold water, but my hair was still cold and I felt shivering when we emerged from it. We were welcomed with hot cocoa and a large cup.

It was the perfect pick-me-up!

The next adventure was the “black” portion of our tour. We boarded the Arctic Adventures van. I had never caved before, but I was familiar with underground lava tubes so I didn’t know what to expect.

We would like to visit one of the lava caves in Thingvellir National Park. Although it was only a short distance from Silfra to these caves, we felt like we were somewhere else when we stopped.

We donned helmets and headlamps, and followed our guide to the entrance of a small lava tube.

A lava tube collapsed to create the cave’s entrance. The tube was made from flowing lava, which hardened into an underground tunnel.

From one end to the other, we walked over volcanic rock in total darkness (only our headlamps lit it) until we reached the end. Different colors were lit by our headlamps.

It was like being transported to another world.

The small exit from the cave

Arctic Adventures was amazing. I highly recommend the Black and Blue tour. It was amazing to see two parts of Iceland, Earth and Water, all in one day.

These are some helpful tips

  • Although the website claims you will do black before blue we did snorkeling first.
  • You may get wet. The dry suit I used had a tiny leak in my foot. I didn’t notice it until I removed the dry suit after I dive.
  • I was unable to use my hands while submerged in water. The guides advised us to keep our hands off the water and not to swim with them before diving. Your neoprene gloves are heated by the movement. Mentally prepare for taking photos if you plan on doing so!
  • Always bring an extra set of clothes just in case. It’s a good idea to bring extra warm socks. Warm hand warmers are a good idea too!

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