The Dream Of Snorkeling In Silfra
I love adventures. Activities that is full of adrenaline are my favorites. One such activity that had caught my attention a few years back was Scuba diving in Silfra, Iceland. In that particular video, scuba divers were touching 2 tectonic plates (North-American & Eurasian) at once. I was amazed by that thought. Since then, I wanted to do the same thing but Iceland was way too far & way too expensive. [Link to that video]
Dreams do come true, though.
I finally planned a trip to Iceland with my family on a budget & I decided that this time, I shall definitely do the same thing as that video. I dropped an email to dive.is which is Iceland’s most popular company for water adventures. Sadly, I had to do a lot more in the world of Scuba to be able to get to the bottom of Silfra. They offered me a solution though. I could do the snorkeling where I won’t be able to touch the plates but see it for real.
I obviously said YES!
The Beginning Of The Tour
The process of booking with dive.is was quite simple. As soon as I dropped them a query mail, they called me within a few hours. They answered all my questions & assured me that the entire experience will be nothing less than fascinating. The thought of snorkeling in 2° was intimidating but the thought of getting to experience something amazing won.
I went ahead with Silfra Snorkelling Day Tour. It was definitely the best decision.
Early morning, 7:00 AM, dive.is picked me up directly from my hostel in Reykjavik. The diving site, Silfra, was about 60 KM away & it took us about an hour. It was incredible to see the van cut through so much of snow on the road. The thought of snorkeling in THAT MUCH SNOW was exhilarating for sure. We arrived at Thingvellir National Park by 8:00-8:15 AM.
Once we arrived, we saw a lot of different vehicles, all were owned by dive.is. There was a separate changing room (in a truck) for people. The instructors helped me change into the dry suit. They also taught me how to use the equipment during the activity & even some hand actions.
It took quite some time to get ready because it was freezing there. After everyone was ready with the equipment & dry suits, the instructors gave a brief introduction to the activity, defined all the areas that we were going to see during the snorkeling experience & of course, calmed us down by saying, “this is easy-peasy!”
It started snowing once I started walking towards Silfra. Once we reach the starting point, we had to do something disgusting. The instructors asked me to spit in the swimming glasses! GROSS! But I had to do it, of course. After that, they poured hot water into the glasses & ready to be worn by me (yuck, right?)
Snorkeling In Silfra Begins
The first time I got into the freezing glacial water when the temperature outside was anywhere between 0-2°, it was scary at first but then there was no turning back. I started paying attention to the instructor & started doing what he was saying. Initially, it was difficult to follow because I had never snorkeled with a dry suit, in such a weather, in such cold water, but after few minutes, I was all set, calmly seeing the underwater wonders.
There was a moment when I drank a lot of water (it was okay to drink it because it came for the glaciers, it is the purest form). The instructor came to me, held me upside down so that I could rest a bit (and swallow all that water).
After about 2 minutes, I was ready to put my face in that icy-cold water again. During the snorkeling tour, I went through different areas like Silfra Cathedral, Silfra Hall & Silfra Lagoon. I have to say that Silfra Cathedral was my favorite out of all.
It was captivating to see the underwater world of Silfra. It is known as the cleanest waterbody of the world. There was literally no life inside the water (no fish, hardly any plants) because it is almost impossible to survive in that cold water (but life.. uh.. finds a way, right?) Our instructors told us that the water in which we were snorkeling was in the water form when first settlers of Iceland came. So technically, we were snorkeling in the water in which probably few Vikings must have bathed a few centuries back!
All Good Things Come To An End
Like all good things come to an end, even this activity ended after we reached the finish line. The activity lasted for about 40 minutes but I created memories of a lifetime. It was still snowing, by the way. I walked for about 2-3 minutes to get back to the van. After we changed into our normal clothes, the team of dive.is also gave us hot chocolate & some cookies! Having a hot chocolate in that freezing weather was a heavenly thing.
If you take your camera like me (I took my GoPro Hero 5), you can shoot your own memories. If you don’t have a waterproof camera, no worries! The instructor will keep clicking your pictures while you are in the water. Later, you can buy the pictures from them. On our way back, we also stopped at a spot which was of a special importance. After clicking a few pictures, we headed back to Reykjavik. I was dropped off at my hostel & that’s how beautiful experience came to an end.
Few Tips If You Are Planning To Snorkel in Silfra, Iceland
- Go with an experienced company like dive.is
- Be in the best health.
- Try taking an action camera like GoPro to capture the most of your experience.
- Follow all the instructions given by the instructors (even the filthiest ones like spitting inside your glasses).
- Never try challenging the nature. If you are feeling uneasy, call the instructor immediately.
- Don’t forget your hot chocolate & cookies in the end. They will help your body warm up quickly.
- If you are planning to Scuba dive, make sure you read the requirements carefully before planning anything.
Photos: Parichay Mehta