Diving Iceland’s Silfra Fissure: Our Comprehensive Guide

With 70% of the planet submerged, you’d need to dive into it to genuinely observe what the world brings to the table. Getting scuba training can make you fixated on heading out to the best dive destinations around the globe. The Silfra Fissure in Iceland is a standout amongst the most fantastic dive destinations you will ever experience!

It can be inspiring to swim the Silfra Fissure on your first excursion to Iceland – a profound area of the world, particularly in the wake of completing your PADI license.

What is the Silfra Fissure?

The Silfra in Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park is the partition between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plate. The National Park has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site both for its social and recorded vastness, and also geographical uniqueness. This is the central place on the planet where you can swim between two mainland plates.  It has been recognized as one of the best ten dive destinations on earth for its one-of-a-kind visibility and topography. With notoriety like that, you’d need to add this to your bucket list and make a dive in Iceland!

If you’re looking for additional adventure, you can enjoy Thingvellir ashore. Also, on the off chance that you have companions or family going with you on your visit, yet don’t wish to get in the water themselves, the area around Silfra is brimming with beautiful walking trails that lead through this entrancing spot.

Topography and Sea Life

It is staggering topographically, and its water is completely clear. Indeed, it’s some of the most transparent water anywhere  The Silfra gap is comprised of four segments: the Big Crack, the Hall, the Cathedral, and the Lagoon.

Dives and snorkel swims should be designed with the goal that you can see all Silfra areas in each Diving Silfra Day Tour or Silfra Snorkeling Tour. You’d want to enter the water from a platform with steps diving down. If you are diving, the most significant depth of your dive at Silfra will be 18 meters; however, the usual depth of the dive is somewhere in the range of 7 to 12 meters.

Even though Thingvellir Lake has a wealth of fish species and trout angling is exceptionally prominent in the lake, the fish usually don’t wander far into the Silfra gap. The marine life in Silfra has many splendid and distinctive kinds of green growth that give a colorscape not at all like anything that you can see above water.

Intriguing Facts

  • Silfra is a new water break with a visibility of more than 100 meters (300 feet)
  • The water originates from a submerged spring of liquefying water from the Langjökull Glacier
  • The clearness of the water is from magma filtration – a procedure taking 30 – 100 years
  • Steady water temperature of 2-4°C (36-39°F)

Dry Suit Diving

You should be a licensed scuba diver by an accredited association. If you don’t have a scuba diving license, you can still check this off your bucket list and snorkel in the Silfra. If you had only recently received your license, or simply aren’t feeling sure about the water yet, this can be an extreme dive.

Your first time in a dry suit is a bit of threatening as well. New prerequisites to have the capacity to make a dive in the National Park were set, and now divers should likewise be either dry suit confirmed or have verification of 10 logged dry suit dives (demonstrate with their logbook or duplicates of their logged dives).  Regardless, the dry suit will be your closest companion.

While a wetsuit keeps you warm by keeping a layer of warm water in the middle of you and your suit, a dry suit keeps you warm by keeping a layer of air in the middle of you and your suit. Being comfortable during your dive outside of the water and in the water is a priority. Even during the coldest days amid your trip to Iceland, the dry suit will keep you warm.

​​Although dry suit training isn’t required, you would gain an advantage from doing so. Dry suit diving is somewhat unique in relation to wetsuit diving and you may find it significantly less intuitive – it takes more experience to control buoyancy.  

Silfra Fissure isn’t for solo divers. You’ll have to book through one of the numerous organizations that make diving trips and a guide will take you out. The diving excursions to Silfra Fissure last around 4-5 hours, including the pickup time. You can likewise meet the guides in the area for a two-hour dive. Dive guide organizations give the more significant part of the essential diving gear, including an exceptional dry suit that’s made for frigid, chilly water.  You’ll remain generally dry and for the most part comfortable.

Under your dry suit, you wear a warm layer. The dive organization gives a downy vest, overalls, and wool socks. At that point, you are suited up in a dry suit. After this point, your head and hands will be uncovered. A while later the seals at your wrist and neck are checked and shut. At last, you put on a neoprene hood and gloves. Your head and hands will be wet during the dive and kept warm by the thick neoprene layer. You should give your height and weight at the time of reservation to ensure that they will have the right size dry suit for your dive.

Even though you are suited up near the dive site, it will be anything but a simple stroll with more than 50 lbs of gear on your body. You are fitted with a 6 lb weight belt, 8 lb weighted vest, and trailed by your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) with a tank.

​​The buoyancy check they perform preceding your dive is to guarantee that you could sink. The explanation behind this is because the layer of air under your dry suit will make the diver more light. The air in the suit is controlled by a catch in the focal point of your chest (similar to Iron Man). You would keep on using your BCD to control buoyancy.

Challenges of Diving the Silfra Fissure

It can be exceptionally cold when you dive, and so keeping an eye out for frozen equipment is a must. It’s about 35 degrees Fahrenheit during some seasons. Try not to let that stop you! Diving here is a marvelous and elating experience. While the dry suits help, it’s genuinely awkward.  Indeed, even your glove can stick to the metal railing if you hung onto it for longer than five seconds. Once in the water, all hardware must remain in the water and you can’t breathe into your regulator outside of the water to avoid freezing.

When you jump off the platform, you’ll sink like a stone. Issues can come up when ascending to the surface by expanding your BCD. Your BCD can freeze and regardless of how hard you squeeze it, it may not expand your guide will need to help take you back to the surface.

​​Following your guide through the Silfra, you’d have to follow one after another (for group trips) because there are narrow parts on the dive path. The issue with this is if you have an emergency, it is hard to speak with everybody’s back to you. Similarly, when your guide checks in with you to see if you are alright and you motion back that everything is fine, things can still go wrong as you continue.

Issues with the BCD can come up and you can begin to drop into the depths of the fissure. In these situations, panic is not advised and the ability to control underwater anxiety is a must. Your BCD may freeze inside and, potentially, your hands won’t grip objects as easily due to the extreme cold. Experienced dive guides will typically help you in this situation by “towing” you underwater while also trying to solve the issue.

An additional challenge with dry suit diving is envisioning when you are excessively buoyant and dumping out air as quickly as time permits – when you realize that you’re excessively buoyant, before you know it you fly up beside the swimmers above!

Part of the way through the dive, your legs may begin to feel chilly as though you were wet; however, you should disregard it as the suit is designed to keep you warm and dry during these situations. If you are at the highest or lowest limit in weight and height for a dry suit, you may have a different experience with the cold underwater as the suit would better fit others. After your dive and you’re above the surface, you may find that you are soaked, but the water will be warm as it’s been hugging your body throughout the dive.

Regardless of the difficulties, it should be an amazing time. The Silfra is a delightful dive with sunbeams penetrating the clear ice sheet water running down into the fissure; this would undoubtedly be a highlight for anyone during a vacation.

Other Helpful Tips

You may get wet. Dry suits can have breaks in many areas; however, you’d likely not see it or feel it until you’ve come out of the water.

When you are going to the Silfra Fissure, don’t use swimwear or cotton. Bring everything downy and fleece. Warm woolen socks are an absolute necessity to have there. It’s also great to have a variety of extra clothing just on the off chance that you do wind up getting wet. Hand warmers aren’t a terrible idea either!

Your hands will get chilly while submerged. Before diving, the guides will educate you that it’s best to keep your gloves on in the water at all times. The movement drives the warm water out of your neoprene gloves which helps with warming. In case you’re anticipating snapping photos, set yourself up with a underwater camera that is easy to use with gloves! On the off chance that you want to take photos with your smartphone while diving, get insurance. A waterproof case and insurance policy will be a genuine lifeline in Iceland between the snow, soil, and water during your experience.

Planning Your Next Adventure

Glide through the Silfra Fissure and the extraordinary rock formations will be revealed to you. Enjoy each of the four sections, each with a different character: the deep Silfra Crack, the majestic Silfra Hall, the expansive and rich blue world of Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon, which has the most incredible visibility. The expansive underwater world will suck you in and hold you in a state of wonder as you navigate every crevice.

With all of this information, you should be armed with the knowledge needed to have an amazing time diving in Iceland. The water, sea life, Icelandic culture, and geography will all astound you during your trip. Thousands of people each year take this trip to the fissure to find that they had been missing an extremely unique experience that can’t be found elsewhere in the world.

The Silfra Fissure is an amazing place to see what wonders the underwater world holds. So, don’t mind the flight across the globe! Those cramped airline seats will be worth it!

This is a guest post for Iceland in 8 Days written by Andrew Weilbacher.

Looking for some additional posts for incredible, unique Icelandic adventures? Check out some of these posts:

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