Most Unique Dive in The World

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Diving Between Two Continents

Possibly but definitely rates up there as One of the Most Fascinating Dive Sites in the World.

Iceland is most likely not most divers first thought for a great destination. For an above-ground dip in a geothermal heated hot spring, it’s perfect, but for diving? You’d want someplace tropical, right?

But you should know, if you rule out Iceland, you’re missing out on one of the coolest (no pun intended) diving experiences in the world: swimming at Silfa Tectonic Fissure, a rift between the North American and Eurasian continental plates.

Iceland’s Silfra fissure, is known as one of the top dive sites in the world for two main reasons. First, the Silfra fissure is actually a deep crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, meaning that you dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about 2cm per year.

Silfra is the only place where one can dive or snorkel directly in the crack between two continental plates.

Secondly, the underwater visibility in the Silfra fissure is over 100 meters, which creates an underwater experience that will rarely, if ever, be surpassed. The reasons for this astounding water clarity are twofold: the water is cold (2°C – 4°C year round ) as it is glacial water from the nearby Langjökull and this water is filtered through porous underground lava for 30-100 years until it reaches the north end of Thingvellir lake, seeping out from underground wells. The Silfra water is as pristine as water can get and you can drink it at anytime during your dive or snorkel.

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Photo by: Alex Mastard

Those with claustrophobia, have no fear. While the plates are actually close enough at some points that it’s possible to touch them simultaneously, the gap is only getting wider—there’s no risk of being crushed to death by two 40 sextillion kilogram weights.

silfra-2

Photo by: Alex Mastard

Aside from the geological wonders, Silfra also offers quite the view. The water is glacial runoff, so it is stunningly blue and some of the clearest water in the world, with visibility of over 300 feet.

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Photo by Alex Mustard

Be warned that there isn’t huge variety to the view: The purity of the glacial water means not a lot of nutrients for animals or plants to live off of. But the calm seascape has its own stark beauty.

 

For many, Silfra is the dive of a lifetime. Not only can you  touch two separate continents during a dive, This takes “two places at once” to a whole new, lower level.

The results are a reminder that just when you think you’ve seen it all, there is much more to experince.

This Is What It’s Like To Dive Between Two Continents

The Silfra fissure consists of four sections: Silfra Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. Dives and snorkel swims tours are planned so that you are able to see all Silfra sections.

Although Thingvellir Lake has an abundance of fish species and trout fishing is very popular in the lake, the fish usually do not venture far into the Silfra fissure. The marine life in Silfra consists mostly of bright green “troll hair” and different types of algae that provide a colorscape unlike anything that occurs naturally above the surface.

The National Park Thingvellir has been declared a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE both for its cultural and historical significance as well as natural and geological uniqueness.  If you have friends or family accompanying you on your dive / snorkel but do not wish to get in the water themselves, the area around Silfra is full of lovely walking trails that lead through this fascinating place.

Silfra Crack Iceland from Wethorse

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June 3, 2016 |

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