Photos of one of the world’s coolest diving sites put SCUBA diving on my “to do” list. Yes, it even trumps my inner desert dweller’s disdain for water that’s 36 degrees F.
But it’s not the low temperatures that make Iceland’s Silfra Rift one of the world’s most unusual diving sites. It’s the scenery. This is where the American and Eurasian continents collide. Underwater cliffs mark the division. SCUBA divers can swim among cliffs that tower up to 65 feet over them on both sides.
And back to that cold water: The low temperatures give a clarity to the water that creates visibility of more than 300 feet. So why is the water so cold? It’s meltwater from a glacier … chilly!
I’m kind of a big baby about water in general. Cold water makes things even worse for me. Plus, I wasn’t looking for diving sites during my visit to Iceland. I wanted to stay as dry as possible considering Iceland’s wild weather and often-cold (even in summer) temperatures. And now, that’s one of my regrets. Next time I go back, the Silfra Rift will be high on my list. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors dive center in Iceland is my go-to resource to find a way to check out the Silfra Rift.
I get excited about seeing the planet in action. And the collision between the plates is pretty dramatic … not as much ash and lava as other places around Iceland. Not even a monstrous pile of glacier – but still worth slipping into a dry suit to witness, if the pictures are any indication.
Enjoy the photos … you can see more from someone who chose to snorkel instead of SCUBA dive. And if you’re a SCUBA diver, I’d like to hear about other diving sites. What are some of your favorites?
Silfra is in Þingvellir National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just before 1000 AD, it’s where Iceland’s inhabitants formed its first parliament. It’s worth a stop to see a bit of Iceland’s history after you’ve seen tectonic plates collide at one of the most famous diving sites in the world.