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Scuba diving in Iceland – yes! You can scuba dive in the cold waters of the Continental Divide, Silfra!

Posted by on August 5, 2018

This was one of the trips that I have been waiting a long time to do. And that’s going scuba diving in Iceland. I know Iceland is cold as its name prescribes itself to, but it’s also very rewarding to go diving in just barely above freezing-temperature waters. But don’t let the cold scare you away, as a matter of a fact, I use that to my advantage so that there is less competition and less people going out there to go scuba diving. Most of the people traveling to Iceland are doing the Northern Lights, Golden Circle, Whale Watching, Snowmobile, Waterfalls, ATV, biking, or lava tours. I admit some of these tours sound fun but I want to feel the action through me instead of paraded around like sheeple to go watch this or that. Oh yeah, by the way, there are a lot of sheep in this country and that also includes tourists.

Tip: This trip requires you to be dry-suit qualified. I also recommend people to be somewhat experienced in scuba diving so you can enjoy this trip much more (peak performance buoyancy specialty helps as well!). When I went, the diving guide had to worry about 2 other divers, far less experienced than me, because as soon as I was in the water, I moving around like a natural fish. If you are not scuba certified and/or don’t have time, you can still go snorkeling in a dry suit if you’re still interested. Better is to be a scuba diver because it is quite expensive to do this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

tectonic plates division breaking diving scuba iceland continental divide

Our entry point into Silfra, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates split!

The diving company that I went with, picked me up from the bus stop (less than 1 minute walking from my hotel in Reykjavik) and later took me to the Silfra dive site. They setup all the gear and everything. Of course, this helps a lot if you book the trip and get all the pertinent information to them ahead of time.  They need this information because instead of wasting time trying the gear, they will bring the gear in the van that will pick you up. This also means bringing all of the necessary gear and other documents that you will need in order to do this dive.

Tip: Try to be first ones at the Silfra dive site. I was in the first group that was lucky enough to be first and only ones in! It helps with the visibility and then you can see how pristine and pure it looks even though there is some river current. It’s not as strong as the one in Cozumel, but you can feel it push you. You will definitely see why on the second dive because you’ll definitely see debris and dust-ups from other people.

silfra icelandic diving tour adventure

In Silfra! It’s so blue and clear in these pristine waters.

pure clean water glacier diving pureza clara agua

The water is so clean and clear that you can actually drink it! I drank some by accident but it was better than that salty oceanic water!

follow the diving guide blue waters

You have to follow the guide throughout this trip. Otherwise, you might find yourself in some serious deep waters meaning that you went too far.

follow the divemaster guide seguir seguia el guia de buceo bucear en icelandia

This diving requires a change in depths at times which is good because the deeper you go, the colder it gets. It’s still clean, clear, and fresh even at the shallow waters!

clear water reflection refleccion

I thought this was interesting to show how clear the water is.

blue clear waters agua azul wasser bleu

It was so unreal diving in waters that came from a glacier. I was told that it takes 50-100 years to get from the glacier to Silfra…. meaning that it’s been purified for a very long time!

algae clear clara claro agua rio lago dulce sweet freshwater

It’s clear but it’s green… meaning that the algae here has adapted to survive in near freezing temperatures.

When I first jumped in, the weather was cloudy but by the time I went in the second time, it was sunny with clear blue skies. It’s a complete change in the diving conditions because not only was it warmer, but the colors changed too. For example, the sun rays would blast in colors of the rainbow within the water. It’s something that cannot be videotaped or photographed – it must be experienced while scuba diving. I don’t think you get the same sensations even if you are snorkeling.

changed diving conditions visions view way looking at it

Sunlight completely changed the diving even though we were diving the same spot.

afternoon blue diving iceland Reykjavík

Following the guide again, but gosh, the visibility was even better. It was originally 100+ meters but I’m sure it could have been 200+ meters!

earthquakes plates theory geology atlantic ocean earth lava

There’s me touching both Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

silfra diving iceland icelandic cold water dry suit

Another picture to show how blue it was behind me.

tectonic plate break american european plates

Before swimming off, I thought I’d look back at the plates division. Don’t want to move your head too much otherwise you’ll change the water and get your head too cold.

sandbar fresh water adventuring freezing water drysuit peak performance buoyancy

You can see behind me that there is a sandy slope, kind of like a sand bar. You dive above it to get to some shallows.

crack dealer diving scuba layers warm diving icelandic

I was in this area called small crack. Makes me wonder if there are a lot of crack dealers around Iceland due to all the “crack” there is in this country.

shallow diving cold ice water barely freezing

About to leave Silfra and out of the water… it’s an amazing dive. And pricey, but one of those “one in a lifetime” trips.

My recommendation? Do it! Do it! It’s definitely one of the best dives that I’ve ever done. If you ever wanted to see the most alien place underwater on Earth – it’s Silfra, Iceland.


You can also get the Silfra Tectonic Diver specialty from PADI from this place. One of the few, hard-to-get specialties out there. People get key-chains, mugs, shirts, etc. as souvenirs…. I got this specialty instead!

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