Island is an island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Over 10 percent of the country’s territory is covered by glaciers, including Europe’s largest glacier – Vatnajökull. Iceland’s nature has managed to remain mostly unspoiled as the island’s population is just around 339,000 and two-thirds of it lives in the capital city of Reykjavík. Iceland has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, and divers will surely enjoy their time here.
If you’re looking for sunshine, warm tropical waters, and an abundance of colorful marine life to feast your eyes with, you won’t find it here. What you will find, however, is some of the world’s best cold-water diving. Iceland offers divers the unique chance of diving between two tectonic plates and Earth’s only known diveable hydrothermal vents.
Silfra dive site
The best time to dive in Iceland is April through October, with the option of doing a midnight sun dive in the month of June. While you’ll find stable conditions underwater throughout the year, it’s best to visit during the aforementioned months as the surface conditions can get rough during the winter.
You can’t dive in Iceland without a dry suit. Those that are not yet dry suit certified can get their certification here. The water temperature at the Silfra dive site is 35° F/2° C - 39° F/4° C all year round. Divers will need to wear a dry suit even when diving thermal springs, as you’ll be exposed to very cold water before getting to the hot water.
The visibility varies by site, but divers will experience fantastic visibility at dive sites like Silfra and Nesgjá.
Silfra is a rift formed between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Diving and snorkeling are done exactly where the two continents meet, providing a unique opportunity you won’t find anywhere else. The dive site is ever-changing as the fissure widens or experiences changes in depth. The constant shifting of the Earth also creates new caverns and tunnels. The water is extremely pure and visibility reaches over 100 meters (328 feet); it is said that Silfra has the clearest water in the world.
Another unique experience you can enjoy in Iceland is diving next to a hydrothermal vent. These fissures are usually located deep down in the ocean, but not Strytan that rises only 49 feet (15 meters) below the surface. This cylindrical chimney is the product of over 11,000 years of natural mineral deposition. Three chimneys have been discovered at the location, but only one is dived. While diving is possible all year round, it is important to note that only experienced dry suit divers with at least 20 logged dry suit dives are allowed to dive at Strytan.
Located 30 minutes south of Reykjavik, Kleifarvatn Lake is a popular diving location because of its geothermal spring. Streams of bubbles surround the divers as they’re swimming through this spectacular lake. And it’s these gas bubbles that cause the surrounding rocks to vibrate, a vibration that those who dive here can feel very well. Kleifarvatn is not an easy dive because of the low visibility and strong currents, and it too requires the use of a dry suit.