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Snorkeling Silfra in Iceland is a once-in-lifetime experience and the perfect Icelandic adventure. Exploring it’s quiet, crystal clear waters is unlike anything else. When I booked my snorkeling tour through DIVE.IS I was excited, but also somewhat nervous. Dry suit? What is that? Thirty-six degrees Fahrenheit? That’s cold. Really cold. Here is everything you need to know about snorkeling Silfra:
What Is Silfra?
For those not familiar with Silfra, it is a rift formed between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates within Þingvellir Lake. It’s located right outside of Reykjavik and it is the only place in the world that one can snorkel between two continental plates. It is also some of the world’s clearest water. The water funneled through the crack in the plates is glacier melt-off that has been filtered through lava rock for 30-100 years until it reaches the lake resulting in the most pure water you will ever drink or swim in.
Preparing for the Water
I met up with the tour at Þingvellir National Park and despite being chilly, it was an otherwise pleasant day. After a brief overview of what the afternoon had in store for us, our guides began to instruct us as to how to actually get into the dry suit and hopefully make it leak proof. The whole process of putting it on took about 30 to 40 minutes. It wasn’t easy and assistance was definitely needed.
I wore my warmest pair of thermals and socks as my base layer. I was then given an insulation layer to zip over those. It’s necessary that everything fit correctly, so giving the tour company your accurate height and weight beforehand is important. The guides then made rounds helping everyone get into the suit itself. They assisted us in putting on the mitts and hood and lastly, provided us with a mask and fins. The only part of your body that is exposed after all of this is your face, mainly your mouth area.
What to Expect While Snorkeling
It’s now time to get in the water. Don’t worry about the suit weighing you down, it will actually help you float. The current will push you along and moving through the waters requires very little effort. It is totally normal for water to slowly start seeping into the mitts. Your hands, along with your exposed lips, will eventually go numb after a certain period of time. This isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds.
The beauty of Silfra’s clear, blue waters easily distracted me from the cold and after a short while, I wasn’t thinking about it anymore. The only extreme cold I experienced was the initial getting in and then upon exiting the water. It was an absolutely amazing experience and the guides from DIVE.IS were great. Was it worth it? So much yes!
If you are looking for an affordable place to stay near the lake, I recommend Golden Circle Apartments. They are set up like actual apartments with a kitchen, which is great for saving money. However, I wouldn’t spend more than a night or two here, as there isn’t much else to do in the area.
To read more about fun things to do in the area, check out my post, “Day Trips from Reykjavik.”