I’m going to try to not inundate you with too many photos in this post, but it’s going to be hard. I photographed nearly every inch of the Silfra Fissure and choosing which ones to share is a little like choosing between my children. You know, if I had children. Maybe dogs would be more appropriate here. Anyway, due to the freezing nature of the water, we wear really thick, not very dexterous gloves which makes it hard to compress the shutter. Instead, I set the camera to time-lapse and let it go, taking a picture every 2 seconds. 947 pictures later, there isn’t a part of Silfra I don’t have on my computer.
But to back up a bit, the Silfra Fissure is the crack between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. Every year they drift a little further apart. This separation is the cause of all the geothermal activity in this area and basically why Iceland exists. It’s also the only landmass on this fissure that is above water. If you head south, the next piece of land you’ll hit is Antarctica. Pretty cool!
The reason snorkeling and/or diving the Silfra Fissure is so cool is that, in certain places you can reach out and literally touch two continents at the same time. And I for one, can’t wait to give it a try!
As soon as we arrive, we start stripping down to our long underwear and get suited up in a fleece under layer and a drysuit outer layer. Back in 2011, I got dry suit certified here in Seattle as part of my advanced open water dive certification (and because the Puget Sound is not warm), so this process is not unfamiliar to me. It’s also my least favorite part as they are a huge pain to get in and out of. Worth it though to stay warm and dry! For those who don’t know, a dry suit is just that – a suit that keeps you (hopefully) dry. You can wear your own clothing underneath to help keep you warm. Only your hands and head will get wet. There’s a seal around the neck and arms, and if it’s not tight enough, the instructors add straps to tighten them further. It’s a bit unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as hypothermia.
After everyone is ready, our snorkel master (is that what they call them?) shows us the route we’ll be taking and explains how everything will go.
Then we set off towards the entrance to the fissure.
Before we get in the water, we have to spit into our masks to keep them from fogging up. Our instructors come around one last time to make sure all our gear is on and fitting properly.
Then we descend the steps and enter the freezing water. The last bit of air is squeezed out of our suits, and I get my first taste of some of the cleanest water in the world (that’s right, I drink a whole bunch of it. I’m still dehydrated from that plane ride)!
The water is so blue and you can see so far!
We wait as a group for everyone to join, then set off on our adventure.
I’m going to pause the commentary here for a bit and let you enjoy the pictures uninterrupted. Feel free to jump in with any questions if you have them!
When we reach the end, we have the choice of staying in for 10 more minutes or getting out right away. Emma books it for the exit while I stay as long as possible.
Here’s a quick video I shot.
It’s a 5 minute walk back to the spot where we got ready.
When we’re done, we put all our warm clothes back on. Our faces are swollen and our noses are stuffed from the cold water. It feels like I have a serious cold but thankfully it goes away eventually.
While we wait for everyone to be fully dressed again, I grab my main camera and run back to the fissure to take some above-water shots. It’s so picturesque, I just can’t help myself.
(Sneak peek – tomorrow morning we’ll come back here and look out on this place from that spot on top of the cliff)
Did you make it through all that? Just know there’s a lot of pictures I didn’t share. I care about you that much. After our snorkel, Emma and I can’t wait to get back to our hotel to crash. We’ve been up for over 30 hours, crawled through a lava cave and snorkeled the freezing waters of the Silfra Fissure. And tomorrow we have an early start to see the Golden Circle. More to come!