Silfra Dive EXTRAVAGANZA
Day 3 Iceland. Silfra fissure.
Iceland was probably the most planned out of all the places we visited. We prebooked a lot of our activities and snorkeling between the two tectonic plates was no different.
Our dive time was scheduled for 9 am. We didn’t leave the hostel, till 8:45 am. On the confirmation email adventure Iceland sent they instructed us to arrive thirty minutes prior to diving for a safety brief and suit fitting. Whoops.
Along with the thirty minute drive we had to do. We didn’t arrive until 9:30 am. The guide director was very irritated at the gull of us to show up so late. She said there was nothing she could do in terms of reimbursement for our tardiness.
A bearded English fellow from Manchester, spoke up and said we might have some openings in the later dives. He pulled out a printed guest list and scheduled dives.
“There could be an opening at the 10:30 dive.”
We were told.
Which meant that we had about an hour to kill. There were two options, either a. pretend to nap in the nissan micra or b. Walk about one of Iceland’s national parks in near hailing conditions?
We chose the former. The wind howled at the windows, as we pulled our beanies over our eyes to take a nap. I don’t think a wink of sleep was gotten at that time.
I anxiously observed the time click down on my watch. We weren’t going to be late this time. We were going to be early and get on that dive.
We were early, but we didn’t get on that dive. Again it seemed like our chance of this aquatic experience might be slipping away. Yes there was an opening at the 10:30 am dive. The problem was there was only one opening. We needed two. The British guy assured us there was two openings at the noon dive.
Discouraged, we left the national park and drove to the closest place we could get something to eat.
20 kilometers later.
A grocery store just cracked it’s doors to let customers in. Kronan was a bargain grocery store recommended in some literature I read at the hostel. This would be the place where we would break our fast.
Tyler the good ole american Saturday morning watching cartoons while eating cereal, got him some cereal. Frosted flakes for the win.
I was trying to have a balanced diet of gobs of peanut butter, bananas, and a drink labeled BCAAS! I even balanced my diet further by helping my self to some frost flakes as well. After we ate our fill, we decided to fill the car up, as we had quite the journey ahead of us after the dive.
We made it. Everything went off without a hitch. Well for me at least the dry suit fit snugly, but I was still concerned about the cold. These are suits that you need someone’s help to put on. When all the zippering, velcro, and rubber banding is done you are ready for submersion. Congratulations! With the suit on your fingers have as much dexterity as a three toed sloth. When you walked it made that swish swish noise of fabric rubbing together. The walk was not long till we descended down a metal stair case into a finger of a glacial lake.
The dry suits compressed under the tension of near freezing water. The once baggy suits now made us feel like steaks in vacuum sealed bags. Then we put our flippers on. one at a time. Almost time to jump in? Wrong. We had to properly anti fog our masks before snorkeling. Turns out that spit is not only a lubricant, but also an anti fog. It wasn’t long after the Icelandic dame of a guide demonstrated and spoke in her best English how to spit in the rental masks.
The strategy worked perfectly as we were now ready to dive. The water was deep and blue and visibility stretched down along the rift between the two tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia.
This would be the second time in my life where I would intentionally drink water and swim at the same time. Which due to the extreme buoyant dry suit would lead me into a problem.The suits made your midsection the part of my body which floated the most. I took one too many swallows and had to get a mouthful of air before I could put my snorkel back on. It felt like I tweaked my back trying to bend up to get air. Once I got my breathing tube situated I could enjoy what I was experiencing. The whole dive takes no more than thirty minutes depending on if the wind is on your back. I took rocks from near the surface and let them sink to the bottom of the gulch. My eyes followed it down into the shadows and counted as long as I could. The crevice is getting bigger each year moving as much as a 2 centimeters a year.
The suits kept your body heat in, but the exposed parts of the lips and forehead got tormented by the cold water. I floated along at a nice doggy paddle. Tyler when he saw the exit platform made his way there with quite haste. I floated over and was the second of the group to start disembarking my rental gear. The rumors spread by the tour guide was cookies and hot coco would be served as reward for a successful dive. Allegedly the tradition goes back to the viking age, but sources can not be confirmed.
Yes, me and Tyler were the first ones there. Did our over zealousness reward us any sooner? No. We rushed the van got back into our warm clothes as quick as possible.
Then we got cookies.