I have to admit – these days, I don't do as many things that scare me as in my younger years. Back then, I was fearless – I climbed volcanoes at dawn, rappelled down waterfalls, and attended hostel toga parties in naught but a pink sheet. But far and away, scuba-diving in Iceland was the most badass thing I've done all year, and possibly in all my travels.
The morning of the dive, I sleepily climbed into a van with four other divers, and drove an hour to Þingvellir National Park, the site of the world's first parliament.
Þingvellir is notable not only for its political and historical significance, but also its geological. It is home to Silfra, a glacial-water fissure between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, which is where we would be scuba-diving.
Once we arrived it was time to suit up. Normally, getting into scuba gear is no biggie. But a dry suit is no tropical-water shortie – putting on a dry suit is awful. I felt like a kid asking the instructor, “Um, can you help me put on my fins?”
But once we waddled down to the water, I discovered the value of dry suit – I felt shockingly comfortable. As only my hands and face were exposed, the rest of my body was quite warm.
The moment I plunged under water I was blown away by how crystal clear the water was. Plus, you could drink it – the glacial water tasted like Voss times 1000.
As I swam along, marveling at the neon colors of the water and the DayGlo “troll hair”, my hands and face thankfully went numb.
This was a dive unlike any other I had done – there were no fish, coral, or trash – just cobalt water as far as the eye could see.
Next came the hardest part of the day – walking the half-mile back to the start of the dive site wearing more than seventy pounds of gear. It was the hardest work-out I've done since middle school track.
Ever seen a scuba divers crossing sign? Didn't think so.
During our surface interval, we treated ourselves to some well-deserved marshmallow hot chocolate and cookies.
The second dive was less successful. For some reason, my suit felt like a sausage casing, particularly when I descended. My GoPro also died (why do I always forget to charge my camera gear? Gah) but luckily the dive leader took pictures.
However, in the majority of them I look like a seal. Fairly photogenic on land? Yep. Underwater? Not so much.
After finishing the second dive and walking the exhausting half mile again, I was so happy to peel off the dry suit. But discomforts aside, by the end of the second dive, I felt extremely proud of myself. And if I'm being honest, I felt like a badass. It's not every day you dive in glacial water.
So if you're a diver, I would highly, highly recommend diving in Iceland. You may not see fish or coral, but you'll embark on one of the most beautiful and unique dives of your life.
Also, the lol of the day was waking up before the dive, having breakfast, and checking my phone to see the time. It was one in the morning. But because it was light out, I was confused. So I went back to bed and slept six more hours – ha. #icelandproblems
Would you ever go scuba-diving in Iceland?
A big thanks to Scuba Iceland for offering me a dive in exchange for a review. All opinions are (as always) my own.