September 8 – Scuba diving between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates at the Silfra fissure had been on my dive bucket list for quite some time so when it came time to plan my trip to Europe having a layover in Iceland just made sense.
I was on my way back to Thingvellir National Park. I had noticed the parking lot full of vans while walking the trail the day before. I was excited and a bit nervous as we got geared up. I’ve not been diving with a dry suit before, they’ve given plenty of warnings about it being a strenuous dive, and I knew there was a fair amount walking to be done in full gear.
We made our way to the entry point. There was a group of snorkelers going in so we waited in the cold for our turn. Not an exciting prospect when you’re getting ready to plunge into frigid waters.
It was our turn so we made our way down the stairs and into the water. It didn’t take long for me to feel some significant differences between being in a dry suit as opposed to my usual wet suit. It was nice to not have that flooding of cold water, but I also felt a bit out of control. I kept getting uncomfortably inverted, feet over my head and dropping. That’s a terrible position to find yourself in and I didn’t have enough dry suit experience to know how to correct it. After struggling through several attempts and feeling my anxiety level climb I signaled our dive master to surface. I regained my composure and let him know I was going to follow along with the group but would be staying toward the surface where I felt more comfortable.
The water was crystal clear so I could still see the fissure between the plates and the rest of the divers. It was amazing and I certainly wish I would have taken the time to do the dry suit class before my trip. Moving my body and all the gear through the water on the surface was likely more work than it would have been at depth. By the time we got to the end of the short dive I was exhausted.
It was quite the hike back to the van. Our dive master suggested I drop some of my gear and he’d make a second trip to gather it for me. While I appreciated the gesture there is no way I was going to stick him with that. I knew what I was signing up for, I will get this done eventually. Hot chocolate and cookies awaited us when we got to the van. It was a nice treat given the weather.
The tour included 2 dives but considering my issues during the first dive I opted out. I was exhausted and didn’t want to take away from the rest of the groups enjoyment. I changed out of my dry suit as they geared back out. I walked with them and hung out at the platform until it was their turn. I took this little video as they descended. The water is so clear you can see their fins for quite awhile.
With their second dive complete everyone got changed and packed all the gear in to the van. The heat was on full force as we made our way back into town. We were chilled but all head a great time.
I had rebooked the Northern Lights tour for the evening but again, the
weather made for poor viewing conditions.