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Tour Review: Snorkelling the Silfra Fissure from Reykavjik Iceland

Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures

You know how sometimes you forget what day of the week it is because you are too busy wondering  what the Earth’s surface looks like at the rift between two continental plates underwater? …. Probably not, but in case you answered yes to that question here’s my story of the day I found out the answer (and almost suffered from hypothermia doing so).
It was a warm 10 degree celcius afternoon in western Iceland and where was I? Standing in amidst the Pingvellir National Park playing tips with the all-too-friendly arctic breeze in nothing but my thermal underwear. Luckily, things didn’t stay this way for long, as over the course of the next hour I was fitted into not only a dry suit but also what they call a teddybear suit (i.e. the warmest piece of clothing you could ever put on. It basically makes you a sumo wrestler using thermal layers). All wrapped up I was ready to brave the 2 degree Celsius glacial waters that awaited my body – or so I thought. This is how the conversation with myself went for the first minute after jumping in the water:
“Good job Elle. This isn’t so bad now is it?”
“No, I think I can definitely handle this”
*Puts head under water*
“Oh god no I can’t. This is worse than a trip to the dentist. My lips are in numb-town already! I can’t do this…”
“… but it’s so pretty. There’s no going back now. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. 

Point being, if you can handle numb lips for the duration of the snorkel/dive, then you can handle this. And if you manage to still be able to use your lips, make sure to drink some of the Silfra water, as it is some of the purest in the world. Within the first 10 minutes of the 30 minute snorkel, I didn’t even notice how numb my lips were as the wave of disbelief that I was actually seeing with my own eyes the ecosystem of the silfra fissure washed over me as I washed over the Big Crack, Silfra’s narrowest section and the point at which the Eurasian and North American continental plates are so close together that you can almost touch them both at the same time.

Tips:
* Go in the warmer months if you can as even though you rise from the waters 99% dry and the temperature of the glacial water stays largely constant year round, I can’t imagine knowing that the water that is making your lips go instantly numb is actually warmer than the temperature outside.
* Book through Arctic Adventures, who had the most approachable and professional guides one could hope for in this context.
* Don’t forget those thermal socks!

Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Pingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures
Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland with Arctic Adventures

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