Iceland is a wild paradise. From geothermal lagoons, to dormant volcanoes that lay beneath glacial surfaces, Iceland is a vision of fire and ice. Our Travel Expert Heather Dunmore braved the clear, cold waters of Thingvellir National Park in the middle of winter and snorkelled the dramatic rift that divides two submerged continental plates. Here she shares her expert advice and her experience on this cool adventure in Iceland.
When people think about travelling to Iceland, there are a few things that probably come to mind right away: hiking glaciers, seeing the Northern Lights and trying an interesting array of foods. When I told people I was going to be snorkelling in Iceland, everyone looked at me like I had lost my mind.
“Why would you want to snorkel in one of the coldest places in the world in December?!”
My reply to this was, why wouldn’t you!?
This dive takes place in Thingvellir National Park which is also a UNESCO site and part of the Golden Circle tour. This is where two continental plates divide and you can literally touch both the North American and Eurasian plates at the same time. We arrived three days after Iceland had experienced one of the worst storms they had seen in over 25 years, so everything was covered in snow and it really did feel like we were north of the wall.
While I would highly recommend snorkeling in Iceland, there are a few things you should know before heading out on this once in a lifetime adventure!
1. Wear Layers
I wore two pairs of socks, a pair of long johns and a long sleeve shirt. You are in a dry suit so it is unlikely any water will get in but I did find that my fingers and toes got very cold and I almost could have worn another pair of socks. Water also tends to get into the hood of the dry suit and is a little cold on the ears. Make sure you bring warm layers for afterwards, as well. I brought an extra pair of fleece pants, sweater, hat, gloves, and all of it came in handy!
2. Drink the water
The water here is the clearest, purest water you will likely ever see. You are drinking straight from a glacier after all. The visibility is up to 100 metres (300 feet) and the cold is the price you pay for the luxury of drinking from such a source!
3. Bring a GoPro
A GoPro is the only camera option that will really work for snorkelling in Iceland simply because it’s so easy to use. By the end, your hands are so cold and numb that you will eventually find that any other camera is almost impossible to hold on to.
4. Consider it free Botox
Your face will swell especially your lips, so consider it a free lift courtesy of Iceland!
Our guide AJ called it liquid meditation; just let the current guide you, relax and enjoy the experience! How often can you say that you were able to float between two continental divides? It truly is an epic, once in a lifetime experience unique to Iceland.