From Iceland — Snorkelling in Between Two Continents

Snorkelling in Between Two Continents

Published September 2, 2010

Photo by
Julia Staples

Mother Earth is a stable, solid rock – that has always been something I was sure of. Walking on this special piece of earth called Iceland, this fundamental certainty vanishes. Observing erupting volcanoes and hot steam leaking out of the mountains, I get the feeling that this freaky nature is everything else but stable and solid.

Þingvellir is the place where I literally see the world breaking in two. There are big cracks crossing the landscapes, forming huge rifts. This is the place where the Eurasian and the North American continental plates drift apart about two centimetres per year. That is fucking creepy. If it is not scary enough to lose the conviction of secure grounds, we are about to go snorkelling in Silfra, one of those cracks, which is filled with water. It might sound like fun, but think about it: What if, while I’m in there, the world really breaks apart? Or, if the continental plates can drift apart, what if they decide to move back together again? What will happen if I sink, will I end up in the centre of the earth?

The other tourists on this day trip don’t seem worried at all. Our tour guide, a relaxed Icelandic surfer, unpacks the snorkelling devices. There is a lot of giggling and funny photo taking going on. Putting on our “bear suits” (a warm under suit, to protect us from the cold), we are told that the water is supposed to be two to four degrees. Now I see a few concerned faces, but not for long. Putting on the funny looking dry suits with attached shoes, the crowd gets even more excited. The last uncovered faces disappear under big goggles and snorkels. This is the time, when the fun-picturetaking reaches its peak – while I try not to pee my pants… or, erm… my bear suit. Walking clumsily in this unusual turn-out to the crack, I realise, that there is no way out now.

One after the other has to stop by the surfer dude to get his suit checked, put on flippers and then spit in their goggles (please don’t ask why!). After this procedure I find myself in the water. It doesn’t feel cold at all! It is not scary at all! It is beautiful as hell!

Magic Water Wonderland

The suit gives me buoyancy. I am moved forward by the light current, so I hardly ever have to paddle. Floating in the crystal clear water, I almost feel like flying. Below me unfold uncountable shades of blue, from marine to turquoise. The sun draws trembling patterns on the ground below at depths of three to thirty meters. I am surrounded by rough rocks – European rocks to the right and American ones to the left.

I could touch both continents at the same time (but I don’t, because I was told not to). Following the guide, we are snorkelling in line, one after the other. Even though I see the other snorkellers ahead of me, I kind of feel alone. Around me is total silence, except the sound of my breath through the snorkel. I focus my sight on the water wonderland below me and luckily see one extraordinary colourful fish swimming by.

Later on, I watch a lost flipper sinking to the ground – gracefully. After about forty-five minutes of overwhelming view, I crawl out of the water again. Looking back on the water in the crack, nature doesn’t seem so scary after all; more like a beautiful miracle. The other members are heading to the next event of the trip.

Jumping from a cliff down into the water, they are having a blast. I decide that I had enough excitement for one day so I just keep on standing in the sun, contemplating this sublime – and (hell yeah!) fun – experience

Arctic Adventure´s snorkelling tour “Into the Blue” costs 9.990 ISK, with a pick up in Reykjavik 12.990 ISK.

Trip provide by Arctic Adventures. Booking tel.: +354 562 7000 or

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