Scuba Diving in Iceland
Did you know that Iceland offers excellent diving opportunities?
There are several dive sites in Iceland both in the ocean and freshwater. The temperatures of the water in and around Iceland range from 2°C to 10°C so all dives are in drysuits. Two of the dive sites in Iceland, the lava ravine Silfra and the geothermal chimney of Strýtan, are unique on a global scale.
Silfra is a lava ravine in Þingvellir, the Parliament Plains, caused by the drifting apart of the two continental plates Eurasia and America. The ravine constantly receives new groundwater that originates from the glaciers and has been filtered through the lava for 10 to 20 years. The filtration results in crystal-clear water offering extraordinary visibility. Another lava-ravine dive site, Bjarnagja, is found on the Reykjanes Peninsula where the North Atlantic ridge reaches the shore. Although Bjarnagjá is much smaller than Silfra it gives the opportunity for a unique diving experience.
The geothermal chimney, Strýtan, is in North Iceland near Akureyri. Geothermal chimneys are found in many geologically active areas throughout the world. They are generally in very deep oceans and Strýtan is the only chimney in the world that lies within the depth limits of recreational diving. The chimney starts on the ocean floor at 70m and reaches up to around 15m below the surface. The typical dive profile for the chimney is a fast descent down to 30m and then a slow accent circulating the chimney on the way up. The warm water can bee seen, and felt, where it exits from the chimney and enters the cold sea. The warm water supports a large number of different species.
In addition to these three sites, there are many sea diving opportunites around the island. Some of the sea sites are reachable from the shore and others require a boat. The visibility in the ocean is variable. It can sometimes be too poor to dive in and it can sometimes be up to 15m. The visibility is generally best in the wintertime. However, in periods of calm weather the visibility in the summertime may be up to 10m offering a good opportunity to explore the marine life in the North Atlantic ocean.