"Okay, your first task is to drink some of this water," says my Scuba instructor, Aron, as I enter the water in Iceland's Silfra rift. I haven't even submerged yet, but I'm floating in a dry suit in 2 degree water. "Just stick your face in and drink." So I do. It's the best tasting water in the world.
It's also the clearest: The water flowing through Silfra is running off a glacier about 50 kilometers away and has been extensively filtered. Silfra is one of the clearest (if not the clearest) scuba diving sites in the world.
After I successfully complete my first task (yum!) we begin our dive. Everything I read was true: the clarity underwater in Silfra is unbelievable.
We make our way through the crack, but stop every so often to admire the underwater scenery. We reach a critical point in our dive and I gingerly reach out both my arms, as if I might break something. Slowly, my left hand lands on rock. Then my right. I'm now touching both the American continental plate and the Eurasian continental plate.
I'm literally floating in the narrow gap between two continents.
This is a big moment for me: Not only am I diving in one of the world's best diving sites, but it's one of my first scuba dives ever. Just two weeks ago, I was lowering myself into a swimming pool to learn how to breathe underwater.
Now, I'm diving in a crack in the earth and I'm following Aron as we rotate onto our backs and look up through about 18 metres of crystal clear water to see the clouds above us. It's like there's nothing separating us from the sky.
My face is freezing and I'm not entirely used to wearing a dry suit (I need Aron's help to get in and out of the thing) but I feel like I'm on fire anyway. I already know I don't want this dive to end.
Silfra is located in Thingvellir national park. This is where the continents are drifting apart about 2 centimetres every year. That's why Aron specifically tells us not to explore any nooks and crannies in the crack - there are hundreds of mini earthquakes every day, causing rocks to shift all the time.
Even with that in mind, I feel like these are some of the calmest waters I've ever been in. The only thing stirring up the bottom of the shallow lake, where we end up after we traverse the crack, is me and my wayward flippers, although I'm trying my best.
I emerge on the other side of the lake proud, tired and in awe. I'm not sure how my next dive, now that I'm a certified diver, can compare to this, but I'm certainly willing to try different spots until I find something that measures up.
If you go: Check out Dive.IS; they'll help all levels of divers (and snorkellers) experience Silfra.
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Adrienne is an avid traveler, always eager to explore and learn something new. Her writing (both travel and otherwise) has been published in Canadian Living, Homemakers, the National Post, 2 for couples and on YourHome.ca, among others. She's always on the lookout for an interesting story.
Located: Kitchener Canada
Likes: adventure, romantic getaways, ecotourism, food and drink, culture, health