Into the Abyss: Snorkeling in the Silfra Crack, Iceland

Have you ever seen the movie The Abyss? That’s what snorkeling in the Silfra Crack reminded me of; a spectacular world within a world. The Silfra Crack in Thingvillr National Park, Iceland is a place where the continental plates meet and drift about 2cm a year. The water that fills the Silfra Crack comes from a melting glacier that has traveled through lava fields and eventually makes its way through underground wells and into the crack. The water is crystal clear, in fact it’s so clean you can drink it as you snorkel (and we did).

IMG_8588It’s also cold as in C-O-L-D,Β between 2 degrees and 4 degrees celsius year round. Luckily we were outfitted in great dry suits that kept us warm leaving only our faces exposed. It is so frigid that your face immediately numbs upon hitting the water, so you don’t feel anything.

IMG_8605The water is so pristine that you can see hundreds and hundreds of feet below. At times I would get a little panicky and forget that I was merely floating on the surface and not deep in the crack. It’s easy to get vertigo when you can see so far down. It honestly felt like flying. It’s also a bit eerie and mysterious because with the exception of some plants and a few random minnow-sized fish there isn’t any sea/lake life. Just water, rocks and dancing rainbows of light.



Because the water is so cold you can only stay in about 30 minutes, even in a dry suit. I’m not sure if it was the freezing water, the mystique of the crack or just doing something completely out of my element but it was as if time stopped while we were in there. It felt like we were swimming for hours. Occasionally as I was gliding along the surface I would pop my head out of the water to get my bearings. With each entry back into the water it was as if I was returning into a secret world.


After snorkeling in the Silfra Crack I am now more convinced than ever that Iceland truly is beautiful inside and out.

Skal! -J



11 thoughts on “Into the Abyss: Snorkeling in the Silfra Crack, Iceland

  1. We did this last November – it is one of the best things we’ve done so far on our travels. My first time snorkeling too! The only thing is my hands got really cold and three fingers on my right hands were slightly numb for about 6 weeks afterwards. I was really scared I broke my hand but eventually all the feeling came back.

    Thanks for sharing the photos – we didn’t have a underwater camera so no photos but we did get lots of other exciting photos:

    1. It was one of the best things we have ever experienced as well! You know, a tiny bit of water got in my gloves towards the very end but other than that not bad. I can’t believe your fingers were numb for SO long! That is insane. You have some great photos, too! I am going to follow! πŸ˜‰

      1. Your hands were mostly dry? You must have had a different type of suit than us – the glove bits on our suits were suppoe to be wet. I am jealous for sure now! Stupid numb hands!!

        Glad you enjoyed our pix πŸ™‚

      2. Yeah, luckily we didn’t have a problem with water in the gloves. Our tour guide emphasized to keep our hands as still as possible, so I think I took it to the extreme. Ha! However, it did keep the water out. πŸ˜‰

  2. Wow, you took stunning photos. This must be magic to swim there. It’s still on my to-do-list. But as water isn’t my favourite element it’s quite at the end of that list. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing and happy weekend!

    1. You must do it! I am actually really afraid of the deep waters (thus why I’d never been snorkeling before) but it is so worth it. Our tour guide actually took the photos! We were able to buy an entire set for like $20 (also so worth it).

  3. Pingback: 4-Wheeling in Iceland | asixpackofstories

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