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).
It’s also cold as in C-O-L-D, 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.
The 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.