Campaigns | Guest Editors | Mammals | Birds | Underwater | Landscapes | Pets | Other

Silfra – a dive between the Continents

by Darren

A couple of weeks back I was fortunate enough to dive Silfra Crack in Iceland, pictured above.  This channel is just six metres wide and has been formed by the separation of two geological (tectonic) plates which are moving apart at two centimetres a year.  Iceland is like a cookie, gradually breaking in two.

Yep you read that right.  In the image above, the rocks on the left hand side are the edge of the North American continental shelf.  The rocks on the right are the edge of the Eur-Asian continental shelf.  That on it’s own would make this one rather special dive site.

On top of all that the water comes from the Langjökull glacier 50 kilometres away. Over 30 years it filters through lava rock meaning that by the time it reaches Silfra it is oh, so pure.  The visibility underwater is in excess of 100m which might not sound like much to non-divers but believe me, it’s incredible.  It’s so pure that you can drink it while you dive and at 2 degrees celsius it’s perfectly chilled.   I just took my regulator out of my mouth at 15 metres underwater and took a drink!

Anyway, you didn’t come here to hear me eulogise about how wonderful this dive was – you want to see the pictures.  You’re going to see some interesting colours – that’s because water filters light, starting with the shorter wavelengths like red.  One of the features of this amazing visibility is that white balance varies throughout the scene meaning that images will get greener and bluer in the furthest parts of the image from the camera.

As I said before, the crack is 6m wide but in places the rocks come close enough that you can touch both continents!  At the end of the crack the water feeds into an amazing lagoon where that visibility really becomes clear.

What a terrible pun to end on.  I hope you enjoy the pictures :-)

Comments are closed.