Monday, March 14, 2011

Let me ask you a very important question: what do these two images say to you?

Possible answers may include: "Holy moly! That looks cold/freezing/pretty/wet/snowy/sunny/beautiful!" or simply, "Hooray geology!"

You know what they say to me? Aside from all of the above answers?

Let's go scuba diving! Actually, not really. If you showed me these photos and told me I was diving here, I would say, "You know I wear a 5mm hood in warm water, right?"

That question may or may not also be preceded by, "You're fucking crazy."

Packing for Iceland, I had my cert card in hand, but laughed at the notion, as my entire suitcase held nothing but sweaters, hats, gloves and long underwear. The concept just seemed ridiculous.

To be honest, I didn't even know there was excellent diving here, but when I arrived, I walked past a dive shop and was immediately curious. Of course this required further investigation. As it turns out, you can actually dive the continental divide! It requires a dry suit and lugging 75 lbs. of gear 300 meters, but as Dive Magazine put it:

Diving Silfra is surreal. It’s probably best described as the closest experience to space-walking you are ever likely to get. Due to the extreme clarity, one loses all sense of depth. Indeed, Tómas Knutsson, who is the owner of the local dive centre in the town of Keflavik, has often had people suffering from vertigo when they first enter the water. The reasons for this outstanding clarity are two-fold. First, it is cold. Its temperature varies between 2 and 4ºC all year round. At this temperature nature stands little chance of supporting much aquatic life. Secondly, the water itself is of the purest form. It begins as distilled water when the leading edge of the glacier melts high up on the Hofsjokull mountain. This water then disappears and runs underground, to emerge once again in the Thingvellir national park. On its journey it is constantly filtered by porous lava rock. The water is so pure that it can be drunk without any form of treatment.

After reading that, there was clearly no way that I wasn't going to do this.

Photo taken 3.10.11.

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