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Diving in Iceland

Discussion in 'Scandinavia' started by Rich1234, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. hazmat

    hazmat Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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    No certification needed. They'll give you a quick rundown. And DiveIceland, at least, uses Scubapro Everydry 4 suits, which fit almost like wetsuits. It was pretty seamless for me, and I'd only done one other dive in a drysuit, at a DUI demo day.
     
  2. alewar

    alewar Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Dark side of the moon
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    To me it looks like a pretty boring dive: No wrecks, caves, vegetation, fish, or any other kind of macroscopic life. In fact, the most interesting thing I saw in those pictures were the partially submerged stairs. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Iceland is an amazing place. I would rather dive off its coast though, with less visibility but something to see.
     
  3. hazmat

    hazmat Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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    On the contrary, it's an amazing dive. You're literally right in between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The visibility is about as perfect as you'll find. The water is fresh, and possible the sweetest, most delicious you've ever tasted. And there's some very interesting vegetation, plus the really amazing colors of the rocks. There's definitely a reason Silfra is often listed as one of the best dives in the world.
     
    MyszkiAU likes this.
  4. TAP

    TAP Garibaldi

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    I went to Iceland on holiday recently and was superkeen to dive Silfra, so contacted all local dive shops. The price is an astonishing ISK44000 or €350 for a double dive with the local dive centres. This includes gear rental and transport, so let's say you pay €50 for transport and €75 for the gear, that leaves €225 for a guide for half a day...

    Fair enough, dive shops have to make a living and these guys obviously have to make a killing in Summer as they won't be as busy in Winter.

    We decided that we would dive it unguided, so asked what the gear rental prices were and multiple dive shops told us that (by the national park rules) we were only allowed to dive Silfra with a guide? So we emailed the national park (Thingvellir) and it turns out that this is simply a lie. You can buy a permit for ISK1000 (€7.50) per person for the day and you have to sign a waiver at the national park information center (5 minutes from the dive site). We asked for directions and some more information and they told us the following:

    - Rent your gear from a local dive shop (after reading this post we got in contact with Valdi at Hafsport.is - he rented us the gear for about €75 per person (including 1 tank). It was all high quality gear and the drysuits with undergarments were warm enough for a 40 minute dive at Silfra).
    - Ask for a dive brief at the dive shop where you rent the gear (so we did - Valdi gave us a complete overview of the site)
    - Swing by the national park information centre on the day you want to dive to pay for the permit and to sign the waiver

    We drove to Silfra the day before we wanted to dive (while doing the Golden Circle) and had a chat to the ranger at the information centre. He told us that it was best to meet the park ranger at the parking area as the dive shops try to send unguided divers away by telling them the same lie again - that it's not allowed to dive without a guide...

    So the next day we picked up the gear, bought the permits and met up with the park ranger at the parking area who gave us another briefing of the site. We kitted up and jumped in and were stunned by the beauty of this dive site. It definitely was the clearest water we have ever seen (and yep, it tastes great too!), but apart from the cold water (it was 2 degrees!), there is nothing challenging about this dive site, so you can definitely dive this without a guide and save yourself €225 per person.

    The briefing was simple. Just follow the crack until you hit the sand bank. When you hit the sand back, turn left and you'll end up in the lagoon. In the lagoon there is an easy exit point (stairs and a platform) and you simply walk back along the path for about 400m or so. And it is as simple as it sounds. We followed the crack for about 35 minutes and took a few hundred photos (we didn't see another diver or snorkeller while we were there). When we hit the sand back (you can see it coming from a mile away - see attached photo), we ascended along it and headed left, straight into the lagoon. Within minutes the exit point was visible, so we had a quick look around the lagoon and then exited and walked back along the path (with a blue face and blue hands haha, 2 degrees is definitely very cold). It really is as simple as that!

    We did get a few looks from the dive centre guides, but noone bothered us while we were there. The park ranger was a lovely lady and she met up with us again after the dive for a chat and to check how it all went.

    So there you have it, it's an easy dive site with crystal clear waters and correct us if we're wrong, but we don't think you can get lost here unless you miss the sand bank, which is pretty much impossible,so we hope this thread will help someone else to dive this site without a guide - it helped us a lot and we're thankful for everyone's comments (as it saved us close to €500).

    Sand Bank (in the background):
    Sand Bank.jpg

    Entry point (in the background):
    Silfra Dive.jpg
     
  5. beaverdivers

    beaverdivers ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Wow! Thanks for the in-depth report.
     
  6. Neilwood

    Neilwood Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Scotland
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    I am hoping to dive there with a group of friends next year if we can get our diaries to line up.

    Thanks for the information - particularly about not needing a guide! As there will likely be 4-6divers depending on diaries, that adds up to a lot of money!
     
    MyszkiAU likes this.
  7. kokanee

    kokanee Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Reno
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    I'm planning a 2 week ring road trip to Iceland for next summer and am considering snorkeling rather than diving Silfra because of cost and time restraints. I'm thinking that if the water is so very clear then I should be able to see a alot from the top; am I wrong? Has anyone done both or has some knowledge of the difference between the dive and the snorkel tours?
     
  8. TAP

    TAP Garibaldi

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    Kokanee, it's that clear that you should just be able to hop in (in your drysuit) and snorkel it. There are that many groups going out that you could just wait for one to go out and follow them around. I'm sure they wouldn't like that, but with a few groups going through every hour, I imagine it would be hard to stop you? Just make sure you get a permit and talk to the ranger before you jump in!
     
  9. jdevic

    jdevic Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Toronto
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    Thank you so much for the information! I want to go back to iceland just to dive Silfra but it is hard to swallow the ridiculous price the tour companies charge. Now i need to find a dive buddy who is willing to go with me!
     
  10. Sarah21

    Sarah21 Garibaldi

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    Hey all,

    Just a quick update to this thread. Hafsport no longer rent out equipment except tanks and weights :( . Does anyone know of another Dive shop that would rent full gear? We were hoping not to lugg the entire kit include dry suits on the flights....

    Thanks!
     

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