The next day, we were supposed to be diving in a lake fed by a geothermal hot spring. However, a storm had washed away part of the gravel road leading to it, therefore making it inaccessible while we were there. That's a testament to just how rugged the landscape is in Iceland. Even though it has been inhabited for over 1000 years, from when the first Vikings landed there, very little of the island has been tamed by man. But, it's a good thing to leave some things unspoiled.
Instead, we dove in the lake in the Þingvellir (Thingvellir in English), a national park not far from Reykjavik, famed for it's Golden Circle. Along the way, we made a couple of sight seeing stops. Near the park Visitor's center, you can get a fantastic view of the lake and valley that contains Silfra, and even do some light hiking along it. The geology and landscape were absolutely stunning! Sheer cliffs rose out of the valley, evidence of all the volcanic and tectonic activity that has happened in Iceland over the millenia. In the distance, Bardarbunga, the most recent volcano to have erupted in 2014, could be seen. It's snow capped peak resting silently until the next time magma decides to bubble up from the earth.
We dove at David's Crack, a large fissure underwater, about 150 meters from the shore. We once again set up our gear, donned out drysuits, and waded into the cold, glacially-fed lake. The lake temperature fluctuates very little throughout the year; from about 37F to 41F. After descending under the surface, I was stunned. Not by the cold water (although it does take your breath away for a minute), but by the sight before us.
As far as the eye could see (which is about 300 feet underwater), was the most beautiful underwater scene we had ever encountered. The crystal clear, almost turquoise, waters were accented by the sun reflecting off of the surface, dancing on the rocks that lay on the bottom, casting miniature rainbows where ever you looked. We quickly found the line that led to the fissure and followed it. If the sights at the shore were stunning, coming up on this huge fissure underwater was even more amazing. Out of nowhere, a large crack in the lake floor appears. In some places, it's so deep and dark, you can't see where it ends. We swam along, inside the crack, for about 20 - 25 minutes. Every kick brought a new, fantastic sight. It's quite humbling, and breathtaking, to suddenly look up and see steep walls rising on either side of you, the sun shining down into the crack, the fissure extending to untold depths below and look straight ahead, into the dark, clear blue waters in front of you. I think I literally gasped when I saw this and made some colorful exclamation, despite the regulator in my mouth.
In all seriousness, this dive was just stunning. Even the people we were diving with were awesome. They were three brothers, originally from Boston, but now live all along the west coast, from Washington to Los Angeles. Before this trip, they each got certified in their local city and this was their first time all diving together. And they were all great divers already! We told them that they were completely spoiled having Iceland as their first cold water diving experience (outside of open water check out dives).
Aaron and I both had the same thought at the end of the day, ''If the diving is this good today, what will the dives be like tomorrow?!''
Check back on Friday to see TONS of pictures from our two dives in Silfra!