Iceland Swimming & Diving Tour 2015 Blog
Feb 05 2016
Our 2015 Iceland swimming and diving tour was probably the best yet, the extension tour to the North put the gloss on the tour this year! We started with our classic 3-day tour around the SW of Iceland, basing ourselves at the usual haunts in Reykjavik! The city was much the same as the previous year but it seems tourism is doing well for the city! As ever, we started off our trips visiting the clear water of the Silfra national park where the swimmers donned their drysuits to experience the clear but cold (4 degrees) water in some comfort before they had a quick dip in their wetties later. The divers of course view this from below, gaining a different perspective on the formations and geology of the split between Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
This video footage shows you Pauline Squire a swimming coach experiencing the clear waters in the sunshine! With the water temperature, most swimmers enjoy a refreshing dip at the end of the day. Whereas the divers had a leisurely couple of dives, exploring the formations, split between the plates, and the stunning visibility of the lagoon.
After our fun in the water and warming hot chocolate, we visited the impressive geothermal sites with exploding Geysers and Gulfoss waterfall! The sun just broke through the clouds enough to form a lovely rainbow at Gulfoss, making a lovely end to another spectacular first day in Iceland. On our second day, we were blessed with a lovely weather forecast which really makes the landscape sing! Our destination today was the volcanic lake where we can swim and dive through the geothermal activity of bubbles! Although we also had an ice mile record attempt to complete! Roger Taylor one of our regular clients had been training for his ice mile for a couple of years and the previous year’s trip to Iceland inspired him to attempt it there. Through the International Ice Mile Association there haven’t been any ice miles completed in Iceland so he was to be the first ice man, to complete the ice mile in Iceland! For those who don’t know much about this madness, you need to complete a mile distance open water swim in less than 5 degree water with no wetsuit on. For us mere mortals the thought of that was quite crazy! On the trip were with very experienced swim coaches who were on hand to officiate and Shane who was leading the trip from Basking Shark Scotland providing some safety swimming support for Roger. He managed the feat in 58min to be the 132nd person in the world to have done so! Huge congrats to Roger – what an achievement!
Then of course after a couple of days playing in the cold water a trip to the Blue Lagoon for a celebratory beverage is necessary! It’s a great place to unwind after a stunning couple of days. The pool was a nice temperature this year, with the obligatory face mud masks accompanying a welcome beer after a hard couple of days in the water! We had been slightly spoiled with Aurora already on the trip, as only moments after we picked up the minibus at the airport, the Aurora filled the skies giving us a wonderful welcome on arrival. We took a break the first night from an official trip out but on the second the forecasted cloud was due to pass so we headed out to our usual spot. Photographers with their tripods clicked away while the water babies wanted more hot water so got in the hot tub whilst watching the lights. Everybody was able to sleep well after a busy couple of days. On our last day in the south, the weather was quite wet, but still, we managed to explore some amazing waterfalls and have some al fresco swimming and splashing! However, it also gave us a little break from such a hectic schedule so we could pack up for the next part of our journey! Our extension tour this year was unexplored territory for us and winding our way through the snow-capped mountains and volcanic landscape certainly broke up the long journey! Arriving at our new base was a real treat and the outdoor hot tub was of course a huge highlight! Our next two days were magical, exploring remote areas, more cold and warm water to swim and dive in with added caves to explore! The area had very few visitors, just clean water and nature in bucket loads. Again the underwater visibility is excellent making for spectacular vistas. Check out the video of the hot & cold site with fantastic visibility, cold spring, and dancing sands!
The next video was taken when we explored some warm water caves! We tried to pack in as many experiences as possible with numerous opportunities to get wet! You could free-dive (breath-hold) into a couple of different chambers and it was challenging for some of the swimmers. It was great to push everyone’s comfort zone with a little more edgy exploration. The water was warm, even though the ambient temperature wasn’t quite so high!
Along with our diving and swimming, of course, everyone was enthusiastic about wildlife and we were incredibly lucky that several Humpback whales were in the fjord at the time of our visit. Even better that we were able to make a trip out to visit them. Getting the whole fjord to ourselves along with calm and sunny weather just made it another magical experience. We had numerous viewings of them on the surface in-between feeding dives with them presenting their tale flukes for our photos! Just listen to the camera shutters in the video!
As if all that wasn’t enough we also had a level 8 Aurora borealis storm in addition to clear skies. Over two nights we had one of the best displays we’ve seen! In the end it worked out to be ‘one of those trips’ where everything went right and we had lots of luck! Probably the best ever trip we’ve had up in these parts!