Iceland, Day 2

If I were a geologist, I would move to Iceland. It is fascinating.

Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The ridge runs from the southwest corner of Iceland straight through to the northeast corner, dividing the country almost perfectly in half. These tectonic plates are moving apart at the surprising pace of 3 cm per year. That may not seem like a lot at first, but int terms of moving continents, that’s really fast. For a while they actually thought Iceland would be ripped into two islands, but there seems to be enough volcanic activity that the crevasses are filling in and the island is actually growing.

How cool is that?

A portion of the rift (called Silfra) runs under a lake in Þingvellier National Park and you can actually snorkel and scuba dive there. The water is crystal clear, safe for drinking and freezing cold (around 36°F) even in the summer.

We weren’t about to let a little cold stop us. We layered up in long underwear, quilted jumpsuits and finally dry suits and in we went. It wasn’t at all like tropical snorkeling. There weren’t fish or pretty coral reefs. It was just an incredibly deep ravine filled with perfectly clear water. It was cold, but well worth it.

After our snorkel, we all took turns jumping off a small cliff (15-20 feet?) into a glacier pool. Just because we could.

Half of our group had gone diving and we had about an hour to kill before they finished up and we could head back in to Reykjavik. We spent the afternoon hiking through the park. It was a pretty dreary day and it actually started snowing, but that in and of itself was pretty fantastic. The landscape was beautiful and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. We were literally in the continental rift and the walls of the ravine reminded me of the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride.

We headed back in to the city and back to our guesthouse for a much-needed shower and nap. Afterwards we met up with one of our fellow snorkelers – Tammy – for dinner at The Seafood Grill. I had a delicious lobster and shrimp pasta dish. I pretty much ate seafood every day we were there. Imagine the best, freshest Maine lobster you’ve ever had. Times one hundred. I was in heaven.

 

 

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13 November 2012. Tags: , , , . Photography, That's Life, Travel.

2 Comments

  1. allesistgut replied:

    It looks bitterly cold on your photos. When I remember back this summer as I was sitting on a meadow there barefoot it’s hard to imagine cold weather. 😉 But it’s a very nice experience you had. Maybe next time I’m in Iceland I’ll snorkel that rift, too. 😀

    • Becca replied:

      It really wasn’t as cold as it looks! It was in the mid 40s (5-6C) so as long as you have a good coat and warm shoes, it’s not bad. And we spent most of our time outside.

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