Monday, 11 June 2012

Amazing Iceland - Silfra diving

Yep, another flattering suit...
I went diving in the pristine waters of Silfra on Tuesday 20th March. It is one of the top dive sites in the world, in between two continents :). The water is cold - an average 2C all year, so you don't dive in a wet suit, but a dry suit. It is weird going swimming/diving fully clothed and coming out (mostly) still dry! Claire was supposed to come snorkelling, while I dived, but she got tonsillitis just before we came to Iceland, so she stayed in Reykjavik for the day. I got picked up at 9 and it was a fairly short drive to Silfra, but first we had a toilet stop and had to sign our lives away... 

Then it was time to get in the drysuits! First we put a fleecy jumpsuit on over our clothes. This was the easy part. A dry suit is the same as a wet suit, in that it is hard/almost impossible to put on... I had also managed to cut one of my fingers on my razor that morning (only 5 times, once on each blade) and pulling the suit up kept making it bleed. After the suit was on we had to put boots on, and then a hood before we finally got to put on the rest of the scuba gear, fins and goggles. And then it was into the water. Which wasn't too bad with the dry suit on 0 the only part of your body that was directly exposed to the water really was a bit of your cheeks, chin and forehead.

I had a bit of trouble descending at first, but after adding some more weights I was fine to go. And wow! it was spectacular - the water was sooo clear. We spent about 30 mins swimming along the fissure, with out guide, Val (although that wasn't his 'real' Icelandic name, which is impossible for me to pronounce, thus the nickname :P) taking photos of us. When I got out of the water I wasn't too cold, my hand were but that was about it.

I did DESPERATELY need to pee though. So I had to struggle out of the suit, and find somewhere to 'go bush'. Now Iceland has a joke - If you are lost in the Icelandic bush, just stand up... suggesting the the bushes aren't that high... It is also a fairly flat country, with mountains popping up from the relatively smooth lava fields. So, in other words, not many places to hide behind! I managed to find a small 'ditch' that was still visible from the road :S and squatted in the most awkward position so as not to pee on my clothes/suit, etc. (imagine a stationary crab walk). Now because I was in view of the road I wanted to be quick - but of course it was the worlds. longest. pee. ever!!! Luckily, no cars drove past, and I was much more comfortable after that!

After some tea and cake we went and did the fissure again. This time I got down straight away :). I also played around more with putting air into the suit to control warmth and buoyancy, rather than air into the BCD. It was amazing to feel the difference in temperature when you added air to the suit. The only problem was that once I came up a bit, I was too buoyant and just kept rising in the water until I popped uo to the surface :P. I guess I will need to do some specialities - dry suit and peak buoyancy- to get better at staying under the water. You know, cos that's kind of the point of diving!

After the second dive I was definitely feeling the cold - my hands and feet were frozen. I couldn't even feel my feet! After taking the drysuit off my feet were like nothing I've ever seen - they weren't blue, they were just... colourless. That's the best way to describe it. It didn't help that my right leg had somehow gotten wet!? But I finally got dry and we were back in the warm car :) and it was back to town to have a late lunch (I got about around 2.30/45) with Claire.