The idea of swimming between two continents sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. At least that’s what I thought when I first heard about the Silfra Fissure in Iceland. As with all unusual travel experiences though, it piqued my interest. I knew I had to see and do this for myself.
The Silfra Fissure is the only place in the world where you can dive between two continental plates, namely the North American and Eurasion plates. This alone was reason enough for me to brave the super cold water and squeeze myself in to a dry suit!
What is the Silfra Fissure?
The Silfra Fissure first appeared in 1789 after a major earthquake. As more earthquakes continue to occur in the region, the plates continue to drift apart. In fact, they are drifting at a rate of approximately 2cm each year.
The glacial water that enters the fissure comes from the nearby Langjökul, the second largest glacier in Iceland. Before entering the fissure it filters through porous lava rock. The result? An incredibly efficient natural filtration system that produces crystal clear fresh water. In addition, the Fissure is titled with having the longest underwater visibility in the world.
How to get to the Silfra Fissure?
It’s only a short drive of about 50 minutes from Reykjavik to Thingvellier National Park, the site of the world renown Silfra crack. If you don’t want to drive yourself, many tour companies such as Adventure Vikings offer packages that include transport to and from the site.
Snorkelling the Silfra Fissure
I don’t have experience diving, so I opted to snorkel the fissure with a small group tour. The scenery as soon as you put your head under the water is absolutely spell-binding. The unimaginable shades of blue and the fantasyland of towering rock formations create a other-worldy underwater scene. Not only the scenery takes your breath away, but also the initial icy shock of the 2-4°C glacial water. The cold seemed to penetrate right through the neoprene hood I had on my head.
Touching the two continents
Here’s the spot where your guide will try to capture a picture of you giving your best smile. Positioning yourself perfectly while simultaneously trying to touch the two plates may turn out to be a futile effort. I kind of felt like I was just awkardly hanging there while trying to look instagram-worthy! The surrealness of the moment is what matters though. Rather than trying to get the perfect picture, I embraced where I was. This experience is high on many travellers bucket lists and I was having it!
The views continued to amaze me as I made my way through the region.
The lagoon at Silfra
After passing through the silfra fissure, you enter the shallow lagoon area. This wraps up your 30-40 minute tour through the fissure. Short and sweet for an expensive price. However, some experiences are 100% worth the time and effort no matter how short-lived they may be!