This expedition offers so much more than “just” diving. You will experience the extreme beauty and fury of the volcanic Iceland and the icy, arctic Greenland, top-side. For most divers both islands are as of yet undiscovered and promise a real sense of exploration and adventure like no other!
This one of a kind expedition takes you to Iceland’s favorite 5 dive sites as well as some of the most spectacular iceberg diving Greenland has to offer. This is to say nothing about the volcanic landscape of Iceland and the arctic wonders of Greenland’s rugged east coast!
• Up to 10 dives in 8 different locations
• 1 snorkel tour in a geothermal river
• 1 snorkel tour with whales (with some luck)
• 1 guided ‘city’ tour
• 1 guided photo/glacier tour
• Transportation on all days of the tour
• Helicopter flights in Greenland*
• 9 nights of accommodation incl. breakfast
• Dive cylinders and weights
• Note: Iceland - Greenland flights not included
•Food / drinks, unless otherwise specified
•Dive equipment rental
•Dedicated whale watching from Hjalteyri
•Other activities and guide gratuities
Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent rating and drysuit certification or a minimum of 10 logged dry suit dives.
6 divers minumum
18 (17 if accompanied by parent/guardian)
On this first day of our Highlights Tour we will visit the most popular dive and snorkel site in Iceland, SILFRA. The dive site is located in the Þingvellir National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, about a 45 minute drive from Reykjavík.
On our way to the tectonic rift valley the guide will share with you some interesting facts about the history and geology of the park. When we arrive at the dive site you will receive a detailed briefing about SILFRA, the plan and procedure before gearing up and walking to the fissure. We’ll take a few steps down the ladder and make contact with the world’s clearest water. It’s so pure you can even drink it!
We will do one extended dive through SILFRA and the adjacent SILFRA LAGOON. It is your first chance to experience the fantastic visibility, cobalt blue glacial melt-water and stunning tectonic scenery of SILFRA, as well as the sensation of being in a crack separating the North American and Eurasian continental plates.
The slight current formed by the underground wells will make our dive in the crack an easy one as we leisurely cruise through the SILFRA HALL, CATHEDRAL and LAGOON. Not a bad spot for your check-out dive!
After this amazing dive we will drive up North (about 380km) towards the second largest town of Iceland, AKUREYRI, where we will spend the night at a very cozy country hotel or B&B.
In the middle of the EYJAFJÖRÐUR fjord lies a series of very special dive sites. Firstly, there is STRÝTAN hydrothermal chimney. Over the last 10.000 years a hot spring has been releasing hot mineral-rich water into the ocean from a depth of 70m. As soon as the dissolved minerals in the hot fresh water come in contact with the cold ocean water, they react and solidify. This process has created a 55m towering chimney that reaches up to 15m below the surface.
STRÝTAN has been a protected nature reserve since 2001 and is subject to extensive research and observation by scientists from all over the world. Apart from huge quantities of mineral rich hot water escaping through vents found all over the chimney, visible as an amalgam of haloclines and thermoclines, divers may see large schools of coal fish swimming up and down the chimney along with other fishes, crabs and critters.
On the opposite side of the fjord lies another, yet smaller, hydrothermal chimney, aptly referred to as LITTLE CHIMNEY. While much smaller than its counterpart across the bay, Little Chimney is many divers’ favorite ocean site in Iceland. The reasons are numerous, but high on the list is that this is one of the world’s best places to observe wolf fish in their natural habitat. As many as 15 specimens have been spotted on a single dive! The place is literally crowded with them. We may also enjoy a display of Dances with Wolf fish, as your guide entices the ever-charming Stephanie the Wolf fish to a tango!
Other highlights include a plethora of invertebrates, from giant sea cucumbers and anemones to nudibranchs and the tiny, yet funny looking, skeleton shrimp. Also spotted here are stingrays, scorpion fish, lump suckers and some very inquisitive cod literally bumping into you! It’s one of those sites that confronts the photographer with the classic dilemma: wide angle or macro?
On both of those sites divers can explore the thermophilic flora and fauna that have evolved and settled around the hydrothermal chimneys to enjoy the benefits of the hot water that wells out of them.
We will complete two dives on these stunning underwater phenomena by a RIB, weather permitting, which is almost always the case. Please be advised that these sites are only for experienced divers only and a minimum of 10 logged dry suit dives is required!
Divers who want to dive STRÝTAN (the larger of the two Chimneys) need to have excellent buoyancy control as the nearest bottom is at a depth of 70 meters. You also need to be reasonably physically fit as there can occasionally be strong surface currents.
It bears mentioning that the EYJAFJÖRÐUR fjord is a prime whale watching area and we have had many close encounters with the humpback whales that hang out in the bay, and gotten a whiff of minkes and even a blue whale! So, we are keeping our fingers crossed for more exciting whale encounters to come!
On our second day up north, we start with a scenic two hour drive from the guesthouse to the Nesgjá fissure. Similar to Silfra and Davidsgja, Nesgjá is the result of tectonic movement and the divergence of the Eurasian and North American continental plates. Nesgjá is shallow but amazingly beautiful, with water clarity comparable only with Silfra. After our dive in Nesgjá we will continue on to Littlaá, a 15°C geothermal river, for a one of a kind snorkelling experience. You will be mesmerized by the dancing volcanic sands and multicoloured sediments leaping from the bottom. Heated water erupting from the riverbed creates beautiful bubbling pools and ripples in the sand while you drift along the surface above. Before we return to Eyjafjörður and Akureyri, we will visit the amazing Lake Mývatn area for some sight-seeing among volcanic craters, pseudo craters and hot spring area with steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pots and more.
On day 4 we are back in Eyjafjörður fjord where we dived the chimneys on Day 2. This time we do one dive and aim for either the WALL or the wreck of THE STANDARD. The Wall is an amazing geological structure with an abundance of marine life, including red fish, lump suckers, wolf fish. It is also known for its colorful display of anemones and rocks covered with algae in shades of pink and purple you didn’t even know existed.
The Standard is an amazingly well preserved wreck of a German herring ship that sank to the bottom of Akureyri harbor in 1917. This 60-meter-long wooden vessel has remained surprisingly intact in 25 meters of water and is today home to quite an array of marine life that enjoys the shelter of this large artificial reef. This is certainly a great opportunity to visit a unique dive site and a window into Icelandic maritime history.
Again we will be diving from a RIB a short boat ride from either the small fishing village of Hjalteyri with its interesting history from Iceland’s herring era, or Akureyri harbor. After the dive we will grab a quick lunch in Akureyri as we de-gas a bit before the scenic drive back south.
On our last day we will head to the spouting hot spring area known as Geysir. Located in Haukadalur valley, it is the largest and most active such area in Europe and truly impressive.
Your guide will show you around and tell you some interesting facts about the spouting geysers Strokkur and Geysir. Strokkur is a very reliable geyser erupting about once every 8 minutes, on average, setting you up for a ‘Kodak-moment’ of a lifetime.
Our next stop is the most photographed waterfall in all of Iceland, Gullfoss! This magnificent natural monument shouldn’t be missed by any visitor to Iceland. Tumbling down a deep gorge, it has a number of great places to take pictures and enjoy the view.
Last, but certainly not least, we round off this amazing tour with a final dive in Silfra. This is your opportunity to get to know this epic dive site more intimately, in the quiet afternoon when the busier morning tours have left, and perhaps get in those shots or impressions you missed the first time around. Moreover, your dive gear will be cleaner than it’s ever been!
After a day full of amazing experiences and lasting impressions we will drive you back to Reykjavík where you will surely sleep like a baby. You will need it, as your adventure is about to take on a whole new dimension!
With an early start we will head for Reykjavik domestic airport.
After a couple of hours’ flight, we arrive at KULUSUK airport and then transfer by helicopter to Tasiilaq – capital of East Greenland with about 2.000 inhabitants, 6 kilometers of road, about 80 cars and some hundred sled dogs. We will take you on a guided ‘city’ walk in the afternoon.
The local museum has collected many artifacts from the area (keep in mind that the first Europeans arrived here less than 130 years ago!). A small work-shop provides insight into how the Inuit craftspeople create the famous (and a bit scary) tupilaks, and other small sculptures. If the weather is good, we might also have a walk to the ‘Flower Valley’ - maybe enjoy a beer in the local pub to round off the day?
Our dive boat is custom-made for the local conditions. You will get a briefing about safe diving around icebergs after which you will be ready to explore the mighty ice sculptures under water. 90% of the ice mass is hidden below the surface and from view of most people. It is an unforgettable experience to become one of very few divers who have seen an iceberg from beneath the waves. And you never know what kind of ice structures you might observe – every ice berg is sculpted by nature and due to the fact that they are melting down and breaking apart no one else will ever dive your iceberg again!
On our second day of diving in Greenland, if the weather is good, we will visit the Sermilik fjord, a fantastic iceberg fjord that produces about 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. Here we have free choice to find “our” iceberg. The skipper and the dive guide will find one which is safe but also offers unique structures for an unforgettable dive!
Day tour with two dives and good possibilities to take photos from the boat. It is also not uncommon to see humpback whales and fin whales on this tour.
On this day we take a tour by boat to the beautiful Knud Rasmussen glacier in the north. We will stop on our way at an abandoned US military camp from WWII. You will see old trucks and other remains that were left in the Arctic when the war was over. It is hard to believe that up to 1,000 airplanes per month landed here for refueling. And for the pilots waiting there was even a cinema – in the middle of nowhere!
The Knud Rasmussen glacier produces just the right amount of ice to allow our local skipper to bring us close to the ice wall. The last few meters we can walk along the fjord’s shore. Maybe we will even see huge parts calving off, forming new icebergs? The glacier is also producing beautiful electric-blue ice. You will find photo motives all around you!
After breakfast we will drive you to the helicopter airport in Tasiilaq. After a short flight you will arrive at the main airport of East Greenland and fly back to Iceland where we will wind down the expedition, exchange hugs and kisses – and email addresses – and say our good byes.