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Why go Free Diving Between Two Continents in Iceland?

Here at Life of Riley, our team of globe-trotting writers’ unique skill sets mean we each bring our own areas of expertise. So you may think it odd that someone who can barely swim and is terrified of water is writing about free diving between two continents!

But don’t worry, I know a thing or two about geology, volcanoes and plate tectonics.

In The Land of Fire and Ice, not so very far from Reykjavík, lies a very special national park called Thingvellir. In this park lies Thingvallavatn Lake where, if you’re braver than me, you can dive into a geological no man's land where pesky human ideas like borders, politics and time measured in millennia lose all meaning…

For this is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates (almost) meet and the only spot on earth where you can reach out with your left hand to be in America and reach out with the other to be in Europe. In that way, it’s a must for bucket list pioneers and great for transatlantic business meetings!

Here comes the science bit!

Rift valleys are formed over millions of years as adjoining tectonic plates are pulled apart by unimaginably strong but slow forces called subduction as the earth’s crust ‘floats’ on mantle, in Silfra’s case at a rate of 2cm a year. In a few million years, California’s San Andreas Fault will split Western California in two, The Great Rift Valley will split Africa asunder and Iceland into become two islands.

So you better book those tickets quick. You only have a few million years!

When you have booked your tickets, you’ll be collected from your hotel and travel to Silfra Information Centre for a quick talk before a two-minute drive to the dive site. Once you've donned your dry-suit, it's time to make a splash in the cool, crystal clear lake water. There. you’ll have a few hours to enjoy the perfect mix of snorkelling and scuba diving and marvel at the forces of nature that created this magnificent eighth wonder of the world.

It really does look so amazing that it might be high time I overcame my fears!

In short:

  • Visit stunning, volcanic Iceland
  • Touch America and Europe at the same time
  • Visit Alþingi; the site of the world’s first parliament (930AD)
  • Go free diving between two continents!
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