Let's be honest, scuba diving is a pursuit best enjoyed in warm conditions. Not least for the water temperature, but there's getting your kit on and off to think about too. So what motivated us to want to dive in 2 degrees C water, in freezing outside conditions with snow on the ground? I guess planning a trip from the comfort of a warm home makes it easier to look at trips like this and think "yeah, that looks pretty cool", but when you get there you realise that "Oops, it's as mad as it sounds".
So to the actual experience itself. We got picked up early in Reykjavik in a mini bus with some others and were driven to Thingvellir National Park. Snow had fallen the night before and there was a strong wind blowing making the outside temperature -8 degrees C. There's no facilities at the site to get changed in so you are effectively getting undressed in a car park, which makes you appreciate just how cold it is.
There's a short walk from the car park to the dive entrance site, and a metal ladder down to the water. Gill's BCD inflation hose froze up before she got in the water, so a swift replacement fixed that. Once you're in the water, the dry suit does a good job at keeping your body warm. But when you put your face in the icy water, you can't believe that you're going to be able to stand it for the 40 minute dive. Amazingly, you do get used to it.
Gill had a leak in her suit, maybe the slightly loose neck fitting for her small size. This resulted in her getting very cold and she hated the second half of the dive. I was OK, but it was cold getting out and was difficult to walk. We had paid for two dives, but the icy conditions meant it was impractical to do another one. In fact if they'd asked if we wanted to, I probably would have paid them extra to not dive and go straight to the van for warm clothes and hot chocolate. They had to use a thermos of hot water to get the first stage and hoses off!
Overall, we're glad we did it now the pain of the cold is forgotten, but whether we'd do another one in the future (say Antarctica)? Not sure.
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