Ice diving is one of the most adventurous types of diving and is a great way to immerse yourself in environments few other people ever get to see. It is challenging, different from most other types of recreational diving, and one to add to your liveaboard diving wish list for 2019.
Why go ice diving?
Ice diving offers the chance to experience dive sites like no other and enjoy marine life encounters you can’t find elsewhere. Surrounded by blue water and ice formations, there is nowhere as peaceful as under the ice.
Where can you go ice diving?
The Arctic and Antarctica are two of the best places to go ice diving. These unique destinations offer exceptional wildlife watching opportunities, varied diving and the chance to visit some of Earth’s last wilderness areas.
You can go ice diving around the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea during Antarctica liveaboard diving cruises, plus explore iconic destinations such as the Falkland Islands and South Shetland Islands. A liveaboard safari to South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands is not to be missed to explore areas that have never been dived before. These wild and remote areas are teeming with wildlife and dive trips include zodiac diving, shore dives, wall dives and ice dives.
The M/V Plancius and Ortelius both offer Antarctica dive safaris and diving is available during November to March.
Ice diving in the Arctic is more accessible than Antarctica for most people and the best dive sites are reached by Arctic liveaboard diving. There are varied dives on offer, including at Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago, and you can enjoy ice diving, boat dives and even wreck dives. It is also possible to dive Scoresby Sund in Greenland; the world’s largest fjord system. Reaching depths of up to 1450 meters, this fjord is a unique liveaboard diving destination with ice and boat-based diving on offer.
The M/V Plancius offers Arctic liveaboard diving, with Scoresby Sund diving available during certain itineraries.
What can you see when ice diving?
A better question would be what can’t you see when exploring the Arctic and Antarctica. These species-rich destinations offer something for everyone to enjoy.
Antarctica hosts numerous seals, penguins, diverse bird life and around 15 whale species. Dive there and you have the chance to see sea lions, leopard seals and fur seals, plus various fish species and invertebrates. There are sea caves to explore, ice formations, kelp walls and bright blue water to immerse yourself in.
Head north to Spitsbergen and you can see equally diverse marine life, including invertebrates and plentiful fish, sea lions, bearded seals, walruses and various whale species. If you visit Scoresby Sund you might even get to see narwhals and beluga whales.
Can anyone try ice diving?
If you want to try ice diving you’ll need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water diver (or equivalent) and have a minimum of 30 logged dives. You also need to be experienced in cold water and dry suit diving.
How do ice divers stay warm?!
The water temperature in Antarctica is typically 0°C (32 °F), whilst the Arctic water temperature ranges from 5°C (41 °F) to 0°C (32 °F), dropping to -1°C (30.2°F) at Scoresby Sund. However, you shouldn’t be cold when ice diving. By using the right equipment and exposure protection, you can stay warm when diving and afterwards.
What dive gear do you need to go ice diving?
You need to bring your own dive gear, suitable for polar diving, if you want to join an Antarctic or Arctic liveaboard diving cruise. Your gear should include a dry suit, appropriate thermal undersuit, hood, gloves, boots, fins, buoyancy control device, mask, snorkel, dive computer, octopus set-up and weight belt. Other equipment that is recommended includes a compass, dive knife and underwater torch.
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