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Iceland: Above the 65th parallel

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Think of diving in Iceland and one place springs to mind, Silfra.  It is by far the most dived site in the country and has become a bucket list dive for many divers, including many who thought they would never be convinced to dive in cold water.  It is special and famous for good reason, but there is so much more to diving in Iceland!

Mike and I had the very good fortune to live in iceland for over a year and in that time got to dive many sites a little more off the beaten track.  Here, we want to share with you some of our favourite sites in the less explored north of iceland, reached by the very scenic ring road drive along Highway 1.

What if we were to tell you that Silfra is not the only fissure in Iceland between the tectonic plates and filled with clear, blue glacial spring water?  There are several in the Reykjavik area, Davidsgja, also in Thingvellir National Park, is a deeper, darker version of Silfra, and Bjarnagjá, on the Reykjanes peninsula,is a crack that connects with the ocean and so you can encounter a neat halocline, at variable depth depending on the tide and see the anemone that lives on the bottom of the crack, they have also just sunk a small wreck in there for added interest.

However there is an equally clear fissure often completely overlooked, chances are you would have the whole fissure to yourself.  Meet Silfra’s “little sister”, Nesjá.  The Silfra of the North.

Nesjá

About an hour east of Akureyri, Nesjá is a very shallow, water filled fissure a few hundred meters from the side of a small farm road.  Be prepared for a bit of an adventure finding this place, a good map and a car are needed to get here!  Once parked up you can kit up and walk to the start of the crack and the rocks which can be easily climbed down to access the water.  This is a shallow site, less than 5m, and so can easily be snorkelled if you plan on doing any exploring in the highlands later in the day of have a flight to catch.  The water is crystal clear, a stunning blue and on a sunny day the light sparkles through the water to create rainbows on the pale silt bottom.  The crack runs out towards a lake, which connects to the ocean.  It is a very easy dive to navigate, simply follow the crack until you can veer right into the lake, which resembles a tropical lagoon.  Save some energy for the swim back as it is against the current, it is not very strong, but still saps some energy as does the 3ºC water temperature.

Now Nesjá isn’t as impressive as Silfra, but it is well worth a splash if you are in the area.  It is also conveniently near the very picturesque town of Húsavík, famous for it’s fabulous whale watching and geothermal springs.  A very pleasant day can be had, whale watching in the morning, diving or snorkelling Nesjá in the afternoon and bathing in hot springs in the evening, or any combination thereof.

Also in the North, thrusting up the depths in Akureyri Fjord is Strytan.  This has to be my favourite ocean dive in Iceland, Strytan is a geothermal underwater chimney!

Strytan

Similar to the well-known “black smokers” found in very deep oceans, but Strytan is at recreationally diveable depth, the top is at 15m and the bottom is at approximately 70m.  The dive is only on the top half unless you are tec diving.  There’s just one dive center that can take you there (www.strytan.is), run by Erlendur Bogason, the discoverer and official protector of Strytan.  He is an expert in the area so you are in excellent hands.

Hot water pours out of vents on this giant spire from numerous vents, around 100l of 72°C freshwater coming from the chimney every second!  Strytan was formed over 10000 years ago and apparently the chimney is still building.   Aside from the main feature of the chimney, you’ll get to see wolf fish, lots of crustaceans and anemones, and schools of cod are regularly seen There is a second smaller hydrothermal feature nearby known as “Little Strytan”, a small underwater hill made up of smaller chimneys in around 25m.  This is often home to more life than Strytan and gives lots of photo opportunities with the very friendly local wolf fish.

If you’re lucky, humpback whales are commonly seen in Akureyri Fjord and usually spotted from shore or while on the dive boat.  The dive center had a hot tub by the shore where you can relax and whale watch with an after-dive beer.  Perfect!

I really cannot do justice to this site, the experience of diving a hydrothermal feature is incredible and the unique flora a fauna that has settled in this specialized environment is truly something to behold.  If there is any dive site in Iceland aside from Silfra that you absolutely have to do, it’s Strytan.  Be aware, this is a dive for advanced and drysuit certified divers only.  Since 2001, Strýtan has been a protected natural reserve, so good buoyancy is essential to preserve this natural phenomenon.

When not occupied with diving and watching marine mammals, the north also boasts some spectacular sights on land.  Akureyri, the capital of the North is situated at the south of a stunning fjord, and boasts good nightlife and Hlidarfjall, the best ski resort in the country.  It is a good base and is only around 5 hours from Reykjavik, or a very short flight.

If you like to keep the water theme, the waterfall Godafoss (literally ‘Waterfall of the Gods’) is pretty stunning and is between Akureyri and Myvatn.  The Myvatn area is a very special place, both for the huge numbers of geothermal features, hot springs and Lake Myvatn, home to rich birdlife and amazing views on the Northern lights in winter.  Next to Myvatn is Dimmuborgir, an area of strange and dramatic rock formations, known as the ‘Gateway to hell’, well worth a quick hike around.  You will also see Hverfjall, a near perfect volcanic ash cone and for Game Of Thrones fans, you can visit Grjotagja cave, made famous by Jon Snow and the wildling Ygritte in S3E4.

As with pretty much all of Iceland, there are landscapes in the north to make your jaw drop and lots of excellent hiking, horse riding, extreme sports, friendly locals and good food and drink.  It just depends how long you have to explore.  Whatever you choose to see and however long your trip is, I’m certain you will want longer and be planning a return trip as soon as the funds allow!

Want to read and see more from CJ and Mike’s Iceland adventures? You can by heading over to read their article in Dive Travel Adventures by clicking here.


For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

CJ and Mike are dive instructors who have travelled all over the world pursuing their passion for the underwater world. CJ is a PADI MI and DSAT Trimix instructor with a degree in Conservation biology and ecology, who has been diving for 15 years. She loves looking for critters and pointing them out for Mike to photograph. Mike is a PADI MSDT who got back into diving in 2010. He enjoys practicing underwater photography and exploring new and exciting dive locales, occasionally with more than one tank. Follow more of their diving adventures at www.facebook.com/bimbleintheblue.

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Dive into Luxury: Bunaken Oasis Seeks Seventh Consecutive World Travel Awards Win

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In the vibrant heart of Sulawesi, Indonesia, nestled among the pristine waters of Bunaken Marine Park, lies Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort. For the past six years, this remarkable resort has been recognised as “Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort” by the World Travel Awards, and it is now in contention for an unprecedented seventh consecutive win.

A Beacon of Excellence

The World Travel Awards are often referred to as the “Oscars of the travel industry,” celebrating the very best in global tourism and hospitality. Winning this award is no small feat and speaks volumes about the exceptional quality and service that Bunaken Oasis consistently delivers. This accolade is a testament to the resort’s unwavering commitment to providing unparalleled guest experiences.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

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What Sets Bunaken Oasis Apart?

Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort is celebrated not just for its luxurious amenities but also for the deep, genuine care it extends to its guests. The resort offers a unique blend of elegance and adventure, providing world-class diving experiences in one of the planet’s richest marine biodiversity hotspots.

world travel awards

The true magic of Bunaken Oasis lies in its people. The resort’s staff are renowned for their warmth, professionalism, and dedication. From personalised diving excursions to bespoke hospitality, every team member plays a crucial role in creating a welcoming and memorable atmosphere. Their passion for excellence and attention to detail are key reasons why guests return year after year.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

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Show Your Support

As Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort vies for its seventh title, the support of its loyal guests and admirers becomes even more crucial. Voting for the World Travel Awards is an opportunity for fans of the resort to show their appreciation and help ensure that this gem continues to shine brightly on the world stage.

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How to Vote

Supporting Bunaken Oasis is simple and impactful. Click the link below to show your support and cast your vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort as “Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort” on the World Travel Awards website.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

Looking Ahead

Winning this award for the seventh time would be a crowning achievement for Bunaken Oasis, solidifying its status as a premier destination for luxury diving and relaxation. But more than the award itself, it is the ongoing support and love from guests that fuels the resort’s continuous pursuit of excellence.

world travel awards

Whether you are an experienced diver or simply in search of a serene escape, Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort offers a sanctuary of beauty, tranquillity, and unparalleled service. Join us in celebrating this exceptional resort and help Bunaken Oasis secure its place as Indonesia’s leading dive resort for another year.

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Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

For more information about Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort and to experience its magic first-hand, visit their official website.

Dive into luxury and adventure at Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort – where every moment is crafted to perfection.

Email: info@bunakenoasis.com / WhatsApp: +44 7785 576331 / WhatsApp: +62 812 4649 6763 

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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