Ice diving is a sporting activity that consists of deep penetration diving in ice. Divers are harnessed to a line that goes up to the surface and the diver swims under the ice to a certain exit point. The end and entry points are usually holes dug through the ice to the water beneath it. This is mainly done using ice saw. Ice diving is an exciting adventure that has extreme diving conditions as well as exceptional visibility. These therefore require divers to be well equipped, trained as well as have proper preparations. There are several countries that are known to offer ice diving trainings such as Russia, South Georgia, northern European countries as well as the Falkland Islands. Polar specialty is only done in Greenland, Spitsbergen and also in the Antarctica. After adequate training, some of the best spots to enjoy the activities include Antarctica, Silfra Rift in Iceland, 1000 islands in Canada, the White Sea in Russia and also Lake Baikal in Siberia.
McMurdo Sound in Antarctica has been voted as the best spot in the world for ice and cold water diving. It’s even extreme as it’s hard to reach to the location in addition to the water temperature sometimes going down to even -40°C. The only time that divers are advised to visit the region is between the summer months which are between September and December. At this season, the water temperatures are usually -1°C. Divers usually break through the ice by means of chipping or boring to depths of up to 3 meters through the ice. At times they also use explosives to blow up the ice. The clear water then has a visibility of around 300 meters and diver can go in. (image by Kathleen Heideman)
The 1000 Islands
The 1000 islands in Canada offer a unique adventure for ice divers as they get a chance to dive from an air boat. Beneath the water, divers explore hundreds of shipwrecks as well as underwater villages. Common exiting feature that can still be seen in these water villages are side walks, rail beds, hydro electric station as well as an old canal system. The site has the record of being the best fresh water wreck diving site around the world.
Silfra Rift in Iceland is most amazing to divers as the site gives the experience of diving in between two continents. The two continents, America and Eurasia, are separated by a crack where the two continental plates meet. The water temperatures around the region range between 2 and 4°C. Some of the areas you can explore beneath the Thingvellir lake icy waters are the Cathedral, the Hall as well as the Lagoon. There are also strange site such as the gas bubbles that are seen rising from the rocky floor.
Lake Baikal in Siberia is known to be the second largest fresh water body, after the Antarctica. The lake is a paradise for divers as it is full of ice sculptures formed naturally, combined with striking landscapes. The months of February and March are the only time when diving is possible as the water is clearest as well as warmer with temperatures ranging from 1 to 2°C. The White Sea in Russia is popular with seals, whale and other breathtaking marine life.(image by Duiken Redactiege )
Ice diving is rewarding and full of adventures but also very dangerous if proper training and precaution are not taken. Additionally, a visit to these places will grace your moments!
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