Published: March 14th 2010March 13th 2010
I have never claimed to be great at partying; of course I didn’t even start drinking until I turned 25 years old. However, I have partied in Las Vegas, Mexico, NYC, Thailand and all over Europe. They do not compare to what I saw on Runtur. I may not even be able to call it Runtur, as I stayed at one place, Oliver’s because it was ladies night and there was a ton of action. This thing didn’t even really get started until 1:00am. People from all over the world were there drinking like crazy and dancing. I witnessed some kid, probably only twenty, getting a lap dance from a girl who was absolutely wasted. In fact they tried to go together down to the water closet and fell down the stairs. He busted his chin open and her, her elbow. This all happened by 12:30.… I was drinking moderately as I had to go scuba diving the follow morning. I did have a shot of Brennivin, also known as black death, a drink famous in Iceland. You may remember it being made famous by Slash of Guns and Roses, the bottle used to have a skull and crossbones on it
and come in a box shaped like a coffin, it has since been changed to the country of Iceland. The stuff is called black death for a good reason, made from potato pulp and flavored with caraway seed, it’s literal name means burning wine, pretty awful stuff, the finish is like I gargled toothpaste and orange juice.
I definitely got the dance party started, they started playing some Timbaland and I was absolutely compelled to the dance floor. Several young Icelandic girls then joined me. When girls come guys follow… weak. I had fun dancing with several of them. Later in the evening a young girl comes by trying to get through the crowded dance floor and I say “excuse me,” as I am in her way and step out. She proceeds to ask me where I am from, with an obviously American accent. I let her know that I am from Nebraska and I ask her to dance. She tells me her name is Amber and that she is from Virginia and in Iceland with her brother , Aaron, and a friend, Lindsay. I ended up hanging out with them at Oliver’s for the rest of the evening,
spending the majority of my time sweating on the dance floor, of course. I decided to part ways about 3:00 am, that group was heading off to another bar and I had to get up early to go diving.
So I was touching two different continents today, at the same time! How incredible is that to say? Diving in the Silfra was unbelievable. First off, I am doing a dive in between two continental plates that are shifting apart, the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. Secondly, this is 34 degree water that is so clean that one can take their regulator out and take a sip of the water. I had to pee so bad after getting out. I probably drank a gallon! The experience was too surreal to pass up.
The driver Joey, picked me up from the hotel this morning about 10:00am. We picked up two more couples, first an English couple Tim and Sarah, and next a couple from Massachusetts, Tony and Tina. On the way to the dive site we made one more brief stop at a restroom so we could all relieve ourselves before climbing into our dry suits. The conversation
on the way there was very interesting. We talked of shared travels, Joey, Tony and Tina had been quite a few places. Talking travel does not make this bug go away I tell you. After that the conversation switched over to Icelandic lore, Tony and Tina asking a ton of questions to Joey. (I didn’t put this in the first blog because I know history puts people to sleep, so small doses. Anyway, the Icelandic people believe in elves, fairies, trolls and the like. I read not to ask them about this though because they get offended like we are making fun of them. I guess Tony and Tina did not read that part.) Tony had a question about a house inspector. Not an inspector like we have here in the States, but one who makes sure the house, when built, did not anger any of the elves, trolls or fairies when built. Joey was very serious about this. He said, “well you would want to make sure your house is on solid ground right?” So anyway, there is some job that one could have here that inspects houses to make sure they are not upsetting elves, trolls, and fairies.
Crazy. He then went on to explain it away as if it was nothing more than keeping the house Feng Shui. Joey even talked about how they wouldn’t move certain rocks when building roads, they will just build around them rather than upsetting them!
At the Silfra, we got our gear on. Tell you what, cold water diving is a bastard. There is so much more gear that goes into it… ugh… that part kind of sucks. Think of being dressed for sub-zero degree temperatures but the temperature only being about 45 degrees outside. It was brutal after getting dressed and waiting for the rest of the group to make the trek down to the water. Let me quickly explain what a dry suit is versus a wet suit. Just like it sounds. A dry suit you put over your clothes, long underwear, and it creates a seal at your wrists and neck to trap air inside. Your hands and head are exposed and that is all. After I donned this fantastically fashionable piece of clothing I put on my neoprene head piece and my gloves. Basically my face was all that was exposed and you wear a dive
mask so really it is just your lips that are exposed to the water. These go numb really quickly, about a minute; I even felt mine become swollen in the water. This was my first time diving in the dry suit and it took some time getting used to it. The suit is inflated with air, so it acts as a secondary buoyancy control device, and the air in the suit shifts around going into the feet or to one side and turning a diver in funny directions. After I got the hang of it I was able to focus on the dive. The water was a gorgeous blue. They say visibility in the thing is about 300-450 feet. That is incredible. Silfra is rated as one of the top three cold water dive sites in the world. The ravine is simply the most beautiful thing to behold.
The conditions at Silfra are a bit extreme, cold water (duh), a strong current, and there are about 300 small earthquakes daily around the site. Once I was in the water though, those things didn’t even cross my mind. Just the clarity and “take a sip.” We dove at varying depths,
Joey and Divers
Joey briefing the divers and snorkelers on the dive
usually no more than 10 meters. Swimming in a narrow ravine with jagged rocks on both sides and crystal clear water all around you… it was an amazing experience. I remember turning over and just looking to the surface from about 15 meters or so and just admiring how gorgeous the landscape around me was. The water was as shallow as one meter in places and I had to use my hands to push by. I had Joey take a few photos for me so I had something to post of me as well. At the end I pulled off my fins and made the climb out of the water.
The hike back to the van sucked. One has to wear a ton of weight to stay suspended in the water while wearing a dry suit, not only that the walk back was about 300 meters in full scuba gear, through muddy terrain. At the van we had tea, coffee, these lovely little biscuits that are like chocolate sandwiched between two Ritz crackers, and a few other snacks. Before I partook in any of that, I had seen a cliff some four meters off the water and asked if
they minded if I jumped. They said no, “you have already filled out your liability waiver.” I thought that was pretty funny. I asked one of the guides, Aaron, to take a photo for me and jumped off a few times. No gloves or hood. It was really cold, but pretty refreshing. The group was going to pack up and take about an hour or so doing that, I took a look around waiting to head back into town.
We arrived back to Reykjavik about 4:30 pm. I was starving so I hit up one of these famous hotdog stands. I think I must have missed something… I was not impressed, I, of course, don’t eat any condiments and was looked at funny when I ordered it plain, oh well. I walked around a bit longer after eating, this area is much busier today because of the weekend, after a while I decided it was time for a nap and headed back to my room.
Tomorrow, South coast tour.
There are more photos below