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February 24, 2013

Frigid but inspiring

Cold can't out-do incredible sights seen snorkeling in Iceland


In a way, a plunge into Silfra is way for a tourist to shed his life of ease for a couple of cold hours and fancy himself as tough and fearless as the figures in Njal’s Saga, the tale of ancient Icelandic blood feuds.

Not that the Vikings went snorkeling. In fact, Kotze said, Silfra had a much less appealing use a millennium ago — as a Viking toilet.

There were clashes at the annual assembly and because Silfra is narrow and depressed, the Vikings “went down there to do their business” with peace of mind.

If You Go...SILFRA, ICELAND Several outfitters including DIVE.IS -- http://www.dive.is -- offer snorkeling and diving trips to Silfra, about a 45-minute drive from Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. Prices for snorkeling are around 15,000 kronur ($120) and for diving about 35,000 ($273). The prices include transportation from Reykjavik, but divers who want to save a little money or spend a few extra hours exploring Thingvellir can get to the park on scheduled buses during summer. Dry suits and gear are included, but participants should bring thermal underwear and warm socks. Hot drinks and cookies are provided afterward, but the easily chilled may want to bring along a sandwich or other food to refuel their internal furnace. The trips can be expanded into full-day excursions that include time to explore Thingvellir and visit the renowned Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir thermal field.

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