Yesterday Dive.is sent me on a customer guided tour of Kleifarvatn. Kleifarvatn is the largest fresh water lake in the Reykjavik Pennisula region. The big draw here is the geothermal activity. While diving you can see thermoclines, bubbles coming from the ground, smell and see sulfur deposits and hear the “fizziness.”
The dive site required about a 100-200m walk on the rocks before swimming another 100m to the active geothermal zone. The good news was that Patrik carried everyone’s tank to the dive site- which really saved me from exhaustion. Dive.Is likes to have every new employee, divemaster candidate, or Instructor Development Course (IDC) candidiate have a “customer tour” before they start working. The purpose is to show the newbie how a tour should feel like, and give you the customer perspective. Since I actually paid for a silfra dive last year during my holiday in Iceland, I was given the option to dive here instead. It’s sooooooo nice not to carry or assemble any gear. Just jump right in! Nothing to worry about here. What a treat. This place made me feel like I was on a movie set. No one around. We could be expecting Matt Damon to pop out of nowhere with his Martian outfit on.
I felt a little more relaxed in the open atmosphere compared to the silfra night dive. There were just a couple of times where I struggled with my fin and then lost track of my buoyancy. But I’m here to learn, right? I can’t start the program perfect. (Although I really wish I would be better)
Once the dive was over, this tour also included a trip to Seltun. The area is a small hike around geothermal hill where temperatures beneath the surface reach 200°C. It reminded me of the Hells gate geothermal spa in New Zealand. Unlike NZ, this place is free. Hells gate charges $35 NZD just to tour the area. On top of that, you have to pay more for the spa area. A big bonus over Hells gate is that you can hike up a hill and get really close to all the mud and steaming holes. I suppose if you really want to get that mud, you could dig into at the top and camouflage yourself. I decided to just stay dry and as I was. At the top of the hills we saw a grand view of the different lakes around the area.
This was my favorite part of the day.
For Scuba people: Choose a divemaster program where you get to dive interesting spots!
For Tourists: Come to Iceland, its got Seltun for FREE!
Amazing! Beautiful night dive at þingvellir National Park with Dive.Is staff
Dive Log: 157 days since my last dry suit dive.
Am I really here? Do I really want to become a divemaster in about 2°C water? I’ve been here a few times before. Why is it so cold? Am I being the biggest wimp ever? Are there icicles forming from my nose? The night skies are quickly disappearing from Iceland, so we had to squeeze in a night dive before the summer officially arrives.
“Buoyancy control to Major Tom. Major Tom. Are you there? Ground Control to Major Tom!! Help!”
It took me about 30 minutes to settle in my drysuit and control my buoyancy. I really felt like I could have been a ball in one of those pinball arcade games. Good thing I was in a fissure and didn’t drift off into the lake. I’m totally over exaggerating, but you get the idea.
Once I calmed down, I was able to enjoy the dive for what it was: Beautiful. The water at an angle beautifully reflected the scenery below. There were periods of darkness, then flashes of bright light from the backgrounds as other divers moved about. When I turned on my back, I could see the stars shine through the water.
After the dive, I struggled to get out of my fins. It seems like I just had one stress after another tonight. The 400m walk back to the picnic tables wasn’t as bad as I remembered. But then taking off the drysuit was definitely difficult. I couldn’t do it by myself. By then, it had dropped below freezing. Once I got my drysuit off, it looked like a frozen dead body on the ground. Kinda stiff and just laying there. I should have asked for her to walk herself to the van and put herself away.
As tradition for any silfra dive, we had some nice hot drinks afterwards. I should have enjoyed the moment, but the thoughts and pressure of the divemaster program were weighing me down. Back at the shop, my dive instructor comforted me and gave me the strength/boost I needed to get me out of that “doubt hump.” Thanks instructor!
Takeaway thought of the day: Know that the divemaster program will be very difficult… but that you need to give yourself time to breathe, adjust to the weather, and stop being so hard on yourself.
Today I received my PADI divemaster package. In Iceland the package costs 41,000Kr (approximately $341) Pretty standard price across Europe. On amazon.com it was about $300 including shipping. This cost is not included in most PADI Divemaster programs. Its considered something else you need to get on your own (like your gear).
The one most important thing I learned was not to lose the GREEN Sticker, as that was proof that I bought an authentic and unique PADI divemaster package. A $300 green sticker. Wow.
If anyone is thinking about doing the DM program, I would recommend getting the package yourself before starting the program.
At first glance, I was pretty happy with the package. The Recreational Diving book has everything! It reminded me of the old days (times before Wikipedia).
I’m a sucker for hard copies the book has very detailed information on the physiology of diving to polar cells and global wind patterns.
The PADI Pro Black Zip mini binder contains slates and the instructor manual. The slates have a lot of useful information on the workshops that you need to complete during the course. One thing missing is a good old-fashioned pencil. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember the last time I actually used a pencil. Add these things to “Stuff to get before you start your Divemaster program.”
Speaking of which. “DOH! moment of the day” – Before starting the dive program I learned that I needed to get a physical / doctor’s note. I have a regular doctor at home that could have done the examination, but now I need to try the Icelandic Health system and see how it goes. Hoping I get it done before my first day on Sunday. Gulp.
Lessons Learned: Things to do before actually starting the PADI Divemaster Course
- Buy your Divemaster Package online (amazon or ebay) for a better price
- Get a physical; get the doctor to sign your divemaster candidate application
- Buy a pencil and a sharpener and figure out some way to attach it to the slates while diving
- Once you get the Divemaster Package, don’t lose the $300 green sticker