One of the adventures I really wanted to do in Iceland was to go sea kayaking. I kayak at home on rivers regularly so I thought seeing Iceland by water would be a wonderful experience. Our tour group picked us up in Reykjavik and before we knew it we were outside the city looking at a beautiful fjord. The boats were already on location so all we had to do was get our gear and get started. We booked our sea kayaking tour here.
It was very peaceful on the water. The guides took us to a beach and called over some beautiful Icelandic horses. They were shy at first but eventually would take handfuls of grass from us. Even though it wasn’t particularly sunny, it was a nice calm day for a few hours of paddling.
While we were on the water, our guides told us a little about Eider Ducks. Eider Ducks are important to Icelanders because of their down. The ducks nest on the small islands and coastlines around the country. The down “farmers” and the ducks have a symbiotic relationship. The farmers protect the ducks from foxes, and the ducks allow them to take a percentage of their down from the nests. Nesting birds even, “lift a cheek”, so the farmers can harvest some of the feathers from the nest they are sitting on. Eider down is big business in Iceland. An Eider down comforter can cost around $10,000 USD. Because Eiders frequent areas of extreme cold, the down has unique qualities to protect against water and temperature. It is the only down product that is not collected by killing the bird. For this reason Eider ducks are greatly protected in Iceland. We were not able to beach our boats on many of the islands in the fjord because they were owned by down farmers to protect the birds.
Diving in Iceland
Pingvellir is a very popular dive spot in Iceland. The Silfra Fissure is really a crack between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. Therefore you can actually dive between two continents at once. Since the water is glacier fed, the visibility is about 100 meters, which is really clear! Because it is a cold water dive, dry suits are a requirement. You can also snorkel Silfra too if you are not a certified diver already.
I did not actually do this dive. Diving in cold water did not sound appealing to me, but one member of our group did. While the other four of us went kayaking, Paul went diving. He came back with some amazing underwater footage of his dive, so at least we got to see what it looked like.