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Life in the Icelandic waters

Lake Life


There are 5 fresh water fish to be found in Iceland. Atlantic Salmon, Arctic Char, Brown Trout, Three spines stickle back and Eel. The reason behind this low number of species is said to be Iceland´s remote location and great distance from the mainland. Another reason is the relatively short period from the last Ice Age in the area.

In our fresh water sites Silfra, Davidsgjá and Kleifarvatn we have 3 of these fish. When diving in these places you are quite likely to see at least one of these species. The Brown Trout in lake Thingvallavatn is rather famous, and it is always a pleasure to spot this majestic fish. Here lives also the biggest Brown trout in the world. Many of the trouts spend the night in the Silfra fissure, as it is nice and protected. In the daytime they swim around in the lake, or spend some time in the rivers flowing through Thingvellir national park.

The Arctic Char is frequently spotted in lake Thingvellir in the summer from May to September. Is it a beautiful red/brown fish, very similar to the Salmon. The Char is a very tough species, and it can survive in almost any cold and inhospitable environment. This fish is also quite friendly towards divers and not as timid as many other cold water fish. In the peak of the summer we sometimes see the Char mating in the Silfra fissure, not at all bothered by the groups of divers and snorkels swimming past or taking photos. In Davidsgjá a sighting of the Arctic Charr is almost guaranteed when diving in June, July or August.

Lake Thingvallavatn´s own pet is the tiny Three-Spined Stickleback. it is estimated that 85 million of these guys live in the lake! In the summer during breeding season there are lots of sticklebacks in the Silfra fissure. They are however the same colour as the lava rocks, and can therefore be a big tricky to spot. Once you have spotted one, you will start to see them everywhere.


Ocean Life

The ocean surrounding Iceland is full of life. Here lives big animals like 23 different species of whale, dolphin, orcas and seals. Middle sizes fish like Cod, Haddock, Pollack, Flatfish, wolffish and lots more are further to be seen. Macro species like shrimps and nudibranchs also inhabits the waters around Iceland.

The Atlantic Cod can live up to 25 years. The largest one caught was measure 180 cm, and weight 96 kg. However, most of the cod we spot here while diving is usually no more than half of that size. If you are looking to see some Cod than Strytan and Gardur in the summer time is where you want to be.

Fish spotted on diving tour in Strýtan


The Atlantic wolf fish is known under many names, Cat Fish, Sea Wolf, Devil fish, Sea cat etc. It is not the most pretty fish you will ever see, but by no doubt the coolest! The wolf fish is a hard core fish, living in waters between -1 to +10 degrees C, at depths of 10 – 500 meters. It is relatively common to spot when diving in Iceland, and we have a few house wolfs at Gardur and Strytan.

Wolfish spotted on diving tour in Strytan Iceland


The Atlantic Ocean is full of colourful Macro species. The cold water nudibranchs are just as pretty and fun to spot as the ones in tropical waters. Lots of shrimps and hermit crabs are commonly seen at all our ocean dive sites.

Nudibranch spotted in the ocean on Gardur Diving tour in Iceland  Nudibranch spotted in the ocean on Gardur Diving tour in Iceland

Amazing experience. Small group size. Memorable.
In comparison to the groups from the other company with had over 15 people per group, I was very glad I went with Scuba Iceland. The more personal attention and smaller ratio helped with the experience. Also, from a cost point of view, they don't charge extra 5000 isk like some companies for pick up.

SingleWomanTravels – Jul 17, 2016