This comes as little surprise to avid scuba and freedivers across Canada, much of Europe, parts of the USA and around the world that have been diving in cold water for years, but many don’t realize how great it is. But all that is starting to change. Sure, it is nice to throw on a shorty and roll into some warm, tropical water, but it is far from the only way to dive. For the more curious and/ or adventurous out there cold water environments have a lot to offer and people are catching on.
Iceland has done a great job of promoting tourism and for good reason. A lot of travellers want a chance to dive between continents in Silfra, the fissure filled with crystal clear glacier water that sits between the North American & European continental plates. Understandably, you do have to be drysuit certified to dive there, although you can also snorkel it.
The Galapagos Islands are a chilly destination and are often booked up years in advance due to the diversity of marine flora & fauna. I mean, who doesn’t want to see marine iguanas. Swimming lizards that look like mini-Godzillas (the 90s Broderick Godzilla, that is)? Sign me up.
And if you like wrecks you could explore far-flung destinations like Truk Lagoon or you could take the relatively easy trip to Scotland and explore the legendary Scapa Flow. Or check out the Great Lakes and their well-preserved wrecks (due to cold, fresh water). Or come dive in BC and while you’re marvelling at our abundant marine life stop by and explore one of the many natural wrecks on our rugged coast or visit one of the many wrecks sunk by the prolific Artificial Reef Society of BC. Ever wanted to take a look around a Canadian Naval vessel? It’s more fun underwater.
When I first started diving in cold water there was a push to refer to it as ‘temperate water diving’. Which is fine, but who are we fooling? It is pretty chilly out there. With the right equipment, you don’t have to feel that cold, though, no more than a day on the mountain skiing or snowboarding.