Honorable Mention - Cold Water
In January 2018 my friend Fraser Cameron picked me up in Reykjavik, Iceland, to explore a lesser known dive site named Davíðsgjá, accessible by 4x4 only. This time of year is winter, and the daylight lasts only from about 11am to 3pm. An hour after departing we were in the snow, taping the neck and wrist seals on my loaner dry suit to ensure that the 2°C (35°F) water wouldn’t seep in. We walked 100m over frozen terrain, trying to avoid slipping while carrying my underwater camera, tank and a lot of weight. We arrived at a 2m cliff where there was an opening in the ice that had formed over the majority of the lake. After lowering my camera down, we proceeded to giant stride off the cliff into the freezing water! What hit me next was the facial numbing sensation I remembered from Silfra the year prior. After getting dialed in with my camera and buoyancy, Fraser tied up a line to trace our path under the ice sheet. It was amazing - seeing the winter sun penetrating the ice ceiling, all while hearing the sounds of shifting ice. He led me through some lava fissures similar to Silfra, maintaining perfect buoyancy and tension on the reel. After some exploring, we messed around standing upside down on the ice, which is surprisingly difficult in a dry suit with a camera. After 40 minutes, we surfaced at the edge of the ice, removed our BCDs, and slid all the gear up onto the ice. Then we slid ourselves up onto the ice like seals, grabbed our gear, and walked across the ice and back to the car! It was so much fun, and the discomfort was forgotten shortly thereafter, leaving only good, lasting memories!