Once in a lifetime underwater experience for Bromsgrove scuba divers

Once in a lifetime underwater experience for Bromsgrove scuba divers

The scuba diving team from Bromsgrove. SP

Hannah Snell is pictured in the crystal clear Icelandic waters reaching out to touch both tectonic plates. SP

First published in News

SIX scuba divers from Bromsgrove are back from a once in a lifetime underwater adventure which saw them touch two continents at the same time.

The group, from Mercian Divers, a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), went on an incredible journey to Silfra, Iceland, the only place on the planet where it is possible to dive between two tectonic plates.

Local experts guided them down an ever narrowing rift where the continents of America and Europe come face to face.

Amazing souvenir photographs, taken by the expedition party, reveal how each individual was able to put one hand on the Eurasian plate at the same time as touching the American continental plate with the other hand.

Hannah Snell, 27, of Bromsgrove, who organised the trip, said: "In effect we were touching Europe and America in the same single moment. I've never done a dive like it before. It was exhilarating, not just because of the geographical marvel that Silfra is, but also because it boasts some of the clearest water in the world. You can see for 100 metres which is unheard of in other diving spots."

Hannah, who is vice chairman of Mercian Divers, was joined on the trip by Mercian Divers secretary James Hegan-Smith, diving officer William Pitt, and club instructors Michael Marshall, John Carmichael and Ian Johnston.

Originally Hannah's partner, Stuart Darby, the club training officer, was also due to take part but he had to cancel after breaking his leg in a skiing accident earlier in the year.

Silfra water harbours virtually no fish life due to the extreme cold and this helps to make it crystal clear. The clarity is also enhanced by lava rock which is the result of an ancient volcano eruption. The rock provides a natural water filtration method which, coupled with an underground spring which wells up into the rift, makes visibility levels near perfect.

The two tectonic plates are drifting apart at a rate of 2cm a year, but it is still possible to touch both sides in some places.

Hannah first started scuba diving several years ago on holidays with her family. She loved it so much that she went on to join her local sub aqua club, at the Dolphin Centre, Bromsgrove. They meet on Monday nights.

She said: "People have a misconception that scuba diving is a hugely expensive hobby, that you have to buy lots of kit, but most clubs are willing to lend newcomers kit, especially in the early stages, so they can do trial dives and see how they like it.

“And the BSAC clubs have lots of members willing to volunteer help and advice. I love it so much now, I can't imagine a time when I will not be scuba diving."

BSAC is the national governing body for scuba diving and is made up of 120 dive centres and 1,000 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad.

It represents more than 30,000 scuba divers and snorkellers and welcomes new members from complete beginners upwards, including those who have trained with other agencies.

For more information about Mercian Divers see mercian-divers.org.uk or for more information about BSAC go to bsac.com.

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