Descending: The smoking earth

20:48, Oct 08 2013

Canadian Scott Wilson and Kiwi Ellis Emmett have been where no men have been before.

An 18 month trip took them to some of the world's remotest dive locations - many of which have only recently been discovered.

Scott and Ellis chronicle these travels as co-hosts of a show, Descending on the Travel Channel. We'll catch up with them each week about the destinations they've been to.

This week, facing frigid waters, the Descending team travel to Iceland to witness the newest part of our planet being formed. Scott and Ellis touch two continents at once in some of the world's clearest water and attempt to dive where no one has gone before.

We chat to Scott about this incredible experience.

What was your favourite dive from this episode?


Silfra is hard to beat! Though I want to stress that there are plenty of other great sites to dive in Iceland, even though Silfra seems to get the most attention, it's truly awe inspiring diving between two continents filled in with crystal clear glacier water.

How did you get there? 

Icelandair flies direct from many points in Europe and North America. Once there, being in the hands of a good guide/local really helps get you off the typical "ring road" tourist trail.

What diving risks were you concerned about in this location?

Well, for Ellis I'm sure he'd say the cold! But in this case he's right. With water right at the zero degree mark you have to be very conscious of equipment freezing up.

The right regulators are a must and different breathing techniques can help too. Limit the use of your LPI and drysuit inflator, and when you must use them, do small, short bursts.

Watch the episode and Ellis will give you a good example of what "not" to do!

What's one thing every traveller should try there? 

Every traveller, whether a diver or not, should try Silfra.

There is no excuse as it's very close to Reykjavic as an easy day-trip, plus even snorkel options and rental drysuits are available. It's worth the cold!

What should you avoid in this destination?

 Avoid being a wimp! Facing the cold is part of everyday life in Iceland, and some of the most rewarding parts of the country require you to face it head on, in and out of the water.

Did anything go wrong on a dive?

I called a dive off at one point as it just seemed to be getting too risky finding a hidden cave/lava tube.

Sometimes you have to listen to your gut... especially when diving.

As Ellis told me after I called the dive and felt a bit bad about possibly ruining it for the rest of the guys: "Better to call the dive than be the bravest guy in the whole cemetery!"

Ellis also saw firsthand the impact of frigid water on dive equipment, a severe freeze up that could have been very dangerous. Watch the episode and see for yourself.

What's the coolest thing you saw?

I think watching all these amazing creatures and life living on the vents of an underwater geothermic chimney was pretty awesome! A massive 50m high chimney billowing up from the seafloor really makes geology "cool"!

Something that can usually only be found at thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean.

Our guide and friend, David, really made this trip for us.

His knowledge, passion for both Iceland and diving, humour and character truly made this trip. I've now been to Iceland three times and it remains one of my favourite places on Earth.

Watch Descending, Wednesdays, 8.30pm on the Travel Channel.