Diving provides a unique peek into an underwater world, and true adrenaline junkies choose to dive in chilly seas, where they may see a variety of marine species in a stunning setting. Of course, you’ll need some practice before booking an ice dive, but after you’ve done that, here are some of the best spots to ice dive in the world.
Ice diving is one of the most daring scuba specialties because it exposes you to situations and sights that few others have ever seen. You might even have a chance to play with your exhaled bubbles at the ice’s bottom.
Discover 6 incredible ice diving places for a truly unforgettable and thrilling adventure.
1. Tobermory, Canada
Once you get past the freeze-proof gear and under-ice protocol, winter diving offers a surreal reality that you won’t find anywhere else.
Lake Huron, which is home to Fathom Five National Marine Park, never froze solid this winter. The majority of polar-plunge enthusiasts passed, unable to transport their stuff across the lake by sled or car. “It was such an odd sight,” says one guest. The turquoise tint created by the sun traveling through ice is unique to winter diving. Sunbeams poured through the cracks that day, and I was astonished.”
This has to be the most popular destination for dedicated ice divers, and with expert scuba diving Antarctica expedition excursions from a reputable ice diving tour operator, you can be sure that safety is always a top priority.
Ice diving is obviously quite dangerous, which is why you must strictly adhere to the directions of the guide divers who accompany you on all dives. You can also enjoy staring at the penguins, seals, walruses, and killer whales that live in Antarctica’s calm waters.
3. Newfoundland, Canada
Conception Bay, off the coast of Newfoundland, is a holy place. Divers in open-hull boats scan the horizon for 15,000-year-old icebergs that have traveled more than 2,500 miles down Greenland’s southern tip and down Canada’s east coast thanks to the Labrador Current.
Each crack and ice avalanche, in such a dynamic environment, not only causes down-currents but also affects the iceberg’s buoyancy in an instant, thanks to abrupt surges of freshwater. It’s one of the reasons why divers wearing helmets and dry suits need lift bags – to ensure they don’t end up like the bergs, trapped in the ocean’s whims.
4. SUMMIT LAKE, ALASKA, UNITED STATES
This lake freezes over as early as October and the ice persists until the following May, making it a strong favorite of practically every expert ice diver. The waters are typically significantly clearer than those found at most other ice dive sites, which is ideal for underwater photography.
There are special bear-watching tours led by professional guides for non-divers. Imagine two massive male grizzlies sizing each other up. They do fight over mating rights, and the guide will make sure you don’t get too close, though bear spray on your clip belt is always a good idea.
5. Hudson River, New York
Battles raged along the Hudson River’s shoreline dating back to the American Revolution, so it’s no surprise that winter’s storms and currents expose items that ice divers discover.
Rich Morin, the proprietor of the eponymous dive center in Glens Falls, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of New York City, has discovered musket balls and wooden wrecks.
Because entrance places are ice-dependent, there is no single put-in. Unlike lakes, the river’s ice cover can range from 1 to 10 inches thick, with 10 being the minimum thickness required to support the essential gear.
6. HOKKAIDO, JAPAN
A hard-core winter excursion that involves sleeping on iced lakes and some of the best ice diving in the world can be a lot of fun!
Sea eagles and seals can be seen in large numbers, and after a day of ice diving, you can relax in the hot spa waters. The greatest time to go ice diving in Japan is from January to March.
7. Lake Baikal, Russia
The world’s oldest lake is home to an incredible amount of indigenous species, many of which are invertebrates that seem like aliens. Consider the 700 Gammarus species. The amphipod crustacean grows to around half an inch in size elsewhere; in Siberia, it is the size of a fist.
The water is also clearer than in the Caribbean. The walls are covered in acres of sponges, each measuring 6 feet across, just as in the Caribbean. Because of the rift lake’s position straddling two continental plates, the slopes are as steep as skyscrapers, dropping to 2,300 feet.