Bjarnagjá is an inland fissure located at the small town of Grindavik, on the southern part of Reykjanes Peninsula. Situated right on the windswept oceanfront, two old run-down structures mark the spot, reminiscent of an abandoned horror movie set. Historically, ‘Barney’s Crack’ used to be a crab hatchery, but ceased operation some years before.
Divers enter the site with a giant stride and exit on a rocky plateau. Depth is around 20m with a small overhead cavern at one end. Vertical rock walls covered in brown algae similar to Silfra drop down to thick fine silt and industrial scrap. The crack is thankfully sealed at both ends, so it’s virtually impossible to get lost.
Flat fish, eels and crabs lurk around on the bottom. Beautiful pink anemone have recently started to grow. Sea fleas, or small shrimps can be seen at 5m on the safety stop. Visibility is good until the silt is disturbed by divers. The water is dark blue and eery, but quite warm for Iceland. There are no currents or waves. Best time to dive is anytime during the year come rain, snow or shine. The site is completely sealed and protected from the weather by volcanic lava rocks, perfect to enjoy on windy stormy days.
Its a special site because divers can explore a mix of salt and fresh waters meeting together. It’s also the ideal place for underwater photography. Not recommended for novice drysuit divers in training, because of dark water and a silty bottom. Stay out of the cavern unless qualified to do so. Expect a salty, darker and eerier version of Silfra by the sea – definitely worth checking out.
You can dive Bjarnagjá on the 3-Day Tectonic Dive Expedition