Westman islands

Ocean diving adventure teeming with wild seabirds and marine life

Towering into the sky some 500 ft. high are some of the largest ocean mountains in the world – this is Vestmannaeyjar, a stunning volcanic archipelago lying due south off the coast of Iceland. The islands take just over 30 minutes by ferry, and offer some of the best ocean boat diving in Iceland.

The old harbour at Westman provides the starting point for all diving trips out to sea. Surrounded by high-sided rock walls of lava, this maritime meeting point is a welcoming sight for any dry suit diver. Its purpose-built concrete jetty and practical access to the boats make it ideal for gear prep. A friendly local captain by the name of Simi runs ‘Viking Tours’, the largest and most well known charter business for groups of divers visiting Vestmannaeyjar. Simi’s vast seamanship skills and expert knowledge of the area make him an excellent guide for diving. He knows all the best sites and knows exactly when to dive them. A very exciting and dramatic feature of the Westman Islands are its very large black basalt sea-stacks that protrude upwards from the water. Passing the stacks just before a dive really adds to the thrill since their size and scale can be very deceiving. From a distance away, what may seem like a small rock is actually a towering mass that can measure up to 40m high; It’s a rare and humbling sight! Up close and personal one can only imagine how these spectacular jagged rocks were made…just another mystery that adds to the strange allure of diving in Westman.

Because of its deep lava architecture; wall diving is absolutely possible at Westman; there are loads of sheer rock faces just waiting to be examined! They are covered with the most colorful macro life imaginable; soft corals, vibrant sea urchins, mussels and many other arctic critters. For deeper tech diving, the outer islands offer something more challenging with wall depths of up to +100m. Exploring the many islands by boat is simply amazing; it’s like diving on the Galapagos! The Westman’s nutrient-rich waters are a breeding ground for fish that attracts, not only large ocean mammals, but a frenzy of winged creatures – nesting on the narrowest of ledges, soaring, gliding, hunting, diving, catching and breeding in abundance are thousands, if not millions of wild birds! Species such as Puffins, Razorbills and Guillemots can all be seen and heard in total awe before, during and after the dive – it’s a sight and sound worth travelling for. The dive sites at Westman range from; shallow grottos, sea-nooks and beach heads, to deep walls, drifting reefs and sea caverns. Each site has been in some way created by the sea’s power, which provides a raw insight into how special this place actually is. Around Vestmannaeyjar, the strength of geology is more apparent that ever, where water has literally been scooped out rock like ice cream after countless years of pounding surf.


  • Just over 30 minutes by ferry
  • Some of the best ocean boat diving in Iceland