Have you ever fantasized about diving below the surface of the Arctic Ocean or swimming amongst the icebergs? The open ocean seems vast, mysterious, and dangerous. Diving in Polar regions seems impossible, and the dark waters seem lifeless once macro life has passed through. However, macro life is not the only form that passes through the sea. There are Polar Regions that have incredible micro life beneath the sea. If the open Polar ocean intimidates you, many frozen lakes offer a more controlled environment. Here are some of the most breathtaking, Polar regions where you can dive around the ice. You may need a dry suit before you go.
Even though you need to be a scientist to stay in Antarctica, there are voyages available to the public. These start around 7000 for the ship and 500 for diving. Antarctica includes beautiful macro life, surprisingly stunning icebergs, and surprisingly a vivid micro life in the ocean. The macro life alone is a reason to embark on this unforgettable journey. You will only find the emperor penguin in Antarctica. These birds are unique to the region. Here you will get to experience them in their natural habitat, diving for fish. Also unique to Antarctica is the leopard seal which preys on the emperor penguin. You may find them sometimes visiting New Zealand. The likelihood of finding them there though is relatively low. These are the primary apex predators of the ocean. They are aggressive but very curious. They rarely see divers and will be inquisitive when you enter the water. Other macro life includes the minke whale, humpback whale, and occasionally orcas will pass through. They are Apex predators but, they do not settle down in Antarctica like Leopard seals. Another unique aspect of diving in Antarctica is there are no sharks. The stunning icebergs create burrows of beauty in the colder months. However, it is micro life that surprises new divers. Fish inhabiting the Circumpolar current survive by producing a natural anti-freeze in their body. No fish pass through the Circumpolar current so, these fish can never leave this environment. Beneath the Arctic sea, you will find large, bright, and red starfish that feed off lipids, beautiful shiny spiral-shaped snail shells, and lots of bright red krill. Lichen grows among the rocks near the coast. Microlife in Antarctica is more fertile and diverse than expected. Down here, you will find a diverse ecosystem that has adapted to subzero temperatures over the years. It is surprisingly warmer in the water than on land. Along with the underwater magic, you will find the mysterious Norwegian vessel, Guvernøren. This shipwreck and icy glaciers, add to an unforgettable scenic drive.
If you love shipwreck diving in a more secure environment, Lake Huron in Tobermory, Canada, offers an exciting excursion to explore the 119-foot wide Sweepstakes schooner sunk in 20 feet of water. By March, the water has frozen most of the way. You can walk or sled over to the dive site. You may even be able to swim into icy caverns. It is worth considering a charter with a group into the icy waters. Alongside diving into the deep caverns, you may stop and walk into the icy caves alongside the lake where pools of water have frozen, and there are beautiful ice crystals.
For deep water dive enthusiasts, this calm environment offers a soothing suspension deep below the icy waters.
Baffin Island, Canada
Baffin Island, Canada, is convenient for those who want to visit the Arctic circle. This location, referred to as the Arctic Kingdom, is one of the few places you will find the elusive narwhal. Narwhals are the most mysterious sea mammal since they dive deep below the ocean, are terrified of humans, and cannot survive in captivity. Baffin, Canada, is rich in these mammals due to its almost nonexistent human population. Environmental enthusiasts are drawn here as the Polar Bear population thrives in the icy waters. Towers of mountains, cliffs, and glaciers offer scenic thrills for divers who brave the Bay. Prices to stay in Baffin start at just above $2000. Dives start above $18,000 for seven days. For an Arctic dive, this price is relatively low since Arctic expeditions begin at $35,000. You may be able to chart your trip to Baffin, Canada if you find a Master diver that offers excursions to the water from a different outlet. Baffin, Canada will be one of the few locations you will be able to dive with narwhals.
White Sea, Russia
Unlike Baffin Island, the White Sea is less expensive and one of the few places to ice dive. The immense ice is layered in large blocks above the surface. This dive is one of the coldest dives (below 20 degrees) and the thick ice shuts out most of the light creating a dark green atmosphere. Divers pull off large chunks of ice. This dive is not for the faint of heart. There is not a lot of space to immerge from the icy water. There are strategically placed, ice holes that allow divers to immerge from the small spaces. The macro life includes the lovable Beluga whale and Harp Seal. Your best bet is diving near the Solovetsky islands if you want to find a Beluga.
Lake Sassol, Switzerland
If you love icebergs then this place is for you. Even though Lake Sassol is a lake, the formations come from snow and ice rolling off the mountainside and packing into icebergs. Polar enthusiasts love swimming through the various icebergs. The icebergs hold ice caves that divers can enjoy. Even though the formations are tall, 6,900 ft, the lake is relatively shallow.
The only road to Lake Sassol is closed during the winter months. So you will need to visit in Early Spring before the icebergs melt.
Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater in Asia full of biodiversity. The unique micro life includes krill, spiny amphipods, reefs, and fish. With over 2,500 species of animals and 1,000 species of plants, this lake is full of biodiversity. The hardened reefs offer a spooky, yet lovely scenic view underwater. For animal lovers, the adorable Nerpa seal can be found. These furry seals are the only exclusively freshwater seals. Along with the cute wildlife, Lake Baikal is a wreck divers paradise.
Diving in the North Pole? Can it be done?
If you are curious about diving in the North Pole, there are occasional diving charters to dive there. Reserving a seat on a voyage to the North Pole costs about $35,000 or more per person. For this reason, many people do not dive here. People disembark from Helsinki. Diving here, you have the chance to see polar bears, narwhals, walruses, Weddell seals, and much more macro life. You will experience the Adelie penguins diving for food in the complex ecosystem. The ice is filled with caverns, small holes, and tunnels. Individuals can experience what it is like hiding as a seal from a polar bear.
If this dive is a dream of yours, save up for the experience and regularly check excursions.
Ice divers need to proceed with caution. The freezing temperatures can challenge even the fittest diver.
You will need a drysuit to embark on your frozen quest. If you are interested in finding the right drysuit, By the Shore SCUBA Instruction can help you find all the materials you need.