The expression on people’s faces when they see a bunch of seemingly crazy Icelanders swimming happily in the choppy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, rather than making use of the hot-tubs and warmer waves of the thermal beach, is priceless. Even a blustery day with raindrops on top won’t deter the spirited members of sea-swimmers group Sjosund, who swam around 3,8km yesterday in the ‘Aegisida’ sea-side swim.
Like most people here in Rekjavik, I’m particularly drawn to the thermal pools and hot springs Iceland’s famous for and couldn’t even imagine that it was possible for anyone to enjoy swimming in the shivery Big Blue, but seeing how happy those sea-people were got me curious – enough so to accept an invitation to test my mettle by Thorunn Jonsdottir – a member of the sea-swimmers group. So I mustered up some courage and with steely determination joined her for a splash in the Atlantic. At around 13 degrees the water is really cold, and it took around five minutes to adapt. I stayed in the sea for around 20 minutes and since it was my first time I stayed close to the shore. The swim itself was peculiarly pleasant but it’s the after effects that leave you with that beaming feeling and full of energy for the rest of the day that got me hooked, not to mention the health benefits! There’s a good reason they’re all smiling