Ice Diving And Why It's So Special

24th December 2014   |   Jackie Hutchings

One of the best places to go ice diving in the whole world is Russia. Seriously.

Now Russia is probably unlikely to be first place on your ‘must visit’ list, but I’m delighted to tell you that – for a whole load of different reasons – you need to put it on there.

When I was first starting out in the world of diving, to me it seemed like divers generally went to the same sorts of places – South Africa, Thailand, Egypt etc – and for good reason – those places are pretty special.

But I also had this gut feeling that for those divers who wanted to do something a bit different, the world had more to offer.

That’s when I came across the White Sea diving experience in Russia. It might sound like I’m being OTT, but diving in the White Sea changed my life. Why? It’s simple really: it was like nothing else I’d ever experienced, and nothing that I’ve experienced since.

What’s so special about it then? Here are four reasons:

It’s ‘proper ice diving’

The White Sea really is cold. Which means you’ve got to be prepared. But it also means that you genuinely are visiting a new world when you get in under the ice. The peacefulness and tranquillity is spectacular – it’s one of those ‘other world’ experiences that we get all too rarely in our hustle and bustle lives.

The sealife is magnificent

For pretty much all divers, the life underneath the sea is one of the reasons why we do it. It’s no different in Russia, but what makes the sealife so special is that it’s incredibly unique. You’re guaranteed to see things you’ve never seen before and will probably never see again. All with the otherworldly light that’s only possible during an ice dive.

Above the water is a world away from your ‘average’ diving site

As you’d expect, the seashores and islands in the White Sea are deserted. This makes for some seriously scenic shores and isolated and attractive islands.

A chance to dive with Beluga whales

You’ve probably never seen a Beluga whale in the flesh before – they’re pretty special. In conjunction with Utrish, a few Beluga whales are kept in an open air natural environment in the White Sea where they have their behaviours monitored in the wild. During a dive trip to the White Sea you can enter the water with them and see they really are beautiful creatures.

Genuinely I can’t speak highly enough about a White Sea diving trip. It really is something very, very different and oddly, despite a diving trip being one of the most active holidays you can go on, the isolation and tranquillity can relax and soothe those who need a break from the daily grind. For something truly different, I recommend the White Sea.

This blog is an adapted extract from Charlotte’s eBook “Top 5 Arctic Diving Destinations” – click here to grab your free copy.

Charlotte Marshall-Reynolds is the CEO of Arctic Direct – the award-winning travel company specialising in Arctic travel and weddings.

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