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Earth’s Tectonic Plates with Prescription ScubaPro Dive Mask

Scuba Diver in dry suitin clear water in Iceland with a scuba pro d mask with lenses installed by See the Sea RX

Diving in Iceland

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, from towering glaciers to majestic waterfalls. While I spent much of last year in England, I was able to find a deal on last minute flights to Iceland with the idea of exploring Iceland’s hidden gem for adventure seekers: scuba diving between the tectonic plates in water a degree or two away from freezing. While my flights were inexpensive, Iceland as a whole is expensive (something to definitely keep in mind). Packed with my scuba pro d mask and prescription lenses installed in our lab in Houston and a bunch of warm clothes, I was able to get a quick feel for Iceland’s tourism. The trip was a great experience, but I am not in a rush to return (I am, primarily, a spoiled warm water diver). In this blog, I will fill you in on my trip- things to do in Iceland, and some considerations for dive masks in cold water.

Just for context, my trip was in January/February 2024.

Scuba Diver in dry suitin clear water in Iceland with a scuba pro d mask with lenses installed by See the Sea RX
In the cold clear water in Silvia with my custom prescription lens scuba pro mask.

Scuba Diving Between Tectonic Plates

One of the most exhilarating experiences Iceland has to offer is diving at the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park. There are two main options: Snorkeling in a dry suit (no certification required) or you can dive through the fissure. You are required to have both a dive certification as well as a dry suite certification to participate. The water hovers around 35 degrees year round.

The outing to Silfra cost near $300 including transport from the hotel as well as all equipment. You can bring your own equipment if you wish, but be sure your regulators are serviced and intended for cold water use. I did bring my prescription scuba mask as well as the Sealife phone case which I have been using more than my traditional dive camera set up on these quick trips. All the pics I took were on my Iphone (14 pro max at the time) using the Sealife case.

 

The dive is short, about 30 minutes and led in small groups with a certified instructor.

 

Overall it is a unique once in a lifetime experience.

Cold water prescription scuba mask concerns


Some divers contact us wondering if our prescription dive masks will work in near freezing or freezing water temperatures. As you can see with my mask, they hold up well. A few things you can do to prevent damage to the lenses: Try to acclimate the mask to surrounding/water temp before submerging. Going between extreme temperatures can cause the laminate to fracture.

Non diving Iceland Activities

While scuba diving between tectonic plates is a highlight of any trip to Iceland, the country offers an array of other activities in which to indulge:

  1. Golden Circle Tour: Discover Iceland’s iconic sights, including the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal wonders of Geysir, and the historic site of Thingvellir National Park. I did not have time to take part in one of the Golden Circle Tours, but they remain one of the more popular options.

 

  1. Glacier Hiking: Strap on crampons and traverse the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland’s glaciers. Guided tours provide insight into glaciology while offering stunning views of ice formations.

 

  1. Whale Watching: Set sail from Reykjavik or Husavik for a chance to spot majestic whales, including humpbacks, orcas, and blue whales, in their natural habitat.

 

  1. Northern Lights Hunting: During the winter months, chase the elusive aurora borealis across Iceland’s dark skies for a mesmerizing display of dancing colors. I missed out on seeing the northern lights the one night I went out. The tour does offer a voucher to try again within a year or two, but it is unlikely I will be back. This was also not a favorite of mine as the first half hour of the tour was picking up other tourists at other hotels (and thirty to forty five minutes of drop offs at the end) and then driving around in a mini bus to locations which may offer the chance to view the lights. The tour staff were friendly, but I would probably find another way of doing this if I was to go again. 

 

  1. Relax in Hot Springs: Unwind in Iceland’s geothermal pools and hot springs, such as the iconic Blue Lagoon or the secluded Secret Lagoon, surrounded by stunning landscapes. I chose to go to Sky Lagoon which is a bit newer and located a little closer to the center of Reykjavik. My pictures of Sky Lagoon are seen on the right.
A view of outside the sky lagoon center in SIlfra. Water is seen in the horizon. A sign is in front of the building.
Horizon seen over warm water in Sky Lagoon.
Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and rebreather diver- he has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.

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Scubapro D Mask with Franklin Bifocals

Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction

Scuba pro D-Mask & Franklin Bifocals

It is no secret that the scubapro d mask has recently become one of my favorite dive masks for prescription dive mask lenses. I recently wrote a post just detailing the d mask. Below are my reasons for loving the d-mask:

  • 3 sizes available to fit the vast majority of people. If you order a size and it doesn’t fit, we can move the lenses quickly to a different size as they all share the same lens size.
  • UV coating to protect your eyes at the surface of the water.
  • Slight color correcting tint to bring some red coloring back at depth.
  • Supports a wide range of prescriptions INCLUDING very strong prescriptions.
 
This article is not meant to be another review of d mask, however, but it is an overview franklin bifocal lenses in the scubapro d mask and who may want them.

For some divers, the reading /near vision lens portion in the standard bifocal just is not enough area for the tasks they are performing underwater. 
Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction

What are bifocals for in a dive mask?

In a recent post, I reviewed bifocal dive mask options and I went over the different types of bifocals available in scuba diving masks. 

The term bifocal can be confusing and divers often confuse it with our reading lenses. Bifocal lenses correct for both distance correction and near vision correction. Our dive mask reading lenses only provide correction for near vision and we normally install them in the bottom third of the dive mask (here are some reading lenses we installed in to an atomic venom frameless mask). Our bifocal lenses can also include correction for prism and astigmatism.

For dive mask we offer three main bifocal options:

  • Standard (ST-28) bifocals
  • ST-35 Bifocals
  • Frankling Bifocals
 
 

The ST-28 and 35 refer to the lens being a straight top bifocal (lens design) and the width of the bifocal segment in each eye. It is really important to keep in mind, the width of the bifocal segment is before the lens is cut for the dive mask. Different pupillary distances and dive mask design mean all bifocal segments will be a bit narrower than in the uncut lens. 

The end result with the st28 or st35 dive mask bifocal is a lens that contains a half moon segment for near correction at the bottom of the mask. The difference between these options and the franklin bifocal is the franklin bifocal includes separate lens that spans the bottom of the mask for a large amount of near vision correction. 

A diver under blue water in Cozumel, Mexico is wearing a scuba pro d mask as well as a Hollis Rebreather.

The franklin bifocal advantage when scuba diving

Scuba pro d mask with ST35 bifocals
Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction
Scuba pro d mask with franklin bifocals

In the above two images, you can see the two major different styles of bifocals. In the left image, we installed a st35 bifocal lens. You will likely need to click on the image to view it larger in order to see the bifocal line, but you will see a near vision segment that extends across about the bottom two thirds of the mask (in width). In the franklin bifocal on the right, you can see the near vision segment of the lens is a completely separate lens from the distance vision lens, and the reading/near vision area of the lens extends all the way to the bottom of the mask and all the way across the mask. 

For divers who engage in activities such as professional photography or cinematography, it is important to have a much larger near vision correction area. The franklin lens is also completely customizable. Some divers want the split to result. in a larger near vision area. We have made franklin dive mask bifocals that are 70% near vision and only 30% far vision. Depending on the diver’s needs, we can customize the lens sizes. If you only need bifocals to see your gauges or dive computer, the standard bifocals are a more economical option. 

Another benefit of the franklin bifocal is the ability to use high index lenses for those with strong prescriptions resulting in a thinner lighter lens than if we had done a traditional bifocal in crown glass. 

How much are bifocal lenses and how to order

Our standard bifocal lenses are available for order on the order page (seethesearx.com/ordering). Standard bifocals start at $295.00 + dive mask. The scubapro d mask costs $185.00.

The franklin bifocal is a fully custom option and is not available for order online. To set up an order for a diving mask or goggles with franklin lenses, please give us a call at 18003567190. 

Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.