Wreck Diving in Åland

July 21, 2009 · Posted in Diving 

In the end of the July Susi, Jukka, I and two other divers from Finland went to Åland for a four day wreck diving trip. This coincided with an American car show, which Gunnar – who had been our guide in our Red Sea trip earlier this year – was attending.

Our dive center was Dive Åland, and although the first communications with the staff over the phone and email left a bit unclear vibe, after the four days I can heartily recommend it for everybody. The center is a ten minutes drive from the ferry terminal and it combines a dive shop and a small hostel. In practice there’s a big room with several bunk beds, a smaller private room, a sauna and a fully equipped kitchen. The pier where the boat left for the closer dives was right next to it. Extremely handy and comfortable. Additionally the staff were nice and helpful guys and the briefings & the logistics were top notch.

(See the full Flickr photoset)


In any case, we had four days of wrecks. Baltic sea is a good wreck diving location, because the low salinity of the water keeps the metal parts from corroding so fast, and the wooden parts can survive for centuries. All in all we visited five wrecks:

  • Plus is a large 70m long sail ship built in 1885. It sank during a stormy December night a stone’s throw from the shore. The sailors who happened to swim in the right direction survived, the others drowned.
  • Caskelot is a sailing boat that sank on 1970. You can find the nylon sails next to it and read the mileage and other information on the instruments.
  • Nederland is a Dutch river barge that sank with a full cargo of street bricks in 1917.
  • M/S Gävle is a Swedish marine research vessel that sank on 1975. It’s heavily listed, but in a very good condition. A lot of the rigging is still intact, which made this a very interesting diving experience. The visibility was ridiculously good, something like 15 meters, so navigating through the ropes and cables wasn’t that hard. There was an equipment locker someone had recently broken into, in spite of the key still being in a “break the glass in case of emeregency” box next to it. There was a lone gas mask hanging out the door.
  • S/S Belliver was the true money shot of the trip. It’s a large steam ship, which was accidentally found by the same crew that found the Soviet submarine S-2. Since the wreck was found only in last winter, it’s still relatively unmolested by stupid fucks who steal stuff from wrecks. On the deck you could find the compass, the ship’s bell, a course corrector, some plates and of course the ornate captain’s toilet. If you went outside the wreck, you could peek in from the holes in the aft and see the bunk beds of the crew. S/S Belliver is about 300 meters away from the Soviet submarine S-2, which we didn’t get to visit, because of something about it being a wartime grave and containing live ammo. Pffsh.




Here’s somebody’s video from the wreck:

And this is someone else in Plus, with tech diving gear and a professional level video equipment.

Sail ship Plus from Slawek Packo on Vimeo.

Learning to Dive

There aren’t that many photos from under the sea. I seemed to have lost my underwater camera fu, so most of the photos came out pretty crappy. On the other hand the plateau effect of diving I’ve been struggling with this spring let go and I suddenly found out I had far better buoyancy control than earlier, plus I spontaneuosly learned how to do a helicopter turn. I guess I need a bit more XP to learn how to back up.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t mistakes, the most irritating being almost locking up my dive computer. The mysterious zoology of diving: an angry Gekko can mess up 48 hours of diving, so one should treat their Gekko right. I had set up the computer on 32% nitrox mix on the previous night, but this time there happened to be a long enough a pause in between the dives for it to reset itself for air. This meant that when I was in the ass end of S/S Belliver, furthest away from the buoy line and right at the bottom of the sea, I noticed the Gekko giving me six minutes to get back up. We started heading back for the buoy line, I got some extra deco minutes from the computer but a slow ascent kept the computer happy.


The other mistake was missing a MOD warning for the gas I was using, but since I had set the alarm on 1.4, it wasn’t that bad – I got maybe down to 1.5 and so I was still meters away from actual danger. For those whom which the previous was complete Hebrew: with enriched air you can go only so deep, depending on the percentage of oxygen in the air mix, because oxygen turns poisonous in certain dephs. MOD is the maximum depth for a given gas mix and the 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 are partial pressures of oxygen. The higher it goes, the more certain you are to get oxygen toxicity and to start convulsing. 1.6 is considered the maximum safe limit, but those that play safe (like me) use 1.4.

In any case, the trip was really great, even with all the sunburns from falling asleep on the boat in direct sunshine, and the back muscles that are screaming bloody murder after lifting the tanks and kits for four days straight. If you are interested in wreck diving,  Åland is well worth a visit.


(See the full Flickr photoset)



7 Responses to “Wreck Diving in Åland”

  1. Kim on September 28th, 2009 16:29

    It looks COLD. I prefer the water to be around 30’C!

    I am starting up a scuba blog carnival and would like to invite you to participate. The bonus of participating is that your writing will be read by other readers who support other blogs. If you would like to submit an article you can do so here: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_8350.html.
    Please contact me if you have any questions.

  2. Janos on September 30th, 2009 08:17

    Well, there’s not a such thing as too cold a weather, there’s just insufficient clothing and equipment (and so many PE teachers in here are happy to point out 🙂 ) I’d say Baltic sea is a dry suit dive location, but then again there are some people who use wet suits in here. I love cold weather, but not cold water, so I’m not amongst the latter. The water is usually from around 4-14C and if you’re wearing a dry suit and a proper undersuit, the latter actually feels kind of hot.

    This, on the other hand, does feel a bit nippy 🙂 http://blog.vornaskotti.com/2009/02/07/ice-diving-course-photos-video/

    I’d be happy to take part in the carnival, submitted something for it already.

  3. Wreck Diving in Narvik : Vornasblogi on October 28th, 2009 11:50

    […] lower deck of the boat to chat and destroy some beer, wine and Bowmore that was left over from our Åland trip. Fun was had, and I even had the common sense to hit the bunk in a reasonable […]

  4. Kim on January 10th, 2010 16:38

    Your post has been included in the 1st Edition of the Your Dive Buddy Carnival which you can find here: http://ameasureofthings.blogspot.com/2010/01/your-dive-buddy-1st-edition.html

  5. […] and I decided to end our Awesome July of 2010 by going to Åland to dive some wrecks, like we did last year. This time we were accompanied again by Gunnar, Christina and Jukka, but also Jori and Ville who […]

  6. Jari Pullinen on June 21st, 2017 09:05

    This is a story about how this company works and its values. The original text is written by Finnish diver Patrick Lybeck.

    I just finnished making an event report at the Finnish Divers Federations website about an incident we had on our dive trip to Åland on Friday 9/6 2017.
    The other vessel refers to Silverpilen.

    The report as follows:
    “9/6 2017 appr 11:00 Åland archipelago, wreck Belliver.
    Our own ship was anchored at less than 50 meters from the buoy marking the wreck with the divers flag hoisted.

    I was asked to exit the kitchen onto the deck as a boat had been sighted approaching the buoy at traveling speed without reducing speed, although we had divers in the water. There was a strong assumption the other party was natively swedish speaking, that’s why I think they wanted me on deck.

    Silverpilen ÅL3878, divealanddotcom:s boat headed straight for the buoy at travelling speed without reducing its speed although we had divers in the water. We signalled about the matter with hand signals meaning STOP. As these signals and our shouting were ignored our skipper sounded the horn, which also was passed unregarded.

    The other vessel dropped from semiplaning to mooring speeds at less than a hundred meters from the buoy continuing its approach to the buoy without attempting in any way to communicate with us about our divers current statuses and locations. At that moment two of our divers had ascended from their safetystops noting the vessel approaching them and the buoy at full speed. Simultaneously two other divers were swimming to the buoy to start their descent.

    The other vessel drove with the drive on and propeller turning amidst the divers, totally ignoring the safety of the divers both in sight and under the surface, until it managed to hook up to the buoy.

    A request for assistance was relayed to the coastguard, who arriving at the scene noted our position relative to the buoy and went on to identify the skipper of the other vessel.

    A police investigation has been instigated.”

    To round this off I think it’s clear that I can not in any sircumstances recomend the services of this establishment.

    i.e. wwwdotdivealanddotcom don’t, just DON’T go there!

    Patrick Lybeck

  7. Janos on June 21st, 2017 09:59


    Holy shit, that’s a very dangerous amateur hour stuff. When I was there in the beginning of the decade, they were very professional and security conscious, but apparently something has seriously changed in their attitude.

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