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Åland, Baltic Sea
From sail to steam, dive though a revolution!
CONTACT KIERAN
Interested in training or dive travel with Diving In Depth? You can contact Kieran Hatton by phone...

07981 122523
Alternatively, by email...

Discover some of the finest wreck diving that the Baltic has to offer by joining us on a personalised itinerary to explore the perfectly preserved shipwrecks of the Åland Islands, an archipelago in the Baltic Sea on the West coast of Finland.
The Baltic is renowned for its diving and it's easy to see why. With its anoxic conditions, wrecks in the Baltic are far better preserved than most divers are used to. Like the Great Lakes in North America, the Baltic is home to perfectly preserved wrecks that act as fascinating time capsules just waiting to be explored. From historic wooden sailing ships to more recent casualties of the Second World War, Åland has it all!

At Diving in Depth we are passionate about diving. We want to share that passion with you whilst making sure every step of your journey is as smooth as possible.

Your trip will be led by Kieran Hatton, an experienced open and closed circuit trimix instructor, equipment technician and keen photographer. Kieran keeps equipment functioning and people diving whether he is working from the back of his van, in the workshop, or many places in between and beyond!
The Perfect Partnership
Looking after us in Åland are Mattias and Fredrik. Both are keen OC and CCR divers and love their big (8m and 10m) ribs (with ladders). When not looking after visiting divers, they can be found out diving and exploring in this area.

A stand out memory of their boats has to to be touching 52 knots in a fully laden dive rib, great fun! They also take care of gas and, should the unexpected happen, they can also offer some drysuit repairs.
Why visit Åland?
Put simply, you have never seen anything like this! Benefiting from the still, almost fresh anoxic water of the Baltic Sea, the wrecks are preserved in a way that is probably unique to both this part of the world and the Great Lakes.

The lack of oxygen in the water means rust does not degrade the wrecks in the way we are used to and the lack of marine organisms means that wood survives in a phenomenal state.

Åland has a rich maritime history (and a great maritime museum). The local shipping firms bought up the ageing sail vessels 'windjammers' as the rest of the world turned to steam power and continued to contest the 'grain race', a round-the-world trip to Australia and back.

Complex navigation and unpredictable weather patterns mean the archipelago is now the resting place for several of these iconic sailing vessels.

Not just sailing ships came to grief in this area. World War 2 also played its part in shipping losses, within reach of Russian airbases, German shipping was vulnerable navigating the sometimes ice bound channels of these islands.

it goes without saying that these wrecks dives are on a 'look, but do not touch' basis. On the more fragile wooden wrecks, a very lightweight shot is often used - this means the shot line is not suitable for pulling or hanging on, please make sure you are comfortable and confident with your buoyancy. Åland is an underwater heritage site, with bells and helms a plenty!
Diving Procedures
Diving Åland isn't complicated but there are some simple guidelines that you need to adhere to in order to ensure that you trip to as safe and enjoyable as possible.

All dives are return to shot, navigation is generally easy with most wrecks being quite small (but perfectly formed). As stated above, the shotlines are not always suitable for use as a tactile reference, divers should be comfortable with buoyancy for ascent and descent…as well as on the bottom; no tidal movement means there is sediment that can be disturbed.

There will be oxygen drop bottles on the boats to be deployed if a yellow SMB is sighted (this should be to aid deco, not as an out-of-gas signal). A strobe can be useful for navigating to the shotline. You may experience some of the best visibility you have ever had, but the water will be very dark, with almost/no natural light. Shallower wrecks may have more natural light but will tend to be in greener water.

Water temperature from surface to 6-9m is approximately 15°c, 9-25m is approximately 8-10°c. Below 25m, the temperature will be 2-4°c so please plan accordingly! August is the warmest time of year from a deco perspective, the bottom temperature is the same year round.
Åland diving itinerary
The Baltic is a treasure trove of world-class wrecks with plenty of superb diving on offer across a broad range of depths.

The option of two dives may be available on some days, but in general we recommend that you make the most of the 'A-list' dives listed opposite and then enjoy a more relaxed day soaking up the stunning surroundings - you're supposed to be on holiday after all!

To read more about the diving that Åland has to offer, check out the DIVER magazine feature written by Kieran Hatton after our first visit in 2017.
Planned dives include:
  • Plus - 17-33m
  • Hindenburg - max 42m avg 37m
  • Helge - max 48m avg 42m
  • Balder - max 55m avg 48m
  • Sverre - max 65m avg 60m
  • Betty H - max 70m avg 65m
  • Notung - max 55m avg 45m
  • Belliver - max 35m avg 30m

Åland costs
& booking info
Fancy joining us for some world-class wreck diving in Åland? Contact us confirming your interest and we will forward the booking form to you to secure your place.

Diving days are the 16th through to the 21st August 2020. You'll need to arrive the day before and leave the day after, at what time depends on which travel option you feel meets your needs best - please let us know which option you are planning and we'll let you know when you need to arrive.

The cost of all diving, cylinder rental and B&B accommodation is £1175. Note that this price does not include travel to and from Åland - see below for information on travel options.

To book your place, please email us to confirm availability first. We will then request a 25% deposit and a booking form be completed.

Åland travel logistics
Travel
There are two main travel options for getting to Åland:

  • Fly via Helsinki to Mariehamn (airport code MHQ). From an excess luggage perspective this is best done with Finnair as you only pay the excess once per direction. Flights are available from Manchester and Heathrow.
  • Fly to Stockholm (Arlanda) and catch a ferry to Mariehamn. This is slightly less direct but may represent a considerable cost saving over the direct flight route. We will be arranging for a luggage transfer on arrival at the airport, allowing hand luggage only travel on the ferry.

An added benefit of the Stockholm route is the option to add a night in Stockholm and to visit the Vasa wreck museum.
Insurance

It is recommended that you purchase diving insurance as we will be diving in European waters. Whilst the UK does currently have reciprocal health arrangements (please remember your European EHIC Health card), not all countries provide the same services as standard.

Travelling from outside the UK, same advice, better to know you have the cover required in the unlikely event of a problem.

Standard travel insurance is also strongly advised.
Accommodation

We will be staying in twin share rooms in small chalets. These have a kettle, fridge etc so you can stock up with personal supplies if required. Breakfast is included and is a continental-style buffet.

The accommodation is approximately a 15 min walk from the dive centre and 15-20 mins from town. An evening would generally be a stroll into town to a restaurant, or we can BBQ on the beach at the accommodation which can make for a pleasant change from town. For food and drink it is best to budget for about 25-35% more than UK prices.

If you do not enjoy a walk then it is possible to hire a car from the airport, this is best done in advance. Car hire starts at £229 for the week (price correct as of August 2019).
Dive Trips & Travel Calendar
Event
Duration
Date
Location
6 Days
12th July 2020
Donegal, Ireland
6 Days
19th July 2020
Donegal, Ireland
6 Days
16th August 2020
Åland Islands - Finland
Croatia Wrecks
6 Days
27th September 2020
Krnice, Croatia
12 Days
13th November 2020
Chuuk (AKA Truk)
We are all about diving!