+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Norway on Gaelic rose

  1. #1
    New Member onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    POOLE
    Posts
    62

    Norway on Gaelic rose

    Norway from Bergen on Gaelic Rose

    For me, like many others, a trip to spend a week wreck diving in the cool clear water of the Norwegian Fjords has been high on my list of ‘must go’ locations for a number of years. When some friends proposed a trip at the back end of last summer I leapt at the chance. We chartered Bob Jones and Gaelic Rose and as most of those on the trip already knew each other we sat back to look forward with eager anticipation to a sociable week with some great diving in the first week of June 2007.

    Travelling to Bergen from Poole was always going to be a long trek. As three of us were travelling from Poole at we decided to travel together. The others were travelling from all over the country so with a total of 7 rebreathers (3 Ourobouros, 2 Evolution, 1 Inspiration and a classic kiss) 5 twin-sets and a mountain of stage bottles, dry suits and other paraphernalia we established that flying was not an option and opted to travel by ferry from Newcastle to Bergen. We packed two large cars and a Hi-top Van and booked 3 4 berth Cabins for the 26 hour ferry journey. At 3am on Friday 1st June (my Birthday), we set off from Poole, collecting others as we travelled the length of the country. 10AM saw the whole group in North Shields in plenty of time for the Ferry all of us having had a trouble free journey.

    On boarding the ferry at lunchtime my plan was to have a beer, a bite to eat and then spend the afternoon catching up on some sleep. Alas it was not to be. One drink lead to another, afternoon became evening and despite some truly appalling ‘entertainment’ beer at about £4 a pint and some truly awful gags from Mark our resident comedian we managed to drink the bar dry of Magners Cider. After some 36 hours without sleep I finally ran out of steam at around 10PM and went to bed not awakening until we arrived in Stavanger some 12 hours later. Sean, one of my cabin mates provided a real comedy moment on arrival in Stavanger when he looked out the window to see us docking. He flew into a panic, ran around like Wily Coyote on speed getting dressed and then realised we still had another 7 hours on the ferry.

    We arrived in Bergen at 4PM and were able to see the Gaelic Rose just a few hundred metres away, but on the other side of the harbour! We managed to drive around fairly easily and off loaded our gear. Unfortunately there is no parking nearby so we drive to the Bus terminus a few miles away (thank god for SatNav) and parked up for the week. It’s a good location, the car park is patrolled and at £45 for the week represented pretty good value, in Norwegian terms this equates to the price of a big Mac!! Gaelic Rose is a converted trawler, the hold contains 3 small 2 berth cabins and 6 further bunks in an open plan area. There are also two marine heads containing showers. As is always the case with this type of boat space is at a premium and the emphasis is on functionality rather than luxury, but with a little care and consideration it makes a comfortable base for a weeks diving.

    Skipper Bob cast off as soon as we were all aboard as he wanted to travel North to let us overnight close to our first days dive sites. We steamed for around 3 hours in scenery that is simply too beautiful to describe. At times the channels were so narrow it was like steaming up river. The fact that it remained light even after midnight and that we were able to sit on deck enjoying the sunshine and a beer added to a real sense of wonder.

    The area in which Gaelic Rose operates is blessed with a huge choice of dive sites. We had expectations of 15 – 20M visibility and a range of good wrecks to keep us amused. Our first dive the following day soon showed that even those lofty expectations were to be exceeded.

    The Diving


    Dive 1 – Ferndale and Parat
    The Ferndale is a 4300 GT Motor Vessel built in 1925. She was commandeered by the Germans and hit a reef at night in 1944. The Tug ‘Parat’ came to her assistance and both were attacked and sunk by RAF mosquitos. The Ferndale lies on a slope with her well broken bow scattered on the rocks. Her intact stern lies at 40M and the Parat lies on the seabed below her. Visibility in the first few metres was not great but below about 20M it was a gin clear 30 –40 M. Even at 40M torches were unnecessary and the whole wreck could be seen, as could the wreck of the Parat. Sea temperature was around 11 degrees at the surface and 8 degrees at depth. As the Ferndale lies on a slope a good plan is to drop to the stern rails or onto the Parat at 60M and then gradually working up the wreck decompressing as you go. There are many swim throughs and the holds are easily accessible.

    Dive 2: - The Tyrifjord.
    The RAF sank this steamer in 1944. The stern of the wreck is intact and lies at 36M and sports a huge 12 spoke auxiliary steering wheel. The accommodation is intact and is covered in plumrose anemones’ and cup corals’. Visibility was spectacular but the bows are very broken and frankly rather dull and uninteresting in comparison with the stern. Sightings of several wolf fish kept the naturalists among us amused.

    Dive 3: – The Wilhelm.
    This wreck is huge! I mean really really big. She lies on her port side with her bows in only 12M and her prop at over 70M. She is also really intact; entry to the bridge, accommodation and engine rooms is easy for the suitably qualified. The deck is covered in machinery, cranes, derricks and a huge gun platform lies off the bow in 30M and there is an anti-aircraft gun near the bridge in 40M. There are numerous portholes, sinks in the bathrooms and the glass in the bridge is intact. There is enough interest to keep divers amused for weeks. We descended the shot mid-ships in 42M and worked our way deeper followed by a slow ascent to the shot at the bows for our decompression. Visibility at depth was again over 30M.

    Dive 4: - The Ingertre
    This 3000gt steamer sank after running aground in 1936. She lies on a slope with the bow in 34M and the stern in 18M. She is well broken but makes a very interesting dive as the prop shaft, engines and the four-blade propeller are easily visible. This is a very visually impactive dive, the bow and stern sections are fairly intact with the stern Ribs visible. There was a good amount of wildlife on this wreck including several large monkfish.

    Dive 5: - The Helga Ferdinand
    An immense wreck sitting upright with its bows in 36M and the stern in 60M. The area around the bridge is very interesting with sinks and crockery to be seen. The huge masts are stunning to look at and a skylight lies open tempting one to enter the engine room. The sheer scale of this wreck is awesome and really is one for the more experienced diver as whilst there is no current it is easy to incur a substantial decompression penalty.

    Dive 6: The Aquila
    This wreck lies just a few hundred metres from the Helga Ferdinand, both having been sunk in the same attack by the RAF. The Aquila lies on her starboard side with her bow at about 35M. The hull above the bridge and funnel area lies at about 40m but the best of the wreck lies deeper, portholes can be seen at 50m and my maximum depth around the bridge was around 58M. We dived both of these wrecks in one day and two near 60M dives in one day needs a good surface interval and good planning. There is a small jetty nearby and a walk up the nearby river is well worth the time and effort. It really is a stunning area.

    Dive 7: The Wilhelm
    We decided to repeat this dive, as it was so good the first time. I spent the majority of the dive much deeper exploring the area on the sea bed under the bows at 56M before making my way slowly to the bow shot for my deco.

    Dive 8: The Orm Jarl
    The Orm Jarl sank after running aground in 1919. She lies at 12 – 38M her bow is well broken but the stern is intact. I had a comedy moment when descending the shot line as I could see the shot was on a sandy seabed and nowhere near any wreckage. I thought I was in for a scallop hunt until I looked to my right to see the entire wreck laid out before me. There are some nets caught in the area near the boilers but the excellent Visibility meant that they posed little danger. The prop and rudder are still in place at a depth of around 38M. There were huge shoals of fish above the kelp near this wreck.

    Dive 9 & 10: The Frankenwald
    After a week of superb dives you begin to think it just doesn’t get any better- and then it does. The Frankenwald is a 5000gt German cargo vessel, which is over 120M long, and 18M in the beam. She lies upright and virtually intact with the seabed at around 40M. There is a huge amount of machinery on the decks, the bridge and holds are easy and safe to penetrate. The Captains bath is still visible in the forward accommodation. Swimming along the companionways and through the holds amongst prolific marine length and in stunning visibility made this simply one of the best dives I have ever undertaken. The Auxiliary steering gear is in place at the stern. The masts of this leviathan rise to within a few metres of the surface and provide a beautiful backdrop against which to decompress as they are covered in anemones and soft corals. This was a real highlight in a week of highlights, a wreck so good many groups dive her twice- we did. To be honest I could have spent the week on her.

    Dive 11: - The Server
    To be honest I was not too keen on this dive. This Cypriot Bulk carrier only sank in February 2007 after running aground in a storm and right under a lighthouse! The ship broke her back and the forward section was salvaged and towed away. The stern, including the accommodation and bridge sank in shallow water with part of the upper superstructure showing above the water. The newness and size of the wreck is a little akin to diving an underwater block of flats. Marine life is starting to take hols in the top few metres but the anti-fouling ensures that the wreck is barren. The site was the scene of a major oil spill and only opened to divers on 1st June. We believe we were the first UK divers to dive her.

    Dive 12: - The Spring
    The wreck of the Spring lies near Bergen. This 64M collier sank after a collision in 1914. She lies upright on a slope at depths between 12 and 50M. Where the stern is broken off it is possible to swim the full length of the wreck following a previously laid line. There is an interesting wall nearby which goes to the surface and allows one to finish off gassing whilst watching the wildlife.

    Friday evening saw our group heading into Bergen for beer and food. Bergen is a beautiful compact and cosmopolitan city with many trendy bars and a pavement culture. Beware though it is expensive with a beer costing around £8 and a simple two-course meal well in excess of £30. Evening life starts late in the land of the midnight sun. I returned to the boat at around 1am to sit on the dock sipping whiskey and waiting for it to get dark. It never did.

    This week was without doubt the best dive trip I have ever been on. The combination of superb weather, mirror flat seas, no tide, great company, superb intact wrecks and stunning visibility ensured an unforgettable experience. Whilst the diving undertaken by our group tended to be fairly deep it is possible to stay at less than 30M on most of the wrecks we dived. There are hundreds of diver sites in the sheltered Fjords so you will get amazing diving regardless of how you like to dive and even if the weather is not as kind to you as it was to us.

    We used bob Jones on Gaelic rose for our charter. We had good quality food all week and Bob knows the area very well having spent the last 8 summers in the area. The boat is a good dive platform though with a rebreather and stages I was not too keen on climbing over the gunwales to get on and off the boat. Further details are available at www.gaelicrose.com

    Two other UK boats are operating from Bergen this summer:
    Gordon Wadsworth on Jane R - details from www.divenorway.com
    Rob Barlow on Elizabeth G – details from www.northernlight-uk.com/eg.htm

    Photos copyright Terry Goldie & Alan Ewart all rights reserved.
    Last edited by onthetrain; 16th June 2007 at 10:52.

  2. #2
    New Member onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    POOLE
    Posts
    62

    Re: Norway on Gaelic rose

    Some photos







  3. #3
    New Member onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain will become famous soon enough onthetrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    POOLE
    Posts
    62

    Re: Norway on Gaelic rose

    And some more photos







+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts