Gulen - Shipwreck's Paradise of the North
Norwegian west coast was a strategic area during World War II leaving big wrecks behind. Moreover, Gulen has over 1500 islands to explore so the diving possibilities are really endless here. Both marine life and the wrecks are fantastic, and they are on all kinds of depths. Kelp forest, soft coral reefs, wrecks or excellent macro diving (the house reef has more nudibranchs than anywhere else in Norway) - all can be found here.
Having a a huge playground with dozens of dive sites in their backyard, Gulen Dive Resort is probably the most famous dive center of the area. Being situated on the western coast, north of Bergen, a city surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest, the resort has been diving both in the fjords and out on the coast, both less than half an hour away with their fast RIB. Being the only full Tec resort in north of Europe (with over 10 years experience within that field), with more than 20-25 different wrecks in all depths, there is no other choice for divers than choose those guys, provided you want to dive with the best. Being technical divers themselves they know the area like the palm of their hand.
Gulen Dive Resort
Photo: © Christian Skauge
Photo: © Wenche Strand
Gulen Dive Resort offer 20+ wrecks and several of them are truly world class. To start with, anyone who's been to Norway will probably recommend Frankenwald, voted Norway's Best Wreck in 2009 by the Norwegian dive magazine. Although it's located a little off the beaten track, the wreck is, as everyone says, worth to see as it's almost entirely intact.
Frankenwald's pride: the majestic bow at 34 meteres. Photo: © Alex Dawson
Photo: © Alex Dawson
Standing upright at 44 meters depth, this 122 meter long German freighter is a truly magnificent sight. She's still in extremely good condition after over 70 years at the bottom of the sea, and several dives are necessary to explore all her secrets. The deck lies at 24-34 meters, and this dive is suitable for anyone with a little experience and an Advanced Open Water certification.
Those who'd like to go deeper and have the right equipment, training and attitude, Minelayer KNM Uller sitting at 55m might be a good tip. The wreck has been actually discovered only recently (in 2009) which makes it for a unique experience and special feel with the past. Uller was initially a fiat-iron gunboat and her huge cannon pointing towards the surface is the main attraction.
It's KNM Uller's over-sized cannon and mines that draw divers to 55 meters deep sandy bottom the wreck lies on. Photo: © Håkon Sevheim
Ferndale and Parat
Another popular site is Ferndale and Parat with depth ranging from 7 to 60m. This twin wreck spot (four hours after Parat sank, Ferndale followed) is suitable for both technical and sports divers and also photographers. After all, how often do you get to dive two WWII wrecks simultaneously? On top of that, it's huge and views are just spectacular. This is definitely one of the highlights of the area.
Spectacular view of two wrecks on top of each other. Wreck diving can't get better than this. Photo: © Wenche Strand
Much has been written about Gulen's wrecks and there are tons of others worth to check: S/S Havda, Welhaim, Solvang or SS Lynx to name but a few. However, I am sure that better than below lines is the real experience and for that reason - and plenty of others - you should check Gulen out. You will be not disappointed, that's my promise.