Western coast of Norway is famous not only for its beautiful fjords but also amazing cold water diving. It had been on our bucket list ever since we moved to Norway and the decadently long Easter holidays gave us the perfect opportunity to explore this area.
On the first day we met up with Eirik from 1 Dykke Klubb and prepared for our dives. The club owns a very nice hard boat which is very spacious and comfortable for kitting up but offers no shelter from the cold and rainy weather of the Norwegian western coast.
sightseeing from the boat
Fortunately it was not raining this day and the temperatures were around the standard 6-7 degrees for both the air and water.
After a short excursion to the city center with the boat we headed off northwest to our day's dive site Nordra Rotøyna. The drive was indeed very cold and windy but also very scenic.
We arrived to Nordra Rotøyna in about 15min. Our dive was meant to be between the two little islands but as there was some current running we opted for an easier dive in a sheltered horseshoe shaped cove on the other side. Kitting up was particularly faffy but eventually we managed to jump into the green water.
The first 3-5m of the water column had very bad visibility, as the spring plankton bloom has already started but once we got below this initial layer we found very clear water with a dark green hue but still with sufficient light to dive even without a torch. We descended to 7-8m onto a sandy patch right below our mooring and then followed a gently sloping bottom. The sandy bottom was very busy with hoards of hermit crabs of all sizes frantically running around with their business.
Unfortunately I realized very quickly that my neck seal was leaking and cold water was slowly seeping in. I was not terribly uncomfortable in the beginning so I decided to stay a bit a longer. However after about 15min I could feel the water has reached all the way to my knees and was starting to get quite cold and decided to signal to my buddies that I had enough and is time to go up.
Obviously the one day that I did not bring a spare set of clothes/under suits is the day that I leak! I had forgotten to adjust my neck seal after going to the toilet right before the dive. Despite, in the meantime the sun had peaked out from the clouds we decided to go back to shore rather than do a seconds dive as the boat was not protected and I was pretty cold on the drive back.
After changing to dry clothes and sorting the equipment we went to explore the city center of Bergen on foot and reward ourselves with a coffee and a slice of cake in the famous Bryggen area.
The next day we woke up to a beautiful weather, blue and clear sky with not even a single cloud. According to Eirik there were only about 10 days like this in Bergen in the past year, so I guess we were extremely lucky.
We loaded the boat quickly and were heading south towards our next dive site Skorpo island. The first dive we did was on the northern side, we were dropped in a small cove and then followed a wall on our left hand side. The visibility was good and the rocky wall with some sandy ledges offered lot of hiding spots for a lot of marine life. I was particularly mesmerized by a part of the wall that was completely covered in really big fanworms (polychaete?) that were closing one by one as we were swimming by. We have also seen couple of large flat fish and spiny and edible crabs.
After a quick lunch in the sun we went for our second dive on the eastern side of the Skorpo island. We jumped in a very shallow part of the little bay, that was covered with lots of kelp and with standard bad visibility in the first 4-5m. Once we managed to plough our way through the kelp jungle we reached deeper waters and the visibility cleared as we followed a sandy slope to a wall on our right shoulder. along the way we came across a massive edible crab that was busily and diligently digging a hole in the sand. As we then continued deeper and along the ever steeper slope the rock formations also got bigger and more interesting. We passed by an arch swim through at around 15m that Eirik told us about in the pre-dive briefing. Giulia was so distracted by following and taking pictures of fishes that she didn't even spot it, otherwise we would have had to do the compulsory squeeze through. These big rock formations were swarming with fish of different sizes, including lots of colorful cuckoo wrasses. Looking at all this life we definitely didn't feel like in cold water but more like somewhere tropical with coral reefs. After this dive all three of us appeared on the surface very very happy and were chatting about the amazing dives and weather all the way back to the marina.
We stayed in the Bergen area for another 2 days and did a combination of hiking and driving around the beautiful fjords and mountains. Although the sunny weather obviously didn't last and went trough all variants of rain and snow, it only added an extra edge to the rough beauty of this part of Norway.
However, these four days rather than having crossed off the area from our where-to-go list they only served as a taster to the spectacular region. Despite the 8 hours drive from Oslo, we will definitely go back for more adventures in the very near future.