Senja, Norway

August 2018

Senja is Norway's second largest island found in the central Troms area, far beyond the Arctic Circle. It is scenic like the famous Lofoten islands with rugged mountains, clear blue waters and even sandy beaches but with less tourists around. 

We had heard of Senja already when we came to dive in Tromsø, but we did not have enough time to visit it then. Therefore we planned to add it to our Northern Norway road trip as a final destination and spend a couple of days here.

Diving here is meant to be awesome as well, with crystal clear water and great visibility all year around, however information on where exactly to dive is scarce and vague so we had no idea on where to dive. We didn't plan anything, and from the available information it seemed most people opt for boat dives, but even after contacting the company that is meant to offer the dives we were still not any smarter and were still lacking a plan. We opted to do a couple of quick and easy dives from shore. While driving along the National Scenic Route and with the help of Google Maps, we selected a few possible spots.  

The first spot we actually found by taking a wrong turn off the scenic route to a village called Skaland. This place was tucked inside the fjord and therefore protected from the Northern Sea, with easy access to the water between the boat houses on the shore. Although quite shallow and an easy dive, the scenery on this dive was very interesting and changing every couple of meters, from pebbles to a sandy patch and eventually to rocks. The sandy part was actually the most exciting one, although looking bleak and lifeless from far, as you approached it all the creatures hiding in it started to run away from you and it strangely came to life. Hermit crabs, sand gobys and queen scallops rushing into safety as they sensed your presence. 

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The second dive spot we chose was the Tungeneset rest area lying on the tip separating the Steinsfjord and the Ersfjord. There is a wooden walkway leading out to the rocks with a beautiful view of the craggy peaks of the Oksen mountain. The big rocks, boulders gently folding into the water reminded us of the dives in Pantelleria, Italy and showed a promise of equally attractive landscape underwater. Kitting up we raised the attention of the tourists that were stopping here to take pictures of the scenery. One German guy was trying to recommend a "better" diving spot not to far from there, off a sandy shallow beach that we politely declined as not very interesting. The underwater landscape here was indeed different from all the other places we have dived in the Northern Norway. Black big rocks and dense kelp forest with tropical blue colour of the water thanks to sunshine had a very Californian feel.  The rocks were also more colourful with lots of squidgies. 

In the afternoon we did a shorter hike to the peak of one of the mountains with great views of the Northern Sea, tiny islands and rough ridges of the mountains around.  Senja is definitely a very scenic and photogenic place to visit both on surface and underwater. 

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