More dive parks in the Baltic Sea
07 October 2020 12:10
Photo: Jim Hansson.
There is enormous interest in the shipwrecks and maritime archaeology of the Baltic Sea, which is why Sweden is creating more and more dive parks. Plans for such a park are underway in Karlskrona, where maritime archaeologists from Vrak – Museum of Wrecks are currently on a two-week diving mission. In Djupasund, between Sturkö and Tjurkö, a preliminary archaeological investigation is being conducted that could result in a dive park and tourist attraction by 2022. Karlskrona Municipality is directing these efforts through “Världsarvets g(l)ömda vrak,” a project about a hidden and forgotten world heritage wreck.
During the 1780s, ships were deliberately sunk in order to build a barrier at the inlet to Karlskrona. These wrecks are culturally significant yet currently invisible and inaccessible parts of the World Heritage site.
“Karlskrona is full of wrecks from ships that took part in naval battles but escaped and sailed on. When it was no longer profitable to repair them, they were reused for things like padding in quays or as a defence system to block inlets – an early recycling mindset,” says Petra Stråkendal of the Blekinge County Administrative Board.
Wrecks to be identified
Several of the shipwrecks are already appealing diving destinations, but have great development potential. One of the diving destinations is Djupasund, just outside Karlskrona, where investigations have now begun as a foundation for building a safe dive park.
Djupasund contains a barrier of wrecks that formed an important part of the defence of Karlskrona’s naval base. Several of the wrecks are known, but not all.
“The dives give us a unique opportunity to document and identify several of the Swedish naval vessels that we know very little about,” says Jim Hansson, maritime archaeologist at the museum Vrak.
Vital part of the World Heritage site
One of the goals of this World Heritage project is to bring the shipwrecks to light from the depths of the Karlskrona archipelago, making their stories accessible. A vital part of the World Heritage site will be showcased, contributing to the overall picture of Karlskrona’s maritime history.
Planned opening in 2022
The dives in Djupasund are being carried out over the course of two weeks. The dive park’s opening is scheduled for 2022, in conjunction with the Swedish Navy’s 500th anniversary. When the dive park is completed, visiting divers will be guided by signposts and signs among the wrecks at the bottom of the sea.
Karlskrona Municipality is the project owner, with funding from Region Blekinge and the Blekinge County Administrative Board.