Tour Tec Sweden

Tech Tour Sweden, August 2011

Baltic Sea, Lake Vattern and Kolsva Mine

Part 1 – Stockholm

1-10th of August 2011: I started diving in Stockholm over 20 years ago and since then i been lucky to dived and explored many of the worlds best diving areas. Baltic Sea and Stockholm is however always going to be close to my heart. This is where it all started so it’s exciting to be back to teach and visit Sweden again.

Technical Diving Course

My first course in Sweden was in cooperation with Alpin & Dyksport on Olofsgatan in central Stockholm. My students was Jonas (former IDC Candidate of mine and now Manager for A & D) and Margit (PADI Instructor at A & D). The course was conducted around Stockholm and beyond in areas like Bjorkvik, Landsort and Vattern.


Bjorkvik is a lovely area and one of the most, if not the most, popular area for shallow water diving training. Max depth is around 20 meters and the water temperature was close to 20degrees when we were there. This is very warm for being around Stockholm. I can highly recommend this place not only for a shallow dive but also for a nice day out. Go with some friends and bring a picnic and you will have a great day. Bjorkvik is just an hour drive from central Stockholm and gearing up and enter the water is very easy.

Some of the water skills practiced during the 3 first days.

  • Trim, trim and more trim (without a proper trim and being streamlined underwater there is no point of even starting skills during a technical diving course – all skills have to be conducted in a trim position)
  • Efficient fin kicks. Frogkicks, how to rotate on a ‘coin’, swim backwards etc
  • Out of air situations both swimming and ascending
  • Being able to descent, swim and ascent all in trim
  • Bubble checks and equipment checks
  • Shut down drills
  • Use of primary reels, spools, lines and DSMBs
  • Rolling of tanks
  • NOTOX switches
  • SAC Swims (normal and fast pace)
  • Malfunction of LPI (both drysuit and wing)
  • Being able to quick find back up mask, torch, cutting tool, wetnotes
  • No mask swim
  • Unresponsive diver at the surface and underwater
  • And some more…
During day 4-5 we went to an area which was previously used by old steamboats called Batmans Brygga. Now the little pier is idyllic for dives down to 30 meters which was our depth for these dives. The water temperature was very different here. Around 18 degrees at the surface but down at 30 metes only 2 degrees. Happy that we all had proper Fourth Element Undersuits and drygloves. The dives went well with some small improvement areas. The visibility was around 10 meters and overall a very nice dive.
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Vattern is one of the deepest and largest lakes in Europe. The lake is situated south of Stockholm. Vättern has been famous for the excellent quality of its transparent water. Many of the municipalities in the area receive their drinking water directly from Vättern. The lake water requires very little treatment before being pumped into the municipal systems and the natural, untreated water can be safely drunk from almost any point in the lake. It has been suggested that Vättern is the largest body of potable water in the world.
We arrived after a 3 hour drive from Stockholm. Our planned depth was 50 meters and we decided for an entry point in the area of Odeshog. Its very easy to get into the water from here even with 4 tanks. The entry point got a small beach in a tiny ‘bay’ with 1-2 meter of water. Just outside the ‘bay’ lays huge rocks and it step down fast. We came down to 50 meters in only 7 minutes. At 50 where we stopped the bottom is going much deeper. I would estimate that you have another 20 meter at least before the bottom start to level out. The deepest part, further south, is 127 meters.
There is an abundance of marine life here and in Vattern you have 30 permanent fish species. The visibility was around 20 meters when we were there but some local divers said they often have 25-30 meters. So truly an exciting divearea and i cant wait to come back here in the end of August with some helium and some 80-90 meter dives. There is a huge amoung of wrecks in Vattern as well, with many more to be discovered. One of the most famous wrecks is Erik Nordevall.
————————————————————————-Eric Nordevall and is a fiddle steamer, she was used in the Swedish chanel, Göta Kanal. It runs straight threw Sweden and made it possible to go by boat from Gothenburg to Stockholm.Göta Kanal is narrow so Eric Nordevall was built with a special hull to fit the water locks. If you look at her from above she looks like a violin, her waist is pulled in so the fiddle wheels could get closer to the hull. By doing that she didn’t get so wide.She was fitted with two balance steam engines with English design. The usual steam engine uses the pressure from the steam to push the piston in the cylinder, this one works the opposite way. The steam heated the piston so it moved up the cylinder and then it was rapidly cooled down with water to go back down. 

She sank 1856 when she ran aground in the lake Vättern. In the beginning of 1980 two brothers found her almost intact. It became a popular dive site in the 90´s but after several raids and looting attempts the county board closed her from all diving in 1999. Special permits have been issued in 2001 and 2003 but since then there has been no allowed diving on the wreck. ———————————————————————–

The Mine of Kolsva, Koping

Kolsva ‘Faltspatsgruva’ started to be used as a mine in 1894. Over 400000 ton of feldspar and 60000 ton of the mineral quartz have been removed from this area up to its closer in 1970. The Mine is internationally known due to its very unique minerals. The drive is around 2 hours from Stockholm.

Today Kolsva is quite and filled with water. The size of the waterfilled ‘hole’ is 175×75 m (N-S) and its deep, perhaps deeper than 100 meters in some places.

Maps and other information about Kolsva

It took us 2 hours to get here. Drive to Kolsva and find the ICA Shop then drive another 6 kilometer until you come to a T junction, take to the left until you end up with a huge and very heavy gate in front of you. Now you have to options. Walk a kilometer with all the tech gear or find the owner of the mine and ask for the key.

When inside its very easy. You park 5 meters away from the waterfilled Feldsparmine, and after entering with the gear its going deep fast. The visibility is around 10 meters down to 25 meters then there is a heavy layer of silt between 25-40 meters where it seem to clear up again. The silt makes it very dangerous because you easily end up in overhead environment. So turn down your lights, they backscatter in the silt, and use reels. There is an an old car at around 10-12 meters that could be used as primary tie off when descending down.

There are “mine shafts’ everywhere and we only explored perhaps 10% during our stay there. This is a very exciting place but dives deeper than 25-30 meters in Kolsva i strongly recommend you to proceed with caution.

The first 10 days of Tec Tour Sweden have been fantastic and we seen and dived some very interesting places. The training was hard and sometimes stressful but Jonas Holm and Margit Juretic completed their training with excellence. They are now start to prepare for their TecDeep Instructor Rating. Its been great fun and i loved the diving! Thanks to Alpin och Dyksport in Stockholm for assisting with logistics.

Now a week off spending some time with my lovely Gal Avital before teaching the next TecDeep and Trimix course in cooperation with Atlantis Dykskola in Jonkoping, South of Vattern. This time we are going to explore Vattern down to 80-90 meters. Can’t wait!

Tech Tour Sweden, August 2011

Baltic Sea, Lake Vattern and Kolsva Mine

Part 2 – Jonkoping

So after a great week in Stockholm with Gal Avital visiting friends and family and even managed to squeeze in my cousins Camilla’s beautiful wedding it was time for part 2 of Tech Tour Sweden.

It started with a train ride from Stockholm to Jonkoping. X2ooo sounds fancy but with 100 kilos of divegear no train ride is very comfortable, but after a fairly short train ride i was there. I got picked up by Ulrik, owner of Atlantis Divers since 1995, and one of the leaders in the Swedish dive community. I stayed in his and his wifes beautiful home in Jonkoping.

Next day two other leaders in the dive industry showed up. PADI Course Director Fredrik, owner of Blue Way Consulting, came with the train from Lund in the south of Sweden and PADI Course Director Anders, owner of Fantasea Divers, came with his car from Stockholm. The team was also joined by Atlantis instructor Patrik.

The diving was based in Atlantis Divers shop in central Jonkoping. Great facilities with a beautiful store and classrooms. All the filling facilities was tip top!

The boys had lots of experience diving tech already and had 100s of logged tech dives between them. The trim and skill review session in the pool the first day worked like clock work with just some small details to refresh or practice.

The days that followed was conducted in shallow waters in Jonkoping either in pool or lakes with lots of trim sessions and repetitions of skill from previous courses or sessions.

After some 10-12 hours in shallow waters the boys were ready for our first dive together in Lake Vattern.

We decided to dive Oninge in Vattern due to its easy access and spectacular rockformation and marine life. The area is full of life and the rock formations make this a very interesting divesite. We swam through a small channel out to where the lake started to drop down. Its approximately 75 meters deep in this area and you get quickly 50 meter plus depth here. The visibility was around 15 meters + during our first dives here.

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Me, Anders (Fantasea), Ulrik and Patrik (Atlantis) was on backmounted configuration and Fredrik (Blue Wave Consulting) was on his Hollis SMS 100 Sidemount. All the dives was around 1 hour even with a temperature of average 12 degrees. The diving was so good that no one even consider the cold. The weather on land was amazing and we had temperatures on land over 25 degrees.

Tomorrow we are back for a 50 meter dive with air in the twins, 50% and 80% O2 as deco gases. Cant wait!

How to get to Oninge, Vattern

Completed a number of 50-55-60 meter Trimix Dives the last few days in Oninge, Vattern. Pretty easy to find 60 meters there but after 60 meters its start to level out. The Lake is very deep and you get deeper water if you swim further but for the purpose of training 65 meters in a good maximum training depth in Oninge. The visibility was great down there. The pictures taken by me (Jonas) is not giving a good representation for the dives. Today a 60 meters dive with an END of 30 meters. Tomorrow we are going out with Nicklas Jarsmos boat to have easier access to even deeper waters.

Cant wait!

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The last series of dives was conducted using Niklas Jarsmos boat departing from Hastholmen, Lake Vattern. Hastholmen is a great location to find depth and we only had to drive some 20 minutes out to find depth of around 80 meters. We descended down to 72 meters where we hit the bottom. The layer of silt is just max 20 cm on the bottom of the lake and under is a layer of sand. So there is hardly no silting at all. The visibility at 70 meters was at least 10 meters. We did not account for any marine life this deep but on the other hand the bottom time was fairly short to do any serious exploration of the area. After this first recon dives I am ready to come back and dive to the deepest part of this lake at around 125 meters. Its been an amazing journey and i would like to thank Ulle and Anna for letting me stay in their home during those weeks. Also would like to thank Atlantis in Jonkoping for all logistical support. Its been great to be back home and explore the sites where i started to dive over 20 years ago. I cant wait to be a more frequent visitor to the homeland in the future. It felt very good to be back.

Now i am off to Mexico for three weeks of cave diving in the Cenotes. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and that this little blog inspired you to explore your home waters where ever you are.

Happy diving!

Jonas Samuelsson

Team Blue Immersion