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The Body Shop

Diving The Baltic – Wooden Galleons and Treasures


The Baltic sea offers divers a wealth of unique diving experiences and opportunities. The Baltic, and in particular the Gulf of Gdansk, offers divers exceptional chances to explore a wide variety of wrecks.

The numerous wars that the area has seen, along with turbulent weather means that this body of water is especially rich in shipwrecks and treasures that attract divers from across the world to explore the offerings and history of this watery world. Diving the Baltic therefore has never been more popular.

Wrecks

The Baltic Sea is widely considered to be the third best diving site in the world. What is particularly exciting about diving in the Baltic and the Gulf of Gdansk in particular is that many of the wrecks that are known to be in the area are yet to be discovered.

There are thousands of wrecks in this sea and this means that divers are offered the opportunity to find new treasures or explore undisturbed wreckages because some of the wrecks are as deep as 90m, only sonar has detected them to date.

Preservation

The preservation of wrecks and the contents of ships is immense in this area, as the Baltic Sea has a particularly low salinity level. This has led to wrecks from the 17th century being perfectly preserved. A few years ago National Geographic reported on the finding of the Mars, which was considered to have been the largest and fiercest warship in the world, named after Mars the Roman god of war.

History tells us that the ship went up in a ball of flames in a brutal naval battle in 1564, consigning 800 to 900 Swedish and German sailors and a fortune in gold and silver coins to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.Scientists and researchers have since then concluded that it is the best preserved vessel of its kind, representing the first generation of Europe’s big, three-masted warships.

Naval historians equally know a lot about 17th-century ships, but very little about warships from the 16th century, therefore this ship has been classed as the missing link in ship design.

Champagne

In 2010 divers found a sunken vessel laden with Champagne, which experts believe is the world’s oldest drinkable bubbly. They were not able to determine the brand at the time but since then Veuve Clicquot claimed that by checking the corks they were certain that the bottles were theirs.

The remaining bottles were attributed to the now defunct champagne house Juglar.The shipwreck was discovered near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland.

These sort of finds provide divers with an astonishing chance to explore history at quality standards that are not mirrored in many places across the globe. Wooden galleons can be observed in all their glory, with sizes up to 60m in length. It is incredibly rare for such treasures have been so perfectly preserved and divers are able to absorb themselves in marine and nautical history from several centuries ago.

What to do

World War Two led to further inclusions in the depths of these waters. The dramatic history of this period is well reflected in the contents of wrecks that lie in the Baltic Sea.

Russian submarines and forces were able to sink many large German vessels in this body of water throughout World War Two and the wrecks of such boats attract divers in their hundreds.

Some of the most well-known and popular wrecks in this area include freighters such as Franken and the large supply vessel Prinz Eugen, which were sunk towards the closing months of World War Two.

Experience

For those who are less skilled or experienced, the Baltic Sea offers an abundance of opportunities to explore impressive wrecks. Close to shore, divers can study anti-submarine vessels and warships as shallow as 15 metres.

That said, experienced divers will appreciate the challenges that the Baltic Sea offers in the form of cold waters, stronger currents, wrecks at especially deep levels and often poor visibility. This attracts divers of a more experienced nature, who use the opportunity to further improve their skills and see sites that are not available elsewhere.

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