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Scuba Diving Norway, Europe
Dive Site: Haakon Jarl II
Location: Utfrundsflesa, Norway
Depth: 25 - 35 metres (82 - 115 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)
The Haakon Jarl wreck is easily confused with other ships of similar or the same name. This wreck is actually the Haakon Jarl II and was originally built in Goteborg as an iron steam ship in 1879. In 1891 she had a refit and her engines were replaced. On June 17th 1924 she was heading northbound from Bodo and collided with another steamship, Kong Herald in the Vestfjorden (West Fjord) at Utfrundsflesa. Taking extensive bow and hull damage she reportedly sank in less than 10 minutes taking 17 passengers and crew to their deaths.
Today she lies in a maximum depth of 35 metres of water at the base of a small rock face. We dived here at night and were dropped near a flag at a small rock plateau which broke the surface. Immediately we could feel the thick kelp under our fins so took a 160 degree bearing and descended heading away from the rocks into deeper water. The rock face dropped away quickly and we descended down the wall to the sea floor at 30 metres, before turning to the right with the wall on our right shoulders and swimming a short distance until we found the wreck. Due to the position of the wreck and the tidal swell she is pretty broken up now with most of the bow and amidships smashed. Some of the ribs are still there and you can swim through them to the stern which sits at a 45 degree angle. Inside the ribs are large red crabs, urchins, anemones and all manner of hawkfish and cod. Under the stern section at the prop there is a dark alcove which had a huge fish in it. Although broken there is plenty of wreckage to explore and you can ascend up to around 25 metres before having to leave the stern of the wreck and head back up the kelp covered rocks. Here the kelp is very thick and it's possible to swim underneath it. Huge groups of small white nudibranch were clustered thickly over the kelp in the top 6 metres.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Diver
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