For those with a taste for diving, the waters around the island of Öland are among the hottest in the Baltic Sea! And it does not say a little, for what the Baltic sea lacks in terms of biodiversity is well compensated by that this inland sea is unique in the world, in that it is cold, brackish water, which acts as a conservation jar for wrecks, while historically have had intensive shipping, both in war and peace, allowing tens of thousands of wrecks accumulate on the bottom through the centuries.
What makes wreck diving around Öland extra good is the combination of shallow bottom plateaus, often pale ground and relatively good visibility. Here you have the chance to dive on cargo ships, barges, paddle steamers, aircraft wrecks, etc., and many of the dive sites are easily accessible and with a depth that can be reached under normal recreational diving.
Even some of the most important historic shipwreck in Sweden, the warship “Kronan” (The Crown) and newly discovered warship “Mars”, is in Öland waters, here is though a diving ban for amateur divers, but you will find a very ambitious exhibition of the finds from “Kronan” at Kalmar County Museum, which is well worth visiting.
For those who are more interested in marine biology and marine underwater landscapes, there are also great opportunities.
On the limestone ledges south of “Byrums Raukar”, on the north west side of Öland, you can change into diving gear on the cliffs and then wade out on the shallow ledges and dive down from there. Here the diving goes down through plateaus in several steps, before coming out on the light sandy bottom.
In among the crevices in the rocks and seaweed you find the Baltic seas fish nurseries, with lots of small fish, and here hunts for example small pipefish, rock gunnel, gobies, eelpout and eel.
In the water column, you can see large shoals of two-spotted goby, but also sticklebacks and other small fish. Further out on the sandy bottom you will find flounder and turbot, if one reveals their perfect camouflage. Sand goby darts forward over the bottom, and if you are lucky you can also get to see larger fish, which will come to the beachfront to hunt.
The low salinity makes that you on the same dive can see both saltwater fish such as cod, freshwater fish such as perch and migratory fish as salmon.
You can dive on your own from the land, but the best is to contact one of Öland’s dive centers and participate in organized diving from shore or with one of the fine, custom-built dive boats. And if you are interested in learning to dive, Öland is a perfect place to start. Just be sure to book yourself in advance so you are guaranteed a seat on a beginner’s course.
The two dive centers on the island of Öland, Octopus Diving Center and the Long Island Divers have both boat trips, bottle filling and training courses to offer. They can also help to arrange accommodation. In Kalmar there is also the diving club “Kalmarsund”, if you want to have contact with a local club, affiliated to the Swedish Sportsdiving Federation.