58° 53’ 54.10” N – 11° 2’ 17.49” E
Snorkelling in the national park
Kosterhavet in Sweden and Ytre Hvaler in Norway are home to a superior array of species with reef-building coral and all of the nature that characterises the Norwegian/Swedish west coast. The conditions in the 200-metre deep Kosterrännan are ocean-like, with a high salt content and low temperatures. In shallow bays, there are beds of eelgrass, mussels and oysters. The great biodiversity also includes rarities such as football mushrooms, brachiopod and pipe cleaners
The two marine national parks had their grand opening at the same time in 2009 and the country borders connect directly to several nature reserves. The black diabase that carves stripes through the gneiss cliffs of the beach is well-known. But the things that are most interesting and most necessary to safeguard lie below the surface of the water.
For this reason, a snorkelling trail has been laid out on the island of Sydkoster to allow visitors to come into close contact with the many organisms of the sea. The snorkelling trail is 220 metres long and has eight information signs along the bottom. The loop starts at a depth of 20-30 centimetres and at its deepest point reaches 2-2.5 metres. Buoys mark the start and the finish line and a blue line guides you along the trail. Each sign holds a dishbrush so you can wash away sediment and growth. In addition to mask and snorkel, we recommend a pair of fins and a wetsuit in case the water is cold.
Combine a snorkelling excursion with a seal safari or a long boat ride through the national park. The Koster archipelago is a favourite of sailors and kayakers, but be aware that the national parks are divided into zones with varying degree of nature preservation. A speed limit applies in the green zone. The blue zone is a quiet area where motor-powered boats may only be driven to and from a landing spot. In the red zone, a prohibition against going ashore is in effect periodically.
Follow E6 to Strömstad. From the long-term parking lot, four buses an hour travel to Norra Hamnen, where the Koster boats take you to Ekenäs jetty. From there, it is a ten-minute walk to the snorkelling trail. There is also a naturum information centre here.
No 32 SNORKELLING / SYDKOSTER
GOOD TO KNOW
- Activity: Snorkelling
- Location: Sydkoster, Sweden
- Season: Summer
- Degree of difficulty: Everyone is welcome, but remember not to snorkel alone. At least have someone on land to keep watch.
- Other facts: The islands of the Koster archipelago vary in colour and shape. Major shifts in the Earth’s crust have, on several occasions, reshaped the bedrock, giving the landscape its distinctive look of cracks and fold. There is not much Bohus granite around, with various kinds of gneiss dominating instead.
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