67° 13’ 17.46” N – 14° 36’ 58.86” E
Drift Diving /
Saltstraumen at Bodø has the world's strongest tidal current. A tremendous 372 million cubic metres of sea water are pressed through the narrow mouth of the fjord at neap tide. The water can reach of speed of 22 knots (40 km/h) along the three-kilometre strait that is only 150 metres wide at its narrowest point. The tidal river appears every six hours and divers follow the tide table closely.
Drift diving is a sensational diving experience in which the body is transported by the tidal currents. A feeling of speed and complete weightlessness in an underwater world, where the visibility depth is about thirty metres. Drift divers normally start by swimming against the tidal current until the force of nature gets the better of them. They thenturn and glide out to sea. At Saltstraumen, you can forget about even trying to swim against the current.
The American nature magazine National Geographic ranked Saltstraumen among its top ten of world's best diving destinations. But, this wasn't because of the extreme drift diving. It was because of its diverse plant and animal life. The water in Saltstraumen is especially oxygen and nutrient rich, which creates an unusually strong concentration of plants and animals. Here, divers are transported over dense kelp, transparent sea squirts and Dead man's fingers – an orange soft coral that looks like a bunch of cheese doodles. Shiny fish sweep by in enormous schools. Some are so curious that you can feed them out of your hand. Others, like the ugly Atlantic wolffish, won't back away from anyone.
Saltstraumen is not for holiday divers with only limited experience of warm, tropical water. Here, you must have full control of your equipment, be in good physical shape and carefully follow thorough planning. In Saltstraumen, you dive exactly when the current turns. Drop in at the exact right time point. Saltstraumen Dykkesenter has a wash house (rorbu) for rentals on Saltstraumen Brygge. From there you can climb down right into the diving boat and find designated areas for equipment and compressors just a few metres from the quay edge.
Follow E6 to Fauske. Continue on route 80 west to Löding (42 km). Then follow route 17 to the bridge over Saltstraumen (11 km).
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No 35 DRIFT DIVING / SALTSTRAUMEN
GOOD TO KNOW
- Activity: Drift diving
- Location: Saltstraumen, Norway
- Season: May-October
- Degree of difficulty: Everyone is welcome. Anyone diving on their own should have good diving skills. Courses are available for beginners.
- Other facts: Bodø and its surroundings have a lot to offer nature lovers. It is home to the world's largest flock of sea eagles – the largest bird of prey in Northern Europe. Fishermen are also drawn to the area for its huge diversity. Bodø has one of the country's five five-star fishing campgrounds.
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