Join us for Technical Diving in Finland!
Finland is known as the country of a thousand lakes, for good reason, and also has widespread forests. It is a relatively big country about the size of Germany, but has a population of only 5 million, the majority of which live in the major cities in the south.
Finland has four seasons that can vary from below freezing temperatures in the winter to a comfortable 25 Celsius in the sunny summer. Being so far north of the equator the hours of sunlight vary greatly with the seasons. In winter the sun rises late and sets early giving only a few hours of daylight whereas in mid-summer the sun will hardly dip below the horizon.
Summer is the best time to visit Finland and experience the explosion of life after the cold, dark winter. The snow begins to melt around April/May and the lakes begin to lose their cover of ice. Summer here last only a few short months and the day time temperatures are between 15 – 25 Celsius but the nights can still be quite chilly, so be sure to pack some warmer clothes.
Autumn begins to take hold around November when the temperatures start to drop and the deciduous trees start to change colour in preparation for the winter to come. This is also the time when the first frosts arrive and the first snow falls are not far away.
The currency in Finland is the Euro and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. International ATM’s are also widely available so getting access to your money is not an issue. The cost of living in Finland is one of the highest in Europe though.
Finland is part of the Schengen Area and passport holders of these countries can move freely through Finland, no visa required. The Schengen Area is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders, also referred to as internal borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy
Most other Western passport holders are eligible for a visa upon entry (prior application not required) that will allow you to travel through the Schengen Area for three months. However check with the embassy in your home country for up to date visa requirements and eligibility.
How to get here
Flying to Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, is usually via a stopover in Europe or Russia. Many airlines fly into Helsinki so getting here is quite easy. For the more adventurous you can take a ferry across the Baltic Sea from Estonia, Sweden or Germany.
The public transportation system in Finland is comprehensive, with a good bus and train network. This is the preferred way to travel as taxis can be quite expensive.
Finnish food is mild-tasting and the common spices are salt and pepper. Potatoes are a traditional part of Finnish cuisine and will accompany almost every meal. Many sorts of wild berries can be found growing throughout Finland and are of an excellent quality, making them a common part of the diet. Rye and dark breads are also common as well as milk products and the fish caught in the multitude of lakes.
Full dry suits and very warm under suits are a necessity for diving in Finland at any time of the year. In summer the surface waters warm up to around 20 Celsius however, by the time you reach 10-15m the temperature drops to 3-5 Celsius. For longer dives it is also good to have some kind of heating system, either a heated vest or full heated under suit. It is common practice to use argon to inflate your suit as it offers better insulation against the cold than other gases.
The main dive sites in Finland are the old abandoned mines that have been flooded by the ground water and are a playground for technical and cave divers. Visibility is generally good to excellent and the depths vary from 10 – 300m, offering challenges for all levels of technical divers.
It is also possible to dive the Finnish lakes. The visibility can vary greatly with the best sites generally found in the north and east of the country. The sea to the east of Finland is also good for diving and holds some of the world’s oldest wrecks. Thanks to the brackish waters and cold temperatures these wooden wrecks are preserved amazingly well.