The Finnish dive team Badewanne have explored dozens of shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea where cold temperatures and low salinity create the perfect formula for the historical preservation of underwater monuments to ships, lives, and battles lost.
"Down there, time has ceased to run its course, and everything is just as it was when the ship sank," says the group's leader, Juha (A.K.A. Roope) Flinkman.
"Diving to a 240 year old wreck, and seeing everything just as it was described in contemporary documents is a mind blowing experience," he adds.
Badwanne, (literally, “bathtub” – a WW2 nickname for the Baltic Sea’s Gulf of Finland), is a loosely organised team of divers who have been exploring and documenting the many shipwrecks in the area for the last 15 years.
What began with making videos of their findings for the Finnish War Museum evolved into work with the Navy, Coast Guard and Environmental Institute, then television shows and more, creating greater awareness for the hidden wrecks of the Baltic Sea.
The team's discoveries include finding, on German U-Boat 676, a unique conning tower that was not supposed to exist, the location and exploration of the Russian WWI Cruiser Pallada and the WW2 German submarine, U-745.
Flinkman describes the emotions of finding a wreck as a 'cocktail of joy, success and sometimes also confusion because what you find wasn't what you were looking for'.
The wrecks are mostly found at a depth of between 40m to 80m and while there aren't sea currents to contend with it is still highly challenging due to darkness, poor visibility, cold and shipping traffic.
Supported by Suunto, Badewanne are driven by an unwavering desire to reveal the secrets of the deep.
"There is no gold, only a wealth of stories yet to be told, all exiting, many sad and all accessible only by intensive work in research and diving," adds Flinkman.
To find out more about Juha Flinkman and the Badewanne team, visit their site at www.badwanne.fi.
About the main image:
Badewanne team exploring the wreck s/s Sandviken, which is a good example of many pristine, well preserved wrecks that can be found in the Gulf of Finland. Low temperature and low salinity protect both iron and wooden wrecks in the depths there. S/s Sandviken was a 19th century hybrid steamship, with iron hull and auxiliary sail rigging. She was built in 1871, and sank off the Porkkala headland in 1876.
|Name||"Badewanne" dive team|
|Sports||Technical diving, wreck diving|
|Home Town||Helsinki, Finland|