Planning for Norway can seem a bit intimidating at first but is actually really simple. Bergen is an easy destination with a modern airport and superb links into the centre of Bergen. The boat is moored within easy reach so, in many ways, this is an easier trip than Scapa. There are a few gotchas so please read these notes carefully.
It is difficult to predict, but I would assume that one will require (at least) two plus a booster dose to enter Norway to avoid quarantine (perhaps also a negative test). Another thing is travel insurance, I’m not sure to what extent Britons are covered by EU rules on the right to free health care, so it may be something people should check before they leave (including whether quarantine etc. is covered).
I have attached a link to The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (in english https://www.fhi.no/en/). Here you will find general information, the infection situation, entry rules, etc.
In short, it is an everchanging picture but one that feels like it has a positive outlook. Updates will be posted here as the situation unfolds.
This page is divided into two sections:
1. Important, must read
This is info about planing including booking flights, joining the boat in Bergen and arrangements prior to your charter.
2 Questions about details
This is info about specific items such as cylinder Din fittings etc that, whilst important, is not a priority.
1. Important, must read.
The weeks run from Saturday to Saturday with six days of 2 dives per day starting on the Sunday morning.
Saturday is a change over day so I ask a departure time of 08.30am and an arrival time of 14.00pm depending on whether you are coming or going. However, I appreciate that people have booked flights at times throughout the day, in which case, I am happy to look after bags whist you go for a wander around Bergen. The importance for me is to have some time to clean the boat and sort myself out which is hard to do with people milling about. I appreciate too that it is impossible to wander around Bergen with all your bags so the deal is that I can guard your luggage/kit whilst you go explore.
I arrive back in Bergen on the Friday having done two dives: this time is an unknown but generally late afternoon. There is no food on the Friday evening so we generally eat out in Bergen.
Flight arrival times
The flights into Bergen arrive throughout the day. The advice I give is to book the most convenient flight for your departure point: as long as you have an arrival some time on the Saturday, you can be accommodated. If you are on the 19:00 (approx) Heathrow flight, let me know as this may have some impact.
Flight departure times
Likewise, the flights out of Bergen depart throughout the day. The advice I give is to book the most convenient flight for your departure point. As long as you have a departure some time on the Saturday, you can be accommodated. The boat is back in Bergen Friday night but it is hard to schedule an arrival time so you are best not to book a Friday flight unless absolutely necessary.
Flights arrive at Bergen (Flesland) Airport. There is a Flybussen bus transfer to Bergen central that is easy to catch. The bus departs from directly outside the airport and you want to get off it at the last stop, the Radisson Blu. Fjordhesten run a small minibus and trailer that can accommodate 12 plus kit if pre booked. He speaks good English.
From here there are a number of option depending on where the boat is moored (see below) but you should be within sight of the Halton at this point:
- The taxi rank within 20m of the bus stop is the most convenient. It will cost about £20 for a large cab to the boat.
- The Beffen (small passenger ferry) which crosses the harbour.
- ‘Shank’s pony’ takes about 20 mins but often a pain with lots of bags!
Finding the boat
The boat will generally be moored in either of these three places but more often the TV2 building (ask taxi for Nordre Nostrekaien) or the Customs House (ask taxi for the Toll Butens Quay)
There is generally an email sent the week before with instructions including my Norway phone number as the mooring place is dictated by the Harbour Authorities and changes week to week. However, I am always within the Vagen so you should see me pretty quickly just with a quick wander. You could also find me using AIS (a phone app is available)!
I have a norwegian mobile in Norway and I give out the number when I know myself – most likely will remain as 791583206?! Drop me an email after you have arrived in Norway and I will confirm last minute details.
It is very important that I know your dietary requirements well in advance. The boat is stocked for the week before we leave so if you have not been catered for by that point you are stuffed. I will contact all organisers with a form to complete before Crimbo so please be vigilant and communicate your requirements.
It is very important that I know your cylinder requirements well in advance. All the cylinders need to be on the boat before I leave the uk so if you have not been catered for by that point you are stuffed. Again, I will contact all organisers with a form to complete before Crimbo so please be vigilant and communicate your requirements.
2. Questions about details
What will be provided?
The aim is to make flying as easy as possible so with that in mind you will be provided with the following:
Open Circuit divers
You have the choice of a 2x 12 L manifolded steel twin set, 15 L steel single or 12l steel single included in the charter price.
Closed Circuit divers
You will receive a steel 3 L dil, a steel 3L O2 cylinder and an Ali 7L or an Ali 80 cft included in the charter price.
In addition there will be the following on the boat:
- Lead weights. I have 4lb (2 kg) and 6 lb (3 kg) blocks.
- Sofnalime at a cost of £4.50 per kg.
- Helium at 3p/L, O2 @ 2p/L
There are additional stages/bailout cylinders available for hire should you wish to double up. Stages will have rigging kits attached. They are not to be adjusted.
I can supply some pony cylinders. Please note that these are essentially the rebreather dil cylinders and so will not take an A-clamp regulator. Please check in advance. You will need to bring a mounting system be that a bag or a clamp.
Will the cylinders be Din or M26?
All cylinders provided will be 232 bar DIN G5/8 thread (the bog standard din thread in common use). Those of you from Europe or with Sentinels etc. need to be mindful about the thread size on your first stage. We do not carry DIN to M26 converters on board- you need to bring your own. Non rebreather cylinders can be converted to 232 A clamp with an insert which we carry on board.
Will there be 2 L cylinders?
There will be a few but if you need them you will need to tell me before hand just to double check as they will be in limited supply.
What can I expect with the twinsets?
All twinsets will be 2x 12 L with a isolation manifold (sorry, no twin x 10 L cylinders available). There are no ‘slob knobs’. The stainless steel twining bands have an 11″ spacing between the bolts to allow a standard back plate to fit. There will be no major adjustments allowed. They are not strictly DIR compliant (they are as ‘good as’ without opening a whole can of worms) but will allow a standard Hogarthian rig to be assembled. You need to bring your own harness, back plate and wing.
Images are for illustration only.
What about bail out cylinders/stages?
If you are on CCR, you will be supplied with a bailout cylinder which will either be an Ali 80 or a Ali 7 L. They will be rigged so all you need to do is screw in your valve and clip it on. As much as possible, your choice of size will be met but that will be within the constraints of what is available. I have a good selection of either size but make no absolute guarantees.
If you are on twins then you can hire a stage cylinder, either an Ali 80 or an Ali 7 L. Please note that the stage cylinders are only supplied to CCR divers as part of the dive charter, they are extra for OC divers.
Will there be suit inflation bottles?
Sorry, no suit inflation bottles will be provided. You will need to find another method, eg off your stage, in which case, don’t forget to bring the whip.
Will there be sofnalime?
There will be a supply of sofnalime (Grade 797) on the boat at a cost of £4.50/kg.
There is lead on the boat for your use. Lead comes in blocks of 4 lb (2 kg) or 6 lb (3 kg) that will thread onto a standard weight belt. You need to bring your own webbing belt to put the blocks on. If you lose my lead, I will charge you!
The boat is standard UK 240 volt with standard UK sockets so if it works in the uk, it will work on the boat without travel adapters.
Alcohol is expensive in Norway and if you drink in the more tourist areas a bar tab can be brutal! However, beer from the supermarket is not too bad, so most people stock up at the start of the week with a top up mid way through if calculations are wrong! A lot of people bring duty free when they fly too, though the limits are quite tight. I don’t sell alcohol on the boat, please bring all you need yourself.
Always! I like to show you Norway too as it is a beautiful country so there is always room to roam in an evening. The boat is almost always tied to a pier somewhere nice at the end of the diving.