To reach most wrecks you have to use
a boat, sometimes they are located far away from the coast and in deep water. To
dive them you have to accept hard conditions and high costs. This is the price
diving an impressive wreck in most cases.
Of course, the so-called "Town-wrecks" in Kristiansand in South-Norway are not the most interesting wrecks in that area and you will not find so many details as on some wrecks from the war. But they are impressive and easy to dive, you do not need a boat to visit them and have to swim only few meters from the shore to the buoy that marks them. These two wrecks are better than many other better known sites and absolutely worth a dive!
These two wrecks are resting nearly on each other very
close to the cliffs and in only three to less than twenty meters depth. And
while the debris of a destroyed German SAR-aricraft DO 24 from the war, also
easy to reach without boat, is a well-known dive-site many foreign divers spend
their hollidays in the area of Kristiansand without visiting these two much more
impressive sunken ships. That means to miss a real highlight!
It is interesting to see that there are nearly no informations about the history of these ships available. I think the reason for this is more that nobody ever searched for it than that it should be so complicated to find some datas and facts about the approximately 50 meter long trawler Kjelløy T.97.T and the tug Bjarte, around 25 meter long and resting right beside the bigger wreck.
Only few Plumose anemones and softcorals grow on the wrecks and it is easily possible to read the ships names at the bow and the stern. I think they sunk around 1980 while they were ankered close to each other (maybe the tug was laying connected beside the trawler and went down together with the bigger ship?!). I think it is nearly sure that the ships were not sunken by purpose at this place.
The wrecks are not that easy to find. We had an exact
description how to reach the site and photos of the location but nevertheless it
took us some time to find a way close enough to the shore. Some sites were
closed because of building projects (a new stadion and a industrial area). We
found a small way which is a blind alley. Following this way to the water beside
a small ditch and between the area of a company that offers heavy industrial
vehicles for rent and a big boat-house you can come very close to the wrecks by
At the end a pipeline is crossing the way and it is possible to find a way between the big stones down to the water here. This way is only recommended for people in good shape and you should be very careful. We were not able to find a better solution and it looks more difficult than it is!
If you have managed to get you and your equipment down to
the water you can dive from here to the wrecks or swim the 30 to 40 meters at
the surface to the buoy. Diving down at the buoy you will find the the port-side
of the trawler midships less than ten meters under the surface - some meters in
front of the steering-house and over the cargo-rooms. I recommend to swim from
to the stern where you can find a lot of old ropes and nets. Swimming around the
typical stern-ramp where such trawlers get the fishing-equipments in and out you
will find the propeller and the rudder. From here you can see the bow of the
smaller tugboat if the visibility is good. Depth here is 16 - 18 meters.
From this deepest point you can swim back beside the deck of the trawler, dive inside the bridge, some rooms and the cargo-rooms. You can find some interesting details, but of course no souvenirs. The best souvenir is to take some nice photos! When we dived here the visibility was not poor with 10 or maybe even 15 meters - absolutely okay to make some pretty photos. The freshwater comming from the small ditch and a pipe does not help to make the visibility better, of course. I think the clearest water you can find during the winter and the poorest visibility when snow and ice melts in spring.
At the Bow with its rail it is less than ten meters deep and it is possible to read the name of the ship on the hull. Some meters back midships and deeper you can find the stern of the tugboat. You can also read the name of the tug at the stern. On the flat stern-deck you can see a cylinder with steel-rope and other equipment used for pulling big ships and other kind of work. I think this is another proof that these ships went down because of an accident. The steering-house is located closer to the stern, typical for a tugboat. The bow is looming at the cliffs up to only three meters below the surface and only few meters from the shore.
As written before the wrecks are not that beautiful grown with anemones and corals like other wrecks in this area and you can easily find better sites if you want to see fishes (we saw only some Ballan wrasses and some Pollacks). But the wrecks are an impressing dive-site and if you visit this area for diving you should really make one or two dives here. Because of the shallow depth it is possible to make dive with more than one hour bottom time with air and without getting in long decompression times. Further more you do not need a boat and you do not have to plan the dive days before. More than enough reasons to visit the "Town-wrecks" in Kristiansand!
N 58.09,300 E 008.01,950. Marked with a white buoy (2007)
From the top: The trawler Kjelløy.
To the left the name at the bow. On the right side Sten at the bridge.
At the trawler midships and at the stern.
Sternramp of the trawler with many ropes and to the right Sten at the steering house of the tug Bjarte.
The name of the small tugboat and a cylinder with steel-rope on the stern-deck.
Again the bow of the trawler and to the right the bow of the tug.