Report: Periphylla Safari 2013

The fifth Periphylla Safari was a great success, with excellent conditions from start to finish. We did top-class wreck diving during the day and saw lots of Periphylla jellyfish at night - and everyone enjoyed the exotic event.



Posted on Jan 15, 2013
Divers from Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and Latvia gathered at Gulen Dive Resort on January 10th for the 5th Periphylla Safari to dive with the Periphylla periphylla jellyfish.

The resort is located just north of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast, not far from the only place in the world where it is possible to do organized diving with what has become known as the Alien of the Deep.

In the middle of the winter, in the middle of the night...

The Periphylla jellyfish live in extremely deep water, and are normally found in the open ocean at 7-800 to 3.000 meters deep. In certain places they have however congregated in shallower water, and in Lurefjorden they are found at a mere 300 meters depth.

During the winter months they migrate to the surface at night to feed and reproduce, and it is possible for divers to experience the alien-like appearance of these ferocious predators.

The buoy, weighted rope and light marker setup used to conduct safe Periphylla dives.

To master the challenging conditions, the safari started off with an extensive dive briefing and a training dive.

The Periphylla dives are not particularly deep in themselves, but since the bottom is 300 meters below and we're far from land it is necessary with some precautions.

Everyone made a training dive the first night to familiarize themselves with the buoy, weighted rope and lights setup shown above, and were soon looking forward to the real thing.

Spectacular wreck diving

The next day we headed off for some rust. The winter months offer the best visibility in Norwegian waters, and were blessed with sunshine, flat seas and 40+ meters visibility at the fantastic twin wreck of Fernedale and Parat.

The wreck of the freighter Fernedale, which was sunk by allied aircraft in 1944 looked spectacular in the 40+ meters visibility.

Later in the afternoon most of the guests did an additional dive at the house reef, known for its many species of nudibranchs, featherstars and sea spiders.

In the evening it was time for a Periphylla lecture, to let everyone know more about what we were going to see later the same night - and then it was time to gear up:

Excited divers gearing up for the first of the two Periphylla dives in the middle of the night.

Encounter with the Alien of the Deep

At eleven o'clock the RIB was filled to the brim with tanks, other gear and cameras, and we set off into the night doing 35 knots across the calm surface.

After arriving at one of our preferred divespots in Lurefjorden we started scouting for the jellyfish, which sometimes can be spotted at the surface. Although we did not see any at first, we still had a remarkable sight - northern lights!

The divers went in the water in three groups with an interval in between, and it didn't take long before we saw strobes going off at a rate only associated with exotic wildlife. Periphylla!

This is what the Periphylla jellyfish looks like under water (collage made after a previous event). The up to 20 cm tall bell and the half-meter long tentacles makes it a pretty impressive sight!

As the divers started to get back on the boat, they could tell tall tales about masses of jellyfish - they were everywhere in the pitch black water.

Everyone had a great experience, and the memory cards were full of proof. After warm waffels at the diveshop upon our return, I'm sure everyone had Periphylla dreams that night!

Norway's best wreck

Our second day looked much like the first, but this time our destination was the world-class wreck of Frankenwald, which was voted Norway's Best Wreck by the readers of the Norwegian dive magazine Dykking a few years back.

The mast of the Frankenwald is a spectacular sight - completely covered in anemones. Here the divers are doing their safety stops while photographing the mast and each other. The three divers on top are (from left to right): Bernhard Pleimer, Stephan Manfré (behind the mast) and Gabriele Faccoli.

We had very good visibility and nice conditions, but a strong current sweeping the decks of the incredibly intact war-time freighter made the dive a bit of a challenge.

The experienced group did however not have any problems coping, and smiles went all around as we head back for more house reef and Periphylla diving later that night.

Rebreather diver Dag Leslie Hansen with his scooter/camera setup on the Frankenwald dive.

More Periphylla

The second trip was made in almost the same, good conditions as the first. There were not quite as many jellyfish as the night before, but still I must have encountered 50-60 during the half-hour dive I was able to squeeze in before resurfacing in the night.

» Click here to see Periphylla images from previous events

This year we had a really great crowd at the Periphylla Safari, and had a lot of fun. Some were photographers while others were just enjoying the scenery and the jellyfish - and they had equally great experiences I think.

Thank you all for coming to Gulen Dive Resort and joining the Periphylla Safari! It is especially nice to see people return for a second year, and it was a joy hosting the safari.

The only mishap...

...was luckily on my part: My underwater housing flooded during my only Periphylla dive, and therefore I don't have any pictures to show you :-(

When things go wrong... The reason why I don't have any Periphylla images to show you.

The other participants has however posted lots of images on Facebook, and I have collected links to their profiles/albums on the Periphylla Safari event page:

» Click here to see the Periphylla images

Also check out Dag Lesie Hansen's homepage, he's made a nice gallery with images from the event already.

» Click here to see the the gallery at sue.no

Join us in 2014!

The Periphylla Safari in January 2014 is already filling up, and you can read more about it here on these pages, and even join the event page on Facebook.

If you're thinking about joining it's a good idea to book early, as we have a very limited number of spots for this popular event - and some spots are already taken.

» Click here to follow the 2014 event on Facebook








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Christian Skauge
Etterstadsletta 4 G
N-0660 Oslo, Norway


   

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