Periphylla Safari FAQs

Periphylla Safari

Are you thinking about joining the Periphylla Safari? Here are answers to some of the questions you might have, to help you decide and make sure you get the most out of your experience.

Posted on Dec 5, 2012 - updated Oct 30, 2016

If you cannot find the answer here, please look at the bottom of the page for more options and how to get in touch. I will try to add more answers as the questions pop up.

What do we do on the Periphylla Safari?

The main objective of the Periphylla Safari is to dive with and experience the deep-sea jellyfish Periphylla periphylla in its natural environment, and learn more about this enigmatic creature.

We will be diving in the middle of the night, in the middle of a fjord and far from land. It's winter and the bottom will be as much as 300 meters below us. To do this safely, it is important that you read the diving requirements and procedures below before you book your stay.

Periphylla diving

Two Periphylla dives are planned during the safari. There will also be two lectures about Periphylla behaviour, biology and other aspects including diving safety. A training dive will be conducted on the first night.

The Periphylla Safari is obviously a great opportunity for underwater photographers and filmmakers, and photo tips will be given during the lectures.

Diving with the Periphylla is a unique and magical experience. You will get to see what very few divers have ever seen - really something to brag to your friends about!

Wreck and house reef diving

During daytime we will take advantage of the normally excellent visibility this time of the year (often 30+ meters) and visit a couple of spectacular wrecks. Weather permitting, it will most likely be Frankenwald and the twin wrecks of Fernedale and Parat.

In the afternoon, the house reef if open for exploration. A very easy dive, this is a good spot for macro life and is very popular among underwater photographers. It has even been dubbed "Lembeh Strait of Norway"!

What are the diving requirements?

To be able to dive with the Periphylla you need to meet the following requirements:

    • PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent
    • Documented experience beyond the course (50+ dives)
    • Experience in night diving and drysuit diving
    • Good buoyancy control
    • No vertigo or similar problems
    • All divers must complete a training dive

We may ask you to document your experience so please bring your log book and certifications.

If you're diving with a camera you should have experience with doing so; it is not a good idea to bring a camera or anything else that might distract you during the dive.

Where and how do we dive?

The diving on the Periphylla Safari is challenging and probably very different to what you're used to. First of all, you need a drysuit, and it's very important that you're familiar with it and know how to dive safely.

The two Periphylla dives will be done in Lurefjorden, about an hour by boat from Gulen Dive Resort with their new 52 ft. dive yacht. Diving is done at night, because this is when the Periphylla migrates to the surface and it gives us the best chance to see large aggregations of jellyfish.

Since the Periphylla is a deep-sea species we have to dive in very deep water - it may be as much as 300 meters to the bottom. The dives themselves do not have to be particularly deep, normally we see plenty of action at 15-25 meters.

For a safe and enjoyable experience you need to have good buoyancy control.

A thorough dive briefing will be given prior to the Periphylla dives. On the first night of the safari we will also do a training dive to give everyone a chance to become familiar with the procedures.

What about safety procedures?

For safety and a better experience we place a buoy with a 30 meter long weighted line in the water. The line will have lights attached at the surface, in the middle and at the bottom, and will be your only point of reference during the dive.

It is very important that you don't stray away from the line. You must also be careful not to venture too deep and must keep an eye on your computer/depth gauge at all times.

The buoy also makes it possible for the dive leader on the surface to keep track of the divers and it provides and easy entry/exit point. The setup can be seen on top of the page.

To make sure diving is safe, buddy pairs take turns photographing or filming. As one diver is shooting, the other keeps track of depth and time.

Are you up for it?

Because of the demanding conditions these dives are suitable for experienced divers ONLY. If you don't think you're up for it, choose another time to visit Gulen Dive Resort.

Booking and prices

Although we very much appreciate people letting us know they want or may want to participate on Facebook, we can not consider this a genuine booking.

In order to find prices and to book your stay at the Periphylla Safari please refer to Gulen Dive Resort using this link:

» Click here to book your stay at Gulen Dive Resort

The Periphylla Safari includes 4 nights accommodation in shared twin rooms, 1 Periphylla training dive and 2 Periphylla night dives, 3 wreck dives and 3 house reef dives (including tanks, air and weights). The Periphylla briefing and lecture is naturally also included.

Bedsheets must be brought or rented, food not included (self-catering). Flights/transfer not included.

Flights and transfer

The nearest airport is Bergen Airport, approx. 20 kilometers from Bergen. If there is no direct flight from where you live, flying in via Oslo is your best option.

Check out Norwegian or SAS (among others) for flights.

What about transfer?

Pick-up or return to the airport by car is possible for larger groups. The price will depend on the number of passengeres, please check with Gulen Dive Resort for availability and prices. The trip to/from the airport takes about two hours.

Please arrange pick-up with Gulen Dive Resort before booking your flights!

How do I get to Gulen on my own?

The easiest way to get to Gulen Dive Resort on your own without a car is to take the airport bus downtown and walk approx. 100 meters to the Fjord1 speed ferry terminal. Here you catch the €40,- northbound departure to Mjømna which leaves at 16:30.

At Mjømna, you board the "Solundir" which will take you directly to the pier at Gulen Dive Resort. The whole trip takes about three hours and offers a spectacular sightseeing. Timetables at

How do I drive to Gulen?

Driving to Gulen might be a little tricky in the winter due to snow and weather conditions. The mountain crossovers may be closed or subject to restrictions, and you have to keep in mind that you'll need 8-10 hours from Oslo.

Make sure you have appropriate winter tires, and remember that gas is expensive in Norway. Flying is easier and normally cheaper, even with extra luggage for the dive gear.

Driving from Oslo

My preferred route when driving from Oslo to Gulen Dive Resort can be found at Google Maps. When in Norway, updated road messages in English can be obtained through telephone no. 175 (+47 815 48 991 from abroad) or online at

If you are coming from Europe and want to avoid the long drive across the mountains, Fjordline offers three weekly departures from Hirtshals in Denmark to Bergen.

Driving from Bergen

Driving from Bergen to Gulen takes about two hours including the ferry from Leirvåg to Sløvåg along this Google Maps route. Ferry timetables at

What's the water temperature?

In January you can water expect temperatures from 5-9 degrees Celcius. This is defintely drysuit territory, and you must be familiar with this type of diving.

Lower water temperatures can be compensated for by doing shorter dives, but your best bet is to have proper exposure protection. Then you can dive comfortably for an hour, just like anywhere else

It is important that you have a first stage regulator suitable for cold water diving. If not, you can rent one at the resort (please let us know in advance if you need this).

What do I need to bring?

The usual stuff, but keep in mind it's winter time. Drysuit and warm undergarments is a must, and don't forget a warm beanie/hat and mitts or gloves.

You will probably be most comfortable diving with your own diving equipment, but it is also possible to rent gear at Gulen Dive Resort (subject to availability). Please inquire about renting equipment well ahead of your stay.

You may also want to bring bedsheets or a sleeping bag, but this can be rented at Gulen Dive Resort so you don't have to.

Do I need cash?

No, not really. The use of debit and credit cards is widespread in Norway, and you won't even need cash for shopping groceries.

Everything at the resort can be paid by card. If you need to make a withdrawal anyway you can do so at the supermarket cashier.

What about food, how does the self-catering work?

The dive resort offers a well-equipped kitchen, and a small supermarket is just a few minutes away by car. There will be people going there pretty much every day so it should not be too hard to find someone who will give you a ride.

The transfer bus from Bergen Airport will make a stop a at large, well-stocked supermarket on the way to Gulen Dive Resort, giving you opportunity to shop all you need for the duration of your stay.

Food can be prepared at your convenience, and feel free to team up with other guests for cosy dinners!

What other facilities are offered?

Outdoor hot-tub: The hot-tub will be fired up for the last night of the Periphylla Safari.

Pub: The pub is open on request, which is usually every night :-)

Kayak: If you want to go kayaking you can rent one at the resort and paddle off on an exciting excursion.

Photo tips

Shooting the Periphylla can sometimes be tricky, mainly because of the challenging conditions - it's dark and few visual references. Since the diving takes place in very deep water, paying attention to depth at all times is crucial for a safe experience.

The jellyfish range in size from 40-100 cm with the tentacles stretched out, and a wide angle lens is your best bet. I have used the following lenses with good results:

    • Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye
    • Sigma 10-20 mm
    • Tokina 10-17 mm
    • Nikkor 18-70 mm
    • Nikkor 60 mm

I normally shoot at the longest focal length (20 or 17 mm for the Sigma and Tokina). In general lenses in the 15-40 mm range will give good results, while a 60 mm works great for macro. Please check out the settings on the images below for a better idea of what results to expect (click for larger view and caption). The fisheye is great for capturing jellyfish and divers, but will make things look small unless you're really close.

A fast shutter speed freezes the image and enhances the black background, while a relatively large aperture (low F-stop) allows enough light to reach the sensor. To minimize problems with backscatter I shoot with the strobes angled outwards to avoid lighting particles suspended in the water.

The Periphylla are photo-sensitive, but a normal focus light is usually not a problem. Stronger torches may cause the jellyfish to swim for deeper water.

Still have questions?

Please read the Periphylla Safari page, and follow the event on Facebook. If you haven't found answers to your questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You'll find contact info at the top and bottom of every page.

» Click here to book your stay at the Periphylla Safari!

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Join the Periphylla Safari!
Join the Periphylla Safari for a one-of-a-kind diving experience - meet the Alien of the Deep face to face on a spectacular night dive!
Held at Gulen Dive Resort north of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast in January every year, the Periphylla Safari attracts divers from all over Europe.
We also visit some of the greatest wrecks found in the North Atlantic on this event, where visibility often approaches 40 meters!
» Read more about the Periphylla Safari

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