Wreck diving in Krnica, Croatia

krnica4 In June I visited Croatia with five cave diving buddies (Hanna, Xavier, Patrick, Saskia and Maarten) for some awesome cave diving around Vrlika, Croatia. More about this in my next post. Prior to going to these caves two days of wreck diving in Krnica were booked at Krnica Dive. We (minus Maarten) visited the SS Varese, SS Baron Gautsch and the SS Lina. All three were beautiful wrecks and awesome dives. Our trip started on Wednesday evening 2100h from Enschede and after 20 hours our Ford Focus pulled the five of us, plus trailer with 10 doubles, 6 stages and a shitload of divegear, to Krnica. A scheme was made for rotating positions in the car to optimize sleep and comfort, but some lower back problems and bad smelling body odors could not be fully prevented. The downside of cheap transportation 😛 Krnica welcomed us with a huge downpour and thunderstorm. Slowly and carefully Saskia drove us in to town where we were greeted by a lightning strike less then 100m from our car. By the time we arrived in the harbor the weather had cleared and everything for next days diving could be arranged. After that it was time for pizza and off to bed.


The first wreck was the SS Varese. Maurizio joined Patrick to see if we were safe divers and Xavier had his dive as an instructor for Hanna, Saskia and me – we were finally getting our limited trimix course to be able to do the dives with some helium in the mix. Upon seeing the wreck during the descent, I voiced ‘nice’, but due to the helium in my mix this came out Donald Duck style and caused me to start a high pitched laughter and many mask clearings 😉 We dived along the bow and propeller of the Varese and back through the hull of the ship. Small corridors are created by the remaining structures and an eerie atmosphere is created by all kinds of fishing nets hanging over and in the wreck. After navigating from stern to bow we exited through the partly missing bow section.


The second dive was done on the wreck of the SS Baron Gautsch. This ship sunk almost 100 years ago due to a mine, but is still fairly intact and can be easily penetrated on deck 1 and 3. We started on the bow, dived through the lower deck and had a look on it’s massive steam engine, a nice bathtub and toilets and other various debris. A couple of large, inquisitive fishes at the back wondered why we were in their wreck. At the stern we went two decks up and had a look at deck 1 and 2. The wooden floors are missing, so all decks can be seen from the top level. Some small schools of fish now call this wreck home and add to the atmosphere. Visibility was again awesome and after some deco we were back on our boat towards the harbor near Pula.

After dropping off our tanks, a couple of pizza’s were quickly devoured and then it was off to bed for some much needed sleep. Day two was a visit to the SS Lina for two beautiful dives. The SS Lina lays right in front of the shore of the island Cres, so deco can be done on the reef, instead of in the boring blue. Fresh tanks of 21/35 and an AL80 of EAN50 were waiting for us at the dive shop and some driving and a 45 minute boat trip on the ‘Erik’ we arrived at the dive site. Dive one was the final dive for Hanna, Saskia and myself for our ‘SSI Limited Trimix’ course, so after a trip from the bow, around the wheel house and steam engine and trough and over it’s front decks and a safe trip to the surface we were now officially trimix divers 🙂


After a short trip to a local harbor we had lunch and enjoyed some sunshine. The second dive concentrated on the things we missed according to our buddies, so lobsters were visited, starfish pointed out on a winch, huge anchors on the bow were inspected for small critters and a conger eal was spotted in one of the anchor chain tubes. Another trip over the reef for 20 minutes of deco concluded our dive. Back at the dive shop our trailer was once again filled to it’s max and we had a nice dinner with some of the Dutch GUE divers who also happened to be in Krnica.


After a long, looong night of well deserved sleep we packed our stuff, payed Maurizio’s big bill, and continued our trip to Vrlika, another 400+km more south/east, near the Bosnian border. More about that part of the trip in part 2: Cave diving in Croatia.

~ door ehoogma op juli 2, 2014.

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  1. […] January 2013. After that we picked up wreck diving an visited more and more caves. Last month the first trimix course was done to open up greater depths and even some first steps in cave exploration were […]

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