Wrecks & finds in Finland incl Åland Islands:
Finland is populated since ca 8000 BC, and many wrecks still wait to be found in sea,
lakes and bogs. In Finland scuba divers must notify the Coast Guard before any wreck dive.
Many Finnish wrecks are located in the Åland archipelago, where diving is only permitted through
licensed dive centres.
- The Lehtojärvi find. In a bog in Lehtojärvi, near Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, a wooden
sculpture of a moose head was found. It has trace of red paint and may have decorated the bow of the kind
of ship depicted on Bronze Age rock art. Pollen and C14 analysis dates it to the early 6th millennium BC.
Ref: Nationalencyklopedin 2000.
- Lapuri wreck. Viking ship from about 1000 AD. Found 1976 on 6
m depth in South Finland. The ship was about 10 m long and thanks to thin oak planks so light (perhaps 1
ton) that it could be carried or rolled on land between the Russian rivers. Excavated 1977, 1992 and 1993.
A reconstruction was first made in Finland by the Rus Project. A new reconstruction is being built at the
Foteviken Maritime Centre, Sweden.
- Mulan. Ca 15-20 m long clinker-built ship,
sunk off Hangö in 1611 or later, based on coin finds. In the wreck on 13-15 m depth two Russian church
bells from 1596 have been found, possibly booty from the Swedish campaigns in Russia 1610-1617 during the
"Time of Troubles". Ref British Museum Encyclopaedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology.
Mekrijärvi logboat, 17th century.
Recovered by the National Maritime Museum in Helsinki.
- St Michael. Russian merchant ship, 25 m long. In the autumn of 1747
she sank by Borstö Island on 42 m depth. In 1953 the very well preserved wreck was discovered, with all
masts still standing up. It has been partially excavated. Golden watches, snuff boxes and a two wheel
carriage are among the finds.
- Vrouw Maria. Dutch merchant ship, going from Amsterdam to St
Petersburg. In an October storm of 1771 she hit the rocky coast near Turku (Åbo).
The crew managed to
anchor, but after five days of pumping, she sank. The depth is supposed to have been up to 30 fathoms (55
m) and she was loaded with art treasures to e.g. the Russian court. Her loss caused intensive diplomatic
activity. Salvage parties went out but couldn't even locate the spot, and gave up. Searched for since the
1970s, when Christian Ahlström found the archive information. Finally located in 1999 on 41-43 m depth.
Investigations by the Maritime Museum of Finland started in 2000. Sources: IJNA 7.1 1978,
Sjunkna skepp by Christian Ahlström, Swedish Television TV2 on 8 August 2001.
- Graf Nikita. Russian ship
sunk off Jussarö Island in 1784. Possibly located in 1967. Ref Christian Ahlström: Looking for Leads,
- The Brothers. Brigantine sunk in
the Finnish Gulf in 1786.
Probably identical with the very well-reserved and intact wreck found on 51 m
depth in 1999 by Sten Stockmann. Being investigated.
- Kronprins Gustav Adolf.
Swedish man-o-war that sank in battle against Russia in 1788. Discovered in 1995 by the Finnish navy. Now
made to an underwater museum for scuba divers, with info plates under water. Buy a ticket and get a
plastic map! Photo by Petri Puromies, courtesy Maritime Museum of Finland. Swedish report.
- Saint Nikolai. Wreck of a Russian galley or frigate from the
battle of July 9, 1790. The 40 m long hull was found intact in 1948 by a
Finnish diver on 15 m depth. Has had 18 to 20 24-pound cannons and some smaller guns. The wreck has been
damaged by divers and risks destruction by currents from the heavy traffic to the Kotka port. Some objects
are exhibited in the Kymenlaakso Museum. Diving is not permitted on the site. Ref Alexej Smirnov:
Svensk historia under vatten.
- Osborne & Elisabeth. English
brig built in 1857, sunk in 1873 off Hangö. Located intact in the 1990s. The figurehead was still in place
and admired by scuba divers. But in 2001 it fell down. Maybe it will be replaced by a plastic copy.
- Fråck. Steamer built in 1869. Sunken off Åland in 1915. Located intact
in 2001 using side scan sonar.
- Ladoga. Russian sail rigged
and steam propelled warship, built in 1978, sunk near the Åland Islands in 1915, considered very well
preserved but diving is prohibited.
- Jönköping, "The Champagne Wreck". Filled with Champagne and Cognac,
sunk off Rauma in 1916, located in 1997 and salvaged.
- Hindenburg. German icebreaker built in 1915. In
1918 she hit a mine and sank off Åland. Found in 1995 well preserved on 50 m depth. Diving excursions are
arranged from Mariehamn on Åland.
- Plus. Iron-hulled 3-masted bark built in 1885, appr 90
m long. Sunk on 33 m depth in 1933 off Mariehamn, Åland. The large wreck is very well preserved. Hull and
deck are intact. The masts have been sawn off so they won't stick up to the surface, and are laying on the
bottom on the side of the hull. Dives are arranged by local dive centres. This is only one example of all
well preserved wrecks in the Åland archipelago. Diving is forbidden for private persons, but some dive
centres have a permit for excursions.
The list is sorted chronologically. Abstract of the list in Swedish,
by Per Åkesson. Page rev