On her way back from Florø to Bergen, Barba sailed through the Krakhelle Sound where, on December 15, 1944, the vessel Ferndale had steamed through in the opposite direction. The Ferndale had been bound for Northern Norway and loaded with supplies for the German war machine. Early in the morning, however, she ran aground on the cliffs at Seglstenen and a tugboat, the Parat, was sent to her rescue.
The following day, 19 British mosquito fighter-bombers went in for the kill. Flying into the Krakhelle Sound from the south, the bombers shot both the Parat and the Ferndale ablaze. Only 18 planes returned to base. Efforts were made to salvage the vessels, but their fate was sealed when an additional six mosquitos descended to finish the job later that day. In the last attack, one of the mosquitos was hit by German anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the fjord cliff nearby.
The cliffs here at Seglesten are the Ferndale’s final resting spot, and that’s precisely where Nikolai and I found ourselves being towed by Barba’s underwater scooter, Mojo, during our exploration of the wreck.
We descended on the bow at 7 meters and worked our way down through the ship’s cargo hulls. Her stern lies at depths of about 50 meters, slightly outside of our depth range on this day. It was a humbling experience to visit this silent memorial to the dramatic events that took place 70 years before.
For photos from the dive, see the blog post Ferndale, a dive back in time.