Diving is performed with safety ropes according to PADI standards using experienced instructors and dive guides, and includes:
- Two dives per day
- Diver transport to diving sites by snowmobile.
A mobile diving camp is set up on diving sites. Wooden cabins on sledges provide shelter for changing, for drying of equipment and include a common room module for lunch and socializing. A heated wooden shelter is placed just over the ice-hole (maina) for those who prefer a heated space between dives.
Day schedule and organization of diving
The day at the Artic Circle Dive Center begins with a substantial breakfast at 8 a.m. A comprehensive briefing providing information on diving sites, weather conditions, water temperature and visibility, etc follows this. After a break, all participating divers take snowmobile transport to the ice camp. Depending on the current location of ice camp, this journey will take between 20 minutes and one hour.
Ice camp is constructed from several wooden cabins fitted with sledges, which are easily moved between diving sites by snowmobile. Special wooden modules provide bathroom and common room facilities, the latter serving hot tea, coffee and sandwiches. One cabin typically houses a team of four divers.
Making the ‘maina’ (entry hole)
Construction of the maina (sawed rectangular entry hole) is the first task upon arrival at the camp. Dive center staff usually prepare the maina, but divers taking the PADI Ice Dive Course must construct it for themselves.
Dives are made in pairs through the maina, with one pair of a four-person team diving while the other pair act as tenders on the surface. The first pair of divers usually enter the water within 30–40 min of arrival at the ice camp.
Diving is conducted in Dry Suits using a special diving technique. Each diver ties a safety rope around the waist and holds it in their palm after wrapping it around their hand. The tender person holds the rope at the surface while the other end of the rope is fixed to an ice-screw.
Around 2 p.m. lunch is delivered to the ice camp and everybody retreats to the common room module to eat and relax, and to share thoughts and impressions. The second diving session is scheduled for the afternoon and the return to the base is usually around 6 p.m.