It didn't take long before the first salvage operators became interested in the wreck site.

One of the first was an Englishman who quickly secured a salvage contract for Vasa.

He succeeded in righting the ship but didn't get any further. Other adventurers, treasure-hunters and inventors came to Stockholm to try their luck. They dragged and hauled, set hooks and anchors in the hull, but everything failed.

Not until the 1660s was an alternative solution devised. Instead of raising the entire ship, they would focus on only recovering the cannon. Albrekt von Treileben of Värmland, and his German colleague Andreas Peckell threw themselves into the task with the use of a diving bell.

A diving bell works in same way as an inverted glass in water. An air pocket is formed in the upper part of the bell. This pocket was the diver’s air supply while he worked on the wreck with hooks and specialized tools.

An Italian priest visiting Stockholm observed the divers in 1663.
He wrote in his diary:

"The diver was fully clothed in leather and had double-layered animal hide boots. He stood upon a lead platform which was hung beneath the diving bell. I asked how long he could remain on the bottom. He replied half an hour. However, it was the end of October and after 15 minutes the bell was raised and the man was shivering with cold in spite of the fact that he was strong and a native of the region."

In spite of near total darkness and the water temperature at a depth of 30 meters, the divers succeeded in recovering 55 cannon from their carriages, most of them weighing more than a ton each.

Sadly, the divers demolished much of the upper deck when removing the cannon and it is lost to posterity.