Scapa Flow June 2013

Scapa Flow June 2013-07-09

I never understood the attraction of Scapa Flow, the old hands reminisced about past trips, the shock and awe of the size of the wrecks, massive guns and deep/dark diving!

The depths and challenging diving conditions portrayed, meant I thought it was a trip I had to train years for…

So after 7 years of diving i thought I was ready and so it was with a little worry and trepidation that I set off on the long road North with 12 hardy CSAC divers….

After 6 days brilliant diving I now understand what all the fuss is about and I want more…

We were fortunate, we had flat calm / dry and fairly warm weather, vis 5-10m, it wasn’t red sea but it was probably as good as a UK dive was ever going to get… Water temp was  8-10 degrees and warm topside so very pleasant.

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We plumbed for shore based accommodation and the JohnL boat with Dive Cellar in Stromness, friendly and efficient, highly recommended.

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We had a good look at the other dive boats and they all look pretty good, this place is definitely geared up for diving. I’d still prefer shore based accommodation but some offer liveaboard options to.

The itinerary looked like this:

Friday, drive up from Bucks to Scrabster nr Thurso  and stay overnight in the Ferry Inn. Have a few drinks in the bar with the local sea dogs… drink enough to get to sleep!

Saturday morning, 10.30am Ferry over, potter around, visit Stones of Brodgar and a coastal walk by the Stromess golf course/WW2 battery.

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Sunday  – Dresden and Karlsruhe.

Monday – Brummer and F2 and Barge, with visit to Lyness Scapa Flow Museum.

Tuesday – Markgraf and Tabarka.

Wednesday – Kronprinz Wilhelm and Doyle.

Thursday – Markgraf and Ghambira.

We did the Markgraf twice because it was just so good..

Friday – Koln and Karlsruhe, visit barrages, South Ronaldsay and Kirkwall for archaeological talk.

Saturday 9.30 Ferry back to Scrabster and the 10hr drive home.

Conclusions…

You need to be happy going to 35m in UK waters  to enjoy it, the deepest I ever got was 42m. The vis was excellent so it was alot more comfortable.

A 15ltr with a Pony is fine for non-deco diving , twins are better,   you can hire it all there.

Please check your kit before going, we had 6 dry suit failures, multiple RB cell and kit failures.

All kit can be fixed whilst there, overnight so you don’t miss out too much, but it’s a pain missing a dive or two because of something so simple.

Finally, even if you’re not obsessed about wrecks, the history, sheer size of them and beautiful landscape of the flow make for a very enjoyable dive holiday. I for one will be returning.

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