Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Scapa Flow – Easter 2011

Wave Shape

Saturday, April 16th.

We met just after 10:00 a.m. at Scrabster, each having made their own way up on the previous evening, some staying at Aviemore, others at Helmsdale and Thurso. ‘We’ being David J, David H, Dewi, Peter, Brian, Malcolm, John, Bob, Mike, Irfon and the girls, Julie and Tracey. Some were sidetracked on the way up and managed to keep Peter waiting in Perth for a mere four hours, luckily he had his laptop and Mac D’s free broadband to keep him amused. We boarded the ferry and sailed at 12:00, passing the Old Man of Hoy on our merry way to Stromness. An hour and a half later we were docked, and made the short hop around the dock to MV Valkyrie where we were greeted by the Skipper, Hazel. The rest of the day was for settling in, arranging our kit and making sure that everything was shipshape. Tomorrow the adventure was to begin in earnest.

Sunday, April 17th – SMS Brummer, V83.

Breakfast was a leisurely affair, after which, promptly at 08:15 we left port and headed towards the flow. After an hour we were at the SMS Brummer, she was a mine laying cruiser measuring in at 135m and displacing 4,400 tonnes, this was the smallest of the ‘big seven’ that we were going to be diving this week, but would give us a good idea about the size and configuration of a first world war battleship. John and Bob were first in, followed by the rest of us. The vis was good at about 8m, however trying to make out the vessel was difficult because of her enormous size, some damage done due to salvage and the thick carpet of plumose anemones that covered her. The dive was deep and demanding, making those trips to the quarry over the winter all the more worth while.

The afternoon dive was to be a much shallower affair, another torpedo boat destroyer, but much smaller – the V83. There was something here for everyone, including kelp at the stern for Peter and Dave H. A good taster day, more was to follow in the coming days – including the mighty battleships – can’t wait. Irfon.

Monday, April 18th – SMS Dresden, F2 and YC21.

Dresden 2

Light cruiser lying on its side in max depth pf 38m, a choice of two different dives to the Stern or the bow. This will be a dive when David & Brian went commando without their computers. By now we have the dive order, Bob & John in first, the rest of us follow with the M & M’s bringing up the rear. Some questions would be answered – how will Brian feel about Pete’s offer of penetration, will Mike’s neck seal hold up following the visit of the overnight fairy, will Julie and Tracey be able to keep the D.O & Training officer in check and can David H keep Dewi on the straight and narrow – the answer to all is a big Yes.

F2 & YC21

Torpedo salvage vessel and barge in approx 20m, good vis with a slight current. In reality a choice of 2 dives with some concentrating on the barge whilst others did the torpedo boat. Plenty to see with good dives being reported by all and Pete demonstrating his new underwater body-cam which has got to be on the next Christmas list.

Tuesday, April 19th – SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm, Seydlitz debris field.

The day started with a little rain, but soon cleared to a still & sunny day with the sea being a mill pond. We were all into the routine by now and had assumed an order of entry led by John & Bob (the A Team). The Kronprinz Wilhelm lay upside down in about 39m. A pair of its guns exposed from the seabed for those happy with a swim through. The two pairs that got to see them were John & Bob and Irfon & Tracey. The rest of us floated about the hull & marvelled at the size of the ship. Mike & Malcolm lost each other going down the shot line!, Peter lost Brian but then found him again (I don’t remember whether this happened before or after penetration! Although Brian did get used to it by the end of the week).

The afternoon shallow dive was on the Seydlitz . This ship had been heavily salvaged, so apart from 2 guns & a few bits & pieces most had gone. The interest of the dive lay in the problems we all experienced. Dewi got up and walked over to the jump off point all kitted up except for his fins, Mike & David J left themselves tied, by their cylinders, to the boat after they got into their kit (I think we all did that at least once). Julie got her SMB tangled when inflating it, as did Brian. I caught our boat with my SMB & let it go at 7m, Dewi doing a good mid water deployment of his SMB for us to come up on. After this eventful day several of us got an attack of ‘Health & safety-itus’, and bought 4 of the strobes the boat had for sale. Dave H.

Wednesday, April 20th – SMS Markgraf, Gutter Sound – Bottle run.

AM dive was at the MARKGRAF `battleship`lying between 25-45 meters. All divers attended, with John & Bob in the lead, the rest to follow. We descended the shot line to the bow at approx 24 m, then down the hull to the seabed at 44m. A nice relaxed dive with plenty to see, e.g. crab and a mass covering of brittle starfish, etc.

PM dive on the Gutter Sound (bottle bank) at 22m, a dive along the seabed. Two divers opted out of this one (John & Bob). David H had a free flow, needing Dewi ‘s quick action to turn off his air supply. This was a shock to David but he soon got the gist. The salvage was bottles and more bottles! Mickey very happy with his bottle. All that’s left is for Mickey to down load his dives again (hey Mickey) . Julie & Tracey.

Thursday, April 21st – SMS Cöln, SMS Karlsruhe.

Und now, ve vaz ver knowin of ze Herman warships. Me, I vaz like ze onorary member ov ze Herman nafy. Toady, vaz ze battlecruisers Coln,viz a “C”, not Koln viz a “K”, vich vaz und uver ship, und ver confusin on ze radio, und ze Karlsruhe, viz bof on zer sides. Briefin vaz gud und Johan & Boob ver ze fust in agen after ze sittin on Tracey agen. Ve vent ze vong vay to bust up stern zen along edge of fertical deck, vich vaz cofered in life, veras orizontal side vas vizout life. So ve seed no von. Viz. vas ver gud, und sed by Hazel to be ze best dive but ve liked ze Markgraf & ze Dresden bestest. Ze Karlsruhe had ze current runnin from ze stern (or ze bow) to ze bow (or ze stern) so ve did und Lidl drift ond ended up in ze ver deep vater off ze bow (or ze stern). Zer ver lots of life. Julie’s favourite dive.

Back in early, lovely afternoon, some straight off to Flatties bar, some to Ben at Scapa Scuba for running repairs to dry suits, some to the museum, some to a hole in the wall, some shopping for presents, some for a walk past Ness point to Hoy Sound, which was impressive with the tide running out like a river in a gorge, especially when the ferry shot through on it’s way out. Did make you wonder how it got out or back in when running against a similar Spring tide. Answer was, with great difficulty. All ended up eventually in the bar, just for a change, plus Rob of the impressive beard from the Valkyrie, who had looked after us so well all week. Dave J.

Friday, April 22nd – SMS Markgraf, SMS Karlsruhe.

Friday, last day. First dive by popular request was the battleship Markgraf, deep, dark and huge. Micky had to sit this one out as a week of Malcom’s snoring had made his ears bleed. Malcom, who had become totally dependant on his buddy didn’t get dressed properly and came back up soaked. Second dive back to the Karlsrhue. Divers dropping out like flies, no Mickey, Malcom still defrosting, Brian too excited about going home, Julie complaining of a bad back after a busy Wednesday night with her red light on. No seal in the wreck this time but just as impressive. Back to port to pack up then off to the pub……….again! Peter.

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