remains of the scuttled German fleet of, U-boats, steamers, tugs
and Churchill's extraordinary 'Blockships'
Scapa Flow has been used as an
anchorage since the days of the Vikings, and through two world
wars. Situated on the north East coast of Scotland it is a large
expanse of water surrounded by a ring of Islands known as the
Orkney Isles. Scapa Flow is a natural harbour providing shelter
to the worse of the weather, being blown out on a dive is rare,
and Scapa Flow is with out doubt the finest wreck diving location
in the UK. And here's why
On the 21st June 1919 Admiral Von Reuter ordered the high
seas German Fleet to scuttle. This consisted of 74 ships being
sent to the depths of Scapa Flow, 10 battle ships 6 battle cruisers
8 light cruisers and 50 destroyers. Out of the 74 ships 52 went
to the bottom and 22 were beached or saved by armed naval boarding
parties. Salvage operations by Messrs Cox and Danks and later
by Metal Industries ltd and Scapa Salvage raised 45 ships.
The German fleet wrecks are great diving no doubt
of that but that's not all what Scapa is about we have scrap
sites from previously salvaged ships we have block ships in shallow
fast tidal waters, wrecks like the Gobernador Bories a Chilean
registered steamer sunk in Burra Sound in 1915 is the one for
the photographer, this wreck is just teaming with life, the large
Ballen and Cuckoo Wrasse really do expect to be fed with sea
urchins from visiting divers, honest if you don't feed them they'll
bite you. The average depth of this dive is around 15 meters,
and the viz well, check it out.
is alot to dive and more than the German Fleet, from single cylinder
air divers to deep mixed gas techie. Dive with the seals or a
scenic drift around the Old Man of Hoy.
There are seven ships from the fleet which are S.M.S Kronprinz,
Koing, Markgraf, Dresden, Brummer, Karlsuhe, and Koln.
2005 we travelled to Orkney and dived for one week from MV Karin
Liveaboard, in the famous Scapa Flow. This area is famous for
the WW1 Scuttled Fleet and on the 21st June 1919 Admiral Von
Reuter ordered the high seas German Fleet to scuttle. This consisted
of 74 ships being sent to the depths of Scapa Flow, 10 battle
ships 6 battle cruisers 8 light cruisers and 50 destroyers.
and Slav, scenery and a gun poking out from one of the wrecks,
There are seven
ships from the fleet which are S.M.S Kronprinz, Konig, Markgraf,
Dresden, Brummer, Karlsuhe, and Koln.
We dived them
all apart from the Konig. The viz was a constant 15m and water
was a cool but acceptable 12c. The Battleships were turtle (Upside
down) but some did leave huge cavern like swim throughs for us
The boat we used
as a Liveaboard was not quite up to Red Sea standard. However,
we had a good dive deck area and gas filling was made easy by
Little John extending a compressor whip to reach each divers
tanks. Our pre-booked brunch was a hearty meal for any hungry
sailor which kept us going to about... now actually. I am still
trying to loose the weight and digest all that mince.
The amazing thing
about these wrecks is the shear size. Quite often we were told
where to dive and after realised what a short distance along
each wreck we ventured. Plus often missing the huge turrets and
guns. We have become experts on 5.9" and 12" guns now
and had to revisit Kronprinz Wilhelm to confirm our sightings
of the half berried 12" guns.
Marine life included
Scorpion Fish, Lobsters,friendly Wrasse,Crown of Thorns and many
brittlestars covering areas of the wrecks.
I would highly
recommend any diver visiting these virtually intact wrecks. The
depths were around 30m so any recreational diver would be suitably