Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities

Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Liam Hoey » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:42 pm

Here's some pictures to start! Trip report to follow..... ;)

Image

http://s777.photobucket.com/albums/yy53/ChorleyBsac/Dive%20Trips/Scapa%20Sept%202010/
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Liam Hoey
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Re: Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Mike Parr » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:59 am

Good job you didn't go to Scunthorpe
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Re: Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Maria H » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:06 pm

Scapa Flow is the only UK dive site mentioned in Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die. Having only managed to dive 4 of these places in nearly 30 years of diving, when Liam mentioned he was planning a trip to Scapa, the answer had to be yes, as I have a lot of catching up to do.
14 months of planning, and we were finally on our way. It is 450 miles and the AA said it was a 9 hours journey, so Stuart and his 3 partners in crime set off in his van a day earlier than the other vehicles, though an evening of partying en route meant that we still got to John O’Groats before them! Geoff seemed to enjoy the drive, with reminiscences about the aches and pains of cycling from John O’Groats in the days when he was young & fit.
After dinner and refreshments in Stromness, the team retired for an early night, looking forward to the week’s diving.
The Boat and Skipper
Radiant Queen is a converted trawler, and so is the size of many British live-aboards. This means there is plenty of deck space and a roomy saloon, plus dry and wet rooms down below. Her skipper Emily is a 20-something opera singer, so quite a contrast to the usual old salty seadogs. The pre-dive briefings from Emily were excellent, supported by side-scan sonar images like these http://www.divernet.com/Wrecks/159269/s ... in_3d.html as well as underwater photos and diagrams, allowing us to locate and recognise key features such as gun turrets and capstans that I would normally have just swum past as unidentified lumps of rusty metal. It is clear that Emily knows and loves these wrecks very well and she was very keen to share her knowledge with us at “story time”.
Captain Kellogg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QspA68VwPME was unable to dive, so Emily co-opted him to drive the boat.
A lift is planned for 2011, which will be a very welcome addition.
The WW1 German High Seas Fleet
Of seventy-four ships that were scuttled in 1918, most were raised or salvaged, and only seven remain: three battleships and four light cruisers.
The week started with dives on two of the light cruisers: the Cöln, followed by the Karlsruhe. These are shallower than the battleships, and so allow more time for looking around. The Cöln lies on her starboard side, and is relatively intact. With visibility in excess of 10M, this was a great dive, and I was cursing myself for not taking my camera in the water. The Karlsruhe was equally impressive, though visibility wasn’t so good, and the sea state was starting to pick up by the time we surfaced, making the ladder more challenging, and giving us a hint of the weather that was on its way…..
Diving wasn’t an option on Monday & Tuesday, with winds force 6 – 7, and white horses even in the harbour, so our intrepid team went sight-seeing.
Wednesday was a bit calmer, though still not the kind of weather we’d choose to launch the RIBs in, and so we had 2 dives on the F2 and barge, which is a relatively sheltered site. The F2 is a WWII wreck, and the nearby salvage barge sank during the salvage operations (!) after recovering one of the guns that is still visible, thus providing us with an additional wreck site to make an impressive combined dive.
Emily showed great flexibility and was determined that we’d get the most out of our week, so it was ropes off at 7.00 a.m. on Thursday for 3 impressive dives on the Margraf, Brummer and Dresden, with the Flow now looking like a mill-pond, though the effects of the storm were very noticeable underwater, with much reduced visibility. The weather was threatening to get worse again on Friday, and so it was ropes off at 06:30 (what does the 0 stand for? Oh My God it’s early!) for a final dive on the Kronprinz Willem, followed by brunch of lasagne and Dave Sheridan’s birthday cake at 09:30!
In summary, we dived all four of the light cruisers (Cöln, Karlsruhe, Dresden & Brummer) plus two of the three battleships (Margraf and Kronprinz Willem). These are huge, impressive wrecks and the gun turrets are huge. The Cöln was the highlight for me, partly because of the visibility, and also it’s not as deep and dark as the battleships, so easier to get an overall impression of the ship, and not so scary!
We didn’t manage to get on the Konig, nor did we dive any of the blockships that are supposed to be stunning dives, so I guess that’s our excuse to go back again
Sight-seeing
With two non-diving days, we were able to explore Orkney. The Ring of Brodgar is an impressive stone circle that dates back to the Bronze Age, making it even older than Stuart. We all had a sombre moment in St Magus Cathedral when we looked at the bell from the Royal Oak, a poignant reminder of huge loss of life. The mood was lightened somewhat when Stuart commented that the organist was playing Baa Baa Black Sheep! The Italian Chapel was built by Italian PoWs during WWII from 2 nissan huts and scrap materials, and is huge tribute to their determination and artistry. It wasn’t all cultural stuff though – given a choice between a visit to Scara Brae, possibly the most important Neolithic site in Europe, or a photo-opportunity in the village of Twatt, there are no prizes for guessing which one won! Finally we visited the Gloop – a deep sea-filled cave with a collapsed roof, and wandered along the headland, both of which were particularly impressive with the Force 7 creating some spectacular waves.
There was the usual repartee with Stuart remarking that Nick looked like he’d survived a famine and Frank looked like he’d caused it, so a new double act was born “Feast & Famine”.
Thanks
Special thanks to Liam (aka Captain Kellogg) for arranging the trip, to the rest of the gang for a great week, to Emily for going the extra mile to ensure we got some good diving in despite the weather, to Scapa Scuba for their overnight drysuit repairs that saved Frank’s diving, and finally to Admiral Von Reuter for scuttling such an impressive fleet for us to dive on.
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Re: Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Geoff Roberts » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:28 pm

Can I add my thanks to Captain Kellog for all his hard work even though he was unable to dive.
Also reiterate the vessel Radient Queen the cleanest boat I've been on.
Last but by no means least my personal thanks to Dangerous for being an excellent dive buddy. Your in water skills on your turtle belie the time you've spent on it.

Geoff
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Re: Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Liam Hoey » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:45 pm

Fantastic trip report Maria. Thanks everyone for all your help, advice and support in making it a cracking trip. Here's to next time soon. :D :D :D
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Re: Scapa Flow Sept 2010

Postby Maria H » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:28 pm

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