Scapa Diary – Day 8

Friday 13th – Scrapheap Challenge

The team decided to finish its last day of diving on more relaxing dive sites of the SMS Seydiltz debris field, and a return visit to the WW2 German Corvette ‘F2’ and the 1995 wreck of the dive boat ‘MV Mara’.

The first dive was onto the Seydlitz debris field at 20m (the remains of the botched salvage operation of the SMS Seydlitz). The first highlight for divers is one of the gun turrets, which is made easy to find due to the shot-line being attached to the gun barrel. This ensures that the gun turret is impossible to miss (hey Paul and MarkH?).

This site consisted of numerous lumps of hardware separated by stretches of seabed. The whole site was heaving with all types of marine life – dancing clams, starfish, eels, wrasse, scorpion fish and scallops (Yum)! One of the surprises on this dive was coming across a large cylindrical vessel (oil tank?) with several large holes that was awash with hundreds of small fish – just like a tropical aquarium!!

The Seydlitz debris field dive demonstrated that there is more to diving in Scapa Flow than just big German warships.

In between dives the team took the opportunity to re-visit the Scapa Flow museum on Lyness on the island of Hoy. This time the team visited an excellent exhibition held in a converted oil storage tank.

The final dive of this trip was the MV Mara dive boat which is near to the F2 WW2 Corvette. The Mara is an upright wooden vessel where many of the timbers have rotted away allowing good views of the internal structure and fittings. The Mara is teeming with life. The team saw Conger Eels, pipefish, wrasse, and shoals of small fry.

There is a convenient 130m guide rope linking the Mara to the F2 which the team used to pull itself against a cross-current to the middle of the F2. ALL of the team found the guns on the F2 (eventually!).

Following a fulfilling day of diving we all returned to Stromness for a team photo with Angus the skipper, Aiden the cabin boy, and, Hector the canine dive marshall. This was followed by superb meal and a few beers at the Ferry Inn.

This will be the final posting from the Orkneys, but the team will publish a trip summary in a few days time. We would like to thank anyone who has been mad enough to follow our inane daily reports!

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