Four of us jumped at the opportunity to spend the week, with 8 other divers from Britain, Germany and France, on the liveaboard ‘MV Invincible’ the largest dive boat in the Orkney fleet. This was no ordinary diving trip; over the course of the week we learned about much of the history of Scapa in WW1 and of the Scapa Wrecks.
Monday morning we were awoken at 6 a.m. by the ferry leaving. It was a bit damp out at sea with waves approximately 2m high and wind against tide creating a triangular sea. I decided I’d rather help my boys with their kitting up and take photo’s than kit up on a roller coaster. Unfortunately I took the photography role more seriously than the kitting up role. As Kev executed a perfect stride entry into the boiling sea he realised his weight belt was still on deck. He hung onto the shot while the other divers entered the water then we picked him up dekitted and rekitted him and chucked him back in where his buddy was waiting for him somewhere on the wreck
Day 2: SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm and SMS Dresden
Tuesday morning the Sea had calmed down slightly :- The first dive for today was SMS Konig (I think) which is exciting apparently because it has plenty of guns to look at. Our plan was to nip down the shotline to the bottom at about 39 metres, spend a few minutes looking at the guns and then work our way up along the side of the wreck ending with about 10 minutes on the hull looking at the pretty stuff. We jumped off after half a dozen others, nipped down the shotline to the bottom where the viz was crap with sand kicked up by those in front of us and it was very dark and searching for guns held no appeal for me. I signalled no and we worked our way up to the hull which was surprisingly bright for 25 metres. We saw plenty of small fish and dead man’s fingers but to be honest I wasn’t wowed by it.
I’d been looking forward to the 2nd dive of today as The Tabarka is one that I’d heard a lot about. Older ex members had said “You have to drop down and get inside quickly before you’re swept away by the current” “It’s like an upturned cathedral inside. You swim through it looking up at all the life” “When you come out you have to be careful not to be swept straight in to the propeller of the next wreck”
We dropped in just before slack, landed on the wreck which lies in about 15 metres and spent the next 40 minutes swimming in and around it with little or no current. Much of the inside has collapsed in the last couple of years so it looks nothing like a cathedral and the swim through is now several swim throughs. We did see some nice big fish, lobsters and crabs so for me this was the best dive and my final one of the week.