Diving in Scapa Flow

Scapa Flow is one of the most favorite places for wreck diving fans. The dives here are performed not to the ordinary vessels, but to those that have naval history. There are about 150 wrecks, some of which sunk during the battles, while others were sunken on purpose. Today the access to most of the wrecks is open, but such objects as “Royal Oak” and “Vanguard” are a part of 16 underwater common graves and are protected by British laws. The dives to the remnants of the “great seven” are allowed. These are 7 well preserved military ships of High Seas Fleet. They are light cruisers SMS Dresden, SMS Cöln, SMS Karlsruhe, battle ships Kronprinz, Wilhelm, SMS Markgraf, SMS König and fast minelayer SMS Brummer. They belonged to Germany and were part of the main marine fleet of Kaiser marine forces during WWI. According to the truce the High Seas Fleet had to be transported to the station of British marine forces in Scapa Flow at Orkney islands. However, during transportation it was sunken by German. During the dives entering inside the ship should be done carefully and it is forbidden to take anything from the territory of 100m/328ft around the wrecks. These wrecks are classified as moderately difficult because of limited visibility, cool water and the requirement of decompression. Another diving spot at Scapa Flow is Blockships. These are ships of various types that were sunken on purpose to create an artificial “protective guard” against hostile boats. The dives here are known for good visibility, small depth and swimming around schools of small fish. The only lack of the diving here is the presence of strong currents as the divers have to perform all the dives according to so-called “map of currents”. To obtain more possibilities it is advisable to use double tanks and be ready for decompression dives. If the dives are performed in recreational mode then divers can miss a great amount of wrecks including High Seas Fleet wrecks.

Location: Near Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

What to see: About 150 wrecks, including High Seas Fleet and Blockships

Depth: 15-42m/49-138ft

Currents: 1-2knots

Visibility: In sunny weather it can reach 15-20m/49-65ft, in frown weather – 5m/16ft. The visibility can be also low because of algae bloom that occurs two times a year – in March and September.

Season for diving: The temperature ranges between 5C/41F in March to 11C/51F in June, so all the dives are performed in dry suits. Closer to September it rises to 12-14C/54-57F. Air temperature changes no more than by 10 degrees between winter and summer.

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