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: 2nd August 2002
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2002: Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands

Day 3: Sunday, 21st August 2002

SMS Karlsruhe (Dive #1)

Awoken by the 'ballet-like' thudding of divers feet moving about outside the cabin - the signal that pre-dive cereals/toast and tea was on its way. Lazily, the Sunrise cast off and headed out to the first dive site of the expedition - the SMS Karlsruhe.

SMS Karlsruhe - image courtesy of ScapaMAP Acoustic Consortium A second class cruiser of the Königsberg II-class, Magestät Kleine Kreuzer (His Majesty's Small Cruiser) Karlsruhe, joined the High Seas Fleet on November 15th, 1916.
The buddy pairs sorted, kit pre-prepared the day before and everyone starts to get ready. We'd already seen the videos, read the books and scanned the local maps; now it was the real thing. The Sunrise hovered over the shotline and the first divers were given the signal to enter the water.

Descending down the shot in freefall arriving at the bow-end of the Karlsruhe. The visibility was fair at about 6-8 metres, much better than the vis we'd been getting down on the South Coast recently. Finning round the bow, bow anchor chain and locker in view, back over the hull and down across the still intact decking. Soon the first gun-turret came looming into view, ominously pointing directly at us through the gloom. This was one of eight 5.9-inch guns, above her over on the port side was the other forecastle deck gun, again pointing straight ahead. Further on moving towards the midships we saw where the salvage work had demolished her, from the upper deck through to the keel. Lying in this debris field we could pick out lifeboat davits and the main funnels. Here we began to feel the current pushing us back. With air down at 100 bar we decided to ascend slightly and drift with the current back to the bow in search of the shotline. We'd already agreed with the skipper that a DSMB would be used if we didn't make it back to the shot. Protected by an overhang of the wreck, Barney fired up his delayed SMB and the ascent began. Gently we drifted off the wreck in our group of three, slowly and safely making our ascent to 6 metres. With no deco penalty, we made a 1 minute safety stop and finished our ascent. Back on the surface, the Sunrise was quickly over for the pick-up. Up the fishbone ladder and back aboard with a sense of satisfaction of the first dive of the exped.

De-kitted and tea and breakfast was just 10 minutes away. A full 'English' was enjoyed by all; just what was needed to complete the morning. Nigel was keen to do a little fishing today so the Sunrise headed off towards the divesite early to allow a ½ hour in search of mackerel. Nigel and brother, Jason seemed to have drawn the short straw as they ended up with string, feathers and the unpopulated waters of the port side. Rick and Donald couldn't put the line in without pulling out a full catch of pollock, to the indignation of Nigel. Eventually the so-called fishing experts slowly began to haul in a couple, before the time came to prepare for the next dive. Still, they'd caught enough for a light lunch later.

Gobernador Bories (Dive #2)

For the the second dive of the first day, we agreed on the Gobernador Bories. She is one of six ships sunk across the fast-flowing waters of Burra Sound (between the islands of Gaemsay and Hoy) and only diveable at slack water. With the short window for slack everyone needed to be ready at one time. The first two divers were signalled to enter and then the threesome; by which time the shot had come and gone. There was some struggle to reach the bouy as the tide was still running slightly. Heaving our way, hand over hand down the shot, we finally began to see the wreckage strewn across the seabed. This wreck was a 'wreck' compared to the Karlsruhe. With the tide flowing against us, we struggled to find some shelter. After a bit of finning, shelter was found beside part of the hull. Overall, this was a pleasant dive with lots of places to swim-thru the hull and under plates. Steve (as usual) returned to the Sunrise with his goodie-bag laden with two lobsters - one big 'un (maybe a little tough for such an obviously older creature) and a nice and tender smaller one. Together with the pollock caught earlier, they would all make a perfect meal.

More fishing, kit checking and cooking of pollock and rice, self-catered dinner was served, courtesy of Steve and Nigel. Following dinner was the inevitable return visit to Stromness' hostelries aka the Ferry Inn and Flattie Bar. One game of the now antique 1980's 'Phoenix' table-top arcade game, a splinter group swiftly moved on to the Flattie Bar. Here we had the opportunity to briefly exploit the drinks kitty and sample the local whisky (Scapa) before the main group followed on behind. Queuing up to play the locals at pool was entertainment in itself, the main objective of the game appearing to be who can get the most balls off the table (bonus points for hitting any unsuspecting passer-by on their way to the toilets). Eventually, the game finished and the challenge was on... Nigel and Simon took on the local pool hustlers who suddenly start to play a decent game. Several games and pints later, and somehow Stew winning a game of 'killer', we moved back to the drinks table to continue the evening. Interrupting our "intellectual discussions" about the pros and cons of drysuit v BC inflation techniques (yeah... right!), a group of four local lasses moved in loudly with their, not too subtle, art of seduction... i.e. dancing around to Chesney Hawkes 'I Am The One and Only' - hardly Top 40 stuff. Jason revelled in the attention they were giving him, obviously to our amusement - they must have had a yearning for some 'strawberry blonde', as Jason calls it; we call it "Ginger"! More pints, and shots of Scapa whisky later, all the group retreat back to the Sunrise for tea, toast and a good night's sleep.

Friday 19th August 2002 The long drive ahead...
Saturday 20th August 2002 Finally arrive in the Orkneys & our welcome to "Shopping Week"
Sunday 21st August 2002 SMS Karlsruhe & Gobernador Bories
Monday 22nd August 2002 SMS Köln & Bottle Dive
Tuesday 23rd August 2002 SMS Markgraf & MV Radiation
Wednesday 24th August 2002 MV James Barrie, F2 and Barge - Party night !
Thursday 25th August 2002 SMS Brummer & V83
Friday 26th August 2002 SMS Dresden & Tabarka
Saturday 27th August 2002 The return trip South
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