: 2nd August 2002
Day 4: Monday, 22nd August 2002
SMS Köln (Dive #3)
Köln II was the first of only two new Dresden II-class cruisers to be completed. Fitted with eight 5.9-inch guns, she was slightly larger and more of a complete fighting ship than the Königsberg II-class ships. The wreck is lying on her starboard side, at a depth of around 35m, but with the port side at the 20m mark. Today's diving pairs were:
Nigel and Simon were the first pair into the water and down the shot. Whilst the second pair were in the water at the top of the shotline, it broke off and the remaining diver groups made use of the alternate shot at the bow end of the wreck.
Descending down through the murk was more ominous than yesterday's dives, but then the Köln's hull, and its portholes, slowly came into view beneath us. Putting us at about 35m we were on the seabed just off the hull with scrap metal strewn all around. Coming off the wreckage a little we recovered a few scallops, safely stowed in Nigel's goodie-bag. Heading back to the wreck Nigel signalled that he was feeling uneasy and, as I later found out, a little narked so we ascended back to the top of the hull at about 24-26m. Aware that Nigel may still be feeling uncomfortable, we continued our dive at this depth passing along the wrecks hull towards midships. It was hard to see the true size of this wreck (never mind the battleships we are to dive later in the week), but she was still a monster ship compared with our local wrecks. Although we didn't see any of the guns, or penetrate the wreck, it was still a pleasant dive. Finding a new shotline we started our ascent with about 100bar left in our cylinders (and still untouched pony cylinders). At 6m we decided on caution and did a 5-minute safety stop in which time we were surrounded by several other buddy pairs hanging on for theirs. After the dive we found out that those who descended the bow shot got easier access to the guns and even saw a commemorative plaque for a diver who 'died' on the wreck..
Back onboard and time for a well-deserved mug of tea followed by an even bigger cooked breakfast than yesterday. Sheltering in Lyness, everyone disembarked for a sight-seeing tour of the island and its war museum - paying their homage to the many lives lost during the two World Wars.
Bottle Dive: Lyness Bay (Dive #4)
Just off the harbour of Lyness is a shallow flat seabed scattered with bottles, pottery and oddments either dropped or fallen overboard whilst the ships had been anchored in the area. Each diver pair were dropped around the area, where they then issued their SMBs so the Sunrise could keep track of them. Once down to 17-18m the seabed looked like the sea's larder with scallops galore. Although suspended beneath the SMB, Nigel still did not find this a hindrance to terriering around, gathering up the scollies. Soon the goodie-bag was heaving and we were only 15 minutes into the dive. As we continued to drift, we came along empty bottle, after empty bottle, before we reached a stretch of seabed that was littered with pottery (old plates, dishes, mugs, and even toilet pans). More scollies, an edible crab and a bad case of indigestion later we were ready to heave our haul back onboard. Pulling up the bag, attached to the SMB reel, we finally ascended back to the surface. Seeing the Sunrise moored up back at the harbour was a little disconcerting, until she spotted us and maneuvered out. Back onboard, seafood galore, courtesy of all the divers, filling two large buckets - dinner was certainly going to fill our stomachs tonight.
Following the previous night's jaunt into Stromness was not to be repeated to such a grand scale. After a hearty meal and screening of 1970's extremely soft porn 'Ballerina' and Leslie Neilson's comedy 'Wrongfully Accused', a quick pint at the Ferry Inn and back onboard to choose tomorrows wrecks. Finding out that we would only be able to dive the James Barrie on Wednesday due to tides, we reviewed our options. We'd need to get some depth under our belts tomorrow in order to build up our tolerance and check confidence at the 40-50m mark in these waters. Visiting the battleship SMS Markgraf, down at around 45m would be the perfect training ground for us. Any uneasiness on this dive would be an indicator for the James Barrie. Everyone agreed with this option and retired to contemplate the dive ahead.
|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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