: 2nd August 2002
Day 6: Wednesday, 24th August 2002
MV James Barrie (Dive #7)
Rick was still suffering with his stomach and erred on caution and decided to miss the morning dive. The buddy pairs for today were:
Simon and Jon were kitted up and ready to dive well before the others, got to the shotline and started their descent. At around 25m the ghost image of the James Barrie came into sight. As she loomed closer the visibility opened up to around 15-20m allowing us to see some of the full length of this sunken trawler. Towards the bottom of the shot we looped over the edge of the hull looking down across the deck. Finning gently across her holds, the twin winches and up to the bridge, torch lights easy penetrating into the darkness. We continued toward the stern and checked out the rudder, still intact and attached. With Jon's cautious Suunto (compared to the Aladins) displaying only a few minutes left before getting a deco stop penalty we ascended across the top of the wreck. Once we arrived back at the shotline, with still no other divers in sight, we decided on caution and moved away not wishing to cause problems ascending the shot or issuing a DSMB in its proximity. Finding a decent location near some side railings we sent up the DSMB and made our ascent. At 6m Jon's computer was still showing a 2 minute decompression requirement, whilst the Aladin hadn't entered deco throughout the dive. Lesuirely suspended from the DSMB at 6m we continued our deco/safety stop for 5 minutes before surfacing. By the time the Sunrise pulled up next to us the current and swell had started to increase and the exit up the ladder was a little harder than usual. Once onboard we found out that for the whole duration of our dive we were the only buddy pair on the wreck. It was nice to be able to appreciate this wreck in this relative peacefulness.
F2 and Barge (Dive #8)
|This afternoon we were diving the F2 on our way back from the James Barrie to our berth at Stromness. The dive could include two dives in one, with the shotline down to the F2 and then a sunken barge lying just off it. The F2 was a German Second World War escort vessel, similar to a destroyer, until she was modified into a torpedo recovery vessel.|
With some divers already down, some hitches arose back onboard with Stew and Paul. Whilst standing at the exit point ready to enter, Paul noticed a problem with Stew's dry suit zip. After hauling himself out of the suit, Stew swapped into his semi-dry, but once in the water, Paul's fin strap broke so a return to the Sunrise for repairs.
Descending the shotline onto the bow section, we worked our way around the hull to the debris field. Popping over the hull, an open deck hatch in view and some decking ripped open to present entry points for penetration. In here we spotted a thick, white body speckled with brown spots (believed to be some kind of moray eel), although it's head remained well out of sight.
Further forward we reached one of the ships two 4.1-inch guns set in an open-backed turret, standing proudly pointing dead ahead. The bow section of the F2, including the bridge is still intact, although aft has been blown apart during salvaging. This debris field stretches out over many square metres in a mess of pipes, plates, cables, etc. Around this area Jon spotted a small conger curled up, hiding beneath a piece of debris. As we continued the dive we spotted what we believed to be a line which would lead us to the wooden barge. The YC21 sank in a storm in 1968 whilst salvaging the F2. Following this line for over 60m we still didn't reach the end and decided to return. On our way back we saw a large A-frame standing proud and erect on the seabed - looking more like a grand statue and completely out of place.
Back onboard and some more fishing later - we must have caught 200-400 fish, but what were we going to do with them all. Typically, Nige had dollar bills in his eyes, so after cooking up a snack he set off round Stromness trying to sell his wares to the locals. Amazingly he managed to sell some to an 'anonymous' restaurant and gave some away to the local fishermen. He still made enough to buy the first early round in the Flattie Bar - the first of many for this 'interesting' evening.
Stromness Shopping Week party night and it seemed like all of Orkney had made its way to Stromness. Small stalls, burger vans and the locals in fancy dress, three-legged races and float parades.
After a couple of burgers and continuing our drinking in the Flattie Bar, Nigel began making jokes about the local village of "Twatt" and none other than Mr "drunk as f@ck" Twat came over to see what was going on. After much bantering about all of his uncles (of which there must have been a dozen or so) he invited us to join him for a drink. Whilst taking our order on the back of a till receipt and blagging a cigar off Jon, he promptly screwed up the receipt and rejoined his mates propping up the bar. Given his dues, five minutes later the barmaid came to our table to retake our order, courtesy of Mr Twatt. Many more visits from Mr Twat, and many more pints later we moved on to the Ferry Inn. Here we again bumped into Mr Twatt (was he following us?), and the local lasses from the previous night. Gilles was much worse the wear than most by this point, eventhough he was now on the fatal Coca Cola by now. This still didn't stop him introducing himself to every large-chested female with "I am French 'n you 'ave big boobies". With eyes like saucers popping out of his head, the females were 'slightly wary' of this approach. Moving back to the Flattie Bar, some of the group getting rather friendly with the locals, whilst the rest looked on with amusement. Allegedly, Rick went off wandering around the quay in the early hours having to be escorted by the wardens back down the ladder onto the Sunrise. Any further information about this evening may prove libelous in some cases and will therefore remain undocumented.
|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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