It was about thirty years ago that I took up scuba-diving. I learned with a small British Sub Aqua Club and went on to dive with the club for over ten years. It was all cold water diving around the U.K. so dry suits were essential, especially for Scotland in spring and autumn.
Some people have said to me that there can’t be much to see in the waters around the UK, but they are completely wrong. You only have to look on the seabed, in the rocks, on rock walls, amongst the kelp, and on wrecks to find the most beautiful flora and fauna. You do need a torch at depth because the deeper you go the more light you lose. Sport divers diving on air are limited to an eight minute dive at forty metres, after that, depending how long you stay down, you have to do decompression stops on the way up.
In about 1990 we dived the World War I German wrecks which were scuttled and lie in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. You can read about the history here: http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/history/
It was the best diving ever. I remember so well on the first dive as me and my buddy floated down into the depths how amazingly clear the water was. It felt like flying as we fell further and further down, a wonderful sensation of freedom as the heavy weight of all the diving kit when on board the boat suddenly became weightless.
Unfortunately since moving to France I’ve mislaid all my dive logs and so have no record of which wrecks we dived and when. I do know we dived some of the enormous battleships, some of the cruisers, and one of the block ships. I remember we barely had time to get around some of these wrecks because they were so big. And I also remember peering in to the port holes through the murky gloom – kind of eerie – and imagining the time when the German sailors were living aboard.
Information about the wrecks and diving them can be seen here: http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com
I dug out a few photos of that wonderful week’s diving. Unfortunately underwater cameras weren’t that common back then so no pics of the wrecks beneath the waves.
On board The Triton
On One of the Blockships
To end this post I must tell you about my little bit of treasure! On one of my dives, I think it may have been the Dresden, I picked something up that was partly hidden in the sand. I have always thought it was a piece of a dish, but when I recently searched the name I found that it’s most likely from a hand-basin.
The company, from Hamburg, used to make sanitaire equipment for ships. So this is my rather special little treasure from my dive in Scapa 1n 1990.