Wreck Diving In Scapa Flow

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Wreck Diving In Scapa Flow

By: Jakob Jelling

Divers who enjoy visiting wrecks might find in Scapa Flow the best place where to spend a vacation. This diving destination is located in northern Scotland, on Orkey Island, and receives visitors from the entire world willing to dive into its waters. In order to reach this diving area, visitors must do so by air or by ferry.

Scapa Flow is one of the most famous wreck diving places of the world, widely known by the sunken battle ships it has. Together with the Truck Lagoon of Micronesia, they contain the biggest amount of war wrecks and sunken battle ships of the world. Both this destinations are the main places which expert wreck divers wish to meet.

One of the Scapa Flow's main attractions is the sunken World War I German High Seas Fleet. This fleet, composed by 5 battle cruisers, 8 cruisers, 11 battleships and 50 destroyers, was sunken on June of 1919, and most of them still remains into the water depths allowing visitors to have a close encounter with history.

Among others of the most important wrecks which divers would find in Scapa Flow we can find the battleship Markgraf, the Konig, the Karlsruhe, the Brummer and the Kronprinz Wilhem. These famous battleships are in depths which range between 24 and 45 meters into the water.

Between the months of April and October is when divers would find the best time for going to Scapa Flow and enjoy the best water temperature. During these months, the temperature of the water ranges between 12ºC and 18ºC. In winter time, such as the month of February, water temperatures might be of around 9ºC.

Underwater visibility is better during winter time, from December to March. During summer season, divers might have a visibility of between 12 and 20 m or 39 to 66 feet, and at some points it might be of 10 m or 25 ft. Natural illumination is much better during summer than in winter since sunlight rays come directly into the water and highly improve the wreck visibility divers might have, which during winter is much lower.

About The Author

Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.divepilot.com. Please visit his website to discover the world of diving!


Melanie W 18.08.2008. 17:39

What can you find scuba diving in British Seas? To complete my diving course I have to go diving in open water, I'd love to go to a place like the Maldives or Malta but I would have to go with an adult and none of my family actually likes the water except me. My dad said he would send me to go diving in British seas as it's not expensive but I have never heard anyone go diving there, and it's very cold. Does anyone know if there's anything down there or whether it's worth it?

Melanie W

Admin 18.08.2008. 17:39

You'd be surprised how many divers (including me!) *choose* to dive in British waters. I've dived in the Caribbean, Mexico, Belize, all around the Med, in Egypt and Jordan, in Bali and Australia... but I still like UK diving too. =)

Yes, it's cold-water diving, though in late summer and early autumn the Channel reaches 16C or so, which isn't bad. You'll need a proper cold-water wetsuit or a drysuit, but then you'll be surprisingly comfortable. I've been much colder at the end of dives in Egypt and Bali in a swimsuit than from anything in the UK except lake-diving in Wastwater in November...

Anyway, you want to know "if there's anything down there or whether it's worth it"...
We have one of the biggest and best choices of shipwrecks anywhere in the world. The German fleet at Scapa Flow has got to take first place, but there are many amazing wreck sites in the Channel too (two world wars... ). The P&O liner Salsette is my personal favourite, and I'm always moved to the edge of tears by the M2 submarine, lost with all hands. Neither of those is suitable for a novice, but there are lots of fun wreck sites that I've taken people to very early on in their diving careers.

Another thing our waters provide us with that's really special is currents. This means drift-diving -- the nearest thing you can get to flying underwater. Again, not for your first few dives... but it's easy enough to find places where currents are stable and slow so you can have a 'taster' of drift-diving.
Big, beautiful drift-dive sites for more advanced diving include St Adhelm's Ledge and Portland Bill in Dorset, plus the Channel Islands; plus there are many in Cornwall (including some lovely slow, easy ones.)

Third: wildlife. Basking sharks (absolutely harmless) are a bonus in many summers if you dive off Cornwall or the Isle of Man. I've met them in both places; you can just hang in the water a couple of metres down and watch them cruising. Awesome.
But the one I really love taking novices on (once they've done four or five dives) is playing with seals off the Farne Islands. The yearlings are always longing for a game of bite-the-diver's-fin (no, I've never known them to bite anything else!) It's a hilarious game of hide-and-seek crossed with tag. Really shallow water, too. Even better than dolphins, which are actually a bit big if they get too playful...

Finally, scenery. Here you want clear water -- and we certainly can't compete with the Maldives on that. Places to go for the best underwater visibility ("viz"): St Abb's Head marine reserve; the western reaches of the Channel (dives from Penzance, like the Eddystone and Hands Deep); the Channel Islands and the west coast of Ireland. All routinely see 25-30 metres viz if it hasn't been stormy etc.
You get submerged pinnacles smothered in pink and orange jewel anemones; shoals of fish sweeping by; weird sponges in fantastic reds and coral colours; velvet crabs and spider crabs and squat-lobsters and ... well, lots!

Good places to take your enquiries further: the British Sub-Aqua Club is your cheapest source of good-quality training and diving. Go to http://www.bsac.com/intro.html to find your nearest branch.
If you want your training-and sea-diving rolled into one fast-track package, here are two good places to start your enquiries: Old Harbour Diving School in Weymouth http://www.waterfrontweymouth.co.uk/members/dive-centre.htm and West Wales Divers http://www.westwalesdivingschool.co.uk/courses1.htm

Anyway, good luck, and happy diving.


Chico 13.04.2009. 16:39

Where is it worth diving this Aug or Sep near Europe? I've scuba dived in the Red Sea, off England and Gozo. I'm a PADI rescue diver and don't mind if it's a wreck, soft coral, hard coral, a wall etc. I'm not obsessed about diving to the limits of the certificate either. I'm just after your tried and tested experiences. Thanks


Admin 13.04.2009. 16:39

depends where you live
if your in the UK...come up to scotland. west coast is usualy more settled-weather than the east coast but both offer superb diving
Come september head up to the wrecks up in Scapa flow [if you have the experience to handle the depths, most are pretty deep].
if you want to travel then consider the mediteranean. turkey at that time of year might be a tad hot so consider southern spain. the diving round Calpe is very nice and plenty of dive centers for you to choose from [as a PADI-afficionado you might prefer to dive with a diving center, rather than just taking your kit and a budy and finding a spot].
come september i would be heading back to the red sea. i dont belive its possible to dive the red sea 'too much', after 12 or 14 trips out there, 5 days per trip, 3 dives per day, i still get as much of a kick out of it as i ever did. maybe try a new area of the red sea. go to Jordan [lovely place and superb diving off Aqueba] (skip Israel, illat, horrible tourist-trap-place and the diving is ruined by poor diving-practices, not to mention the awful political reigime IMO].
wherever it is, your bound to find good diving


Ken 04.03.2007. 11:00

Where are major Diving spots in england ? also I wanna know though ,
actually diving is popular in england ?


Admin 04.03.2007. 11:00

Hey dude,

Yes diving is popular in England. All over the U.K. and Ireland.

Apart from Inland quarries of which there are many, Stoney Cove, Guildenburgh etc.

There are thousands of dive sites all round the place.

From Prehistoric dive sites and Roman ports in the south, to Scapa Flow, wrecks of all types from the purpouse sunk training vessels to artificial harbours designed for the invasion. To north sea diving.

U.K. divers are amoungst the most respected divers in the world. Due to both the conditions and the training.

Its all about the dry suits though it gets cold Stoney's a regular 6 C.


redrubies 25.12.2007. 15:01

where is the best place to scuba dive in the world? Array


Admin 25.12.2007. 15:01

Wrecks? Scapa Flow, The Great Lakes, Micronesia.
Wildlife? Belize/Cozumel, Bonaire, TGBR, Phuket.
Caves? Mayan Riviera, Bonne Terre Mine.
Take your pick depending on what sort of diving you like.


Kev B 12.10.2006. 12:47

english ship wrecks? any one konw of a good site to tell me of all the wrecks of vessals around out shore line. mainly from ww2. cheers.

Kev B

Admin 12.10.2006. 12:47

If you look for dive sites in Cornwall there is alot of sites with the info .


And Mike D the german fleet were scuttled in Scapa Flow which is no where near Oban.


Robyn 29.03.2010. 14:40

Have you ever been scuba diving? Array


Admin 29.03.2010. 14:40

I've done a couple of thousand dives. Mostly in Scotland, but a couple hundred 'holiday' dives. Favourite places are Scapa Flow for the wrecks(handily on my doorstep) and PNG for the critters. On the 'before I die' list is Truuk Lagoon and Bikini Atoll


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