Stromness

Why Stromness?

Stromness is Orkneys 2nd largest town with a population of 2000, large enough to host a wide range of shops, but small enough to retain the charm of a small harbour town. It's history goes back a long way, from Neolithic times, a Viking stronghold, to a haven for pirates, the narrow cobbled street will keep you intrigued.

It's the backbone of the Scapa Flow diving industry and all the charter boats leave from here. There is a great diving medical knowledge with our local doctors & in case of any problems a 24 hour manned decompression chamber, a visit to see it (hopefully not as a customer!!) can be arranged.

We have a super 25m swimming pool, fitness suite, & sauna close in town, a 18 hole golf course, squash courts, bike hire, abundant trout fishing & bird watching, close access to many of the world famous archaeological sites & fantastic walking.

There is supermarket in Stromness open from 8am through until 10pm, butchers, bakers, chemist, 2 banks, petrol station and a variety of other shops.

Stromness has attracted many artists, writers & poets & we have many galleries & craft shops. Stromness also hosts its own museum with many relics for the German Fleet.

With 3 pubs that all do bar meals, the "Hamnavoe Restaurant", cafes & a  chip-shop we are sure you will have a great and enjoyable stay.

 

How to get here

How to get to Scapa Flow, Orkney for your Diving Holiday

By Air - www.flybe.co.uk

It’s only a couple of hours flight from most European countries, with flight connections into Orkney from all the Scottish airports.


By Ferry - www.northlink.co.uk
For those travelling from Europe by car, the ferry from Zeebrugge to Rosyth in Edinburgh is a good link.
The ferry from Scrabster to Stromness leaves 3 times per day.

Saturday Scrabster - Stromness      
08.45
13.15
19.00
  Stromness – Scrabster 
06.30 11.00 16.45

FREE PICKUP FROM AIRPORT OR FERRY

 


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The Diving Cellar Scapa Flow

Stromness, Orkney

Stromness is Orkneys 2nd largest town with a population of 2000,  large enough to host a wide range of shops, but small enough to retain the charm of a small harbour town. It’s history goes back a long way, from Neolithic times, a Viking stronghold, to a haven for pirates, the narrow cobbled street will keep you intrigued.

It’s the backbone of the Scapa Flow diving industry and all the charter boats leave from here. There is a great diving medical knowledge with our local doctors & in case of any problems a 24 hour manned decompression chamber, a visit to see it (hopefully not as a customer!!) can be arranged.

We have a super 25m swimming pool, fitness suite, & sauna in town, a 18 hole golf course, squash courts, bike hire, abundant trout fishing & bird watching, close access to many of the world famous archaeological sites & fantastic walking.

There is supermarket in Stromness open from 8am through until 10pm, butchers, bakers, chemist, 2 banks, petrol station and a variety of other shops.

Stromness has attracted many artists, writers & poets & we have many galleries & craft shops. Stromness also hosts its own museum with many relics for the German Fleet.

With 3 pubs that all do bar meals, the “Hamnavoe Restaurant”, cafes & a fish & chip shop.
Along with fantastic diving, we are sure you will have a great and enjoyable stay.


Scapa Flow/wrecks

A brief history of Scapa Flow

On Midsummers day, 21st June 1919, the interned German Imperial Navy's High Seas Fleet lay at anchor in Scapa Flow.

It consisted of 74 warships made up of 11 battleships, 8 cruisers & 55 destroyers, their guns disarmed & manned only by a skeleton German crew.

Believing that hostilities were to resume, the commander of the fleet "Rear Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter", raised the international code flags from his flag ship "Emden", and so the pre-arranged coded order to scuttle the fleet was given.

52 of the warships sank completely and the remaining 22 were beached or saved by "Royal Navy Boarding Parties". This was the biggest loss of shipping ever in one day.

There remains in Scapa Flow today, vessels of the Royal Navy sunk in both world wars, as well as 3 German battleships, the Konig, Kronprinz Wilhelm & Markgraf, 4 light cruisers Brummer, Dresden, Coln, & Karlsruhe, destroyers v83 & S54 and one submarine UB -116 as well as the 4,600 ton gun turrets of the Bayern. 3 block ships scuttled by the British to prevent penetration of submarines into Burra Sound, The Tabarka, Doyal & Gobernador Boris, remain on the sea bed to be enjoyed by experienced divers from around the world.

 

The Wrecks

 

sms colnSMS Coln

5600 tons Length 155m beam 14m Draught 6.5m

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Today the Coln lies in 36m on her starboard side

It is the most intact of the German Fleet, making it a favourite with divers.

 

 

sms dresdenSMS Dresden

5600 Tons . Length 155m Beam 14m Draught 6.5m

Light Cruiser/Mine layer

Today lies in at a depth of 28m-38m on her port side, as it is on a slope it makes for a good 1st Sunday morning dive so divers can choose to which depth they prefer.

 

 

sms brummerSMS Brummer

4400 tons

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Length 140m Beam 13m Draught 6m

Today lies on her starboard side in 36m

 

 

sms skarlsruheSMS Karlsruhe

5400 tons

Light Cruiser/Mine Layer

Length 150m Beam 14m Draught 6.3m

Today lies on her port side in 26m

This is the most broken up of the cruisers, but lies in shallower water making it a great second dive

 

 

sms kronprinzSMS Kronprinz Wilhelm

26,000 tons

Battleship

Length 177m, Beam 30m, Draught 8.5m

Today this mighty battleship lies in 39m of water upside down but listing to starboard

 

 

SMS KonigSMS Konig

26,000 tons

Battleship

Length 177m Beam 30m, Draught 8.5m

Lies in 40m of water upside down listing to port

 

 

sms maekgrafSMS Markgraf 26,000 tons

Battleship

Length 177m Beam 30m Draught 8.5m

Lies today in 46m of water upside down listing to port, making it the deepest of the German fleet wrecks

 

Other dives

 

V83 950 Tons, 84m x 8.5m x 3.5.

Torpedo Boat Depth to seabed 5-4m

Bayern GunTurrets four 15” gun turrets 600 tons each. Although the guns themselves are not visible, the turrets are worth seeing for their sheer size. A 38m dive to the seabed

 

F2  82m x 9m x 5.5m WW2 escort vessel, sank in 1946, depth to seabed 16m

 

Gobernador Bories  2300 tons, An Argentinian freighter built in 1882 & scuttled in 1918, partially broken up allowing easy access. Excellent visibility & teeming with fish life ideal for photographers. It lies almost upright but is only diveable at slack water. Depth to seabed 14-18m

 

Doyle  1760 Ton Freighter built in 1907, scuttled 1940. Similar to the Gobernador Bories Diveable only at slack water 14-18m to seabed.

 

Tabarka  2600 ton Freighter built 1909 I scuttled in Burra Sound in 1944. Lies upside down, with plenty of access available to go inside the hull & engine room. Depth to seabed 14-18m

 

James Barrie 666 tons

40m x 13mx 8m Steam Trawler sank in 1969. An excellent dive with fantastic visibility.

Diveable around slack water

 

Bottle Dive in Lyness Area

A great dive for rummaging for old bottles, crockery, shell cases etc, although you do need a bit of luck. Depth to sea bed 14m – 18 m

 

High seas Fleet Scrapyard

Remains from the salvaged wrecks too numerous to list

Depths 10m-44m

 

Stanger Head

Superb scenic dive on cliff face. Max depth 10m-26m

 

Barrel of Butter

A possibility to snorkel with the seals

FAQ's

 

What experience do you need to dive Scapa Flow??

As a rule of thumb, we say that divers should have a minimum 40 logged dives with experience in cold water & at depth (35m+) to make the most of diving here.


Is it essential to dive nitrox?

No, but many divers do for added safety, but you will be perfectly fine on air. Those wishing to dive on nitrox must be certified.


Is it possible to fly into Orkney??

Yes, the airport is "Kirkwall", we will pick you up & deliver you back  there.


Do you need to dive in a dry-suit?

No, you can dive in a thick semi-dry, if you get changed as soon as you come out of the water & hang your suit to dry in the heated changing room on the boat, it should be warm & dry again for the 2nd dive.


How cold is the water?? (or how warm is is!)

There is a little change throughout the year, from about 4C in mid- winter to 12C in summer, phew, positively balmy.


Do we need to bring sleeping bags??

No full bed linen &towels are provided, but you may wish to bring a towel for the boat.


When is the best weather in Orkney?

If I could answer that one, I would be a millionaire! It's certainly not January or February, but the weather between April & October is normally fine for diving. The John L is a very stable diving platform & being the biggest day boat in Scapa Flow, it is very rare we lose a day's diving to weather unlike the other small day boats.


Can lunch be provided?

Yes, this season we are offering filled rolls, homemade soup & home bakes for lunch if required. These are delivered to the boat, just let us know if you would like them.

 

Testimonials

Below are just some of the testimonials we recieve - thank you.

Thank you for a fabulous week of diving on the "John L", Cameron, Angus(& Hector) were calm, knowledgeable and helpful as a crew. This put us in the right frame of mind for the dives which were all  stunning in there own way. Along with the breakfasts & lunches form Leigh, this proved to be a great week

Mike (Brighton Dive Centre 30th August 2013)

 

A fantastic week! Thank you so much for ensuring we got excellent diving. Angus, Cameron (not forgetting Hector) were very helpful, funny, knowledgeable & willing to accommodate our needs & requests. A week to remember

Anton

Brilliant week, thank you very much!! All staff/crew have been lovely and helpful. The dives have been supesrb as well as the weather. Will be coming back!!

Sarah

Thanks for a great week diving, was amazing matched only by the friendliness of everyone else onboard, (divers & crew) The only bad thing is is have to go home :(

Chris

Thank you for a fantastic week, I really enjoyed myself and my diving confidence has really increased. The accommodation was very comfortable, the boat was too.

over a GREAT week

Thank you so much to Angus, James, Cameron Leigh & Dougie for making my week FAB

Becki

Thank you for an excellent weeks diving, thanks as always to Angus, James & Cameron ~ Dougie & Leigh run teh best in Scapa. I think I'm in double figures with you ow, & I will be back

Steve

From the members of Atlantis 449

Thanks for a great week on the boat the wrecks were great and the crew was wonderful and a great help. Hector was always there to welcome us back on board.

The wrecks that we were dropped on were a good choice and a good mixture.

Thank you

 

 

Will never forget the last week, it was some of the best diving of a 20 year diving hobby.

The skipper & his crew were the most helpful for the whole time & Hector was th best of companions

Will be back as soon as life allows

"All the best and thanks"

Heiko & Rene (Finland)

Good dives, friendly people, everything perfect


 

All was very good especially breakfast. Good skipper, good accommodation

Andrey (Russian)


 

2nd trip on this boat and with "the Diving Cellar" (2008 previously) and it is as good now as then. Very pleased with all aspects of the holiday, done all dives & enjoyed them all.

A great week, and thanks to all staff involved.

John Gibbison (Gibbi with Capernwray Divers 2012)


 

A truly wonderful week as always. Many thanks to Dougie and Leigh for their fabulous set up.The crew are a perfect accompliment to the boat. Drop offs & pick-ups were smooth & hassle free.

Again sad to leave & wish I could get back here more often

Thanks for a lovely holiday

Rosie (Capernwray Divers)


 

 

Peter B BATH BSAC

Thoroughly enjoyed this place - lots of history, diving & this time the weather did us some favours!

Thanks to all the crew both aboard & ashore


 

 Many thanks to the team

it was a great week with sun and amazing dives

LUDO, FROM THE FROGGY'S DVIE TEAM


CHADSCA May 2012 

Many thanks to Leigh, Dougie , Donna & the crew on the boat for a good week.

Good diving was had by all and the weather was great

Thanks again from all at

CHADDERTON SUB AQUA CLUB

PS Donna's breakfasts are great!


 

Excellent dive package, good value for money.

Would recommend and use again.

Thanks to the ladies for looking after us all and to the crew for keeping us safe

Stephen Bridgehouse  (Oldham)19-12 May 2012


 


 

"Fantastic weeks diving, Cheers ☺
Liam Hoey – Chorley, Lancs"

 


 

"Cracking boat, good skipper, comfy digs. Thank U
Chris Boulton"

 


 

"Thanks to Duggie, Leigh, Angus, & Hector for a lot of fun
Chris Smith Jbod BSAC 2457 Preston"

 


 

"Great week diving. Thanks to Angus  on the boat and Dougie & Leigh on the shore. We’ll be back
Alistair Allan, Preston, Lancs"

 


 

"Great Boat, Excellent skipper. B&B excellent with a great breakfast
Andrew Humby, Tyne & Wear"

 


 

"A really enjoyable weeks diving. Excellent skipper and the “John L” was excellent in choppy waters. Also an excellent breakfast
John"

 


 

"Great weeks diving on the John L. skipper a great personality and looked after us well. Got us on all the wrecks we wanted to dive with no problems
Keith Adam, Edinburgh"

 


 

"Leigh,
Just a quick note to say A BIG THANKS from Sara and myself for all the origanising that you had to do get the boats and accom organised for the 20 of us this year.
Every one enjoyed themselves and we had a great weeks diving.
We are putting together a small video and will probably send you a copy when it's done
THANKS AGAIN
I shall be pushing some new faces to organise the next Scapa run about time I had a rest
Asif"

 


 

"Hi, Leigh,
I just wanted to thank you all for the brilliant week's holiday we had.
We all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  A great skipper - gets that boat positioned exactly right!!
 The use of the minibus was also brilliant.  We had some great sight-seeing, and it was so handy.
All in all, we had a great time and we hope to be back in another couple of years!
Thanks again,
Helen & Gavin MacLean, and on behalf of Darren, John and Dave Leckie."

 


 

"Dear Leigh and Dougie,
Many thanks for a most enjoyable trip last week!  We all had a great time, and the diving was excellent.
I believe we're all home safely--haven't heard of any disasters, although Rupert, Matthew and a couple of others and I ended up travelling by land and sea to Inverness instead of taking a plane, which meant I got home at 11.30 p.m instead of 2.30 in the afternoon....
Please give our fond regards to all, and we'll hope to see you all again in a couple of years!
All best wishes,
Ben Baglio"

 


 

"Hi Leigh, hope you and the gang are well, thank everyone up there for making the holiday so fantastic, everything was so much better than we had expected, the accommodation was spotless and the breakfast bang on!!!! well done that woman. the boat is one of the best hard boats we have dived on and the crew really new their stuff. Dare i say we were proud to be on the John L.
What dates are available for next year?
Hope to here from you soon, Brian M...."

 


 

"Hi Leigh and Dougie
Thank-you for a fantastic week up in Scapa. We all came back thoroughly exhausted which is always a sign of a good holiday! We had a really good snorkel with the seals in Farne aswell which really topped the week off nicely.
Thanks once again
Emily Denyer
Kingston University, London"

 

 

 

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