Posts Tagged ‘scapa flow liveaboards’

#Scapa100: HMS Vanguard Survey now online

Emily Turton, Kieran Hatton, MV Huskyan, Scapa Flow, HMS Vanguard, Scapa100, dreadnought battleship, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving news, Orkney, WW1, World War 1, ccr, rebreather diver

MV Huskyan skipper Emily Turton | Image Credit: Kieran Hatton

In 2017 Scapa Flow skipper and rebreather diver Emily Turton was granted a special license from the Secretary of State for Defence to organise a dive survey on one of the UK’s WWI war graves.

On 9 July 1917 HMS Vanguard – a dreadnought battleship – suffered a series of catastrophic explosions in Scapa Flow, Orkney. The ship and 843 men died. The enquiry concluded that an unintentional cordite explosion caused the loss of Vanguard, making this the biggest accidental loss of life in modern naval history.

The survey was self-funded and conducted by volunteer professional divers. Survey leader – Emily Turton – has today advised that the results are now available on line.




Dive into history with Fourth Element!

Fourth Element / 3deep have just launched a new wreck project dedicated to the wrecks of Scapa Flow.  They are working with the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme, the Orkney Dive Boat Operators Association and Orkney Marine Archaeological Forum to produce a web based guide to the wrecks, focussing on the 3D wreck tours.

 Radiant Queen Charters, Valkyrie, Karin, Orkney, German High Seas Fleet, Jutland, Jellicoe, Halton, Invincible, Sunrise, Jean Elaine, Sharon Rose, Fourth Element, Scapa Flow, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Jim Standing, Fourth Element would like your help and are looking for photos of the wrecks. These will be used to help build accurate 3D models and also to feature on a new website.

If you have got any photos of any of the seven High Seas Fleet wrecks that you think are particularly interesting, or show some of the features of the wreck, or just are beautiful depictions of the wreck that you would be willing to contribute to the project, please submit them to Fourth Element, via their website stating which wreck it is and describing the features in the photo. Please also include your mailing address.

There are two top prizes for those who make the best contributions to the project including a week’s diving for two. One of these weeks is on the Radiant Queen and the other will be on one of the other vessels supporting the project depending on the date. A prize draw will also be held for all contributors, with prizes including Fourth Element’s new One Piece Arctic undersuit and lightweight dive luggage.

This project is generously supported by Radiant Queen ChartersValkyrieKarinHaltonInvincible,SunriseJean Elaine and Sharon Rose. For more information click on ‘Submitting Info‘ and ‘Terms & Conditions‘ tabs on the relevant Fourth Element website page.

The ‘Aberdeen connection’ makes Scapa Flow Long Weekends accessible to all divers

Traditionally Scapa Flow diving has been a week’s event.  After receiving many requests from loyal divers who use the Aberdeen connection, John Thornton has launched four day ‘long weekend’ charters on the Karin.  This is proving popular with the latest invaders of Scapa Flow.

“We’ve noticed that with more demands on leisure time, more of our divers are giving Scrabster a miss and driving straight to Aberdeen instead”, stated John Thornton, Skipper of the Karin.  “Having talked to them, it does make sense because of the distance and time saved.  You can drive from Birmingham to Aberdeen in 7.5 hours and for divers north of the Border, Glasgow is 3.15 hours and Edinburgh a mere 1.5 hour drive, so divers are laughing at the reduced travelling times.  We’ve found that the Thursday night sailing at 17:00 from Aberdeen on North Link Ferries is proving especially popular with divers, as they are in Kirkwall by 23:00.  This means that on Friday you go diving”.

The beauty of the Karin is that it is driven by a man who has been sailing and diving the Orcadian waters for over twenty years.  In fact John also teaches diving, making him one of the most experienced and qualified Skippers to work Scapa.  Therefore on the Karin divers get all the important things in life, like big wide benches to kit up on, a range of exotic gases on tap which are blended to a ‘T’, slack when it should be (more or less), a good Scottish Breakfast (when requested), and a skipper who understands what divers need.

“I’m very lucky that I’ve a consistent, loyal customer base that keeps on coming back because they know what they are going to get, so I do a lot of day charters and liveaboards.  Obviously”, John grinned, “there is more flexibility with a liveaboard, for instance on the four day charters we can sleep over at Long Hope or Burray.  But that is where the beauty of the Flow comes into it’s own.  Where else can you find Blockships, Cruisers and Battleships right on your door step, and it doesn’t really matter too much what the weather is doing.  With it being so protected you can get out diving pretty much all year around up here”.

John’s experience of leading expeditions as far afield as Singapore has given him a huge insight into trip planning.  “We want everyone to have a good time and one of the better ways of ensuring this is prior planning.  When divers are not sure of something, the best thing they can do is hop onto the website ( and drop me a line.  We can organise B&B’s, tanks, equipment hire, nitrox, trimix, an onboard cook, and of course training, so get in touch if you have any questions”.

The Thursday sailings from Aberdeen now mean that a long weekend in Scapa is easily achievable for all divers.  For those of you who have not yet experienced the magic of  The Great Harbour, a four day long weekend charter (sailing from Aberdeen) is a perfect way to introduce you to the renowned wrecks and legendary landscapes that is Scapa Flow.

Notes to Editors:

Scapa Flow is arguably one of Britain’s most historic and famous stretches of water.  Affectionately known as “The Great Harbour” this natural maritime haven, one of the largest in the World, has been used since prehistory with its sheltered waters playing a key role in travel, trade, tourism and conflict over the centuries.  The Flow’s geographical location makes it strategically important, as this refuge allows easy access to both the North Sea and the Atlantic.  As a result the Orkneys have had their fair share of invaders who have left their mark in more ways than one.  For the Vikings who utilised this harbour, also named this harbour.  Skalpeid-floi or ‘Bay of the Long Isthmus’ comes from Old Norse.

The Karin was built in 1968, originally working out ofHamburgin theNorth Sea.  She is licensed for 15, including crew, with 12 pax being the norm.  SinceThorntongot his hand on the Karin in 1995, she has undergone quite a conversion.  Currently she has two heads (toilets), one shower, a drying room and a snug main day cabin complete with lots of charging points and aDVDand television.  Sleeping wise, there is one single and seven twin cabins all with proper sized single mattresses.  Divers should bring their own sleeping bags and towels, but in the event that someone forgets these, John can provide them. 

There is a galley on board so divers can self cater if they wish, or a cook can be provided on request.  Local fresh organic produce, such as Orcadian meat is used where possible.  In the evenings there are many hotels and pubs that cook good food.

Four Day Charters Itinerary

This is a suggestion.  It is not set in stone due to weather, diving abilities and preferences, but to give divers an idea of what to expect during this Charter.

Light Cruiser
22 – 35 metres
Gobernador Bories
16 metres
Kronprinz Wilhelm
18 – 35 metres
WWII Escort Boat
16 metres
Light Cruiser
22 – 36 metres
Light Cruiser
24 metres
James Barrie
45 metres
12 metres

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