In which an ageing climber comes to terms with life closer to the ground.

2/9/2009

Scapa Flow Dives

Filed under: — Mike Chapman @ 8:37 pm


The dive boat – click on to enlarge – note diver ascending up ladder on side of boat

I was determined to have a better day on the boat today.

In the morning we dived to 34 meters on the Coln. This was anther cruiser but a far more impressive dive than yesterday’s dive on the Dresden. The visibility was better, the various cables, decks and guns were covered in filter feeding organisms. I was very excited by the whole thing and was very “high” on reaching the surface.

There was a surreal moment that I will remember for a long time and I am told that others who were diving on the wreck at the same time will to. We had swum the length of the boat near the bottom and used large torches to see into the wreck. As we ascended to the deck we came into a lighter environment. I turned my large torch off and let go of it. First I noticed it had not turn itself off and then I watched it slowly falling away from me. I reached out and it passed a couple of centimetres from my hand. I swam a couple of strokes towards it but it gathered speed, I did not follow it down. I watched in horror and amazement as it spun into the darkness illuminating parts of the wreck as it descended. A diver who was a few meters away also enjoyed its descent and commented that it if it had happened a fraction of a second earlier it would have landed safely on the deck of the cruiser.

As we started the ascent, close to the shot line, my heart sank as I suspected I had not fixed the torch carefully to my jacket and I would have a price to pay as I had borrowed it from the dive centre and I was trying so hard to get it right today! A few seconds later I noticed out of the corner of my eye a bit of frayed yellow cord on my jacket this brought a smile to my face as I realised that the cord had broken and my knot was good and it was not my fault. As we broke the surface the three of us were all smiling, as the dive had been so good, and the lamp was only mentioned once and I was without blame.

Our second dive was the F2 and barge. The F2 was broken and there were a number of places to swim through. We saw a large Ling and a couple of conger eels. The Cuckoo Wrasse was the best to look at, very colourful blues and oranges.

Cuckoo Wrasse – not my photograph

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