Oct 132012

Scapa Flow is UK’s premier wreck diving sight. Strewn with fantastic wrecks and steeped in history, I don’t know a diver who hasn’t either dived Scapa or wants to dive it. What is less well recounted is the truly stunning scenery of the Orkney Islands. As divers we’re privileged to see some of this scenery that simply can’t be seen from anywhere other than at sea. Here are a few photos that i took on my recent visit – I hope you enjoy.

Scapa Flow

[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_rainbow-at-lyness.jpg]Rainbow over Mill Bay, Lyness
The weather during our trip in September was wonderfully changeable, with storm clouds, rain and sunshine often within ten minutes. Whilst moored at Lyness, i went for a walk and managed to snap this shot :-)
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_rainy-view-from-the-boat.jpg]Rainy view from the boat
There's something quite nice about finishing diving for the day, having a hot cup of tea and then watching the storm clouds roll over and the heavens open from the comfort and warmth of the salloon.
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_small-cove-by-lyness.jpg]Mill Bay, Lyness
For those that know this area of the world, when you get off the boat and start walking towards the Scapa Flow Museum at Lyness, off to your right is Mill Bay - If the weather's nice, it's worth the detour to take in the view
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_dscf8477.jpg]Sunset from Burray
Two fantastic dives in Scapa Flow, followed by a beautiful sunset, followed by a great meal, followed by a few beers - It doesn't get better than that!
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_graemsey-and-hoy.jpg]Graemsay and Hoy
This looks like one land mass, but the lighthouse in the foreground is Hoy High Lighthouse which, confusingly is on Graemsay. The mountains in the backgound are on Hoy. The body of water in between the two is Burra Sound (not to be confused with Burray which is East of here). Burra sound is famous, of course, for it's block ships, most notably the Tabarka, which is undoubtedly one of the best wreck dives in the country.
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_graemsey-and-hoy2.jpg]Foreboding skies over Graemsay and Hoy
The weather was mixed whilst we were in Scapa, but that made for some amazing views... even if it was a bit cold and wet from time to time
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_hoy-high-lighthouse-web.jpg]Hoy High Lighthouse
After a long day's diving, Graemsay's land mark let's you know it's not too far back to Stromness
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_hoy-high-lighthouse4.jpg]Tumultuous skies over Hoy High lighthouse
Sun and rain were never too far apart, and often when one patch of sky was beautifully clear and sunlit, another was thick black with heavy cloud and rain.
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_lighthouse-in-sun.jpg]Tumultuous skies over Hoy High lighthouse
... and darker
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_lighthouse-photo2.jpg]Tumultuous skies over Hoy High lighthouse
... and darker again
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_mv-halton-at-burray.jpg]MV Halton at Burray
No more than 50 meters from here is the Sands Bar Hotel, that has a lovely bar and some great food. The ideal place to spend the night
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_mv-halton-in-scapa.jpg]MV Halton
A great weeks diving from Bob's boat, the Halton
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_rainy-day-in-scapa.jpg]Let it rain
After a perfect day's diving with great weather, the clouds open up on our steam back to Stromness
[img src=http://balsaboy.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/scapa-flow/thumbs/thumbs_view-from-burray.jpg]Sunset from Burray
We spent our penultimate night moored at Burray. After a quick walk round Burray to stretch our legs, I took this shot. The Sand Bar Hotel was our next destination, just a few yards from here, for a wonderful meal and a few beers

[The gallery is best viewed in Full Screen mode ('FS' button in the bottom right). Also, the 'i' button in the top right reveals some of the comments I've made on the photos. N.B. these options are only available if you have Flash enabled]