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Scuba Diving in Scapa Flow, Scotland, UK, Europe
Dive Site: Brummer
Location: 58°53.83N, 3°09.15W
Description: 4400 ton light cruiser
Length: 140 metres (460 feet)
Depth: 21 - 35 metres (69 - 115 feet)
Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)
Be careful not too cross onto the wrong side of the wreck after leaving the shot as it lies on its side, if you do you will get an impressive view of a huge sheet of barnacle encrusted metal! On the deck are a couple of holds, both of which lead no where. However, it is possible to traverse the entire length of the vessel inside, so this corridor would be worth hunting for. There is also one spanning half of the length beginning at the bow, which did go further into the wreck, but the silt prevented any further penetration. The bridge and mast are intact, covered in rigging and wires. The rudder lies nearby on the seabed. It is upside down, with the starboard side nearly on the sea floor and the port side embedded, but large sections of the hull are exposed from blast damage. The wreckage is quite warped and twisted and because of its size it would be difficult to cover the whole ship in one dive. A few guns protrude from below the heap and the view across the seabed is of intricately criss-crossed beams. Some penetration is possible, but expect to double back on yourself.
The shot in June 2008 was positioned more towards the stern, prob. around the blast area. On descent we noticed how twisted and tangled the wreck was, where salvagers had blasted for non-ferrous metals. We encountered some racking and later on one of our number explained it was the torpedo racks.
Lying on its starboard side there is a feel of being deep as the wreck isn't reached until 24m (depending on tide) and with the seabed at 35m. We dived on Nitrox 30% and performed Pyles deep stops on ascent, making a 45 minute dive with no deco penalties. The wreck is best not rushed, picking one direction or the other from the shot. Our dive went to the stern, where many dark holes have been created along the now sheer vertical deck. It seems this wreck is favoured by deadman's fingers over plumose anemones.
At 30m swimming towards the stern the area goes particularly dark where it overhangs, below this is the 'D' gun, quite impressive. More open is the last gun, 'E', rising proud at its original position on the deck. Both can be seen in the accompanying photographs and are 5.9" guns.
Aft of the gun the deck becomes uncluttered, and wooden decking can be spotted (without touching it, it certainly looked like wood). A large windlass occurs closely followed by two capstans all in the centre line, before the wreck runs out. Ascent cannot be simpler by following the port side up until around 26m, when the wreck peters out and an SMB launch will be necessary.
Compared to the shallower Karlsruhe, this remains noticeably intact and less subject to surface interference and is a really great dive with many redeeming qualities.
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