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Scuba Diving in Scapa Flow, Scotland, UK, Europe
Dive Site: F2 (& YC21 Barge)
Location: 58°50.46N; 03°11.30W
Description: WWII Escort vessel
Length: 82 metres (270 feet)
Depth: 14 - 17 metres (46 - 56 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)
The F2 and its accompanying barge sank together in 1946. This makes a very pretty, ideal second dive after doing on of the deeper dives in the fleet. There is a lot of sea life including some very friendly wrasse. The barge itself is not that interesting, it is small with only one compartment to look in. The rope at the end of it leads a few metres on to the bigger and better wreck of the F2. This has three main chambers that you can enter. There is a gun barrel and some other holes to rummage around in, plus plenty of debris littering the surrounding seabed.
This makes for an interesting second dive. The F2 which is upright in just 17m is very broken up amidships and towards the stern. Care is required as there are many jagged pieces of hull waiting to puncture your dry suit, as I found out! The F2 is linked with a rope of some 25m to a wooden barge, which if you look carefully you can find a couple of the guns that were originally salvaged (from the F2) prior to their sinking. Good Dive.
Richard Nokes, BSAC Open Water Instructor
The Barge is worthy of a dive in itself and shouldn't be compared with its neighbour. There is much marine life attracted to it; at its base many conger and ling have made their homes, and as you swim around several friendly wrasse come up and greet. There are numerous macro subjects for the photographer with sponges, squirts and colourful clumps of deadman's but it is much better suited to fish photography and wide-angle. At the none-buoyed end on its top are huge spars covered in marine life, the central one sticks out several metres. There are many deck bollards and within the slightly sectionalised hold is a complete set of anti-aircraft guns. On the outside hull another gun, possibly 6in, juts out. When we dived it June'08 many small juvenile fish were shoaling in clouds, partially obscuring the view.
The land between the two wrecks is covered with many large well fed starfish varieties, many (biological) shell remains, and this results in small scavengers such as crabs and gobies. The rope line at the F2 leads to the debris field amidships to stern, most of which is indescernable wreckage. However looking closer, there are engine room remains, gearing teeth, and a large structure from an engine turbine. The F2's forward gun is certainly a highlight of this wreck, as is the large piece of reasonably intact hull it is fixed to. This bow piece is lying on its port side, and the starboard anchor chain has deployed over its side and keel. The wreck is also a haven for wrasse, but also look closer as several nudibranchs, sea hares and clumps of whelk eggs can be seen. The bow doesn't look rakish anymore, presumably some of this has been salvaged or eroded. Surge can be present on both. There are two fixed buoyed lines, one at the barge (where the rope is to the F2), and the other at the bow of the F2.
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