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· wibble
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Well, i have been to scapa twice in three months, so there is obviously something good up there!  Its a long slog, even from me - the first time we stopped at Helmsdale at the youth hostel having driven up during the day, and drove the last bit in the morning (no probs since the ferry was 12.30).  The second time the guys drove through the night - made very good time, but you sleep all saturday on the boat when last time i went for a wander around stromness.  The ferry is very slinky, and all your gear is loaded into big blue metal boxes.  If you are expecting a rough crossing, take some old/cheap carry mats, or at least something to pad the cylinders out with.  You go right past the Old Man of Hoy, which is a good picture.  
Stromness is a nice small town, with the co-op being a 10 minute walk from the harbour.  It has two dive shops - the dive cellar, and Scapa Scuba.  Scapa scuba is a bit of a hike (get onto the main street, go left, keep walking till you come to it - on the left old lifeboat house).  It is worth the walk just to see the batman hood Ben has made, and the gimp hood too, if you are into that kinda thing...hehe.
The diving up there is mad, the vis can be phenomenal.  There are the 1919 wrecks, the battleships, the light cruisers and then the blockships being the main groups dived.  Also the James Barrie is well worth a look if you get the weather for it.  I also love Gutter Sound - the bottle run.  I found some fantastic bottles there last time, and you are guaranteed scallops for tea if you like em!  If you get a fizz off break at Lyness, be sure to go to the museum to see the photos of the Royal Oak, very moving.  Also the 10 inch high brass letters from her are there, having been handed in by a naughty diver.
Following the recent fatality, for gods sake be sure when you go into the wrecks.  Its very tempting, and i only went in with Ben on my course - he knows them like the back of his hand.
The battleships sit upside down, and so make sure you go down the right side of them to see the guns.
The light cruisers sit on their sides, and are remarkably intact in the areas that havent been salvaged.  The F2 is two dives in one - you do the barge that was salvaging her and sank too if you follow the rope from the stern of the barge, it will take you to the F2.  Again on the F2, if you follow another rope, it will take you to the huge propeller sat about 20m off the wreck.  
The Block ships are so SO good.  The fierce current that runs through there means there is no silt, sand and loads of life.  The Tabarka sits upside down, and is fantastic.  when i figure out how to post pics i will post some of her.  You can penetrate with utter confidence as she is so full of holes you have an exit 99% of the time.  The Gorbenador Bories is the same, but she sits upright.
If you get the chance to do the northern isles trip - do it.  The Tommelina on Noup Head is mindblowing.  The Char, the Endeavour and the Enterprise are all well worth a dive, them being scattered around the small islands north of kirkwall.  On the Char, she sits in 15m, and i could see the whole wreck sat on the surface.  Bliss.
I went with Andy Cuthbertson, on the Jean Elaine.  She is more expensive than most (the sunrise is the same as her), but you get Ronnie, who is so worth the extra money, just for his awful jokes (ask for the chicken joke).  There are two proper bogs on board, and the cabins are nice, clean and well planned.  There is also a drying room which is lovley to warm up in.

Pubs - do the ferry inn, its where the locals go, which is always a good sign.
Food - the Royal something or other, i didnt take much notice when i went in, and was a bit worse for wear on the way out.....
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