Scotland may not have the limpid waters of the Caribbean, but it has the most exciting and some of the most famous scuba-diving sites of anywhere in the world, including the "big two" which are the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve on the Scottish borders and Scapa Flow in Orkney.
The St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve
About three miles north of Eyemouth on the east coast and close to the border of Scotland and England, the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve was opened on 18 August 1984 by famed naturalist David Bellamy and is one of the best cold-water diving destinations in Europe.
Diving at St. Abbs
The waters here are unusually clear, (usually 7m - 8m but 24m has been recorded). It is home to a wide variety of marine life including porpoises and grey seals, as well as wolf fish, wrasse conger eels and sea anemones.
Caves and numerous wrecks make it a wonderful place for underwater exploration.
The Wolf Fish - Sort of Evil Looking!
You can hire equipment in the nearby village of Coldringham and Sub Aqua Divers(www.scoutscroft.co.uk) can give you information on the best places to dive, and what you will be able to see.
www.divestabbseyemouth.co.uk is another informative site and gives you locations and information about the wrecks and caves.
You can find out more about the Marine Reserve at www.marine-reserve.org.uk.
Here is a map to help you locate Eyemouth, Coldringham and St. Abbs.
Up in Orkney, in the far north of Scotland is one of the great natural harbours of the world, with enough space to hold several navies. About 1000 years ago Viking ships anchored in Scapa Flow. At 140 square miles, with a sandy bottom, and relatively shallow (not deeper than 160 feet, and most of it about 70 feet deep), Scapa Flow is best known as the site of the United Kingdom's chief naval base during the First and Second World Wars. The base itself was closed in 1956.
Seven remaining hulks of the WWI German fleet scuttled by rear Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter, the German commander, (who scuttled them to prevent them falling into British hands in 1919) lie on the seabed.
There are three battleships, all over 25,000 tonnes, two of which, the Konig and Kronprinz Willhelm, were blasted for scrap metal, but the Markgraf is undamaged.
The Karlsruhe, Dresden, Brummer and Koln all lie on their sides and are therefore very accessible to divers.
Exploring Wrecks in Scapa Flow
The Karlsruhe is only 10m below the surface and has become a huge metal reef, now encrusted with sea creatures.
Although the underwater visibility is not sufficient to view all the lengths of these huge wrecks at once, current technology is now allowing 3D images of them to be seen.
Diving Scapa Flow
In 1939 a U-boat sank the old warship HMS Royal Oak with 833 crew, and here lies also the Vanguard, which exploded at anchor during the First World War in 1917. These sites are official war graves and are off limits to all but Royal Navy divers.
After the sinking of the Royal Oak, Winston Churchill ordered the series of causeways to be built to protect the eastern approaches to Scapa Flow now known as the Churchill Barriers.
This is a diving adventure you will never forget..
Here some contacts for further information about diving at Scapa Flow:-