Shetland Isles 29th July to 5th August 2017
Six members of the club went on a weeks diving on the livaboard The Valkarie. . The crew Helen, Bruce and Merlyn looked after us very well and kept us well fed. The weather was pretty kind to us, with only one day being blown out. Water temperature was 12oC and the visibility on most dives was exceptional for UK waters. As well as wall dives at Score Head, Lunna Wall and Octopus Alley we dived several wrecks.
The first was a lovely little trawler, the Fraoch Ban which capsized in 1999 whilst fishing for sand eels. Sat at 30m depth was covered in anenomies and dead man’s fingers. There were also lots of curious flat fish in the surrounding sandy bed.
The HMS E-49 is a wargrave lying at 33m depth off Balta Sound, Unst. The submarine hit landmines laid by German U-boats following a refit in 1917, blowing off the bows. None of the 31 personnel survived. The visibility on this dive was exceptional with the full extent of the wreck being visible. Most of the wreck was buried in the sandy bed, but the top of the sub and the detached conning tower were visible. It was covered in sea life and a fantastic dive. So good we did it twice!
The steam ship Gwladmena sank off Lerwick following a collision in 1918 and lies at 37m depth. The wreck has been wired swept, removing all forecastle structures and resulting in the engine being dislodged and catapulted over the boilers to lie in completely the wrong location.
The Pionersk and Lunokhods-1 are huge Latvian klondikers, both lying in shallow waters, very broken up but with no salvage having taken place, so lots to see including brass and stainless steel fittings.
We also dived Dogfish Alley, a sandy bed at 22m , and it lived up to its name. The sea bed was littered with them, as well as giant snails, scallops, starfish and octopus.
Whilst on Unst we decided to visit the most northerly bus stop in the UK. The locals choose a theme each year and this year it is flowers. The bus stop was furnished with a cupboard, curtains, table and chairs, telephone and not to mention a visitors book.
Finally we should mention the gannet cliff, the largest colony in Europe and situated on the lsle of Loss. The size of the colony was awesome and as the boat came towards the cliff the noise, and not to mention the smell was breathtaking!
A fantastic and very memorable trip for the group and definitely worth revisiting.