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Scapa Flow

Scapa Flow

Mark Cowan

The sea-bleached shot line cut a vertical path through my view as I plunged into the green waters of Scapa Flow. My torch beam poked into the deep and my regulator hissed with each breath until I caught sight of the upturned shipwreck I’d travelled 600 miles to Orkney to see.

Appearing below, like a ghostly apparition, was the SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm, a German battleship entombed on the seabed for almost 100 years. Following the hull as it curved down, my computer whirred like a train station destination board: 25 metres; 30; 35. Then, the metal wall disappeared and a cavern opened up before me.

Time ticking, I kicked into the shadow created by the overhanging gundeck. Sweeping my torch right and left, I suddenly stopped. Ahead, illuminated in the clear water, were giant cannons which had bombarded the British at the battle of Jutland. The 12-inchers vanished from sight. Apparently I was meant to be really scared down here. Astounded, I gobbled to hold my regulator as my mouth fell open...

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