It's OK to have a favourite!
There's so much to see up here and it's often the ridiculous guns on the Battleship Kronprinz Wilhelm that people are most excited for before arriving. But when we asked a couple of our Divemaster Trainees which there favourite wrecks were we were delighted to see a bit of love for a couple of shallower light cruisers getting some loving.
First up is Zack who gives his vote to one of the German Light Cruisers, the SMS Dresden.
"The SMS Dresden II is my favourite wreck in the flow. She sits on a little mound, making the bow (at 25m) shallower than the stern (at 38m), due to a failed tow by a British vessel trying to beach her as she was being scuttled. This is pretty much the ideal depth of water for divers who hold, or are completing, their advanced course or deep speciality.
Once you’ve descended the shot line, there’s lots to see. Having been built towards the end of the war, the Dresden was constructed from lower quality materials e.g. steel rather than copper piping or brass portholes – in the eyes of the salvors, this made her less valuable and so they focused elsewhere. This leaves the wreck largely intact, including the hugely impressive bow which can give a real sense of scale. For those interested in the smaller details, keep an eye out for the bathtub in the Officers’ accommodation: with your torch on full power, look deep into the back right corner. "
The second vote came from Julian who chose the shallowest of all the German Fleet the SMS Karlsruhe.
"My favourite wreck of the WW1 German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow is the SMS Karlsruhe.
While the Karlsruhe is definitively less impressive in individual features, especially regarding ship and gun size compared to the battleships and also lacks the nice swim throughs SMS Cöln or SMS Dresden provide, it offers various other benefits that make her as a single dive outstanding.
As the SMS Karlsruhe lies a bit shallower than the other WW1 ships it allows for longer bottom times. This gives you the opportunity to dive the ship throughout its whole length and allows to grasp the ship as a whole, which with the other ships is often not possible.
Moreover it often offers better visibility and the crucial bit more light which makes the dive more enjoyable and allows you on most days both to grasp the sheer size of the ship and to see much the points of interest.
Another benefit is that points of interest are quite visible and easy to access. While on other ships due to visibility or depth you might encounter difficulties to see, Karlsruhes two 5.9 inch guns on the bow, the anchor capstans on stern and bow, the propellor A-Frame on the stern and the control tower and several masts are all easy to identify.
The last big benefit of the Karlsruhe is the abundance of marine life around it. It has more fish and other marine life than the other WW1 ships as the ship has become an artificial reef for the Scapa Flows underwater life. You can see swarms of smaller fish, heaps of brittle stars, larger fish like pollack, cod and cuckoo and ballan wrasse and much more
This combination of elements ranging from experiencing the ship as a whole, seeing the features of its war related past but also its todays purpose and use as a home for marine animals is why it so far is my favourite wreck.
Once again, there are more remarkable individual features and details on the other ships but as a whole the Karlsruhe for me combines most elements in a single dive."
Some of the marine life on the SMS Karlsruhe