Guest writer gives her diving experience here

The Orkney Islands are not only precious to me, but to everyone I speak with. One of those was Nicole who I met in the 45 Johns Street B&B in Stromness. To capture her infectious spirit of her adventure diving here in one of the top diving places in the world would not do her justice. I have asked her to write the experience herself.

Please read what I have to share here:

Hi Laureen,

It was lovely to meet you. I wish I had more time to learn more about your experiences, I will have to follow your blog and see where you go next. Good for you and I think it is amazing what you are doing. As for me, well I almost cried the whole way back to Edinburgh as I was so sad to leave the Orkney Islands. As promised here is a short synopsis of my stay there. I wish I could capture my experience on paper as well as I lived it. Nicole Shurko, Edmonton, AB Canada


When I first thought to come to the Orkney Islands it was because I  happened upon Scapa Flow in a dive book and it sounded very worldly and adventurous. Really, who plans a trip to go scuba diving at a World War 1 Wreck site? I am told it is not for the faint of heart. However, I could never have imagined that this trip would turn out to be one of the most fantastic experiences of my life.

I know that every country or town has a story and a culture but the Orkney’s are ripe with history. From Scuttling German Block ships to the bombing of the HMS Royal Oak which now stands as a war grave to 833 men that lost their lives in October 1939 to a German Submarine bombing. Every corner of the island has a story to tell, there are archeological sights from the early centuries and wrecks from both wars that divers come from all over the world to dive before they disintegrate.

If I told you about everything, you would not believe me or maybe you won’t come and see it for yourself. To be honest I don’t think my stories could do it justice. I could spend months, even years diving those wrecks and never get bored or even see all of it.

As my plane took off I had a tear in my eye because I had to leave. I had a tear not just because I couldn’t dive the wrecks for another day but truly because of the people that I left behind there. Kay my B&B host,(John Street B&B) who treated me like I was her own daughter, packed me a lunch every day, did my laundry and hugged me good bye like she truly was sad to see me go to my dive team that made me laugh for days in and outside of actually diving. We had stories from Day 1 falling face first four times in the sand after slipping on the rocks and day 2 starting the morning by slipping on a sheep turd and sliding down the hill on my ass after going to the pee in the sheep field. (I did mention it was not for the faint of heart.) Regardless of what happened, somehow every day was a positive, uplifting and life changing day.

I have been told that I was glowing when I came back and I think that is true.  I found a piece of me that I never knew existed. I found tranquility at 80 ft under the water that I have never felt in my life (we still are debating if that was nitrogen narcosis!) But either way I know that I must come back to these strange and beautiful islands and I have to know more. I hope everyone can have the kind of experience I had here whether a diver or not, this is a Bucket list stop.

Thank you Nicole Shurko of Edmonton, Canada!!!


10 Responses to Guest writer gives her diving experience here

  1. Laureen. Just read what your friend Nicole has written ….. Wow ! I hope a book is in her future.
    Love the picture of you and Jack…..and your dad ?

  2. Laureen, just getting caught up on your adventures, and those of the people you are meeting on your fantastic voyage! I was in LA for a dyeing fabric workshop and visiting friends and got behind in reading your postings. You are such a good writer, and I am grateful that we all get to share your your trip with you. I wish you the best birthday ever, which sounds entirely probable. What a handsome couple you and your brother are in the photo!

    • Hi Anna Mae,
      You had an adventure, as well! I’m having issues with posting here in this remote part of the world. I had some beautiful photos to share, but the page kept freezing. Darn. I’ll be here for 5 days, so I’ll just keep trying my best.

  3. Hi Laureen,
    Thank you for posting my note to you. Since leaving, the experience runs over and over in my mind. I dream about the color of the water, the Blue KooKoo Wrase who I swear followed me to each dive site and the World War I and II ships at the bottom of the North Sea that holds so much mystery.

    I will hold on to this gift forever and hope that I can find this type of experience again. It has opened a whole new world to me. I was never an avid diver until this experience as I was always a bit timid about it. But now, thanks to the Jedi Mind tricks of my Dive Instructor, I find myself looking up flights to other exotic places to dive and even to go back to Stromness! I have found a new passion.

    I won’t bore anyone but I could write for hours about what I saw and what I did and even just what it is like to be anonymous for 4 days in the north sea. What a life you will have for the next year and I cannot believe you are 70. I would never have guessed when I met you. Keep living and I hope to still be heading on such adventures in 35 years! Nicole, Canada

    • Nicole,

      The passion you have for diving isn’t boring at all. Thanks for responding.

      By the way, I’m not 70. I’ll be 75 on Aug. 22. You actually made me feel younger. Ha.

  4. Wow, that is amazing, I would have never guessed it. I am a firm believer that age is just a number and you have proved that! Safe travels!

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