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:
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
MY TRIP TO THE ORKNEY ISLANDS
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!!!