Swan Ink Bottle from bottom of Scapa Flo

Contributed by Kelvin J

Swan Ink Bottle from bottom of Scapa Flo

Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to the north of Scotland is a natural harbour used by the Royal Navy for over 100 years. The interred German fleet was scuttled here in 1919 and the harbour and it's supply bases supported the British war effort in WWII. Destroyers returning to the flow entering Gutter Sound in the south west heading for the naval base at Lyness would dump refuse overboard to avoid paying clearance costs in port. The seabed is at around 15 metres and strewn with detritus from over 70 years of naval traffic. Worn out boots, old plates and cups, empty ammunition cases, and bottles of all description litter the soft mud. I have a few bottles from a dive trip in 2003 including this Swan ink bottle containing a cockle shell. The animal would have seeded itself within the mud filled bottle as it sat on the mud bottom. Over the years as the bottle sank deeper and the shell grew to big to get out it would have died and become entombed within the bottle. It now serves as a curiosity. More magical than a ship in a bottle and a fine example of nature and human history working together to produce a fascinating relic.

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Scapa Flow. Orkney Islands


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