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More than most of the way to Norway, further north than Bergen and at the same latitude (60 north) as the Yukon, the Shetland Isles are dominated by the sea. The weather is unpredictable (if you don't like it, the locals say, "Wait an hour"), and the diving is cold (10 C), sometimes limited by swells from the Atlantic and the North Sea, sometimes by the sea mist, the haar, of northern waters. The islands are home to farmers, fisherman, thousands of years of human habitation and the North Sea oil industry. A happy, green "Valkyrie" sails from Orkney each year to serve as a home to divers from around Europe, exploring the wrecks and rocky reefs of the Shetland Islands. This is what we found this week; there were a few familiar faces (Udo van Dongen, Alex Mustard and Peter Rowlands found themselves on board): On a good day, the seabirds flock behind fishing boats, even when they have forsaken nets for nitrox. In the far north, off the island of Unst, lies the wreckage of the E49, a British submarine lost with all hands in the First World War. Inshore rocks, caves and cliffs provide space for kelp, crabs, fish and colourful starfish. Dead-mens' fingers clutch at the water. Macro-life hides amongst the weeds, but white sand supports the deeper wrecks.