Dive Trips

Isle of Man 2009

Interim report

10 divers and one non-diver (Gill - 'I'll never go diving') set out in very wet weather for the far off shores of the Isle of Man. A long drive followed by 3 hours of ferry journey set us all up for a good sleep. We were staying in the flat above Discover Diving's shop (disguised as a family butchers....!). There was a warm welcome from Michelle and Steve, the proprietors and skippers of the boat we'd chartered - 'Endeavour'.

First day dawned early and we all piled down to the quayside (about 1 minutes drive away). Steve (the skipper) was there to meet us and seemed a quite amused at our attempts to organise a chain to load cylinders and kit onto the boat. First dive was down at the far southern tip of the island at a site known as the Burroo - a set of pinnacles and gullies sloping dwon from about 15m to well below 30. This was a really pretty site - very nice display of pretty much every type of anemone you'd expect to see in the UK, a mixture of dhalia, plumose and jewel types in a really riotous array of colors. Vis was pretty spectacular too - at least 15m,

Endeavour really works well as a dive boat, everyone had a bench space to kit up from and we all entered the water at pretty much the same time from the lift platform at the rear.

Porthkerris 2007

In July 2007 a party of 12 divers set off to visit Porthkerris and the Manacles reef dive sites. Despite the year being rather a bad one for diving weather wise we hoped for a break in the incessant rain and were not dissapointed.leadballs

We managed to get the best diving weekend of the year so far - at least weather wise. our first dive was on the wreck of the Volnay, visited by some members earlier in the year. Visibilty was pretty good - up to 5m in places and we got a very good view of the boilers and of the large number of lead balls that festoon the weck as a result of it's cargo of antipersonnel shells gradually decaying. Always handy to dive on a wreck loaded with lead if you are a bit light and having trouble staying on the bottom - several divers came up better weighted than they were when they entered the water!


The first afternoon's dive was on a scenic reef that shelved from 10m down to >40 with a huge variety of marine life to see. Vis was pretty good with better than 10m in the less disturbed places lower down to the reef. Here we found a huge profusionof pink sea fans - some quite large and probably also very old and all in excellent condition. It's a real treat to see gorgonian corals like this in the UK. Apparently there are now some in Weymouth on the wreck of the Blackhawk.

Our skipper for the weekend told us that some divers feed the fish on this reef and there certainly were some very friendly Cuckoo Wrasse amongst the fans here. One was quite hard to photograph as I kept coming too close!

Second day dawned with excellent weather and we decided to plan a BBQ on the beach along with Night dive on the famous Porthkerris Reef. The day's diving was ahead of us so the plans got put aside for another reef dive followed by a drift across the wreckage of the Mohegan and Rporth_reef_funny_cuckooaglans reef. We were dropped in close to the boilers of the wreck but very quickly swept past over the flatteded sections of the ship and up onto the reef itself. Quite a fast drift around the cliffs, all mindful of the instructions to avoid being swept off into the deep water (60m) on the sourth side. Lots of life about, mostly sheltering from the raging current in fact.

Video of the Mohegan drift dive

After a quick sojourn back at the campsite we returned to Porthkerris bay and setup the BBQ. Some difficulaties were encountered with sausages too small falling down the gaps between the slats in the permanent BBQ at the dive centre but enough food was still rescued from the coals. The group split at this point with the hardcore divers going off for a night dive and the hardcore drinkers heading fo the thee tuns in St Keverne. The dive was a flat calm, a really nice gentle dive although not so much marine life. Very atmospheric though. Six of us braved the dark waters whilst the rest preferred the pub. Crabs, cuttlefish and sleepy dogfish were encountered amongst the kelp whilst our SMB's floated serene on a flat calm sea lighted by glowsticks.

propshaftNext morning dawned and we headed for a more relaxed dive on the Mohegan. Vis was pretty good and we got a good view of the three boilers lined up on the seabed where they'd fallen when the wreck broke up. Certain members of hte Bowsher family decided that this was a god venue to find out if you can catch fish with your bare hands! (apparently successflly). The rest of us just enjoyed the wreck and had a good mooch about. The boilers were at about 25m with the stern laid out at 28m. The wreck is pretty flattened apart from the boilers but lots of strucutres can still be recognised including bits of propshaft and winches. The wreck is pretty well colonised by pink sea fans too.

rock_islan_bridge_dennislobster Second dive was the wreck of the Rock Island Bridge - a US liberty ship sunk after colliding with another US vessel, just in the mouth of the Helford Estuary. This was a very unusual dive site - in quite clear water below an intensely green plankton layer maybe something to do with the nutrients and other stuff coming downstream? The brief mentioned that this wreck had lots of Conger eels but the first thing we noticed was lobsters.

Dennis in particular noticed the lobsters and wresteld with one for a while whilst trying to persuade it to go into his goody bag - in the end it decided it preferred freedom and left him holding it's claws! - They did however prove very tasty.

The morning of the 9th offered the chance to dive a little visited reef just off Pencra head. We dropped onto a flat roky plate which was the top of a dramatic series of cliffs and drop offs ending at a gently sloping sandy seabed. Strong currents sweep the site but slack water kept things civilised for most of the dive. The fish (mostly wrasse) were pretty friendly and followed us about for a lot of the dive.

Scapa Flow 2011 Trip Report

The gun on the F2 - Scapa FlowJuly 24th - August 5th 2011

A two week stint in Scapa Flow is any British diver's dream. Frequently suggested as the best diving the UK has to offer it should certainly be on your to-do list if you haven't already been, and almost certainly on your 'must return' list if you've experienced it already.

Once you've recovered from the drive - from Oxford it takes about 11 hours + the ferry crossing to reach Stromness in Orkney, far north of Scotland. It really does make sense to fly, but only if you can get someone else to take your kit - excess dive baggage is apparently frequently discarded when planes are overweighted. The drive beyond Glasgow is quite scenic though, as is the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness, so that helps. It is certainly even better on the way south.

Read more: Scapa Flow 2011 Trip Report


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