Snorkelling Shanklin Beach - Isle of Wight 2012

22nd July 2012

After lots of emails to and from Chris, the TO at Wight dolphins SAC trying to find a suitable snorkelling site in an area we had never been to before, we settled on the beach at Shanklin.

We chose to base ourselves for the day’s snorkelling in front of the Aqua hotel, along from the clock tower and to the right of where the pier had stood until 1987. Mainly because it was one of the places we had been recommended and it was close to where everyone was camping. Also a great plus was we managed to park about 10 feet away from the beach.

Here, the beach is sand with a gentle slope roughly to the end of the groyne, then a few rocks further out. There can be quite a current and slack water is three hours before High Water.

Our group of 11 snorkellers varied greatly in age and ability so we found it safer to stay within the groynes. Even so towards the end of the groynes you could feel the pull on your legs under the water.

We started the day with the dry practical lesson on the advanced snorkel course up on the campsite where everyone got a turn at filling in a dive log sheet and collectively we planned what we were going to do, who we thought would buddy with who and why, together with discussions on the risk assessment.

Everyone then took the few minutes drive down to the beach.

Once in the water, we started waist deep with a recap on mask, fins and snorkel for everybody, followed by a few practice mask clears and some finning techniques.

Afterward, we finned out in a line along one of the sea weed covered groynes pottering around for roughly 20 minutes, coming across a few nice sized bass.

It was quickly noticeable that if you spent too much time face down in the water it was easy to drift off course.

After lunch, the call of ice creams, crazy golf and other typical British seaside attractions won over snorkelling, leaving 3 of us to take advantage of the current by walking up the beach then finning hard further left towards the groyne in front of the clock tower. We then drifted in the current around 200m back to the right hand side groyne in front of our base.

During the day we spotted lots of bass, sand eels and 2 flat fish.

A big thanks to Chris for the advice and information on everything from sites to currents and tides, directions and even parking. 

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