“Cold and dark”…
…That’s the usual answer to the question “What’s it like diving in the UK?” Well if that’s true, why are there so many UK dive clubs? Do all of those thousands of divers travel abroad for all of their dive trips? Do they all just have a fetish for neoprene and cold water or is it ‘cos they like groping around in the dark wearing lots of kit!!?
Think about it. If it really was that cold and dark with nothing to see, would we do it? Of course not. The truth is, the UK has some of the best diving in the World and the person that gave you the answer ‘cold and dark,’ probably has little or no UK diving experience.
Because of our island geography, we are blessed with thousands of miles of very diveable coastline that is almost all totally accessible to us divers. From Land’s End to John O’Groats and everywhere in between. In some places we can just walk in from the beach, whilst for others we have to travel out to sea a bit further. That may be a few yards or it might be several miles. It depends entirely on what it is you are hoping to see whilst you’re down there. How about diving with Dolphins? That means a trip to the West Coast of Ireland or up to Scotland. Having said that, pods of Common Porpoise can be found in Plymouth harbour or just off shore in the West Country.
Seals. We have three quarters of the World’s population of Grey Seals here in the UK. Thirty minutes on a boat from the Northumberland coast will see you at the Farne Islands. Here you can drop in to about 10m of water and have hundreds of Grey Seals swimming around you. They are very playful!
Still think that there’s nothing to see?
Fancy diving with sharks? You can do that here too. We have about fourteen different species of shark that visit our seas. They range from small Houndstooths through Mako and Blue shark and then right up to the Basking Shark. This monster grows up to about 30 feet in length and is the second largest fish in the World’s oceans. (Only the Whale Shark is bigger) This gentle giant can be found travelling the whole length of our west coast during the warmer months as it makes it way from the south coast up to Scotland. Luckily for us, all our UK shark species are not aggressive. It’s in their job description!
Ok… Wreck diving… Stick a pin in the map, any map, and I bet you’re no more than about two hours from the coast. Any coast. That means that within the time that it takes you to do your weekly shopping, you could be diving any of the literally thousands of wrecks that litter our coast.
Tough decision there then!
We have wrecks that have gone down for various reasons throughout the whole of our island’s history. Galleons, trawlers, steamships and freighters. We can dive on submarines and warships that still lay where they were sunk during the last two World Wars. You can view cannon andOur Weymouth dive boat 15inch Naval guns along with plates, cups and cuttlery just lying in the holds. Whole ships cargoes are still there for you to look at as you swim over the wreck. Best of all, the wrecks are just covered in marine life. Pollock, Ling, crabs, scallops, Conger Eels and lobsters all consider shipwrecks their home along with a range of very colourful soft corals and anemone’s.
All of this is open to you as a PADI Open Water Diver. We run trips that allow you to see everything that we’ve mentioned here along with other trips that will show you a great deal more once you’re suitably qualified. From 6m to 60m, we can arrange it. Of course, the majority are somewhere in between but as you can see, you don’t even have to dive deep to see anything, so that’s another UK diving misconception blown out of the water.
UK diving is just different. Sure, we don’t have miles of stunning coral reefs along with tropical waters that you can dive into wearing a T shirt, but we do have a huge diversity of attractions. Yes, there are days when you can’t see your hand in front of your face or the trips blown out because of the weather, but most of the time UK diving is WOW!! On the odd occasion when it’s dark with nothing to see, do you know what we do? We get out of the bloody water and go find a pub!