Prima Sub Aqua Plymouth Reef Reviews

Barn Pool Hatt Rock
Breakwater Fort Hilsea Point
Cannon Ball Alley Jennycliffe Bay
Drake's Island Mewstone Ledges
East Rutts Penlee Cannon Site
Eddystone Reef Pier Cellars
Fairylands Shag Rock
Fort Bovisand Tinker's Shoal
Hands Deep  

 

Barn Pool

This is a Deep wall dive 10m to 30m+. Due to the silty area viz is 1m to 8m and not much in the way of life except for plenty of Crabs & Scallops.

 

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Breakwater Fort

The Fort is a circular building with vertical walls to 12m, viz is dependent on the weather. Protected by the breakwater, it can be dived when out in the sound is blowing up. All round the fort you find loads of structures that have been using for underwater cutting, welding and lifting. This scrap yard includes a fishing boat, a large tubular framework & the remains of a decompression chamber amidst all the various pipework.

The usual life that can be seen, Dogfish, Crabs, Scallops & try to find the resident Conger.

It's also amusing to see how many divers can return to their entry point after circumnavigating the fort.

 

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Cannon Ball Alley

This rocky reef at around 14m usually has viz of 4m-12m, the site has a good scattering of cannon balls that were launched from the nearby HMS Cambridge firing range. There is plenty of sea-life to observe around the kelp growth.

A safe site for trainees to practice skills as the reef is rarely effected by the current.

 

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Drake's Island
An excellent drift dive inside the breakwater around a mile in length with about 16m max depth, unless you accidentally end up in the channel at 40m.  Viz is 4m to 6m with 0m frequent throughout the winter.  This site is not recommended for inexperienced divers & is quite silty. .

Springs and mid tides are the best for a fast ride, but permission must be obtained from the Longroom on channel 14 and a permanent Surface Marker Buoy must be used.

Look out for Thornback rays in the silt, together with Spider Crabs, Sea Hares, Nudibranchs, Sponges, Lobsters, Scallops and Oyster Shells. There is also the possibility of spotting Seahorses in the eelgrass bed.

The site is a no take zone & all the Lobsters and Scallops are thought to contain hazardous levels of tritium.

 

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East Rutts

This popular reef is about five miles offshore in Bigbury Bay with depths of 10m to drop-offs to 35 metres A spectacular scenic dive where a variety of fish, Dolphins, Congers, Basking Sharks, Cuttlefish and Crustaceans may be found. The viz is usually 8m+.

 

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Eddystone Reef
A wonderful site, ranging from 8m to 60m. The reef is known for strong currents, so this dive is classed as an Advanced dive and only those with suitable experience should dive here. It is very easy to go deeper than you intended & a delayed SMB per diver is essential.

The sea life is plentiful around the huge granite boulders and walls that drop away:  Rose Coral, Yellow Sponges, Sea Urchins, Sea Fans, Starfish & Sea Cucumbers. The whole site is carpeted by Jewel Anemones. Sometimes dogfish, Wrasse, Lobsters & Crayfish. This is also home to Smooth Hound Sharks.  No promises but Dolphins and Sun Fish have been known to visit.

 

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Fairylands
A wonderful reef site similar & close to hilsea point but with better currents and slightly shallower. Very popular with divers and skippers, this site takes its name from the fairy ring that can be seen on the hill side in late July, early August.  Depth: from 12m-22m depending on where you drop.  Viz: typically good at 6-8m. Some boat traffic so Delayed SMBs per diver are essential.

Swim around the gullies; check out the crevices for crustaceans and under kelp for the Nudibranchs. You can sometimes find Lobsters & Crayfish, together with plenty of Wrasse, Pollack, Plaice and Dogfish. Plenty of Sea Urchins, Starfish of all types and Sea Cucumbers.

 

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Fort Bovisand

Famous for the diving school this site offers an opportunity to brush up on those skills. Fort Bovisand is also a reef with a max depth of 12m & viz of 5m.

Not the best diving in the area, but the sandy bottom with a spattering of seaweed and the occasional bit of kelp still offers marine life such as Starfish and Clams

 

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Hands Deep

This breath taking reef ranges from 9m to 70m with viz usually 8-15m, so keep a careful eye on your depth gauge.  The reef consists of a series of rocky pinnacles leading to the seabed with awesome drop offs some of which are sheer. The reef is subject to strong currents, fortunately the large granite boulders provide some shelter but making a delayed SMB per diver essential.

 

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Hatt Rock

Rated as one of the best wall dives in the UK that regularly has excellent viz. This isolated flat-topped reef with the top of the rock at 26-30m has a sheer cliff face down to around 40m, at which point it slopes off to the sea bed at 50-65m.

The rock is approximately 600square metres in size with the face covered in Anemones and Corals and is surrounded by vertical drop offs giving a superb drift wall dive.

Delayed Surface Marker Buoys are essential. Not a dive for the Novice!

The sea life is some of the best on the south coast, The whole site is magnificent:  an amazing array of Corals and Sponges, Sea Urchins, Sea Fans, Starfish, Sea Cucumbers, & Spectacular beds of Jewel Anemones, Crabs, Lobsters & Crayfish. Sometimes Dogfish & Wrasse. This is also home to Smooth Hound Sharks.  No promises but Dolphins and Sun Fish have been known to visit.

 

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Hilsea Point
A fantastic rocky reef type dive site with a pinnacle at 8m leading off down to 25m max and deep rocky gullies with great swim throughs.

The viz is normally 8m+, often with strong currents which mean finishing the dive with a deep drift. An excellent site that offers photographic opportunities, marine life and impressive scenery.
Be prepared to find: Sea Fans, Rose Coral and Yellow Sponges. Occasional Lobsters, Crayfish, Spider Crabs, Urchins, Wrasse and Dogfish. Plenty of Starfish with Sea Cucumbers all over. Sporadic sightings of Thornback rays.

The area is known for currents and often has passing yacht and other boat traffic. A delayed SMB per diver is essential.

 

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Jennycliffe Bay
An extensive sandy area where there is an eelgrass bed with a maximum depth of 12m, lying close to the cliffs and with kelp forests nearby. Although small, the bed supports an enormous documented wealth of marine life to include: Anemones Crabs, Dead Men's Fingers, Jellyfish, Shrimps, Chameleon Prawns, seven species of Crabs, Lobsters, Limpets, Sea Slugs, Scallops, Cuttlefish, Starfish, Urchins, Wrasse, Gobies, Pipefish, Sand Eels, Dogfish, Bib, Poor Cod, Plaice, Pollack, Whiting, Mackerel, Tompot Blennies, shoals of Juvenile Fish, & Mermaids Purses.  This area is a photographerís heaven.

 

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Mewstone Ledges

A superb reef with a maximum depth of 12-30m, with rocky gullies down to 25 - 30m. Visibility is generally 6-8m.

The area is known for fast currents and often has passing yacht and other boat traffic. A delayed SMB per diver is essential & free descents are not advised.

Stunning scenery once you clear the kelp forests in the shallows, with plentiful marine life including: Cuttlefish, Cuckoo Wrasse, Dogfish, Pollack, Sea Fans, Yellow Sponges, Rose Coral. Together with Lobsters, Crayfish, Spider Crabs, Sea Urchins, an abundance of Starfish all surrounded by Sea Cucumbers,  presenting a photographers heaven.

 

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Penlee Cannon Site

An opportunity for an interesting dive at 15m to 35m. The rocky gullies are covered in a dense kelp forest over sand and rock.

As you may deduct from the name of the site, some 50 cannon lie scattered all about. The cannons (eight to twelve feet) are quite easy to recognise even though they are covered with weeds and concretion.

Closer inshore are groups of cannonballs, which have been covered in concretion. This unusual site is a favourite for Wrasse & Lobster & copious fish life.

 

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Pier Cellars
A shallow rocky reef around 6m to 15m ideal for Ocean Divers. Viz is generally between 2-8m. Kelp forests and other plant life gently sloping away to flat sandy areas along with some  interesting marine life, including Cuttlefish, A
nemones, Jellyfish, Sea Squirts, Crabs, Lobsters, Nudibranchs, Starfish, Pipefish, Pollack, Wrasse, Dogfish, Congers, Tompot Blennies, and Gobies.

There can be boat traffic in the area so donít forget your delayed SMB.

 

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Shag Rock

This reef at 16m can have excellent viz on occasions. The seabed is a mixture of green and purple pebbles with gullies strewn with seaweed. Marine life includes Dogfish, Wrasse and Crabs.

 

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Tinker's Shoal

Tinker's shoal is a 10m to 20m reef south of the Breakwater. This reef is a good place to put newly qualified divers, being relatively safe and having plenty to explore.  This area was used as a Dockyard dumping ground and there is still brass and lead remaining for the eagle eyed, you might even find something valuable. The seabed is very rocky with patches of clean sand & large kelp growths. Search the gullies under the kelp for Starfish, huge Sea Urchins and Poor Cod. Keep an eye for the Cuckoo Wrasse, and, if very lucky a John Dory.

 

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Dive site reviews by Paul Waddell  (B.S.A.C. Advanced Diver)

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