With Glastonbury ringing in our ears, 10 New Horizons divers met up in Plymouth ready for a long weekends diving, on a Thursday afternoon of summer sunshine. The following day and true to form, the weather changed a little, and the infamous Plymouth Sea Fog crept in overnight; however this was a blessing in disguise as it meant we were not overheated when loading the gear on Cee Kings dive boat, skippered by Richard King. Plymouth diving provides a great selection of wrecks and reefs in easily-diveable recreational ranges, and lends itself very well to using Nitrox.


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Our first day took us into Cornwall, diving two famous wrecks in succession, that of the Scylla Leander-Class Frigate of 112m length at 15-26m, now it’s eleventh year on the seabed, and thickly covered in marine life, in outstanding visibility. The afternoon dive on the popular James Eagan Layne liberty ship, in its 70th year of sinking, at 12-21m, revealing much interior with many fish patrolling both in and out.



The sun was hot in the afternoon, but luckily for us Chandlers bar & bistro in the boat marina provided cooling ‘apres-dive’ drinks whilst we watched the great aerial displays that were part of Armed-Forces Day. After a delicious evening meal in the Barbican’s Quay 33, the following morning was an early start, with ropes-off at 0815 to catch both ends of the tide, 12 miles offshore, where a sea mount rises from 60m to 15m, known as Hand Deeps. The plethora of both sessile and mobile marine life is stunning, and in the 20m visibility we had, made it even better.

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Many of the outlying cliffs were covered in swathes of multi-coloured jewel anemones, whilst large pollock or wrasse patrolled. The sun was high in the sky as we made our second dive, on the nearby Eddystone Lighthouse reef in similar depths to the first dive. Here the wrasse were even more friendly, and we marvelled at the sea fans dotted around, plus an encounter with a friendly tompot blenny. Back early, it gave us a chance to relax again, and obtain our nitrox fills for the last day (already!). Our evening was spent at a famous fish & chip restaurant, Platters, and luckily we had a lie-in for the last day.

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Overcast with breaks in the clouds, and some southerly winds, the skipper Richard selected the perfect dives for us, starting with HMS Elk, an armed trawler from WWII, in 30m. The clear water was beneficial at this depth, and he had deftly shot the wreck amidships. The small trawler was a really nice dive with much marine life around its exterior including football sea squirts and red fingers. Some other dive boats had also taken advantage and we were blessed with photographic opportunities. A relaxing surface interval in Cawsand Bay Cornwall was followed by an exciting last dive, this time on the wreckage of a convert trawler which was deliberately sunk in 1970s, that of the Glen Strathallen. Here, we found 4 congers in the boiler, and a large old lobster eating jellyfish!


Friendly wrasse were everywhere, and my buddy and I were the last to ascend, finding a dolphin or rather it found us, which on our ascent line – how wonderful. On the safety stop we were greeted by a number of very large barrel jellyfish that cruised by in the gentle current; a fitting end to a great weekends diving.


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Please note all pictures are copyright Tony Gilbert 2015