Scenic diving from Dartmouth and Salcombe can be truly magical; the whole area abounds with marine life due to the tidal streams and nutrients coming from the mouth of the River Dart. Geologically an interesting area, there are many pinnacles and walls festooned in marine life. Most of the sites require slack water to dive.
When operating from Plymouth Sound (by arrangement or planned dates) we dive the popular sites of the Eddystone Reef, Hands Deep, James Egan Layne, Roshill etc.
Sites from Dartmouth
Dartmouth Mewstone "diving the volcano" 35m
Start Bay is the site of a very old volcano, and the outer edge of the Dartmouth Mewstone consists of spectacular slabs of basalt. The rock is exposed to rough seas and the tidal stream here contributes to a wide variety of marine life, including sea fans as shallow as 10m. Descending from the surface down the steep walls and blocks of basalt, leads through a maze of gullies and steep faces to 35m. However, the best of the dive is around 25m, and you can ascend up the rocks to shallow water to deco. We often dives this site in the tide shadow.
West Rock 3 - 38m
a steep pinnacle off the mouth of the River Dart, covered in marine life.
Middle Blackstone 7 - 28m
a complex area of narrow crevices, gullies and white anemones covered walls. Wehave only started diving this area over the last 3 years, and continue to find more dives sites within the dive site, including a wall of white anemones.
Eastern Blackstone Wall 28m
a spectacular sheer wall intersected by crevices and abundant sea life, rising from 28m to the surface. This is in effect 3 different dives but it is possible to dive all three with enough gas and a good slack. We usually drop customers on the top edge of a sheer wall that then extends to seawards for 200m, with an array of shellfish and marine life in the numerous crevices. You can then either cut through the wall into a maze of gullies and canyons with shellfish and conger eels, or return along the wall to complete the dive on the inner part of the stones where the marine life is completely different to that of the outer wall. There is a wreck of a small trawler on the southern end. In good viz we arte this as one of the best wall dives east of Hand Deeps.
Eastern Blackstone Pinnacles 7 - 35m+
a short distance from the eastern Blackstone and recently discovered offering steep pinnacles, walls and canyons
Nimble Rock 4 - 22 m
Nimble Rock is situated in the tidal stream with marine life compared to the Scillies.
Bull Rock 22 - 48m
another complex area of 5 steep walls and pinnacles covered in plumose anemones. There is a rumour that a fisherman dumped a mine that he trawled up on the top of the rock many years ago, but so far the shot weight hasn't hit it.
Coombe Rocks - 5 - 18m
a complex area of gullies with a steam pinnace wreck on the inside in shallow water. Known locally as the Dartmouth Needles.
Dancing Beggars - 0 - 16m
a rocky islet with a shallow but lively reef
Start Bay Reefs 14 - 20m
here there are several low lying reefs which attract a wide variety of small fish, molluscs and crustaceans. They act as nursery reefs due to the fact that trawlers are not allowed to fish there.
Start Point East & South Race 10-20m
diving in the race where tides can reach 5-6 knots - diving is at slack water!! This is where local knowledge comes into play as the slack water times are completely different for sites 0.5 miles way from each other. The eastern race 10-18m is relatively shallow with the wreck of the Marana in 10m. There is the boiler (with resident conger and prawns) engine, prop shaft and iron prop; someone recently described the reef as twinkling. The southern race 20-28m has massive room sized boulders teaming with marine life typical of very strong tidal currents.
diving in the lee of the ebb tide the Cherricks offers an almost unique marine life.
Peartree Rock 17-24
West of Start Point this is a slab of anemone covered rock.
a choice of low rocks and clean sand gullies with beautiful Ray and Skate
Prawle Point East & West 30m
numerous tidal reefs and gullies to 30m, with large boulders in places. The viz is often very good here.
sand and rock gully with the wreckage of the Prawle Paddler (paddle steamer)
Bolt Head 15-30m
system of reefs off of Salcombe
Greystone Ledge 20m
boulders and gullies
Shoal Ground Wall 20-35m
a spectacular wall best dived at the end of slack water to allow the tide to take you through the narrow gullies at the top onto the sandy/rocky shoal ground.
The Cattons 30-36m
a fascinating rocky area to the south of Bolt Trail
many other rocky but secret sites in this area!