Diving Plymouth

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Plymouth, United Kingdom

Plymouth
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Country: United Kingdom  Area: United Kingdom

Water Temp: 6 - 18°C (43 - 64°F)

Visibility: 2 - 15m (7 - 49 ft)

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A great cold water diving destination, Plymouth offers divers lots of historic wrecks and a diverse marine life, along with the chance of seeing one of the largest plankton feeders, the strange looking Basking Shark!

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Plymouth’s diving is all in and around Plymouth Sound, which is Plymouth’s natural harbour. This is an excellent cold water diving destination with a great range of dive sites from reefs to historic WWI, WWII wrecks and a great variety of marine life that you don’t find in warmer waters! The diving here is suitable for everyone with some shallow scenic dives along with some deeper dives for more advanced recreational divers and also super deep dives only suitable for technical divers.

 

Climate

The climate in Plymouth and the rest of the country is very variable and unpredictable! The summer months are meant to have the best, warmest weather, but over the last few years that hasn’t been the case and the good weather is getting earlier in the year and quite random at times!

James Eagan Layne Wreck, Credit

The dive season runs year round but sites you can dive may be limited by the weather and wind but it is rare that it prevents you from diving completely and there should always be a site you can reach.

The viz is also very variable, in Cornwall and Devon it does tend to be better than other places in England but will still depend on the weather. The water temperature is by far a lot warmer in the summer, even if the air temp isn’t great or its raining, it can get up to 18C but on average its around 16C. In the winter the coldest water temperatures are in February and can get as cool as a chilly 6C but on average its a few degrees higher!

Plymouth Anemone,Credit

 
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Diving

Basking Sharks are the UK’s largest fish and second in the world only to the famous Whale Shark. They are commonly seen around Cornwall and Devon’s coasts in season and one of the top attractions which a lot of divers will travel to specifically to search for. These sharks can scare quite easily and aren’t fans of scuba bubbles so it is best to snorkel rather than use scuba gear as this will get you a longer and closer encounter with these giant fish. If you stay still and not splash around, the sharks can swim right past close enough to touch. Eddystone Reef which is a few km out from Plymouth is one spot from mid June through the summer where you have a good chance of finding a Basking Shark gracefully cruising around.

Diving off the wreck, Credit

The other year round attraction of Plymouth to divers are the many historic and interesting wrecks around the area, most of which have become artificial reefs full of life. There are a huge range of these at different depths, so there are wrecks to visit for all abilities such as Glen Strathallen that sits at a max depth of 15-16m so is great for all levels of diver, the Rosehill which was torpedoed and sunk now sits at 30m, so can be accessed by most recreational divers, then wrecks such as the HMS Foyle or Totnes Castle which sit deeper than 40m and can only be visited by technical divers.

Out of the huge range of dives in the area one of the deeper sites to try for experienced divers is the Dropoff. This site, as you would expect from the name, is a wall from 30m to 40m an excellent spot for huge Conger Eels and Lobsters. The area is very pretty covered in a dense forest of a variety of fan corals and sponges which usually has great viz which allows you to take in the beauty of this area.

Plymouth fish, Credit

Another area with great viz and just 10mins boat ride out from Plymouth sound are the Mewstone Ledges. The area is predominantly rock based which is a major factor in the good viz as there is hardly any silt. The rock formations make great photographs and have an abundance of marine life sheltering amongst them and is an excellent area for dogfish.

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How to Get there

Plymouth is located in Devon very close to the border with Cornwall in the South West of England.

International visitors to the country can easily reach Plymouth by flying into one of the main airports in London and then catch one of the many methods of public transport across the country. There are also many domestic flights (Plymouth or Exeter Airport) that can get them closer without the 3/4hr drive.

Plymouth Citybus, Credit

The easiest method of travel in the UK, when not spending time exclusivly in towns, so depending on your plans a hire car can make all the difference.

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Other Activities

Plymouth also has some gorgeous countryside very close such as Dartmoor which is a great place for some hiking or camping.   This beautiful area of the country and it is well worth taking the time to explore.

Plymouth City Centre, Credit

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