Some Cornish Dive Sites
The western tip of Cornwall - the Penwith peninsula that includes
Land's End - presents superlative diving that can match or exceed many
other dive sites in the world. Visibility is usually good and the sea
life is excellent. Tidal streams can be fierce since the waters of the
Atlantic, the English Channel and the Bristol Channel all meet here.
There have been many shipwrecks.
Longships is possibly the best dive site in Cornwall. Longships is
the reef just 1.5 miles west of Land's End. The extensive reef is
crowned by a famous lighthouse.
Diving the Longships usually means launching from Sennen Cove near
the lifeboat station. An early presence in the car park during the
summer season is a good idea. It's a short ride from Sennen to
Longships. The Longships reef is always subject to strong tidal flows
but the varied underwater topography means that divers can tuck into
sheltering canyons and crevices quite easily. Avoid large tides.
Dive at slack water (HW at Newlyn) during springs. At neaps you
can dive much of the time apart from full ebb of flow. Visibility is
usually good to excellent.
Diving is simply stunning. Canyons, drop offs and jewel anenome covered
walls abound as do the fish life and encrusting sponges and corals.
with colour, scenery and atmosphere. Buoyancy control is crucial as
depths of over 40m are easily attained and the unwary can be swept down
by strong currents. There are seals around. The best gullies are to the
west of the lighthouse. To the south the scenery is not as dramatic,
whereas to the north there are some excellent reefs.
In good visibility this site is world class diving.
Another superb site that is a magnet for Cornish diving. The
Runnelstone is about 1 mile due south of the SW peninsula of
Land's End. There are many wrecks around the rock. Until 1923 the
tip of the Runnelstone peeked above the waves, a danger to
shipping. The steamer - City of Westminster - put paid to that
when it banged into the rock and knocked the top bit off as it
The Runnelstone must be dived on slack - and best on neaps.
Diving the Runnelstone is a mixture of scenic and wreck diving. It
is not for the inexperienced - both divers and boat handlers. The
stone is a granite rock that lies about 6m below the surface and
goes down to 33m and more. Here you'll find the impressive remains
of the City of Westminster plus the debris from some other wrecks.
The wrecks mainly lie on the western side of the rock - on the
eastern are impressive gulleys and canyons with shoals of pollack
and others that are waiting to meet you. Very colourful.
Visibility is often good.
The Bucks are easily dived from Lamorna. The site is just
offshore from the Tater Du lighthouse that was built in 1965. In
good conditions this is an idyllic part of the Cornish coast.
bad weather this is a hell hole. It was near here that the tragedy
of the Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne happened in 1981.
The Bucks is an offshore reef that has two
pinnacles (the Inner and Outer Bucks) that dry out at low water.
In good vis the Outer Bucks are an excellent dive. It is easy
get 40m here although 25m will give you a pretty spectacular dive.
Probably the best dive is to circle the Outer Bucks pinnacle
the south. There are a lot of jewel anenome encrusted walls, fish
and a couple of well disguised swim throughs.
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