Aberdeenshire coastline in the North Sea offers a good
range of scuba diving to suit all levels of divers. The dives
include shallow wrecks suitable for novices and more challenging
ones for the more advanced diver as well as numerous reefs, seal
colonies and resident dolphins.
Air temperature fluctuates between -1 °C (-34°F)
and 18 °C (64°F) Visibility is variant. Some places can go up
to 20 metres (65 feet) Coldest time: December
- February, temperatures drop as low as -1°C (-34°F) warmest
time: (June - August) the average high is 17 °C (63 °F)
The wettest months are October and November The variety of diving
in Aberdeen is remarkable.
The East Coast has many interesting dive spots
including some really interesting wrecks.
Another place that is worth mentionning is The Moray Firth
which extends from Peterhead in the North East of Scotland up
to the tip. The port of entry is Aberdeen airport. There
are a couple of charter boats operating the Moray Firth area and
liveaboard diving can also be done. Water access is possible
in a many places and tidal streams are not a big problem save
for the areas around the major headlands where strong Northerly
or Easterly winds may cause large swells.
The Moray Firth is famous for it's dolphins and whales,
the most common species being the Bottlenose Dolphin
and the Harbour Porpoise. Mink whales
have been spotted occasionally. The Inner Moray Firth is designated,
a Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation purposes and
has something for every diver, be it scenic diving or the awesome
Some dive sites around Aberdeen are: Crawton
Reef a few miles south of Stonehaven goes down to about
17 metres (56 feet) of depth and has lots of marine life. There
are crevices full of life. The visibility varies and can go upto
about 9 metres (29 feet).
Dundonnie Reef, a little south of Petrhead makes
a very nice dive where encounters with seals are possible and
which has lots of other marine life. There are guite a few gullies
to take shelter in from the current but beware, strong currents
are reported here.
Baku Standard is the wreck of a tanker lying off Gourdon.
This wreck is quite intact with an impressive stern gun pointing
upwards. There is some visible torpedo damage at the front of
the bridge area. This wreck is rarely dived and the visibility
varies a lot from very bad, hardly 1 metre (3 feet) to almost
18 metres (59 feet). This area is very exposed to tides. Catterline
Island usually done as a shore dive is situated a few miles south
This is a nice dive with abundant marine life including lots
of crabs, congers, lobsters and angler fish. The visibility
usually doesn't exceed 5-6 metres (15-20 feets) though. Seals
are often encountered on the surface.
Muriel is the wreck of a collier that went dowm
under torpedo fire in 1918. She lies a few miles off Peterhead
in 50 metres (164 feet) of water. Starting from the boilers to
the back the wreck is intack, however the decks have given way.
Visibility can be as good as 12 metres (39 feet) and more.
There are some artefacts littered around the wreck and the stern
is still standing. Beware, currents can get very strong. Taurus
lying off Gourdon sank in 1941 after being bombed. It lies at
about 52 metres (170 feet) and makes a fascinating dive. It's
pretty intact. The bridge section rises up to about 39 metres
(128 feet) & the deckhouse over the engine room to 42 metres (137
feet). The stern section lies in an almost upright position on
its port side revealing the splendor of the ship it was before.
Some Moray Firth area dive sites are:
Dillon's Cave is approximately 5 metres (15 feet)
wide and 60 metres (196 feet) long. Seals coming in and out of
the north side of the cave are a common sight. One branch leads
to a cliff with an exit on the other end while the other branch
leads to a dead end. This cave was used in the shooting of the
film "Local Hero" making it famous. Picnic Site also called Rosehearty,
situated west of Rosehearty is an excellent shore dive.
The access is easy and the visbility so good
it can even go up to 20 metres (65 feet). Close to the shore,
the depth doesn't exceed 15 metres (49 feet). Should you want
a slightly deeper dive go north and you will find 20 metres (65
feet) of water. Verona wreck which used to be a luxury yacht and
sank during the First World War after hitting a mine. She carries
a big shot in her boiler. You can still see the beauty of the
yacht but the once very impressive bow is now broken. The
visibility on this site is usually very good. Lots of dolphins
& porpoises can be encountered.
San Tiburcio wreck is an absolute favorite. The
San Tiburcio which was on His Majesty's Service from Scapa Flow
to Invergordon hit a mine in 1940 and broke in two. She was transporting
a cargo of fuel oil and Sunderland aeroplane floats meant for
the seaplane base in the Cromarty Firth. The bow is upright and
the deck is at about 30 metres (98 feet) and at 40 metres (131
feet) to the sea bed you can view the Port side anchor hanging
and moving in the current. The "flying bridge" running the full
lenght makes navigation of the bow section easy. The swim through
at the rear of the bow section will bring you to the remains of
the accomodation unit. You may also follow a permanent line that
links the bow and the stern section. Fram Bow
is a few miles out of Pennan Harbour and the best launching port
is Rosehearty harbour.
This wreck being so close to the shore makes
it a very popular dive and the visibility is also very good. Upon
sinking, the Fram's bow section went down to the seabed but the
stern section floated for some time before sinking. This explains
the distance between the bow and stern section. Apparently due
to the depth of the stern (around 50 metres, 164 feet), this section
is recommended for experienced or Trimix divers.
There are many other interesting wrecks in The Moray Firth area
such as Chrissie Craig a broken fishing boat
a few miles from Lossie, Meteo, a British merchant turned German
raider, Valentine Tank which sunk during the
World War II and is still in pretty good condition as well as
aircraft, military ships and U-boats.