Falmouth Bay in Cornwall has excellent diving and is
a sheltered location. Falmouth diving offers great wreck
and shore diving. It has natural reefs and the Gulf Stream warms
its waters. Encounters with seals, dolphins, basking sharks
and pilot whales are common here. The aquatic life is
abundant and the availability of both shallow and deeper dive
sites give a great opportunity to both novices and advanced divers
to get the most satisfaction out of the dives.
Air temperature during the year 4°C - 22°C (39
- 71°F) Visibility often averaging 6-10 metres (20 - 33 feet)
Coldest time: November to April Warmest
time: June to August. Possible to dive all year round
Best time to dive July to October
Gyllyngvase Beach is a nice beach with good facilities,
great snorkelling and some wreckage. It's ideal for families.
Located west of Castle beach it offers good shallow diving just
off the beach.
The scenic and wreck diving here is good and the marine
life abundant. Further out divers can get to the Ponus, the wreckage
of an oil tanker that went down in 1916.
Castle Beach has some good shore diving and snorkeling.
The best time to dive is at high tide. On reaching Castle
Beach look for the ramp. About 50 metres (164 feet) west of the
ramp there's a break in the rocks which gives the best access.
You can the follow one of the shallow breaks in the rock that
will bring you to a sandy bottom with islands of rock. Some
of the marine life here includes dogfish, cuttlefish and plaice.
On the eastern side of this site you may find remains of a WW1
U-Boat. Although there's very little left of this wreckage it
still makes an interesting dive spot and at low waters snorkelling
is possible but make sure not to get caught in the high waters.
Swanpool Beach offers good shallow shore diving
with the depth going to about 7 metres (23 feet) which makes it
ideal for snorkeling. The beach is shallow and sandy, just follow
the reefs, either to the left or right.
Pendennis Point can be accessed from the east
or west end. It has lots of marine life but in summer can be a
little kelpy. There are rocks and kelp and lots of nooks.
Beware though, access can be difficult with rocks to scramble
over and climbing out on steep rock. Also, there's a lot of boat
traffic here so special attention must be paid. Divers
are advised to use an smb and keep to one side or the
Silver Steps is the most popular location for
shore diving in the Falmouth area. Access is easy and there's
a good variety of marine life. This site has steel steps that
lead to the access beach which explains it's name. This is a very
easy dive suitable for training and for novices and the marine
life includes cuttlefish and occasionally seen
are sea horses. The remains of some German U-boats
can also be seen here.
The Volnay is the wreck of a steamship that went
down while transporting ammunition and luxury goods. During the
dive you can spot wooden packing case material and lead balls.
The marine life around this wreck include the cuckoo wrasse and
The SS Mohegan went down in 1898 and a lot of
people perished in the accident. The depth of this wreck is estimated
between 15 and 28 metres (49 and 91 feet). Brightly colored
plumrose and jewel anemones are present here.
The SS Stanwood is the wreckage of a steamship
that went down in 1939 when her cargo of coal caught fire. She
lies on the North Bank slope in Carrick Roads. Despite the heavy
salvaging operations that took place you can still see lumps of
coal and large sections of the wreckage. There are large
schools of fish on this site, plumrose anemones and congers.
The Hera went down in 1914. She was a German
barque that was going from Chile to Falmouth with a cargo of nitrates.
She is a beautiful wreck and lies at a shallow depth of about
18 metres (59 feet). Big sections of the hull and the masts are
still intact. Encounters with the ballan wrasse and large
pollock are common on this site. You may also see jewel, dahlia
and plumrose anemones. A worthwhile dive.
The U-Boats were allocated to the Falmouth fo
gunnery exercises when the WW1 ended. They were moored off Gyllngvase
Beach and a November storm once struck breaking their moorings
and driving them onto the rocks. They now lie at a depth of about
9 metres (29 feet) and you can explore different sections including
a solitary boiler.
The Ponus is a 5077 ton tanker that sunk in November
1916 on Gyllyngvase Reef while transporting oil. She caught fire
and then burned for 3 days. Large wrasse hang around the
wreck and the reef has gullies which have lots of pollock and