| Isle of Man has spectacular diving, abundant marine life and
a large variety of wrecks. Isle of Man diving offers sites for
divers with different experiences. There are both shallow
and deep wrecks. The Isle of Man's position in the Irish
Sea gives it the advantages of the Gulf Stream that brings clear
waters with it and lots of marine life. The south of the island
offers the best diving, especially around the Calf of Man which
is also very popular for the common seal.
Average air temperature during the year: 4.9
C (41 F) - 28.9 C (84 F) Visibility often averaging 10-20 metres
Coldest time: February
Warmest time: July and August
Best time to dive: Summer
Beware, the Island of Man has very srtong tidal streams
both offshore and inshore. Slack water seldom occurs at high or
low waters, it is different in different location and lasts only
Some of the dive sites in the Isle of Man are:
The Iron Pier and the Dolphin. The Iron Pier
runs out from Ramsey Beach, north of the island. There's a
dolphin detatched at the end (this is a concrete structure,
not a real dolphin), with maximum depth of 14 metres (45 feet)
during high tide. There's a lot of marine life here including
crabs, lobsters and scallops. If you continue north from
the pier you will reach the Dolphin. Most of
the structure is now collapsed but still makes a great dive with
loads of marine life that includes conger eels and lobsters.
Also to be seen here are curious tompot blennies
that will occasionally come out of the crevices and cracks to
take a peek at you!
Peel Castle and Fenella Beach. This is a great
site as you can circle around the castle grounds. This dive is
usually done as a loop which means there's no need to go back
on your tracks, you explore new areas through the dive. Setting
off behind the food kiosk, you can climb in over the rocks at
the breakwater. When there's some swell it becomes very tricky
and it's a long way to go over the rocks at low tide, something
to always take into consideration. As you go round the castle
to Fenella beach you'll go past a kelp
forest, a few caves and then to the rocky sides of the
cliff face. An encounter with seals is most likely
This dive can also be done in the opposite direction
beginning at Fenella and coming out at the back of the breakwater.
However, keep in mind that entry here is difficult therefore the
exit could be even more difficult. Should the rocks be too dangerous
at breakwater you can always start and fish at Fenella. Another
thing, the breakwater toilets flush right into the sea behind
the breakwater, so avoid the outlet! If you're looking for an
easy dive you may want to go for the south side of Fenella beach
and just follow the rocks in a straight line, there are a few
rock channels here worth the visit.
Calf Sound is the stretch of water between the
mainland and the Isle of Man. This is a great drift dive where
drift and wreck diving are combined and it's
not so crowded. Starting out at Gibdale Bay you
will go through a kelp forest which thins out
and gives way to a bank of large rocks. These end up on a sandy
gravel bottom where you may spot wrasses and lobsters.
Encounters with the basking shark are frequent
The visbility here is excellent and may go upto
30 metres (98 feet) but if you're not into a very fastmoving drift
dive this is not for you.
The Sugarloaf Caves are situated almost 10 minutes
from Port St. Mary and are accesible only by boat.
There are two separate caves.
The first, The Cave of the Birds goes directly
into the cliff face and as you penetrate it gets darker and narrower.
After the initial walls there's a large junction
where some sunlight penetrates and you can see amazingly colourful
sponges, hydroids and anemones. Deeper in the The Cave of the
Birds you may encounter some seals. The cave the opens out and
leads into the Fairy Hall which is a wide cave with two exits.
The rock faces are home to plenty of colurful life including
dead mens fingers, anemones, sponges, sea squirts and loads of
different hydroids. If you exit the cave and swim around
sugarloaf rock you will have the special treat of seeing a colony
of gulls and guillemots.
On the southern end of the Island of Man is the
Borru, a rocky cliff with enormous underwater boulders. This is
a slack water dive and goes to 40 metres (131 feet). Some
marine life to be seen here are wrasse and edible crabs as well
as jewel anemones and plumose. Basking sharks have been seen here.
The Wreck of the Glendun in Maughold is a Belfast
steamer that sunk in 1940. This wreck is accessible by boat only.
Most of the structure is destroyed and strewn about the area but
still makes a great dive. The maximum depth is 12 metres (39 feet)
and it's near the cliffs which makes it an interesting scenic
dive and a fairly easy one. The top of the boiler can be seen
from the surface.