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Isle of Man Diving

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Isle of Man dive guide
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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 (36-65 feet)
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 15 minutes.

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 here.

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 here.
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.

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