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Oban Diving

Scuba diving > UK diving > Scotland > Oban diving
Oban dive guide

Oban diving offers a variety of intact wrecks, walls, superb scenery and abundant marine life. Oban also known as the 'diving capital' of the west coast of Scotland boasts a wide range of marine life such as seals, porpoises, whales, conger eels and wrasse just to name a few.

Always dive according to your level of training. Never enter the water without checking with the local dive center for safety, additional information, level required for each dive site and without being accompanied by a professional. All the information provided is purely informative for our readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.

Water temperature:4C (39F) from January to March to 14C (64F). July to September
Best time to dive: June to September
Visibility average: 5-20 metres (15-65 feet)

From Oban divers can visit all the famous
Sound of Mull wrecks
, including Hispania, Rhondo, Thesis, Shuna and the Breda. The sound of Mull, located between the Isle of Mull and the Morven Peninsula of mainland Scotland, has numerous picturesque wrecks at shallow depths like the Shuna and deeper ones like the Rondo. However there aren't only wrecks to be dived here. Rocky outcrops, like Calve Island, offer interesting wall dives with faulted ledges and overhangs.

When diving in Oban, tides and slack water can be unpredictable. The bad weather in the area accounts for the number of wrecks found here. Beware when diving here because on many dive sites the tide is never completely slack, therefore precautions have to be taken as there can always be a current. Fortunately, the lochs and islands provide a good number of interesting sites that are sheltered.

The Firth of Lorn is a favorite for encounters with porpoises, dolphins and whales. Over the last years years the west coast of Scotland has become the best place to see the basking shark. However, the beauty of this area isn't only underwater.
Above the water you may see grey seals, otters and common seals. Here the the enormous sea cliffs of uninhabited islands plunge into clear nutrient rich oceanic waters. The rocky seabed, is covered in rare and beautiful sealife, like anemones, sea fans, sponges and starfish.

Some Oban Dive sites are:

Breda a very popular wreck is situated off the mainland north of Oban. Sunk in December 1940 under bombing by Germans, she had a valuable cargo including aeroplanes and military vehicles. breda lies in Ardmucknish bay at about 30 metres (98 feet). The marine life on this wreck includes velvet swimming crabs, pollack and dragonets, feather stars and the common starfish. A torch should be considered when diving this site.

Hispania wreck a steel cargo steamship that sank in the Sound of Mull in 1954 while transporting a cargo of steel, asbestos and rubber from Liverpool to Sweden is one of the most dived wrecks in Scotland. She is entirely intact apart from wooden fittings that have rotted with time and brass fittings that were salvaged. Now lying at around 30 metres 898 feet) the wreck is covered in spectacular sea life. This site should be dived at slack water due to the strong tides in the area. A dive for only experienced divers.

Thesis sank in October 1889 while transporting pig iron from Middlesborough to Belfast. A good part of the superstructure and decking is gone. She lies only a few metres from the Morvern shore. Strong currents sweep this site, therefore is only suited to experienced divers. In general the visibility is quite good and squat lobsters, sun star fish, scallops and blenny can be seen on this site.Some very spectacular sun starfish as well as blenny, ballan wrasse, scallops and squat lobsters can be found at this site.

'Heather' Island is a small island with spectacular drop offs between Kerrera and the mainland. This site is sheltered and close to Oban which makes it a good opportunity to dive in the case of bad weather.

Lochaline Pier is a rocky wall completely covered in marine life and goes from about 10 to 85 metres (33- 278 feet). Abundant with squat lobsters this site is suitable for all levels of experience.

Shuna's hull is intact although the deck has already collapsed. She still contains her cargo of steel. '

The Slippers' has a spectacular vertical wall, overhung in places to more than 40 metres (131 feet). On getting into the water you encounter a forest of kelp below which are jewel anemones and a variety of hydroids and sponges. On reaching around 28 metres (91 feet), on the underside of overhangs, you may see the really rare pink soft coral. The cracks are home to lobsters, ling and a whole variety of life.

Eagle's Wall got this name because a family of golden eagles are frequently seen in this area. The wall drops from the surface to about 20 metres (65 feet) where there's an abundance of Allaria, kelp and anemones. Beneath this first wall is a boulder slope with large numbers of cuckoo, ballan and goldsinny wrasse. Under this is drop from around 30 to 40 metres (98-131 feet).

The Torran Rocks are located south-west end of the Isle of Mull. Although difficult to access this site is worth the dive. The Torran Rocks are exposed to the full force of the Atlantic swells, and therefore only diveable in settled weather. The visibilty is excellent and the area has an abundance of hydroids and jewel anemones as well as exceptional marine life. There are exceptional drift dives to be done here as well.

The archipelago of islands forms a lot of tidal channels. Some have gentle drifts that could allow diving for the less experienced while others offer the most extreme challenges.

Cuan Sound is sheltered and easily accessible from Balvicar. This gives it the advantage of being diveable even when other sites have been ruled out due to weather conditions. In this tidal channel all rock surfaces are covered in coulourful marine life. Purple anemone, Sargartia elegans var cuanensis and a very scarce kind of sponge. Due to the strong tides here some of the dives in Cuan are suitable only for experienced divers but there are less tricky sites for less experienced divers nearby.

Dunchonnuil Sound is a channel located between two of the islands in the Garvellachs chain. At slack water this is a good site for underwater photographers. When the tide is at it's fastest this site offers an exciting derift dive for very advanced divers. However if the timing is good and the weather favorable less experienced divers can enjoy a dive here in clear water.

You can get to Oban using British Airways and EasyJet who operate flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. There are also trains and bus services operating from Glasgow and Fort William to Oban. If you're driving, the M8 west from Glasgow leads to the A82 along Loch Lomond and the A85 to Oban.

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