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:4°C (39°F) from January to
March to 14°C (64°F). 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
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