Diving in Falmouth Bay and surrounds

Falmouth is UK renowned as a great diving location not only because of its accessible shore dives but because of the wonderful variety of offshore dives within the bay of Falmouth. With reef and wreck dives galore, there is something to suit most abilities and weather conditions whilst diving in Falmouth Bay. Here are just a selection:

Old Wall – 1 mile south of St Anthony Lighthouse an area of flat rock and course sand with a good deal of marine life, including ballen, cuckoo, goldsinny, rock cook, pollack and dogfish.

Rock Island Bridge – an American registered steamship holed in a collision off the Lizard and towed into the mouth of the Helford for repair. This proving to be impossible she was salvaged and then flattened by explosives. She lies in 12m of water, on sand and a real haven for marine life.

Caroni River – was a large oil tanker that sank in January 1940 after striking a magnetic mine. Due to her position, she was a hazard to navigation and was flattened by explosives. She lies in three sections, on a sandy bottom and in about 25m of water. Renowned for Conger, the area is home to all the local wrasse species and is often covered with large shoals of bib.

Petersen – was a Danish steam ship that sank in 1918 after a collision with another vessel. She was flattened by explosives due to being a navigational hazard. Today she is completely broken, with her cargo of iron ore forming a large mound in her centre. Home to conger, dogfish and wrasse species.

Volnay – on Friday, 14th December 1914, the Volnay hit a German mine on the Manacles. Fortunately its cargo, which was made up partly of shells, did not explode and the captain was able to divert from the planned course to Falmouth to the bay at Porthallow. Before reaching it, the Volnay began to sink and the remainder of its cargo was washed up on Porthallow Beach. A lot of the wreck has been flattened but it is still possible to locate the boilers and distinguish the keel. The Volnay is two minutes north from Porthkerris Cove.

The Manacles – one of the most famous dive sites in the UK, with some spectacular scenic diving encompassing shallow reefs, pinnacles and drop offs. The area is very tidal and is home to great diversity of invertebrate life, including jewel anemones, sea fans and dead mans fingers. The area has claimed hundreds of ships over the centuries, the most famous of these perhaps being SS Mohegan. Several dive operators offer diving excursions.