Isle of Man: Basking Sharks & Wrecks
We have just secured a trip to the Isle of Man for some beautiful scenic and wreck diving. This trip is ideal for PADI Advanced Open Water Divers who have done at least one UK sea diving trip before.
Securing your place on the boat requires a £100 deposit, which can be done right now by clicking the BOOK NOW button. To ensure you get most out of your trip, Scuba Leeds recommends both PADI Deep Diver and SMB Specialty Diver, which can be conveniently arranged before or during this trip if you are not yet trained.
The Burroo, with its extremely diverse and plentiful marine life, offers a truly magnificent dive. In fact, in areas exposed to the fast flow, it is something of a challenge to find a single square centimetre of bare bedrock, so abundant is the life here. We can only agree with the numerous experienced divers, underwater photographers and marine biologists who repeatedly acclaim it to be one of the best in the British Isles.
On the south side of the Burroo, the main cliff face continues underwater into a short vertical drop and then becomes a bedrock slope. At around 15m, this provided a good, sheltered entry point. From the base of these underwater cliffs, a rocky incline with intermittent large bedrock mounds and boulders runs off into depths in the 40’s to the south and west. A couple of large bowl-shaped gullies, one of which is referred to as ‘the amphitheatre’, can be found there. Trapped at the base of one of the small underwater faces in this area was a huge timber, no doubt from a ship, and possibly part of one of the many unknown wrecks in this part of the Irish Sea.
Tidal streams off the Burroo are amongst the most severe around the Isle of Man. Strong overfalls, up currents and eddies are commonplace; this is definitely a slack water dive! As the sea plies tumultuously around the exposed rocky promontory, animals living in this current swept environment receive a deluge of suspended, planktonic organisms from the passing water. This forms an abundant food source for a dazzling multitude of ‘suspension-feeding’ animals that proliferate here in the gullies and on the flanks of the underwater cliff faces.
The Sugarloaf Caves
The Sugarloaf Caves, situated just around the corner from Port St Mary on the Isle of Man, are an excellent Dive Site for all levels. The caves are only accessible by boat, but it’s just a short hop from either Port Erin or Port St Mary.
Lying behind the Sugarloaf rock itself, you have some shelter for easy kit up and entrance, before descending down to a maximum depth of around 12m and journeying into the cave system. All but the end of the Cave of the Birds are actually surfacable, but the narrow and shear rock faces shut out the natural light and give an exciting dive.
After swimming between the first walls, you come out at a large junction, providing some stunning light effects as shears of sun penetrate the tiny gaps before heading through the next “cave”. Using torches, you’ll see the walls covered in hydroids, sponges and anemones. With such a covering, some of the anemones, sponges and barnacles sit on top of each other, fighting for room! Soon enough you’ll be heading into the deep Cave of the Birds – a common home for a few friendly seals, known to follow and play with you all the way home as you return on your path back to the boat.
The Diving Facilities
We are working with a dive centre that can accommodate all our divers’ needs. There is a full outdoor wash area for you to rinse down your gear at the end of each day, and plenty of storage for all your gear between every days’ diving. The dive centre offers our divers tea, coffee and biscuits in the Kit Room, so you can start and finish your day relaxing with a brew and a Hob Nob.
There is an indoor drying room for those unforseen leaks that sometimes occur with drysuit diving (or for those of you wishing to dive semi-dry wetsuits). The drying room also has toilet facilities and the added bonus of both free washing machine and tumble dryer in the unlikely event of serious suit leaks.
The diving will be completed from either a 10m or 12m RIB, however do not be fooled, these ribs are Redbay Stormforce RIBS and have been custom fitted with a lift and indoor seating area for all divers. These really are about as good as it gets for the local environment of the Isle of Man.
Scuba Leeds would recommend PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and 20 logged dives, of which a minimum of 4 dives should be UK sea dives from a boat before the start of this trip. This will mean you can get the most out of your experience from dive 1, and have a good idea of your weighting for the sea with the cylinders and kit being used.
Please note that this is a UK Sea Diving trip; as such, all dive sites are subject to weather conditions and adverse weather can affect site selection. The choice of dive site is at the absolute discretion of the Captain and the Scuba Leeds Trip Leader.
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