Some of Our Favourite Dive Sites
This information is for the dive sites we use the most. All information on this page is the personal opinion of the writer and not necessarily the view of Xarifa SAC, its Committee or other members.
Dive Sites 1 – Capernwray
As a club, we use Capernwray a great deal and it is one of our favourite dive sites. We find it to be an excellent site to take trainees to and still gives qualified divers something to do and somewhere to practice their skills.
Capernwray has plenty to see beneath the water and a great deal of time and effort has been spent on providing a large number of underwater attractions, more than most dive sites for its size. The latest one of these is a Hawker Sydley HS 748, registration G-BVOV, twin turbo prop passenger aircraft which is complete. The tail section has been removed but is feet from where it attached to allow a safe swim through.
For those staying topside and of course for replenishing those lost calories between dives, the Porthole restaurant is the first stop for most on arrival and at dinner times. BBQ food is served during the warmer months along with a good range of food and drink inside.
There is a comprehensive shop, air fills of course and an onsite servicing centre as well.
Diving at Capernwray costs £12 a day and all divers need to be registered. Trainee divers can obtain a discounted membership to see them through training which is then upgraded on completion of their course. Membership fees are a one off and do not to be renewed annually.
Capernwray has an excellent website which can be found here; http://www.dive-site.co.uk which contains a live underwater feed, map of the attractions and loads of interesting pictures and information.
Dive Sites 2 – The Delph
Otherwise known as Ecclestone (or Eccy) Delph is a dive site that is much closer to home than Capernwray and provides another option without the need for too much travel.
The water clarity is definitely not as good and has a green tinge to it but in fact this writer likes it here! Visibility really isn’t that bad, just so long as careless divers don’t kick up the silt, especially in the sump where it will become totally black in seconds.
There are quite a lot of fish to be seen at this site, especially if a diver takes the time to visit the shallow margins and weed beds where as well as the obligatory Trout, there are Perch, Roach, Carp and even Koi.
The Delph have a small heated pool next to the water making it an ideal training venue. There is of course the usual shop and service centre, air fills and the cafe does some very good food and drink. It has to be said that the toilets could do with some work here though. As dives sites go though, this is fairly local, so quick to get to and is great for a change.
Diving is £10 per day with a 2 yearly renewable membership required, also costing £10.
The Delph website is here; http://www.thedelph.co.uk/
Dive Sites 3 – Stoney Cove
Stoney is a very large dive site and can get very busy indeed. Parking near the water is gone about 5 minutes after the gate is opened after which you find there is quite a walk with kit from the overflow car park. ‘Diver log’ members can book a parking space but this costs an extra £10 on top of the daily rates and you will usually find that even then, you are not allowed spaces close to the entry points which is strange if you are paying extra for the privilege.
Stoney has the best of all the dive site shops and the prices here are very competitive as well and it’s not unusual for them to be running some really good offers on shiny new kit. The cafe on the other hand is just an open air hatch to the kitchen of the onsite pub and the queue can get a long. The pub on the other hand is a great place for a meal and chilling out at the end of the day, especially when you don’t have to drive home again.
Underwater attractions are large and spread out around the bottom of the lake. The hydro box is the deepest of these at around 35 meters. Unless you need a depth progression, I would skip this and stick to the other things such as the Stengarth. Running around the margins is great for fish life and it’s not unusual to be face to face with a large pike poking it’s head out of the weeds at you.
There is no enforced membership but if you don’t join ‘Diver log’, you pay more to dive. Standard rates are a hefty £17 a day but if you are a diver log member costing £25 for 2 years, this goes down to £11 a day. Add to this a booked parking spot and air fills and Stoney isn’t a cheap day out but it is a good dive site and well worth a few visits a year.
Stoney’s website can be found here; http://www.stoneycove.com
Dive Sites 4 – Vivian Quarry
One of the smaller dive sites but with spectacular surroundings. This dive sites centre is a small hut where you may find yourself being face to face with a squirrel or a robin, who pop in and out freely for a feed.
The dive site entrance is right by the national slate museum and also a steam railway, all set against a stunning backdrop of the Welsh hills.
The changing rooms are in the middle of the large car park and from here to the water entry point is a quite a hike with kit on. The water itself is small, very small in fact but one thing is for sure, you’re never going to get very lost in here or have a long surface swim back if you do. There is a very limited amount of things to see down there but when you see the size of the entry tunnel to the water, you can see that getting anything to the water to put in is tricky to say the least. I do like the little blast hut though.
There aren’t many dive sites that will stay open to let 1/2 a dozen Xarifa reprobates have a night dive though so kudos for that!
Annual membership to Vivian is a very reasonable £5 and it’s only £10 a day to dive (non members £12).
Vivian’s website can be found here; http://www.viviandivecentre.co.uk
Dive Sites 5 – Angelsey
Being about as far from the sea as it’s possible to be in this country, we are a bit stuck for a spot of saltwater dive sites. As a club we have a yearly long weekend in Plymouth and in 2012 hope to be returning for a long weekend in the Farnes again. For most of our saltwater fixes though we generally find ourselves in Angelsey where there are a choice of dive sites. It’s not to far to get to and if the conditions are right the visibility can be quite good.
Most of the dive sites we do here such as at Ravens Point (pictured) are quite shallow, often less than 10 meters. However, if you get the conditions and the right time of year there is loads to see from wrasse and spider crabs to lobster and very big jelly fish. With a bit of luck and good weather, this can be a really enjoyable place to dive.