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This is very much a shallow shake down dive or a first open water dive site for trainees since it is difficult to exceed 10 metres in depth. The visibility here is usually better than in Wigtown Bay because there are fewer river outfalls. The line of the dive is WSW out and ENE return so as to avoid the harbour entrance. Diving from the beach you will encounter few currents.
The entry is over a cobbled sea bed with short animal turf and a mussel bed to your left. This quickly gives way to a sandy belt followed at around 6 metres by a wide belt of small boulders covered by kelp forest. Here among the kelp fronds the wild life is interesting. Ballan and cuckoo wrasse can be seen along with pipe fish and numerous dogfish. Starfish are common as are smaller velvet swimming crabs. Lumpsuckers have also been seen in the shallows where they come to nurture their eggs.
At the far edge of the boulder belt, quite some distance from shore in around 10 metres of water the kelp thins out and a flat sandy sea bed stretches out into the bay. These are good scallop beds, but they are regularly cleaned out by dredgers.
The waters at the Scares Rocks tend to be some of the clearest in our area, however the very strong tidal stream which flows around them means that this is very much a location for slack water dives. Visibility is often better during neap tides since the strong currents associated with spring tides often stir up sand from the seabed.
The surrounding sea bed lies at around 28 metres and the two areas of rock rise up sheer from oval platforms which sit at around 19m . The exposed position of the rocks and the effect of winter storms mean that little filter feeder growth attaches itself to them apart from in sheltered crevices. Lobster and crab are easily seen and the rocks are also the principal home of the Solway’s small population of grey seals. They are quite curious of divers and underwater encounters are possible. The Big Scare on the other hand is a major breeding area for gannets and the smell of guano can be quite over powering when down wind.
The general topography under water around the Little Scares is one of walls and canyons with boulders on the seabed at around 19m. The upper surfaces of the rocks are covered in kelp forest with Dead Men’s Fingers in crevices on the vertical surfaces beneath. Fish life around the rocks is prolific with shoals of pollack, bib and various types of wrasse.
The seabed to the NE of the Big Scare is a flattish area of boulders which is sheltered from the flood tide. It lies at 17.5m and is notable for the large number of Fried Egg Anemones. A more scenic area with rich animal turf and sea life lies about 100m WNW from the rock. Similarly the area just off the southern side of the rock shows a more interesting underwater topography of steep pinnacles though as of yet we have not dived here.
P. Port William Waste Pipe (Shore) -
The old pipe extends out to sea down a gentle slope made up of alternating bands of sand, gravel and small boulders covered in weeds. At 9 metres is a very large boulder. There are many dogfish and small crabs to be seen. A good training dive, shallow, often clear and with things to see.
Below is a brief description of our scenic dive sites. Scroll down to read more about specific sites P to R. Some sites have additional information in the form of Seasearch reports.