Having, as a schoolboy, endured a most appallingly rough sea crossing from Penzance to St.Mary’s, it was with relief that our Club trip to the Scillies in June 2016 proved wonderfully uneventful. The voyage over is a classic mini sea voyage with all the organised chaos of the departure as diving gear is stacked into shipping containers, cars being hoisted aboard in slings and the exciting ritual of going up the gang plank and then finding somewhere to perch for the trip itself. As we slid west past the cliffs and bays of Cornwall on our way west towards the Scillies excited passengers pointed out a small pod of dolphins determinedly ploughing eastwards.
The low lying Scillies soon appeared on the horizon and before long the lovely gentle rolling landscape of the islands became apparent and we eased our way onto the wharf on St Marys. The well oiled machinery once more swung into action as the containers were swung ashore.
Our dives were for the most part on the flat rock ledges or deep gullies of St Mary’s and St Martin where, when the tide was running, the glorious colours of jewel sea anemones were displayed. Tim’s Crack (I suspect this may not be the name on the hydrographic charts but is the name assigned by our skipper) was like swimming around the palette of a painter as the pictures I think demonstrate.
Interspersed with dropping in on grey seals lounging around East Cove on St Martin’s, the diving was marvellous. With good viz (circa 10m for the most part) and at a very comfortable depth (average 25 metres) and protected from big swells, the diving is hugely rewarding and enjoyable.
Our club, for the most part, is carnivorous in appetite (a large crab or lobbie on a complicated wreck in very poor viz being staple fare). This was distinctly vegetarian diving in contrast. The principle delights of Scilly diving is that whatever the weather (within reason) a sheltered spot can nearly always be found. In decent sunny weather, the low lying islands, with gorgeous beaches look more Caribbean than Cornwall.