Seal diving can be found at nearly all the Islands at some point during the year. During the summer months the population can be spread out over all the Islands with Longstone, Knivestone and Megstone producing some excellent seal encounters. As the summer comes to an end the animals move in towards the Islands for breeding which includes Wamses, Harcars, Blue Caps and Crumstone. The best seal diving can be found in water of less than 5 metres and some of the best dives in the Farne Islands are less than
2) Gun Rock - Depth 6-12mtrs
To the west of Staple Island lies Gun Rock, one of ten Islands at the Farnes only exposed at low tide. On the south west side lying in 6-8 metres of dense kelp forest are a number of cannons believed to be from one of the Spanish Armada. With a thorough search you can find several cannons and cannon balls encrusted into the seabed. Continue your dive along the west face of Gun Rock where you can see Octopus, Crab and often Grey Seals. Gun Rock is close to Staple Sound which is noted for strong currents.
3) St. Andre - Depth: 20-25mtrs
The St. Andre was a steel ship 70m long, 1100 tonnes which was carrying wrought iron on passage to Grangemouth. She sank in 1908 after hitting the Crumstone in thick fog then drifted towards Staple Island. Close to the cliff face of Staple Island the wreckage lies at a depth of 20-25m. The boilers and framework provide refuge for Crabs, Lobsters, Cod and Ling. The wreck site to the south of Staple Island can be dived at most times but it is best on a flooding tide.
4) Staple Island and The Pinnacles - Depth: 15-20mtrs
On the south side of Staple Island, huge cliff faces and the famous "Pinnacles Rocks" protrude 20 metres above the water with depths below of 15-20m. During Spring large numbers of seabirds nest on the cliffs and divers can watch the diving Puffins and Guillemots swimming past. Huge boulders are scattered around the seabed making this an ideal habitat for marine life. Numerous Ballan Wrasse are regulars at this site and can often be fed by hand. Close to Staple Island on the southeast corner lies the wreck of the St. Andre.
5) Piper Gut - Depth: 6-16mtrs / Drift dive
Between Big Harcar to the east and Wamses to the left runs piper gut, a channel of 20 metres wide with a depth of 6m between the Islands. A drift dive through Piper which planned, or even unplanned, can be exciting. The north side of Big Harcar is the spot where the Forfarshire ran aground in 1838, Grace Darling's famous rescue.
6) Blue Caps - Depth 15-25mtrs
Blue Caps is a popular scenic dive with depths of 25 metres at the east end ascending to 15 metres in a westerly direction. Vertical walls, gullies and overhangs are filled with colurful marine life and this is a good spot to find Lobster and Octopus. Grey Seals are reqular visitors at Blue Caps and can be found swimming in the shallows to the west of the rock and through the natural channel over a high water tide. Diving takes place on the south side of the Island usually over a flooding tide.
7) Longstone End - Depth 14-22 mtrs
Longstone End offers one of the best dives at the Farne Islands. This island is favoured by the seals, and the underwater sheer rock face is swept by two easterly currents each day which provides a wealth of marine life including Octopus, Lobster and several species of Nudibranch. Several gullies down to depths of 18 metres provide retreats for seals escaping the tidal flow. Diving can be timed over a slack water to include the Chris Christenson or a scenic dive along the wall in either direction. This site is also popular as a drift dive, catching the first or last of the tide.
8) Chris Christenson - Depth 32 mtrs
The Chris Christenson was a steel, 1500 ton, Danish steamship on passage to Newcastle upon Tyne. She was wrecked on Longstone End on 16th February 1915. The wreck lies just off Longstone End in a depth of 32 metres. Dived over a low water slack the wreck is well broken up and spread over the seabed with the boilers still standing proud. Like most wreck sites it is covered with marine life including Dead Mens Fingers and Squat Lobsters. Heading towards the sloping reef of Longstone End in a north westerly direction you will find the propeller at a depth of 21 metres along with other bits of wreckage. Any decompression stops can be spent on the wall at Longstone End admiring the marine life and seals who come down to visit.
9) Longstone - Hopper Rock - Depth 25 mtrs
The Hopper Rock is located on the east side of Longstone Island and has a vertical wall of 20 metres. The wall is full of marine life including Edible Crab, Lobster and Octopus. This is a frequent haunt for Grey Seals and subsequently a popular site with divers. To the west of Hopper Rock is a shallow lagoon named Brada, another well liked spot for seals. During a high water tide, seals often use several gullies to access deeper water from Brada to the east which provides lots of amusement for divers. As Brada is 4-5 metres deep at high tide, it offers great shallow diving for beginners and entertainment for divers watching the seals.
Northern Hares is located to the north side of Longstone. The dive site is spread over an area of reefs and underwater gullies. Depths can range from less than 10 metres on top of the reef to 20 metres down a face. Sponges and Anemones litter the walls and seabed with Lobsters and Crabs to be found in the crevices. In the shallow water around 6 metres close to the Island there are some small remains from the wreckage of the Loch Leven. Seals often visit this area when they haul out on the north side of the Island
11) Knivestone - Depth 14-22mtrs
The Knivestone is the furthest Island from shore. Visible at low water, dives can be made on the north and south side of the Island at certain times. This is a popular haunt for Grey Seals with lots of seal encounters available in the shallow gulley. The 3 metre deep natural gulley running through the middle of the Island from north east to south west direction is ideal for meeting and passing seals. A huge anchor chain lies stretched over the gulley from one of the several wrecks. The wreck of the Abessinia can also be found when leaving the gulley at the south west end.
On the north side of Knivestone wreckage from several ships can be found between 14 and 22 metres. Following the gulleys down and heading in a westerly direction you will come across an engine and boilers at depths of 18-20 metres which are believed to be from the Jan Van Ryswyck. Further on, towards the west end of Knivestone, lies wreckage from the Abbessinia. Several ships have come to grief on Knivestone including Gier and GR Gray. Knivestone is swept with strong tidal currents making it a thriving environment for marine life. Diving takes place on or near low water slack offering a combination of wreckage, scenery and seals in the shallow water.
12) Abessinia - Depth: 10-15mtrs
The Abessinia is one of several wrecks to be found at Knivestone and is thought to be the largest ship to be wrecked at the Farnes. The huge boilers from the ship can be located on the south west side of the Island at a depth of 12mtrs with more wreckage to the west. This site is covered with marine life due to the strong currents. Diving the wreck of the Abessinia can be combined with seal diving through the natural gulley at Knivestone, and is best dived at slack water.
13) Callers - Britannia - Depth 9-28 mtrs
The Britannia was a steel 720 ton British steamship built in 1885. She was wrecked on the Callers on 25th September 1915 on passage to Leith. The wreckage is situated to the west of the Callers. Lying on a sloping bank, the engine and propeller are at depths of 9 metres with the bow and winch on the seabed at 28 metres. The Britannia is a low water slack dive.
14) Crumstone - Depth 14 -28 mtrs
Crumstone is the most southerly Island in the Farne Islands group. Diving on the south side of the Island, depths can range from 14 metres down to 28 metres. Divers have the choice of shallow dives on a plateau of rock in search of seals or delving that little bit deeper along the vertical wall to view the rich coloured marine life. Wreckage can be found in one of the gullies close to the main Island at a depth of 8 metres and this is also a good spot to watch seals swimming past.
15) Coryton - Depth 10 mtrs
The Coryton was a steel 4550 ton British steamship built in 1928. She was on passage to Hull when the ship was bombed by German aircraft on 16th Febuary 1941 and the Captain of the ship decided to beach her on Ross sands. The wreck lies to the north west of the Farne Islands, and is close to Holy Island or Lindisfarne just off Ross Sands. The dive site has a maximum depth of 10 metres at high tide. A Huge boiler, propeller shaft, winches and structure are spread out over a sandy bottom making this an enjoyable dive. Velvet Crabs and Lobsters can be found under steel plates. With good light penetration and a sandy floor, this is ideal for photographers, trainees or even a second dive.
16) Somali - Depth 30 mtrs
The Somali was a steel 6810 ton British steamship built in 1930, carrying 9000 tons of general cargo. She was on voyage to Hong Kong via the Firth of Forth when she was bombed by a German Heinkel 111 bomber on the afternoon of 25th March 1941. The Somali sank east of Beadnell in 30 metres of water. The 450ft hull has been salvaged over the years but still makes an impressive dive. On the stern a 4 inch gun is still visible and the boilers still stand upright with her huge cylinders the highest point of the wreck where you will find the shot line on your descent. Somali is a slack water dive.
17) Acclivity - Depth 34 mtrs
The Acclivity was a steel 390 ton British tanker built in 1931. In 1952 on passage to Newburgh Fife the tanker struck a submerged object and foundered in heavy weather. This wreck is located much further south than the Farne Islands and is approximately 2 miles east of Craster. At a depth of 34 metres this small ship is lying on her port side still intact with her bronze propeller attached. This wreck is a slack water dive small enough to be explored in one dive.
Billy Shiel M.B.E - Billy Shiel's Boats (established 1918) - Seahouses - Northumberland - Telephone: +44 (0)1665 720 308