Since the sinking of the Scylla artificial reef near Plymouth, it has attracted many divers. The ten year estimated income generated, was £63m for Plymouth. It almost killed off the Cornish diving industry. Since then, many Cornish diving businesses have failed. Falmouth does still support three recreational diving businesses, partly due to the university, partly to do with it’s location in relation to the sea.
I have an idea for an artificial reef, near Falmouth. I choose Falmouth, as it is the only area that could support the potential arrival of more divers, for both diving and non diving wise. It would be pointless putting it in Penzance, the closest place to get air for the divers, is our shop, Atlantic Scuba, in Mabe.
The reef itself will not be a ship to sink, it is quite different from that. The idea is to construct something that resembles a ship, from 3m cubed hollow concrete blocks. Each concrete block will be made up from different aggregates and recycled materials. Different materials for each block could include:
- Standard aggregates like Granite and limestone
- Added materials like crushed glass (of different colours) or rubber beads
- Sand from different parts of the country
- Cement would be restricted to a sulphate resisting cement, due tothe harsh environment
Each block would then attract different life. Some blocks would have pipes, recesses etc. as habitats. Cornwall College or Falmouth Uni, could design and experiment with the aggregates. Cornwall College could actually make the blocks. Once made, someone like Fugro or Fal Divers could maybe place the blocks in situ. Keeping the costs to a minimum, wherever possible. My idea is NOT to construct it in one go. It would be to construct it over several years, even decades. Always evolving, always generating interest. The base blocks could be solid, to help anchor the site,the rest would be hollow. The use of hollow blocks would allow cameras to be installed, away from souvenir collectors. The images could be relayed to land and available on-line, to be connected to any screen, anywhere in the world. Potentially, live underwater images in every premises in Falmouth, or anywhere. The blocks could be filled with various items to attract life, with letterbox viewers to see inside.
The finished article would be somewhere between sixty and a hundred metres long, twenty metres wide and around the top of the bridge, would be at around fifteen metres in depth. Maximum depth would be thirty metres at high water, so something for almost every level.
The potential for studying wildlife would be endless, the life of the structure would be the potential length of the wildlife study.
So that’s the idea.
as well as all the best dive spots around our islands. This package consists of 4 shore dives in Malta, 2 shore dives in Gozo & 4 boat dives around Malta and Comino @ €300.00 excluding equipment hire or €390.00 including equipment hire.
Additional shore dives are charged at €24.00 per person per dive (excluding equipment hire). Or, you can change a shore dive to a boat dive for an extra €10.00. Nitrox is available for €3.50 per tank.
They normally meet at 8.15 and go out for 2 dives. From most of the dive sites, you’ll be back by around 2pm.
Mellieha is close to the north of the island. It has the largest real beach on Malta, which is a long sandy mile long beach, with a rocky break in the middle. The beach has sun loungers to hire and several beach cafes. The water shelves slowly and is good for swimming. There are a few restaurants around the area near the dive centre, there are plenty more with shops in the town, up the hill.
For non divers and non diving days, there are plenty of attractions and things to do. Mdina is an amazing town to walk around, the Popeye (1980’s Robin Williams film set) village is also an interesting place to go, take a swimming costume and towel and spend the day there. The city of Valletta is steeped in history, as is much of the island, it also has many shops and museums.
Everyone speaks English and they even use the same plugs as the U.K.
Flights options are:
Bristol to Malta with Ryanair return, direct flights – £151 plus luggage (£28 per bag each way, so another £56) 10 kg hand baggage.
Bristol to Malta with KLM, 1 stop – £126 inc. luggage 12 hand baggage.
Who is interested? Contact us for more details, dates to be advertised shortly. It will be early-mid October.
The rebuild of Starfish is now under way. All electronics have been removed, the engine has been disconnected and all controls have also been removed. The only thing that still worked, was the electric bilge pump, everything else will need replacing.
It has since had the controls, oil tank and fuel accessories removed. All engine connections have been disconnected too. Once everything has been stripped, the boat will go for the tubes to be serviced and the trailer will go for a recoat.
Snorkelling is a widely underestimated pastime. Using snorkelling as a tool for searching can be very useful, especially in the shallows or in hard to reach places. Around the coastline of the UK there are many secluded beaches, some not reachable by land that can be reached by snorkelling.
Using the right equipment and training, you can access places you never dreamed were possible without a boat.
At Atlantic Scuba, we not only teach the basics of snorkel equipment use, we also teach good finning techniques as well as some basic breathing up skills, to help with breath holding.
We were invited to a days diving out of Dartmouth, with the Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT). It was part of their diving schedule for their Forgotten Wrecks project. The idea was to gain as much information about WWI wrecks as they could. There would be a commercial dive team taking measurements etc. but we were there to fill the boat.
The Maritime Archaeological Trust came to our shop to do an artefact recording day. Julie arrived to find five people waiting to start. Various artefacts from local and distant WWI wrecks had been dropped in for the day, as well as some of our finds.
Julie showed us how to record the information for their Forgotten wrecks of WWI project. Dimensions, material, weight, dimensions, a sketch and even a series of photographs were recorded. Items from the sv Andromeda, ss Ponus, ss Lydie, NG Petersen, ss Volnay as well as some U-Boat parts were all in the items studied.
The following day, we escorted them to snorkel on the ss Ponus on Gyllyngvase Beach, followed by showing them where the U-Boat remains were.
Wednesday 22nd we will go to see a talk by the Maritime Archaeological Trust, at the Watersports centre in Falmouth, regarding their project.
Over the years we have appeared on several tv programs. Our next project started today, can’t say much about it just yet but it may be a 20 minute Inside Out special, in may be an hour long BBC2 documentary. Today we were filmed talking about the project and then individually interviewed.
It’s all starting again.
100 years ago we were in the middle of the great war (WWI), it is quite topical at the moment. There are a lot of projects around regarding WWI wrecks, Falmouth has it’s share. For anyone interested in this subject, this might be of help.
sv Andromeda – Feb 13, 1915, Porthmellin Head
ss Ponus – Nov 3, 1916, Gyllyngvase Beach
NG Petersen – Mar 13, 1918, Falmouth Bay
ss Epsilon – Jan 21, 1917, Falmouth Bay
Tulip 2 – Aug 23, 1918, Bizzies Reef – Not Found
HMS St Ives – Dec 21, 1916 – Not Found
ss Volnay – Dec 14, 1817, Porthallow
Eric Calvert – Apr 22, 1918, Falmouth Bay
ss Spital – Jan 15, 1918, Falmouth Bay
Juno – Jul 03, 1915, Manacles
La Marne – Nov 20, 1917, Manacles
Krosfond – Nov 22, 1917, near Manacles
Cape Finisterre – Nov 02, 1917, near Manacles
When we test cylinders, we are always on the lookout for cylinders that do not have the recommended coatings thickness. We see cylinders that are painted every year, it doesn’t take long for the manufacturers stamps to be filled with paint and disappear. The cylinders stamps are important, they show the serial number as well as working pressure, manufacturing date plus loads of other info. The paint has to be ground away until the stamped information is revealed. read more →