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Scuba Diving Southwest Coast of England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: Drawna Rocks (Porthkerris Reef)
Location: Porthkerris Cove, the Lizard, Cornwall
Depth: 3 - 15 metres (10 - 50 feet)
Visibility: 5 - 15 metres (15 - 50 feet)
Drawna Rocks is a shore dive that is accessed from Porthkerris Dive Centre. It must be one of the best shore dives in the country and is well worth a visit. Two angular rocks emerge up from the seabed to above the water level, providing a first class dive site. There are a number of ways you can dive the reef, but to begin the dive it is a good idea to do a twenty to forty metre surface swim (depending on the tides) out to the southern, smaller pinnacle. If you drop down the pinnacle you will find a narrow gully to swim through. Once through this, head around to the seaward side of the rocks, keeping the reef on your left. Take your time to swim around the rocks through the kelp, pausing to look at the abundant marine life that you'll see on your way. After about thirty minutes, depending on how quickly you swim, you will reach shallower waters of only about five metres that mark your return towards the shore side of the reef. If you still have enough air left, turn westwards back to shore, or ascend to do a surface swim back.
Marine life seems to be very fond of this reef and is here in abundance. There are wrasse of all colours, shapes and sizes, mullet, crabs, sea urchins and starfish and even more unusual creatures such as John Dory. The kelp is also nice to look at as it wafts in the swell and on the seaward side of the rocks there are jewel anemones of all colours. The closer to the surface you are, the more prolific the life becomes, and as you reach the shallow sandy patches watch out for cuttlefish which are there in shoals. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get any photos of the cuttlefish because every time we moved we'd scare them away. Just as we had settled on the seabed and they had become accustomed to our presence, the camera battery ran out!
If the visibility is good enough, this is a fantastic dive for photographers. It would make an ideal dive for those who are learning, but also is a great dive for the more experienced, especially those who want to see plenty of sea life. Hard boat charter, rib launch, fills, camping and food are also available from Porthkerris Divers. For more details view their website. The staff at the filling station are incredibly helpful and will point out where to go if this description is not sufficient. There is also a map of Drawna Rocks on the filling station wall.
An excellent dive site. If you explore the edges of the reef on the north side (also the deepest) and get in close to the reef walls you may be lucky to find patches of the relatively rare Balanophyllia regia or Gold star cup coral. There is also a juvenile sea fan (Eunicella) growing in this area. I have also seen cuckoo wrasse and conger on this side of the reef. Also I know somebody lost a Rolex watch on this site 30 years ago so keep your eyes open!
Dr. Peter Glanvill
Just to say that you can get 20m on this reef at high tide!
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