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Scuba Diving Southwest Coast of England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: Glen Strathallen
Location: South of the breakwater, Plymouth
Length: Scattered over 100 metres (330 feet)
Depth: 15 metres (50 feet)
Visibility: 4 - 12 metres (13 - 40 feet)
This is a great dive for beginners as there is a lot to see laid out over the seabed, without the danger of any superstructure to loose divers in. The main parts left are the huge boilers which are home to many fish (remember to take your torch to see in!) The rest of the wreck is scattered around the boilers laying flat on the seabed. The surrounding area has a lot of kelp growth which attracts a lot of life, I have regularly seen cuttlefish and scallops here and some large groups of fish.
Luke Cooper-Berry, BSAC Open Water Instructor
This is also a great dive for experienced divers as well! It has something for everyone and never ceases to amaze me as there always seems to be something going on. It must be the location that attracts. As Luke said, a torch is required for all the nooks and crannies. There is only ONE boiler upright and 5m proud of the seabed at 15m. Be careful though, every time I dive it there are more and more tangled rope bundles around. The boiler's casing has come away revealing steam pipes. Look closely in carefully with a torch, as a very large conger is resident! Goldsinney wrasse are all over this open site.
The Strathallen was a converted steam trawler, turned into a "gin-palace" by a rich millionaire then deliberately sunk for divers, but represented a navigation hazard so Bovisand dispersed it - a little too much perhaps!
There are many big hull sections lying around, usually flat on the sea bed creating "caves" for bib and wrasse. The bottom composition is very clean, that of stones and shingle. The bow section is reasonably together and up on one of the many rock ridges here. Each rock gully usually starts with some wreckage and has heavy white rippling sand coarsing down its centre. The best bet is to navigate around the main wreckage area and square patterns out in the gulleys. The gulleys are worth exploration with much marine life including dogfish. A mast is present, steering gear, winches, bollards and smaller pieces of hull with empty portholes.
Lookout for shrimps - I saw upwards of 30 in one of the pipes, numerous tompot blennies and nudibranchs (doridae, polycera and flabellina varieties). Ballen wrasse are both numerous and diver friendly! Common octopus can be seen here.
For entry it is usually via a non-permanent shot and exit is either via the shot (usually placed next to the boiler) or delayed SMB. As this is shallow and along a potentially exposed coastline, surge can sometimes be present.
Dived this wreck at 16:21 on the 20 October 07 after HMS Scylla in the morning. Very nice dive with excellent visibility of 10-12 metres. No current and lots of sea life. Worth doing.
Alan Partridge, Master Scuba Diver and BSAC Sports Diver
My first wreck and I enjoyed it very much. Look out for the big conger eel in the boiler room.
Adam Burt | 22/08/09
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