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Scuba Diving in Skye, Scotland
Dive Site: Meanish Pier
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Description: Shore dive
Depth: 12 - 15 metres (40 - 50 feet)
Visibility: 6 metres (20 feet)
A Scottish loch in a remote northwest corner of Skye is where the small village of Meanish resides at the end of a long winding track. The landscape here is much like other lochs on the island, that of steep-sided walls, waterfalls, peat bogs, grazing sheep, cattle and tree plantations. Why go to so much trouble to shore dive when you can dive sites like the Chadwick wreck or the Green Lady at Niest Point by boat? Well, sometimes the weather can be a bit changeable and preclude effective boat diving, and a sheltered close inshore spot is needed.
Exit and entry couldn't be easier, via a small slip adjacent to the pier itself. At times there is little boat traffic, although boats are moored nearby. The maximum depth is likely to be 12m if staying reasonably inshore, which is best. As mooring lines are all over, it is best to take a delayed SMB only to be deployed if ascending in open sea and not back at the slip, otherwise entanglement with ropes will ensue.
The start of the dive is over a pretty weed covered bed of small rocks, the weeds being mainly bladderwrack types in a rich olive green hue. These rocks fall away forming a small drop. A visit under the pier is in order first. If you are lucky and the sun has decided to come out, shafts of sunlight pierce the pier openings between the struts, creating some interesting effects especially for the photographer's eye. Both the vertical and horizontal struts contain clumps of sponges and deadman's fingers, and nearby you may see some very large keep cages. These are about 2m long, 1m on other sides, and probably contain many crabs and lobster; their likely destination is the tapas bars of Spain.
After touring the pier struts it's now time to head into the loch (as opposed to seaward out of the loch), passing under the moored boats to a depth of 12-15m. Many of the mooring lines have been down there for years and are covered in marine life. Big old bits of kelp hang around in bunches, some stretching out quite far. If you are lucky there is a very large diesel engine plonked on the seabed with quite a number holes for marine creatures to inhabit. Further out the sand area of cnidarians is interrupted by a boulder outcrop surrounded at the time we last dived it, by a large shoal of juvenile pollack. Return is pretty much a reciprocal course, perhaps taking in a last look at the pier before heading back to the slip.
Dived this in 2005 and on my dive travelled along the underwater cliff seqwards from the pier. You can get to about 18+ metres doing this and the rock walls have a large number of encrusting organisms including plumose anemones and cup corals on them. On the sand you get Cerinanthus burrowing anemones.
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