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Farne Islands - United Kingdom


Glad Tidings ’7’ - Dive Boat
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DIVING AT THE FARNE ISLANDS: If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit the Farne Islands, you will already be aware that in the height of the breeding season, it is home to a deafening plethora of nesting seabirds such as terns, puffins, guillemots, shags, eider ducks and kittiwakes. You may also have seen grey seals lounging on the rocks at low tide, but follow them as they dive underwater and a whole other world opens up to you.

Diving in and around the Farne Islands is a real feast for the senses. Numerous wrecks litter the seabed, and inquisitive grey seals come and say hello. Diving with Seals on the Farnes Whether you prefer a shallow dive or are prepared to delve that little bit deeper, there’s something to suit everyone out at the Farnes. The Farnes consist of almost 30 small islands and rock outcrops lying between 2 and 4 miles off the Northumberland coast. They are split into two main groups separated by a stretch of water known as Staple Sound. The islands are comprised primarily of a rock called whinstone, which is very prone to vertical weathering and faulting. This has produced a strange topography of steps and sheer faces above water that gives just a hint of the delights below. Most of the diving takes place at the outer Farnes.

Glad Tidings VII landing at the landing stage WRECK DIVING: The Farne Islands are one of the most dangerous shipping areas in the British Isles and have claimed many victims over the years. As a result, there are many wreck dives, which include the ’Somali’, ’Chris Christianson’, ’Abyssinia’, ’San Andreas’, Britannia’ and ’Acklivety’. The best dive is reputed to be the 6810 ton Somali, a passenger-cargo steamer built in 1930 which was bound for Hong Kong via the Firth of Forth for convoy assembly, she was sunk in March 1941 after being bombed by a German Heinkel 111. The Somali sits upright in 30m of water near Beadnell. Much of the 450ft hull is intact and makes an impressive slack-water dive.

SCENIC DIVES:When diving the Farnes you need to become acquainted with the locals, the locals being a colony of 4-5 thousand grey seals out at the Farnes all Diving with Seals on the Farnes year. An encounter with a mature bull seal is enough to get any heart racing. Weighing in at 300kg and clumsy on land, they demonstrate balletic movements under the water. The younger seals are even more inquisitive than the divers and often come in to take a closer look, even nibbling on fins! Other visual delights include a vast array of anemone, dead men’s fingers and many different crustaceans. There are also several relatively unusual species that favour this cooler water - you may come across lumpsucker, Norwegian topknot, yarrel’s blenny and the spectacular wolf fish. Another speciality is the huge, deep-water anemone, bolocera.

UNDERWATER VIDEO (small format)

UNDERWATER VIDEO (larger format) ?

Boats We have a fleet of 7 boats that operate out of Seahouses harbour, two of which are used for diving purposes with dive-lifts fitted for easy access from the water.

Safety All of our boats are certified under the MCA (Marine Coastguard Agency) and are fully equipped with safety equipment.

Location Seahouses is 6 miles from the A1, about 50 miles north of Newcastle and 20 miles south of Berwick upon Tweed. SEE LOCAL MAP.


Accommodation Many B&B’s, camping, bunkhouse and Hotel accommodation in SEAHOUSES or nearby BEADNELL or on and around HOLY ISLAND.

From SportDiver Planet’s 50 Greatest Dives, #45,

The northeast coast of England is undoubtedly beautiful, with white-sand beaches and castles on every headland. Offshore are the Farne Islands, a cluster of low-lying islands that can be reached in 15 minutes from the town of Seahouses. Locals have given the Farnes the nickname Galapagos of the North, although you can never be totally sure what is being said in the thick Geordie accent. The diving is dominated by large tides, and not surprisingly, wrecks are plentiful, and swift-moving currents provide nutrients for orange and white soft corals, which plaster the walls below the squat kelp forest. The biggest draw is the colony of gray seals — about 6,000 strong. Inquisitive and playful, they turn a fine diving experience into an unforgettable one. — AM