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Diving

Portstewart, on the scenic Causeway Coast is ideally situated in the middle of many spectacular divesites with abundant excellent diving opportunities. Any of the local diving clubs will be happy for you to join them either for lessons, or as a member of any of their organised dives on the many wrecks along this wild and rugged coastline.

Throughout the area diving is in unpolluted waters with excellent visibility and an abundance of marine life and wrecks. The rocky coastline and islands offer shelter no matter what the weather is like.

From Portstewart dive trips are available to dive groups or for single divers and within the waters local to Portstewart we have the spectacular drop offs , wrecks and reefs both deep and shallow for all levels. To our West we have the Inishown Peninsula in Donegal with the wrecks and scenic drifts. Site to many famous wartime wrecks and submarines of Operation Deadlight and to the East we have the Giants Causeway and the famous dives of Rathlin Island which is a divers paradise with wrecks, reefs and drop-offs for all levels.

Below is just a sample of some of the dive sites offered by one local Dive school: Aquaholics Dive School , Portstewart. Tel: (028) 7083 2584:

Portstewart, Portrush area Dives

TOWRY -Sank while under tow for Portrush from Portstewart on 20th June 1930. The wreck lies in 18 metres of water. Bow and stern sections are intact. Excellent dive & Superb night dive. Check out conger in Boiler and the one at rear of stern.

SARD - Well broken up due to location. Ships boiler is still intact. Large sheets of metal plating. Home to hundreds of edible crabs. Can be shore dived if very fit and keen of climbing down rocks and then back up again.

FOUL GROUNDS - Area in Portstewart Bay . Lovely drift dive over boulder,gravel bottom. The wreck lies at a depth of 17-22 metres. Large skate and dogfish common.

BAR MOUTH - Multitude of wrecks located here. From wooden sailing vessels to modern ships. The wreck lies at a depth of 3 to 7 metres. This is a shipping channel and tidal river, so be careful. Diving around Castlerock side is better and safer.

PORTNAHAPPLE - Naturally formed old swimming cove. Nice 7m overhangs leading out to kelp forest. Large conger in rock crevice on South side. Makes great safe night dive. Very tame dogfish.

BLUE POOL - Well known divers favourite. Overhangs, reef and boulders provide loads of homes for marine life. Be careful of fishing lines and a swell can make exits difficult at times. Recent night dive we saw cuttlefish, octopus, lobsters congers etc.

PORTSTEWART HEAD - Thick kelp bottom provides shelter for marine life. Be careful of current of the head if shore diving.

RAMORE HEAD - Excellent dive. Depth is 8-30 metres and boat cover essential.

SKERRIES east North face - Classic wall from surface to 20metres with boulder slope down to 30+metres. Sponges and dead man's finger's even down at 40 metres, upper walls thick with life. Take advantage of current and make this an easy drift dive.

NIKONMIS - Metal hulled ship sunk 100 metres sw of Black Rock, loads of metal sheeting everywhere.

SKERRIES CAVERN - Cavern located on the shore side of skerries, walls covered in soft corals.

IRON MAN (STORKS) - Dangerous reef between Skerries and Dunluce Castle . Dive drops down from surface to 20+ metres. North side very good. Various ancient artefacts have been found on site.

RIDGES - Located north of skerries. Minimum depth is 25 metres. Good planning and well equipped, qualified divers can have a superb dive here. Strong currents make this deep reef a dive to remember.

U1003 - WW11 German sub sunk 7 miles north of Portstewart, deep water 65metres.

ARCO DELIS - Massive Oil tank head rocks in 1950's located North- West of Portstewart. Sea bed is at 50 metres with super structure up to 28 metres. Huge pollack cover this massive wreck. Hull split open as bow section is lying on Inistrahull Island . Again strong currents make diving only at slack.

GIANTS CAUSEWAY - Built by Finn McCool a few years ago. Some lovely dive sites on East site of Causeway. Seals are common at the eastern side.

GIRONA - The famous Spanish Armada ship was wrecked on Lacada point over 400 years ago. Fascinating site below Chimney Tops of the Giants Causeway however THIS IS NOW A PROTECTED HISTORIC WRECK SITE. Unfortunately diving is forbidden within the area of Lacada Point.

CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE - the Island , north of the bridge has some lovely diving including a cavern going under the island. Great drop offs. This is the famous Guinness bridge

CAUSEWAY COAST

KENBANE and BENBANE HEADLANDS - Superb diving area. Great scenic dives suitable for all levels .Various sea caves cut into the cliffs and provide homes to seals.

GIANTS CAUSEWAY - Built by Finn McCool a few years ago. Some lovely dive sites on East site of Causeway. Seals are common at the eastern side.

GIRONA - The famous Spanish Armada ship was wrecked on Lacada point over 400 years ago. Fascinating site below Chimney Tops of the Giants Causeway however THIS IS NOW A PROTECTED HISTORIC WRECK SITE. Unfortunately diving is forbidden within the area of Lacada Point.

CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE - The island north of the bridge as some lovely diving including a cavern going under the island. This is the famous Guinness bridge

RATHLIN ISLAND & BALLYCASTLE DIVES

HMS DRAKE - a 14,100 ton heavy cruiser torpedoed by U-79 on 2nd October 1917 . Currently lies in 18 metres of water in Church Bay , on Rathlin Island .

TEMPLEMORE -Sank in Ballycastle Bay on 6th December 1911 in heavy weather. Lying in 18 metres of water but is well broken up. This wreck is inhabited by loads of tame conger eels around boiler section,which may be hand fed by divers. Bow section full of fish life.

LOUGH GARY -Government transport formerly of MacBrayne's Hebrides fleet struck rocks finally sinking off the east coast of Rathlin on 21st January 1942 . Lies in 33 metres of water, is upright and intact. Superb dive

BOUNCER - There is scattered wreckage of 2 vessels throughout this shallow sheltered site. Nice easy dive. Look out for the bronze propeller blades under huge boulder.

BRUCES CAVE REE F - Reef at entrance provides excellent scenic dive with ship wreckage of the GAVIN scattered over south side or reef.

COASTGUARD HUT - Shallow scenic dives below cliffs at Ballycastle. Limestone base rock gives good visibility.

CITY OF BRISTOL - Great wreck dive, located between Sheeps Island and Ballintoy.

BALLINTOY HARBOUR -Superb shore/boat dives. Excellent gullies cut into limestone rock on one side with volcanic rock on the other side of dive site.

PANS ROCK -Possible from shore. Interesting dive in and around an old landing pier.

Farganlack Point -A drop-off starting at 20 metres and descending to 200 metres; swim through arch at 25 metres.

Skerriagh Point - Steep rocky slope to 20 metres, sheer drop off to 40+ metres all dramatically covered with abundant life.

Derginam Point -Tremendous dive, 40 metre cliffs topped with pinnacles and archways.

Shamrock Pinnacle - Rises from the sea bed at 60 metres up to 20 metres, 7 miles offshore. This dive needs exceptionally calm weather.

Carrickmannan Rock. A large shoal which rises, from great depths, to within 5 metres of the surface.

Girvan wreck. Famous whiskey wreck, scattered wreckage on exposed reef.

INISHOWN / MALIN HEAD

MV William Manell - First World War converted minesweeper sunk when she hit a mine. The wreck lies in 30 metres of water in Culdaff Bay, Co. Donegal.

SS Castle Eden - First World War freighter torpedoed. The wreck lies in 32 metres of water in Culdaff Bay . Broken up but contains lots of marine life.

RMS Laurentic -15,000 ton White Star liner mined during the First World War carrying a cargo of gold to Canada ; all but 2% was recovered. The wreck lies in 40 metres of water 2 miles north of Lough Swilly.

JUSTICA - White Star Liner torpedoed 1918, lying in about 65metres of water, 32,000tons shipwreck!!!

EMPIRE HERTIAGE - Steam tanker torpedoed 1944 lying in about 65metres of water, 16,000 tons shipwreck!!! Cargo of Sherman tanks, massive boilers, world class dive

CUMBERLAND - Steamer torpedoed 1940, 11000 tons , carrying general cargo which include loads of Royal Doulton plates, Depth 50metres.

AUDACIOUS - WW1 Battlecruiser sunk by mine 1914, 32000 tons!!!!. Depth about 65 metres, massive wreck, covered in fish life.

Dunaff Head Lough Swilly A series of gullies running north/south between Dunaff Island, narrowing in the centre to an inverted keyhole swim through. General depth: 15 - 25 metres.

Devils Cut Malin Head - Huge caverns link the gully to the open Atlantic Ocean . Amazing rock formation and everyone needs to dive this one.

Inistrahull Island - Various wreck and reef dives around this island, strong tides and exposed seas requires experience and well equipped divers

Other local dive schools are:

Aqua Sports,
Tel: (028) 7082 3563

Portrush and Portstewart Sub-Aqua Club
Tel: (028) 7034 2942