The UK coast is littered with islands, here are 5 of the best scuba diving island locations.
1. Scilly Isles
The Scilly's comprise of several Islands with the main one being St Marys. Located off the west of Cornwall the Islands were often the last sight of England merchants vessels saw on their journeys to the Americas. Unfortunately they are quite small and in fog without modern navigational aids the first thing sailors felt on their return too...
The islands are peppered with wrecks though out history. The most recent wreck being the 3000 ton Cita who wrecked in 1997 losing 140 containers of cargo. Go back a few centuries to 1707 and we have the remnants of one of the Royal Navies worst disasters sinking three warships.
The waters are crystal clear and cold, perfect for real British divers (and their drysuits). The wrecks are the must visit reason but the reefs, nature and seals make this a hard location to top.
Scilly also has plenty to do for non divers so you could arrange a family holiday there, and oh... They do diving here too!
2. Lundy island
Lundy located in the Bristol channel has to be part of any UK divers initiation to become a "real diver". Made a marine reserve in 1986 Lundy Island is well known for it's seal encounters. There are around 40 dive sites around the island offering something for everyone.
Possibly the best known wreck was the 1901 HMS Montagu
which ran aground on Shutter Reef in fog in 1906. Although a massive salvage effort was launched remnants are still visible in 15m of water.
3. Farne Islands
The Farnes are located in North Sea, between 2 and 5 miles off the Northumberland Coast between Bamburgh and Seahouses. There are 28 islands but only 15 are visible at high tide. Possibly best known for its Atlantic grey seal colony, one of the biggest in Europe, the friendliness of these mammals are legendary. I recall being told to wear lime green fins as this was the favourite of the seals are would guarantee a seal would playfully nip them. I did, they didn't.....
4. Orkney isles
We all know Orkney is most famous for Scapa Flow
and it's wrecks. A quick history: World War I the Germans scuttled their 74 vessels on the 21st June 1919 in Scarpa Flow. The ships lie in 15m or deeper and are suitable for more experienced divers. Scarpa is a world class dive site and should be experienced to be believed. It's awesome.
However there is more to Orkney than Scarpa. The scenic diving is very note worthy but rarely mentioned. Some of the best scenic dive sites are Inganess, the Old Man of Hoy, and the North Shoal.
If you like drift diving, you will love Jersey. It has one of the worlds largest tidal flows 12m on a spring tide. Dolphins and giant Sun fish are common during summer months so you will have plenty for your logbook. As with all our islands mentioned so far, the islands have plenty of wrecks in a variety of depths.
One of the most popular wrecks is located about a mile off Portelet Bay sitting upright in 20-30m of water is the Schocklands, a 225 ft long Dutch freighter that sank after hitting a reef, amazingly she is pretty much intact.