Cornwall Divers Guide East Coast – Pentewan Sands – St Austell Bay – Torpoint
The coast east of Falmouth, which includes Nare Head to the Dodman, including Gerrans and Veryan Bay, offers interesting diving, with the barque Hera (1914) just north of Gull Rock. The Gwineas Reef, near Mevagissey is a well known site worth visiting for the profusion of fish and wild life, as well as the remains of the s.s. Caroni River, is best reached from the miniature harbour at Gorran Haven, but launch and recover here outside of 10am – 5pm, since the beach entrance is blocked off between those hours. Pentewan Sands Holiday Camp is the next launch site, where in the village with its derelict harbour, Ocean Sports (Tel:01726 – 842817) offers compressed air, equipment hire, advice and spares, followed by Charlestown harbour, about 3 miles away.
Charlestown has a slipway which can only be used at certain states of the tide and is very steep, or you can launch – with permission from Square Sail Ltd, the owners, from the beach. The port boasts the largest collection of shipwreck artefacts on public display in Gt Britain, in the well-known Charlestown Shipwreck Centre, which is an excellent bad-weather venue for divers. Fowey harbour has excellent facilities, both for launch, parking and diving services, all based around Caffa Mill boat park. Here a large slipway offers easy access to the estuary and Fowey Marine Services offer air refills, equipment hire, spares, advice and boat trips (Tel:01726 – 833236). No diving is allowed within the harbour without permission, but just outside the harbour mouth are long stretches of shallow reefs and the wreck of the bucket dredger Kantoeng in 45ft(13m). West Looe is the last but one practical launch site in South Cornwall, again completely tidal and with frequent parking problems, whereas Millendreath, a holiday village east of Looe is seldom congested. Millendreath Marine, on site, offers compressed air and diver support, and the beach is excellent with facilities for families. From here divers can easily reach the s.s. Rosehill, the submarine A-7, s.s. White Rose, and almost at the entrance to Plymouth Sound the Liberty ship James Egan Layne (1945).
Whitesands Bay offers no launch facilities, but offers excellent snorkelling or shore diving in the shallows from places such as Portwrinkle, Seaton or Downderry, the latter offering the Knight Errant Patch, a huge reef, the Sherberterry Rocks and in 30ft(8m) the wreck of the clipper Gipsy, lost in 1901. Rame Head and Cawsand Bay are best reached by boat, the former offering several cannon sites, a rocky but interesting bottom, the latter a large sandy, almost featureless bay within Plymouth Sound, whose coastline round to Torpoint embraces the dockyard entrance, where diving restrictions apply, and is not recommended.