Dive Report

Dives from Dinas Head to St Davids Head

Launching From Goodwick:

Red Dragon Divers has many years experience of diving out from Goodwick and until about 10 years ago, it was the only club diving from Strumble to Newport via Goodwick. There are a couple of reasons why other clubs shy away from Goodwick and one reason is related to the other. One reason was lack of knowledge of dive sites in the area and the other is due to a long standing myth that there is never any water to launch and the tide is always way out as far as the eye can see.

The fact is that all public slipways in Pembrokeshire dry out but with careful planning they are all usable and if you get your calculations right you do not get stranded by an ebbing tide. Goodwick slipway is actually more favourable than most for many reasons including parking facilities, smaller tidal ranges and more diving options in large spring tides.

The tidal movements in north Pembrokeshire do have their distinct characteristics of which we have well researched and have many years of experience.

Launching from Goodwick

Richard Hughes

Dive Officer

Dinas Head:

Dinas Head offers many options, especially when the weather or tidal conditions down south are not favourable. Dinas Head offers good quality varied diving at all states of the tide and there are many reefs very rich in life which make for excellent drift dives. Over the years Red Dragon Divers has surveyed and mapped out the underwater topography of Dinas Head and gained a vast knowledge of the area.

Last Minute Checks at Dinas Head

Octopus reef - Dinas head

This area was discovered by Red Dragon Divers in 2006 and certainly lives up to its name. You have to look carefully as most of the time they are not very easy to spot, but on most dives in this area you are more than certain to come across one. There are 5 octopus in the club video and all 5 were filmed on the same dive! In 2012 our Chairman Colin photographed a large Thornback ray in this area.

Richard Hughes

Dive Officer

Dinas Head - Drift:

What a dive to keep me keen on diving around Pembrokeshire. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining the sea was calm and the atmosphere was relaxed. At 10.30am six club members and two family passengers set off to a new dive location off Dinas Head.

My buddy and I ventured into the unknown; the depth started at 11 metres and very gradually progressed to 19 metres. The visibility was 3 - 4 metres, which was fine for a nice gentle drift. The terrain was varied with fascinating rock formations. If I thought after diving these waters for nine years that I could see nothing new, I was wrong! For the first time I saw a sponge feeding (I think) - it had a beak like feature with little tentacles in a fan shape sweeping the waters around it and I watched in amazement for quite a few minutes. Following this I saw the tiniest shrimp gearing up for a fight with me, which made me chuckle. I then saw the biggest lobster I have seen in a very long time, fields of dead men's fingers and urchins the size of footballs. I could go on and on but, alas, without the help of our club member Steve Myatt's book Underwater Pembrokeshire as a reference I feel I could not possibly correctly identify everything.

After 45 minutes diving my buddy and I returned safely to the boat and couldn't wait to share our diving experience with the other members. Just to top off the perfect day, as we were having refreshments a cheeky seal popped up close to the boats to say hello.

Rebecca Hughes

Dive Leader and Club Instructor

Last invasion wreck found by divers:

Members of Red Dragon Divers look set to re-write history following their discovery of an unidentified shipwreck off Strumble Head. Until recently historians believed that no ships were lost during the French invasion in 1797 but the wreckage found by the divers to date suggests it comes from a large warship of the Napoleonic era.

We have already found copper drift pins attached to fragments of wood, large structural pieces of iron, a swivel gun and, most exciting of all, three cannons, the largest of which is about eight feet long.

The find has attracted interest from a number of official bodies. Cadw, the Welsh Assembly's historic environment agency sent a team of specialist archaeologists to the site and the Nautical Archaeological Society is hoping to carry out a survey of the wreckage.

The Government's Receiver of Wreck appointed Red Dragon Divers the official guardian of the wreck and authorised the club to donate the drift pins and other small finds to St Mary's Church Hall, Fishguard, as part of an exhibition of Last Invasion artefacts.

The wreck, which lies in 30 metres of water, was found by chance in 2003 by Richard and Rebecca Hughes of Merlin's Bridge, Haverfordwest but because of strong currents and adverse weather conditions they were unable to return to the site until last summer, when they were joined by other divers from the club. After several false starts they eventually located the wreck and over the course of several dives began to get a good idea of the importance of their discovery.

Richard is the club's diving officer. He says: "Strumble Head has a legendary reputation for wrecking trading ships and is just as dangerous today as it was hundreds of years ago. Conditions for diving are rarely favourable so expeditions to this area have to be carefully planned. Underwater visibility is often very poor with no surface light and at times we can only see what is visible in the beams of our torches. The day we first discovered the wreck visibility was unusually good, otherwise we would never have found it."

Strumble Head:

Since originally discovering what seems to be a Napoleonic ship wreck in 2003 it has been a club project to survey the site in greater detail. We organised a three-day exploration, concentrating on surveying the site and trying to locate what we believe to be cannons. As it is a 35m dive all experienced sport divers and higher were invited to take part.

On our third and final day we were all having briefings about the morning's diving and what were the targets of the day. My buddy and I decided to just have a drift dive to see where the current took us. It seems that every dive I have at Strumble Head is different. Just imagine what it is like to float peacefully at a gentle pace over varied terrain, from a kelp forest, fantastic rock formations, boulders and gravel to reefs rich in marine life.

As I had seen four octopi this season my buddy joked before going into the water about seeing another.  I said I'd try my best.

On nearing the end of our wonderful relaxing dive I saw something flash past me. As I focused I realised it was an octopus in full flight… In a split second I looked for my buddy who was right beside me but looking the other way. I had a million thoughts flash through my mind, about how to signal octopus and point it out but I knew by the time it would have taken we would have missed it.  I decided to gently grab her arm and fin like mad towards the octopus.  To our amazement it just stopped and sat on a rock right in front of us.  We watched it for a minute or two - it was breathtaking. Without further ado off it went into the distance. As it was the end of our dive we ascended slowly to the surface with big satisfied grins on our faces. What an excellent end to an exciting three-day tour of Strumble Head.

Rebecca Hughes

Dive Leader

Red Dragon Divers

July 2005