Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are one of the best places to dive in the UK. Famous for the Grey seal colony, the waters teem with life on the many varied dive sites.

surprise seal fin attackMost of the dive sites are around the outer Farnes with many wrecks to explore as well as stunning reefs and walls. 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.

seal swimming pastThere is a resident colony of around 4-5 thousand grey seals on the Farne Islands. They are clumsy on land but fast and agile underwater. The young seals are very inquisitive and often sneak up on divers to nibble fins. The best sites to dive with seals are the Hopper, Brada, Blue Caps, Big Harcar and the Knivestone.

There are many wreck sites to explore, The Chris Christiansen, St Andre, Abyssinia and close by the Somali and Acclivity. With depths between 15-35m there is a wreck for all abilities.

Many of the walls around the islands are covered in dead men’s fingers, anemones, soft corals and nudibranchs. The cracks in the rocks abound with squat lobsters, edible crabs, lobsters, blennies, butterfish and shrimps.

Heading out for a days divingDeep Blue Pirates organize a dive trip to the Farne Islands every month with Billy Shiel on one of the Glad Tidings fleet. This is a two-dive trip leaving in the morning and usually returning by early afternoon. The boat leaves from the end of the main pier of Seahouses harbour, where there is ample parking and steps down to the boat. All equipment and tanks are loaded for both dives and it is best to have your drysuit on for departure as you may get wet during the crossing. Tea and coffee are available onboard but bring a snack for between dives.

If you would like to join us on one of these trips check our Facebook page for the date of the next trip. We can also arrange kit hire and guided dives as well as drysuit training for those who would like to keep warm all day.

Visit the Billy Sheil website for more information about diving the Farne Islands.