Swanage Pier

The town of Swanage is blessed with a marvellous Victorian pier, which has been lovingly restored and, 100 years after its construction, remains a tourist attraction. Nowadays, the visitors are mostly interested in aquatic pursuits- fishing, kayaking and of course diving.

Parked on Swanage Pier
Parking on the pier gives easy access to the water and to a dive shop for an air fill afterwards

Swanage Pier is a classic South Coast dive. The superstructure of the pier provides lots of places for life to hide and so is crammed with small creatures. Swanage faces East (the pier points almost North-East) and so is very sheltered; however, this position also means that it tends to be quite silty, so to photograph any of these critters takes quite a bit of care. Still, the water’s shallow, so there’s plenty of time…..

Flabellina lineata
A nudibranch (Flabellina lineata) under Swanage pier (Nikon D200, 60mm Nikkor, single Sea & Sea YS-110)

Explore the Shore

I am really proud to have a feature on shore diving (“Explore the Shore”) in the June 2012 edition of Scuba Magazine. This is a subject close to my heart. I love the flexibility to decide where, when and how long to dive for. There is a special excitement to exploring a remote stretch of shore, perhaps previously un-dived.

This type of relaxed diving tends to produce my best photographic work too. Shore diving also fits in very well with camper vanning; my ‘van lets my buddy and I access diving locations which would be pretty difficult to explore otherwise. Here’s to my next expedition…..




The majority of my diving is shore diving and the beauty of this is that, without need to book a boat, the choice of destination for a trip can be left until the last minute. Given the opportunity for a 3-day road trip in early April, my buddy and I narrowed the choice of site to two destinations- North or South. We are always attracted to Scotlands reliable loch shore diving, but really wanted to go somewhere different. Cornwall looked a more favourable choice, but the forecast was not encouraging for either.

In the end, we chose Cornwall and to park up on the beach at Porthkerris. I dont know if we made the right choice, but the conditions were not great- the “May bloom” had kicked in even earlier than usual, reducing the vis to just a couple of metres.

The reef called Drawna Rocks is a lovely location but the combination of very early in the season and poor visibility reduced the photo opportunities rather dramatically. Here is a a shot of one of the rather impressive snakelocks anemones.Image