Sitting on Cornwall’s north coast Newquay offers the freediver a wonderful range of sites to explore. Despite being exposed to the majority of Atlantic swells, the diversity of the coast line not only means that its quite easy to avoid the waves but that its always worth getting in the water.
There are lots of great spots with plenty to see from seals to starfish. Ill cover some of the main areas in these posts, not the secret spots (as I value my kneecaps) but ones that are well known to locals and are safe for all divers.
The first spot will be….
Pentire headland and Fistral beach
The headland which marks the south end of Fistral beach is called Pentire and offers some great diving. Quite exposed and not diveable on anything other than a flat day Pentire can be great dive.
Here you can see shoals of Sea Bass, Pollock, Wrasse, lots of spider crabs and the occasional seal.
Access is quite easy. You can enter the water from either the headland itself, with ample free parking skirting the beach, or from Fistral beach through the surf.
Currents can be strong, so be aware of the rip which runs along the rocks leading out to sea. Its very easy to get caught in it and end up quite a long way out without noticing. It also makes for a tiring swim back in at the end of the dive. You can beat this by swimming towards the middle of the beach and body-surfing the waves in instead!
Depth will range from 0-2m near the beach all the way up to about 15m at high tide further out. The bottom is mostly sand with the occasional reef outcrop. The waters edge running along the headland is of course rocky reef, although it doeasnt go far out under the water. Some linear striations of reef run out to sea as you move further around, and the most interesting diving will be around here although there are holes and crevices all the way around, including a little prominence which will often have shoaling Bass running up and down its edge .
Fistral beach itself has limited interest…. unless its a calm day, as the seabed is a beautiful undulating white sand whch can be truly stunning to dive over. I love diving down and just cruising along the bottom, watching the folds of the sand develop in front of me. If you keep you eyes out, there are the occasional flat fish, huge twinkling shoals of sand eels, Mackerel and Sea Bass.
I have also dived with Dolphin pods and seals in Fistral bay which is always amazing, especially when the water is crystal clear and sparkling blue.
If you want to explore this wonderful part of the coast why not come on one of our AIDA freediving courses or perhaps a fun half day snorkelling and kayaking?!
In the next post ill move up the coast a tiny bit to the other half of Newquay.