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Scuba Diving Southwest Coast of England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: Breakwater Fort
Location: Plymouth Sound
Description: Wall and wreck
Depth: 12 metres (40 feet)
Visibility: 0 - 8 metres (0 - 26 feet)
The Fort is a circular building with vertical walls that go down to the seabed, north of the breakwater. It has been used for many years as a training area for commercial divers and hence there are a lot of structures underwater that have been using for underwater cutting, welding and lifting. These include a fishing boat, a decompression chamber and a massive tubular framework. Lots of dogfish and scallops around here not to mention the usual life that can be seen in Plymouth Sound. It's also a good dive to watch people get lost, which is surprising given that the wall is circular!
Luke Cooper-Berry, BSAC Open Water Instructor
The Breakwater & Fort were completed in 1854 in response to possible attacks by Napoleon III. This is simlar to the forts seen in the Solent. Usually the fort is dived as a backup site when the weather has turned nasty outside of the breakwater.
The chamber is a good starting place, a cylindrical affair resting on the heavily silted and easily stirred seabed. Plumose anemones seem to find this quite attractive as they cluster in large clumps on its upperworks.
Directly due south, about 50-60m away is the fort. Across this muddy silted bottom roam many predators, hermit crabs and other similar varieties. Common starfish are very common here and some of the biggest spiny starfish can be seen, measuring over a metre across.
Care should be exercised going around the fort as there are many sharp jutting pieces of metal all over the debris that litters. Also as important, rare pink sea fans adorn the lower walls facing perpendicular to the wall. Look out for the tiny nudibranch associated with these.
A delayed SMB should be launched prior to surfacing as its likely if you're diving the fort due to bad weather so are other boats - both hardboat and RIBs.
I have just completed a eunicella (pink sea fan) survey of the BWF. We found that there was greater number on the western wall. Also previously a number of sea fans have been artificially implanted, they have been recorded as growing at a impressive rate.
Respect the site as it truly is beautiful place to see the pink sea fan.
Jill Robinson | 09/03/09
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