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Pink sea fan at North Wall - courtesy of Carina Hall

Lobster on North Wall - courtesy of Carina Hall

Velvet-swimming crabs at North Wall

Dogfish at North Wall

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Scuba Diving Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, Europe

Dive Site: North Wall

Location: Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Description: Wall dive

Depth: 6 - 43 metres (20 - 141 feet)

Visibility: 5 - 10 metres (15 - 30 feet)

Rating: ****

This is a dive site where you really choose your depth according to what you want to find. The water gets darker and darker below about 20 metres so therefore most of the life is found above this depth. However, octopi have been seen at some of the deeper levels but they are not common to spot.

North Wall is a rocky wall that in places is vertical but mostly has a slight angle to it. It is well known for the pink sea fans that grow on the shallower levels, the health of which are used to monitor the condition of the area as a whole. As well as sea fans, there are a lot of sponges and dead men's fingers and in the shallowest few metres of the wall kelp grows. There are also a huge number of crabs on the wall: spider crabs, velvet-swimming crabs and edible crabs can be found under nearly every overhang or crevasse. We also saw lots of lobster, some of them very large. There was a few wrasse, leopard gobies and pollack around, but not nearly in the numbers that the crustaceans are seen in. There were also a lot of nudibranchs and many dogfish perched motionless on the rocks. Discussion on the dive boat after the dive revealed that sunfish occasionally visit this area in September providing conditions are right.

Although Skomer is officially a no-take zone, some fishermen who have been operating in the area for years are still allowed to put lobster pots onto the wall. Apparently this is going to be phased out altogether in the next 10 years which is very reassuring, although I don't see why the fisherman can't use one of the many other islands in the area instead. Watch out for ropes from lobster pots as you explore the wall.

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