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Scuba Diving Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, Europe
Dive Site: South Haven Pinnacle
Location: Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire
Description: Rocky pinnacle
Depth: 6 - 24 metres (20 - 79 feet)
Visibility: 5 - 10 metres (15 - 30 feet)
This dive site is responsible for one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had underwater. We were going to dive the North Wall of Skomer Island, but the wind direction made the waves a bit too big whereas the southern side was sheltered. We headed down to the bottom of a pinnacle of rock that goes from about 24m deep to about 6m under the surface. Almost as soon as we'd reached the bottom a seal darted into the limits of my vision. I began frantically pointing at it, but it swam away before my buddy knew what was happening.
We started to swim along to explore the wall and found spider crabs, lots of crayfish, a lobster, candy stripe flatworms and a dogfish then, before I knew it, the seal was back with us. It was entranced with my buddy's yellow fins and kept swimming up to them and circling them, peering at them with huge black eyes. As the dive progressed it got more confident in our presence and kept swimming with us, playing with mine and my buddy's fins. It was like a puppy that had found a shoe to play with, the way it was mouthing and biting - not vicious, just inquisitive and playful. As we sent up the DSMB in the last few minutes of the dive the seal chased it up at the same speed as the bag which was amazingly fast. Seals are so incredibly streamlined and graceful under water! As the seal entertained itself with the bag at the surface we took the time out to look at the pollack in the kelp at the top of the pinnacle and watched a compass and common jellyfish float by and a shag dive down after a fish as we did a safety stop.
I have never laughed so much underwater and this has to be in my top 5 dives ever. Having said this, out of everyone on the boat we were the only buddy pair to have constant attention from the seal, so an encounter of this sort is by no means guaranteed. It would have been a nice dive had the seal not kept us company, but it was purely the seal that gives the dive site the 5 star rating.
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