As we drove down to the Lizard through the usual bank holiday traffic, I reflected that it had been about 4 years since I had last done any Easter diving. I was looking forward to the variety of sites present, although I would miss the opportunity to dive out of Lamorna Cove since the sea wall fell into disrepair.

Saturday dawned slightly overcast, but with the promise of later sunshine as we made our way to Porthleven for the day; launching here due to easterly winds although the tides needed close consideration with regards launching and recovery of the boats. After kitting up and a quick reminder briefing from Neil, we launched the boats and made our way out of the harbour westward towards our first dive of the trip; Prussia Cove. Whilst a little choppy, the weather had cleared and the sun came out as we rolled into the water. My buddy for the week Andy Boulton was leading the dive as part of his Sport Diver training and we made our way down the shot line and started making our way across the sand between outcroppings of rock. Visibility was excellent, a good 9-10m and we soon were enjoying the usual inhabitants from congers, crabs and tompot blennies to dead man’s fingers and jewel anemones and a rather tame dogfish just lying on the sand… typical – brilliant photo op and no camera! It was almost a shame that we came up to the surface.

After lunch (which included a slight delay picking up divers due to low water!), we moved around the point to dive the headland. This proved to be rather kelpy, but still interesting poking around in the seaweed. A nice couple of pints in the Wheel Inn later, before turning in ahead of another day of diving Sunday.

On Sunday morning, the weather had shifted around, now blowing southerly. This meant a shift in launch point to Falmouth marina. Our target for the day was the wreck of the SS Hera. Whilst a small wreck, it was partially intact with sections still quite recognisable including the capstan and various bollards. Visibility was again excellent and a very enjoyable dive was had. After lunch, a second dive was performed off Kilgarren lighthouse, rather than the original target of the Whelps. In the evening we went off to Cadgwith Cove for dinner at the pub there. Some excellent food (including a rather large burger for Neil), beer and a local folk band that were rather good and certainly made for a lively atmosphere.

Monday’s weather and tides proved amenable to diving one of the recommended dives for the area – the series of rocky outcrops known as The Whelps, which started down at 35-40 and came to within 5-8 m of the surface in a series of walls. It also made for a convenient point for some depth progression for Andy as he’d passed the last of his sport diver the previous day. So after kitting up and a quick note to make sure not to go below me, we dropped down the shot line into fairly good visibility (7-9m) with the usual life scattered over the rock faces. As we made our way down the gullies we came across a rather large crayfish sitting on a wall – a first for me as I’ve never seen one in UK waters. All too soon, air consumption required us to head back to the surface after a very pleasant dive. A further dive in the afternoon was conducted on Kilgarren head (slightly further round from the previous dive) – a little kelpy but no patch on the mornings dive.

Tuesday the wind swung again slightly, meaning a dive out of Porthleven once more with Colin marshalling. This did initially open a possibility of a further offshore wreck, but due to tides we settled on a return to Prussia cove and Pendennis head to attempt to find the submarines (if they even exist!). Prussia was just as stunning as before, and I used the kelpy conditions in Pendennis to do a navigation dive back to the shot which I managed to do without too much hassle.. Dinner that night in Gweek was extremely good and included some very good beers and puddings.. Andy was making good headway on trying a sticky toffee pudding at every pub on the lizard.

Wednesday was only a one dive day at “Emma’s bay” due to weather blowing up slightly too much, with the final day of diving on Thursday upon us. Peter decided to take us back the Hera, followed by one of Colin’s wish list – an attempt to dive the “Bizzies”, which were apparently a series of underwater stacks between Falmouth and the Hera/Whelps. After a hunt around for the marks and a long conversation as to where to put the shot; pairs started dropping in all taking slightly different routes away from the buoy to explore the area. The general consensus on surfacing was it certainly had the potential to be good, but that we had the shot in the wrong place… oh well ones lives and learns. After pulling the boats for the final time and a clean up at the caravans; off to the wheel for the final meal before heading back to Reading. All in all a successful trip as everyone came back, some more qualified, everyone happy and nothing broke – must have been a record.

Trip report of Easter 2017 in Cornwall and photographs thanks to Steve Merrick.