Alternative Names: Firestone Bay
Type of Dive: Reef and wall
Suggested experience: From novice upwards.
Travel directions: Plymouth - A374 west, turn left into Dunforth st, At the end of the road it turns right and changes name to Admiralty rd.
Parking directions: Parking and kitting up, this is done down the road by the Royal William Yard where the parking is free (bonus) Google
Distance from Plymouth: 2 Miles 8 Mins Google
Lat & Long: 50° 21' 39.50'' N 4° 9' 38.93'' W
Tides: Tide tables The ideal time to dive is about 25 minutes before high tide. You have to get the tides right to dive here if not you will be taken for a drift dive. This is a busy shipping area and you can very easily get into trouble.
Depth: 47m Max
Site entry/exit: So now kit on, we walk past the small kiosk that sells the famous Bacon Rolls which you are sure to purchase after your dive. During this walk it's a good idea to keep your wits about you as people walk their dogs a lot and don't always clean up, so careful chaps.The entrance is down the path on the left of the sea pool.
Underwater directions: There are a hand full of ways this dive can be done depending on what depth you want to reach and if you fancy a drift or not. Lets talk about the standard dive but with a little bit of depth. We enter in front of the old beach huts, nice and easy here. Now you have a choice, drop down straight away or swim out on the surface to the yellow swim buoys, the buoy sits in roughly 7m of water. From here it is south down over the wall, now it bottoms out at around 28m, you can go right to the shallow reef (33m) or left and that's where we are going. The wall is now on our left and we are heading east. You can swim along the bottom at 40m or so, but we won't do that as it gets boring unless you're after scallops. So we are staying on the wall, there are lots of cracks and gullies to look in with all manner of creatures including lobsters and congers. Your depth at this point is up to you, at 40m you will come across what the locals call the spike, when you see it you will know why, yes it looks like a spike, us Plymothians are simple folk.
If you carry on with the wall on your left the bottom will creep away to 47m, however I have had 49 on a big tide, there is also a great overhang at this point, so lets turn around, wall on the right now and make our way back, best to slide up to around the 33m point, there are some nasty currents on this corner and sometimes a very strong down current so this is why I pick this depth at this point. So follow the wall you will pass where you descended, you will know this point as the bottom turns to shingle and the wall disappears, however it's still easy to navigate as your depth is 33m. Now you pick up the shallow wall and the first thing you will see is a big anchor block, swim past this whilst remembering to look underneath, it's worth mentioning this is a great site for huge thorn back rays and squid so eyes peeled and we have a resident seal. Ok past the block and it will get dark again as the wall blocks out the light, the next thing you'll see is a post with 2 push bikes chained to it (was one but now there are 2) there is also a gnome garden here and an easter island head and an old pussers 7" knife. Lots of cracks and gullies again.
Bring your depth up to 26m now and you will see one of my favourite congers, stay at that depth now and continue along the wall, you will come to the cables, these go to Drakes Island, swim past these for now and around the corner, it suddenly goes light again and there are 2 big cracks to look in and if you're lucky the mother of all lobsters sits in the second. Time to turn around back to the cables which you can follow up the wall and in but this is boring and sometimes tidal as we have been in the water for awhile now. So pass the cables staying on the wall doing any deep stops you may have, there are lots of lobsters shallower here as 90% people follow the cables in and don't see this part of the wall. Your target depth is 16m now, you will get to a large overhang that hides another big lobster, he's been there for years and I have done over 1500 dives at this site and he's been on everyone of them. After saying goodbye to him and NOT putting him in your goody bag it's time to head west and leave the wall, you will have a 2min swim til you reach the cables, when you do, head right, which is north/west ish. Do your stops on the cables then follow them in, take a north/west bearing at 5m and you will hit the runway and exit point. Now it's time for that bacon roll.
Site Hazards: Must be dived near slack or you can get caught in the busy shipping channel. Use a compass to find you way back to the shore. Please remember the use of a DSMB is a no no as we are diving in the shipping channel.
Nearest Public phone: Durford street.
Accommodation: Plymouth Tourist Information Cemtre on 01752 304849
Mobile Network service: mobile coverage is excellent.
Other comments: This is a good dive for all types of diver, Scenic, Reef and wall diving. This is a dark dive at the bottom so a good torch and backup is essential. The walls are carpeted in feather stars in gorgeous pinks and oranges and thornbacks are often found at the bottom. Clearance to dive Eastern kings should be sought from the Long Room. Tel No 01752 663225
Pub: Butchers Arms
Created by: ConTaylor
Thanks To: Paul Treble for additional info and pictures
Surface Photos: To Follow
Dive Map: Contact me
Dive Report: Paul Treble 9/1/11 The Eastern Kings area offers great variety as a dive site. If you follow the cables down from the swimming pool area, you can stay shallow at the top the top of the wall and traverse along it (making sure you can return to the cables!), or you can take the plunge and drop over the wall to the bottom. If you follow the cables down, you will pass the resident conger in his hole and the continue down to about 30 - 35 metres.
Lobsters, Crabs, Cuttlefish, Squid, Thornbacks, Tompot Blennies, Shoaling Bib and Pollack, Scorpion fish, Flounder, Trigger Fish (if you're very lucky), Pipefish, Nudibranchs, walls carpeted with Jewell Anemones, Feather Stars and so on, can all be found here. If you get to the cables and swim East following the bottom of the wall, don't worry, you aren't narked, that really is a kid's bicycle, an Easter Island garden ornament and a gnome garden! Keep going a bit further and you'll find a huge concrete block and an old anchor.
Don't take the dive, or the tides too lightly - miss the cables and you might even end up going up the river. If you have to surface from the bottom, or by the top of the wall - do so with extreme care you must only surface from the wall or river bed in an emergency as it’s a shipping lane - Due to the tides and darkness, the site can be intimidating at first, so if you can get somebody who has dived the site to come along, you will enjoy it more.
During one of our dives, we explored the area to the West of the cables - only to find an unexploded bomb! There's always something new at Firestone!