Alternative Names: None
Type of Dive: Natural harbour with man-made features. On the North side of Loch Etive, follow the road all the way to the end. It gets narrower as you approach Bonawe itself, a wee hamlet consisting of a few houses and a pretty school.
Suggested experience: Sport diver with good buoyancy.
Travel directions: Follow the A82 to Crianlarich, then take the A85 to Oban. Before you get to Oban, cross the bridge at Connel, turn right at Ledaig heading along the shore road on the north of Loch Etive to Bonawe. Google
Parking directions: Park on the flat concrete area just off the road but before the Armco barrier as the quarry traffic is quite busy here.
Distance from Glasgow: 102 miles 2 hrs 31 mins Edinburgh: 127 miles 3 hrs 9 mins
Lat & Long: 56.451389, -5.223611 Postcode PA37 1RL Google
Tides: Tide Tables
Site entry/exit: The entry point is to the right of the Armco and you can walk down to the water's edge to where there's been some rock clearing to create a small gravel slipway.
Underwater directions: Basically, you will be heading to the right edge of the natural harbour and fairly far out towards the mouth of the harbour. Drop down into 5-8m over the edge of the gravel "slip" and locate the mooring line that heads off towards the harbour mouth. Occasionally you may need to lift the line to show it's position but do so only gently as the silt is very fine and lifts as clouds. You won't believe the viz, even after you've lifted the line. As you fin out, you'll first come across the Fore Derrick from a fishing boat on your right, don't waste time here, keep going. It's only 15m max in the harbour but you will want all your bottom time, either to explore the wreck that will loom up and become visible about 3 mins after the derrick, or to continue past the wreck and follow the rock base past some thick hawser wire looped in and out of the sandy bottom. You'll come across very large quarry rock piled up on the left of a narrow harbour entrance. On the right is the natural rock wall. Here you'll find a shoal of Pouting and above them some Pollack. Be careful peering into the rock boulders as they do look somewhat unstable but very inviting. There's a veritable city of Flabellina lineata mooching around these rocks, feeding on and laying eggs on the hydroids that live on the rocks. Also, beware of the yards and yards of snagged fishing line here. Watch your time, as it's still easy to run into deco (even at 15m!) or indeed out of air, mooching about here. It's a long surface swim back to the entry point from here and there's not really anywhere to exit if you come up at the harbour entrance here, the rocks are huge!
Air & Nitrox: Puffin divers
Site Hazards: Be aware that vessels may come and go from this harbour tho' it will probably be only pleasure boats looking in for a look see. On no account should you leave the harbour when any tide is running as there's a fierce current on the outside by the walls. You won't have the air to do so anyway.
Accommodation: Plenty of good B&Bs around Connel, also plenty of good, quiet midge free wild campsites along this side of the loch. Plenty of wood around for campfires. Scottish Tourist Board, Edinburgh. 0131 332 2433.
Nearest Public phone: To follow
Mobile Network service: O2 works fine
Other comments: The seabed is silty so stay off the bottom.
Pub: Hmmm, we took our own since we were wild camping. There's a good Off Licence at the filling station in Benderloch.
Cafe: A couple of good cafes in Benderloch
Created by: Darryl Mayer
Thanks To: Jane Wilkinson
Surface Photos: By Jane Wilkinson
Underwater Photos: Darryl Mayer
The wreck of the Kingfisher
Dive Report: Jane Wilkinson August 2010 Great little dive, nice and easy one for a trainee wreck dive. Couldn't be easier, just enter the water and follow the rope as DT said. Lots of silt so good buoyancy important particularly around the wreck. Unlike DT didn't find any fish, in fact, the site generally seemed devoid of life and I only saw a few shore crabs. However, it's a great little dive, sheltered, simple and shallow with an upright wreck.....for some stupid reason I forgot to put my wide angle lens on and didn't have time to dive it again, so no pics of the wreck.
Dive Report: Chris Hine 17/1/11 Awful weather topside though somehow we managed to stay dry. Diving in strong tea and a bit chilly, dark at 4m. I see what you mean about having to have good buoyancy control for this dive as the silt stirs up very easily. Still, found the derrick, a pile of tyres, a fishing catch net and the upturned wooden boat and metal pontoon. A couple of flatties, loads of gobies and a dragonette.
Dive Report: Comment in the box below.