Alternative names: Harbour east
Type of Dive: Shore Dive Webcam
Suggested Experience: OW or Sport Diver
Distance from Edinburgh: 49 Miles 1hr 5 Mins Google
Distance from Newcastle: 77 Miles 1hr 40 Mins
Parking directions: Harbour Masters area at the back of Borders Council Car Park is cheaper (facing seagull rock)
Lat & Long: 55.899503, -2.127929 Postcode TD14 5PW Google
Tides: Tide tables Use Eymouth tables with no offset. Slack water is only ten minutes during spring tides, and is generally around three hours after high and low tide.
Site entry/exit: Walk all the way around the Harbour wall to the far North Easterly point and you will see a rocky decline.
Underwater directions: The most popular shore-dives are at the east side of the harbour which is reached by walking around the stone jetties, the first-timer here just needs to follow the crowd and queue up at the entry point, the best entry is off the rocks where the three sections of wall meet, at high water it's a doddle but as the tide falls it becomes more tricky with the kelp posing particular problems at low water. The area around the entry point is gravel bottomed gullies which are easily followed depending on which tour you're undertaking. The dives here generally consist of circumnavigating the rocky outcrops, Broad Craig, Big and Little Green Carrs and the renowned Cathedral Rock. They can be dived separately or two or more can be combined which gives several permutations.
Once at the entry point, the big rock facing you is Broad Craig, this is an easy dive with no currents so long as you stay close to the rock, maximum depth of about 10 metres. If circumnavigating this rock counter-clockwise, one of the first features is a very narrow gully near the entry point which has lots of kelp at the top, so it's quite an eerie start to the dive for novices.
Beyond this rock, to the north, is Big Green Carr, this is subject to the main tidal stream on the seaward side, so it's best to stay close to the rock face in which case the maximum depth will be 15 metres, although beyond the rock itself the seabed falls away to 18+ metres. Big pollack abound here and it's not uncommon to see groups of them hovering in the current This is a colourful dive in mid to late summer, especially early morning when the Amphitheatre (on the east side) is illuminated by direct sunlight. A decent sized wolf fish has taken up residence in a hole on the west side of this rock and is always ready to entertain visitors!
Cathedral Rock is to the south-east, so named by divers because of the arched tunnel through it (actually there are two tunnels, a much smaller one lies above the main arch). A group of semi-tame wrasse live around Cathedral, and they're unafraid of divers, taking food from an outstretched hand. Often a current flows through the arch on the flood tide, but it isn't serious, in fact, it helps to keep the vis' reasonable after the previous visitors have stirred it up. On all the sites here, you'll see dead men's fingers and anemone's adorning the quite impressive walls. Even if the vis is poor, there are so many smaller forms of life on the rocks, in crevices and on the weeds that you'll not be disappointed, nudibranchs, in particular, are numerous and very colourful. Another interesting area is around the rocks lining the harbour entrance. Few people venture here as the harbour master gets annoyed if anyone dives in the fairway so be sure not to surface in this area.
Seagull rock has a different entry/exit point at the north car park. You climb over the wall and walk over the rocks towards seagull rock. After entering the water it's easy to fin around the rock and back to the shore. Take your time and look in all the cracks and gully's as you will have plenty of time.
Site Hazards: Current, surf, Surge, Slippery entry, Council parking charges if you don’t display a ticket
Nearest Public phone: Red box at top of the Hill at Seaview terrace.
Mobile Network service: Need to walk to the top of the Hill for good service, only 1 or 2 bars in the Harbour area
Accommodation: The Rock House
Other comments: If you are far from St Abbs phone the harbour master on 07881767587 and check the conditions.
Pub: There are no pubs here.
Thanks To: Keith Waugh for the excellent dive map.
Created by: Chris Reid
Surface Photos: Barry White and Chris Reid
Dive Report: Regthing, July 07 It was an amazing dive. My first on the East Coast. My Scotland diving has so far been in the Clyde and Loch Fyne so the viz here was amazing. I compared it (relative to the Clyde) to the Red Sea but on reflection Santa Ponsa, Majorca is closer. We dived from the shore, out between Broad Craig and Scott's Rock then on to Cathedral Rock. Seen my first pipefish. Lots of lobsters and shoals of smaller fish. 4 or 5 very tame Ballan Wrasse at Cathedral Rock. The rock itself was stunning as well, my first archway.
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