The National Marine Aquarium has done an excellent job putting the Scylla Reef down there for us divers. It is the best wreck dive that we have in England, and can be such a varied dive offering something for every level. But a very easy dive can become an extremely advanced one very quickly if you go inside. DO NOT PENETRATE unless you are trained, experienced and properly equiped for wreck penetration. Scylla is a perfect training site.
Location: In Whitsand Bay, approx. 5 miles from Plymouth, 8 miles from Looe
Length: 113m Leander Class Frigate
Max Depth: 26m
Depth to deck: Max 18m
Viz: Worst we've seen 1m, best 20m+
Orientation: Upright, bow points out to sea approx SW
Please take note of the following safety considerations:
There are 3 chain lines, (bow, midships and stern) each will normally have a 5 gallon drum full of air attached halfway up to keep the lower part of the chain from snagging Scylla and pulling the buoys underwater, please do not tamper with these. Use the chains keeping one hand on them at all times as currents can sometimes be enough to pull you away from the ship if you do free ascents or decents.
Location of Buoys In good visibilty these are easily found. The bow line is 30 foot back from the bow in the centre of the deck. The stern line is 20 foot forward from the stern, again in the centre of the deck. The midships line is on the port side (left) attached to the deck above the waists (side corridors) between the hanger and the bridge.
In poor viz, go to the top deck either at the bow or stern, and swim along the centre of the boat towards the oposite end. The stern line is between the back and the honeycombe metal section on the flight deck. The bow line is just past a foot high V shaped metal piece pointing towards the bow 30 foot back. However if you can't find them launch your delayed SMB and complete a normal ascent with a safety stop.
Yellow Signs There are 4 types of sign. If you see either of the last 3 signs (NOT the SAMPLE SITE ones) and they have some growth on them please give them a wipe as divers are trying to keep them free from growth so that others can see the warnings.
SAMPLE SITE do not touch, the Aquarium is using these as their research points.
CHECK YOUR AIR it would be wise to do as it says - remember the rule of thirds if you're inside.
DO NOT ENTER: Heed the warnings as the compartments are not suitable for divers and have been sealed off for a reason. There are plenty of challenging areas on Scylla's other decks.
WRECK PENETRATION SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED... if you want to go in do the course.
Wreck Penetrations Even with training and a wreck reel, some areas of Scylla are too narrow for 2 divers to swim side by side. Therefore if you have an air problem you won't be able to go on to their alternate to get out. Do not proceed into any area that you don't think 2 of you can get out of together unless you have and are experienced in using 2m long regulator hoses. Use your own judgement, as we said before there's a dive for every level on Scylla Reef, you're a qualified diver that knows the risks, Plan Your Dive and Dive Your Plan.
Reef Guides are available for £8 which enclose complete deck plans, very useful in planning any dive on Scylla, along with lots of other useful information including a marine life guide. Please contact us to buy one.
Snagging Hazards As with all wrecks there are sharp edges and things to get gear caught on. The gutting of Scylla took care of the majority but you should still be careful. You should wear gloves and be careful where you swim. BCDs and Drysuits have been punctured by the more careless.
No Take Zone This is a Marine Sanctuary Zone. Please do not take souvenirs or fish from the boat as there will less for the rest of us to dive in years to come. If you want something to take back with you have a look for dropped and lost, diving equipment. Items found so far include a torch, knives, weights etc but we've heard reports that a £3000 camera, and dive computer are still missing...
Life seen so far Bib, under the bow and stern, Pollack everywhere, Red Mullet in the hanger, a John Dory, 2 foot long Squid on the starboard side, a Guillimot at 22m, Squid eggs under the stern, a Cuttlefish on the flight deck, and Jelly fish in the canteen. Our february rescue course had a rare sighting of an octopus on the stern section.
Please report any fish and other creatures you see on Scylla Reef to the NMA, telephone: 01752 275216 or www.national-aquarium.co.uk/marinelife/rare-form.asp.
If you would like to support Scylla Reef you can become a friend of Scylla by writing to: Scylla Team, National Marine Aquarium, Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth, PL4 0LF; Tel: 01752 600301; e-mail:
or visit www.scylla-reef.co.uk