Whilst spending time at our hotel in Torquay, there are many sea activities available such as fishing, swimming and boating, but as well as activities on the water’s surface, there is also plenty of fun to be found beneath the waves. Tor Bay has long been a favourite with the diving community due to its natural, sheltered conditions and an abundance of small coves. The relative warmth of the Gulf Stream brings an incredibly rich and diverse population of sea life including sea anemones, corals, sponges and fish. You may not be diving in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean but there are still many incredible diving opportunities on offer.
The Torbay area has become very popular for diving. Torbay diving offers both beginners and advanced divers good diving opportunities as there are shallow dives for novices while the more experienced have the challenging wreck dives. Marine life is abundant and porpoises, dolphins and occasionally basking sharks are spotted.
If you have not tried diving before you can take a taster session at our local dive school which is only minutes walk away on Meadfoot Beach. View our latest discounts.
Some of the best spots to dive from the shore are listed below.
Meadfoot Beach– This beach is just a 2 minute walk from the hotel! This is a very popular site for both day and night dives, with extremely good access to the beach via a slipway making it easy to carry kit to the water’s edge. The maximum depth is around 10 metres and usually the visibility is somewhere between 4-8m. Meadfoot consists of low reef separated by sand. At night, there is a lot to see. There are many species of fish (red mullet and cuttlefish are especially common), and near to the shore the diver will usually pass over many sand eels.
Babbacombe Beach– This beach is good for novice, training and night dives. The sea bottom in the bay is sandy with clumps of reef and rocks especially round the headlands. In season, lots of boats are around either moving or moored. Towards Long Quarry Point there is a lot to see in quite shallow water but try to avoid fishermen at the end of the pier. There is a good variety of sea life here. Babbacombe can be awkward at low water but good in most conditions except NE/E winds when shore diving can be frankly dangerous. Depths up to 10m. Good facilities available – toilets and a pub. And less than 2.5 miles from our hotel.
Fairy Cove– This is an ideal shore dive for novices. The depth hardly gets more than 8m and the site is sheltered from all weathers other than the odd easterly winds. Although Torbay is not renowned for good visibility there is no run off from rivers at this site and visibility can be good. Access is easy, and parking is little problem although a little walk may be needed. There are excellent dive facilities nearby in the daytime, and the bay is ideal for non diving families. The dive takes you over shallow reefs with a bit of sand. Lots of wrasse and crab. There is some wreckage around from 3 old warships (HMS Savage, HMS Venerable and a German E-Boat destroyer, T189).
Freshwater Slip– This dive site is for desperate divers. Access is very easy as is the car parking. Maximum depth is around 10m on a largely muddy, silty bottom. Visibility is usually not brilliant. The best way is to hug the shore as you go out. The central channel is well used by yachts and fishing trawlers and it would be foolish to emerge without warning. If in doubt contact the Brixham Harbour master on 01803 853321.
Shoalstone Beach– Not to be confused with Breakwater beach, Shoalstone lies between Breakwater and Berry Head. This is a good site. Maximum depth is around 16m. Access is straightforward, although some clambering over rocks is needed. Sheltered from anything but Easterlies and North Easterlies. Not advised for a night dive. Most divers just kit up and head out seawards (ie. North). This way you pass over some nice reefs with lots of things to see. Further out the sea bed turns to a muddyish shingle with many crabs and scallops. Be careful about tides. The ebb tide can take you eastwards towards Berry Head which is probably not where you want to go. Compass work is important here. Not a dive for novices.
Breakwater Beach– This is an important shore dive site largely because it is so accessible, safe and usually diveable unless N, NE or E winds blow it out. Ideal for all sorts of dive training. Breakwater beach is well known to dive clubs up country, and for many trainee divers it is where they have done their first sea dive after weeks training in the pool. Depths of up to 10m with little current to worry about. A lot of sea life – sole, scallops, pipefish, crabs and so forth. Shore entry is straightforward. Cafe and toilets. Very popular with the general public.
If you prefer to just relax at the hotel we have music and entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights during the off peak periods of the year, February to early June & late September to the end of December. Call us on 01803 293381 or visit www.thehotelbalmoral.co.uk for to check our latest availability of rooms and special offers.