Best known for its abundance of adrenaline pumping top class deep wreck sites and clear waters, the North Antrim coast of Northern Ireland is also a great place to experience spectacular scenic dives and shallow scenic wrecks. As a result, a group from Buccaneer Divers crossed the Irish Sea to complete three days' diving over the May bank holiday and experience "the craic" first hand.
The only dive centre on the North Antrim Coast is Aquaholics based in Port Stewart, which has a subsidiary operation in Ballycastle where we planned to base ourselves as the harbour is directly opposite Rathlin Island making for easy transfers to site. They have two RIBS, a large 11m craft with a side ladder, which takes 10-12 in comfort and a 6m craft which takes 6 divers.
Travelling in our own cars via the Norfolk Line overnight ferry service from Birkenhead to Belfast we disembarked in Belfast at 7am on the Friday giving us plenty of time to drive to the Ballycastle dive centre, settle in and explore the area. Diving operations began on Saturday which was a real "four seasons" day featuring mist, rain and hail before ending in brilliant sunshine.
Our first dive was on the SS Lough Garry. This former Caledonian McBain ferry was pressed into war service as a troop ship and sank with the loss of 29 crew during a gale in January 1942 whilst en route from Glasgow to Oban where she had been due to transport a garrison to the Faeroe Islands to prevent them being used as a U boat base.
Now lying in 30m, she's a lovely dive with lots to see and explore including an impressive boiler and the mount for her stern deck gun.