Strangford Lough, Co. Down

Strangford Lough, Co. Down

Ballyhenry Point
Also known as the “Drop-Off”, the plateau is of gravel and coarse sand sloping gently to about 20m, with occasional rock outcrops. This is not very interesting and in most places the drop-off proper doesn’t start until 25m. The steepness varies from a sharp boulder slope to sheer sections of cliff-face down to at least 50m. The bottom is mud a t 66m. The marine life is spectacular including dead man’s fingers, hydroids, crabs , lobsters, squat lobsters, blennies, cuckoo wrasse, balm wrasse etc. Slack water is at around high water or low water Strangford. There’s hardly any slack at all at spring tides.
Limestone Rock
(GPS 54.24.30N 05.36.10W)

Rocky slope with sea squirts, feather starfish and sea urchins. Depth 5–20 m.
Angus Rock
This is a scenic dive and a good place to start a drift dive. Depth 20–30m. Slack water at around high water or low water Strangford, but sit and wait. Calculations using the nearest tidal diamond are not valid for this site.
(GPS 54 27.06N 05 37.71W)

A large motor yacht in Ringhaddy Sound, Strangford Lough. The wreck apparently sank after a fire, but is largely intact, and its sheltered location makes it an excellent beginners wreck (17–23m). Both the sea bed and the wreck are teeming with marine life. Fish species which can be expected to be seen in the vicinity include large ballan and goldsinny wrasse, pollack, poor cod, congers, Yarrell’s blenny, gunnels and gobies.
(GPS 54 19.13N 05 27.30W )

Large wreck, 2899 tonnes, depth 35–39m. Visibility is often poor but slack water is available over a fairly wide period of the tide, perhaps an hour either side of high water or low water Strangford.
Arantzazu Mendi
(GPS 54 22.46N 0526.49W)

Wreck of 6600 tonnes lost on Yellow Pladdy in 1939. Depth 0–12m. Best dived at low water slack.
Audley’s Point
(GPS 54 22.98N 05 34.21W)

The plateau is narrower and the drop sharper, otherwise the terrain is very similar to Ballyhenry Point, as is the marine life.
Marlfield Bay
Marlfield Bay is two bays further round from Ballyhenry Bay. It has more space for parking and on the shore at all states of the tide. The main disadvantage is that at low tide it can involve a 100m snorkel to get to a depth of 5m. The bottom is sandy and reasonably flat with brittlestars and the occasional outcrops of rock covered in sponges and deadman’s fingers. It’s diveable at any state of the tide, depth 10–40m with good drift up to 2 knots, usually going south.
Empire Tana
(GPS 54 23.36N 05 34.35W)

Also known as “Lee’s wreck” this was a WWII Liberty ship which also acted as part of the Mulberry harbour at the landing beaches in Normandy. It broke away while under tow to Lee’s breakers yard on Ballyhenry Island. It has broken into two large pieces off Ballyhenry Point at the sheltered end of the Strangford Narrows. It breaks the surface at low water and is in 10m of water. Once famous for its tame conger eels it is teeming with life, resembling a garden full of colour. It is carpeted from stem to stern inside and out with a huge variety of marine life. Care should be taken not to disturb the soft mud inside the wreck as the visibility can plummet to zero. Diving is best carried out after high water Strangford. Low water is okay but it is advisable to stay on the landward side. It is one of the favourite dives in Northern Ireland.
(GPS 54 23.35N 05 33.50W)

“The Pins” wreck is thought to be a barque which sank around 1700 in Ballyhenry Bay at the north end of the Strangford Narrows. It is an ideal beginner’s wreck, and the hull is sheathed in copper with large pins holding the planking of the vessel together. There is a gently sloping bottom of fine sand and gravel with large kelp covered rocks. The widely scattered wreckage lies in 8–12m of water when the tide in full.
(GPS 54 19.74N 05 26.60W)

This is a cargo ship carrying stone blocks, depth 30–40m. Slack water the same as the Hunsdon but the currents are stronger.

Tide Predictions

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