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Browns Bay - Newcastle upon Tyne
Browns Bay, near Tynemouth provides the ideal solution for when your ‘dive time’ is a little short – out of the city, and down the coast road.
Bear in mind you will be parking on the roadside, so have some consideration for local residents and other coastal users. Then it’s off down the steps around the pool to the waters edge.
Once in the water, swim out over the sand bearing off to the right. This will bring you to the start of a lovely reef system which, on making a sharp left turn, you will find is home to a multitude of lumpsuckers – amongst others.
The reef can be followed for about half a mile and is easy to track, being surrounded by sand. You could even be privy to a swirling ‘sand show’ by the innumerable sand eels in residence. Lately, this reef has even seen a number of octopus hiding on its’ rocky outcrops – so keep your eyes peeled.
As the reef peters out, drift out over the sand to the plates, bars and encrusted remains of the steamship ‘Butetown’. Although well wrecked, it still fulfils most peoples’ idea of what a wreck should be and provides ample opportunity to discover some shoaling fish, perhaps even another octopus.
Then, it’s time to turn and head for home. You’re only ever going to reach around eight metres maximum around here – so take your time, relax and enjoy! Because Browns Bay is a little vulnerable to winds and other local weather systems, our ‘settled’ summer months make it ideal on one of those long calm evenings.
So you see, you really don’t have to head all the way up the Northumberland coast to enjoy a wonderful reef, a little bit of shipping heritage and a convenient, easily-accessible dive – just remember, to spare a thought for the locals.