Horse-drawn
Horse-drawn tram on the seafront at Douglas, Isle of Man.

olitically the Isle of Man is not actually part of Great Britain, but if you drew a box around the GB map it would fall inside. Well offshore from any big rivers, the visibility is consistently good.
Derek Evans and Atherton SAC from Greater Manchester took the ferry and dived with Isle of Man Diving Holidays in Port St Mary, in the south of the island.
My first contact with Mike Keggen and Isle of Man Diving Holidays was at the dive show at the NEC, says Derek. We had a chat, then checked its website and booked a one-week trip for the following Easter.
We stayed in the dive centres accommodation, which is much too nice for a bunch of divers, with fantastic views across the harbour.
It was a combination of the diving and the hospitality of Mike and his family and his very dry sense of humour that made us return the next year.
Mike has just upgraded to an 8m RIB from the 6.5m boat Dereks group used.
Mike is one of the coxns for the Port St Mary lifeboat, so we couldnt have been in better hands for knowledge of the diving locations and sea conditions.
You can usually get a dive in somewhere, regardless of the wind direction, and know that the visibility will be good enough to enjoy your dive.
Returning to the Ringwall, a coaster that struck a mine in 1941, and the Liverpool, a small steamship that also hit a mine, but in 1916, Derek favours the Liverpool: This wreck has the lot. Its sitting straight up with the stern still in good condition and its rudder and prop in place. As you move forward the decks collapsed, providing a good rummage.
Just forward of the engine and boilers you can still find cups and other crockery, some broken and some intact. You get a good 40m dive with excellent visibility and you can get all round with a 15 litre tank and pony. It makes you want to go back again and again.
The Isle of Man has diving to suit all interests. When the club books a holiday we try to accommodate all levels and types of diving, though we do tend to go for wrecks, says Derek.
A few of our members are into the photographic side and one has a fancy underwater video camera. We always ensure that the least experienced diver gets some diving, but are also aware of certain dives that they may have to miss as their experience dictates.
We returned specifically to revisit some of the wrecks we had dived the previous year, says Derek. As well as the Liverpool and Ringwall, we wanted to go back to the Fenella Anne, Thracian and Citrine. We also wanted to repeat scenic dives at Chicken Rock and the Outer Bowes.
This year the club is visiting Scapa Flow. There are lots of other places we want to see around the UK, but in due course Ill be returning to the Isle of Man again, concludes Derek.

  • Atherton Sub Aqua Club SAA (www.athertonsubaquaclub.org.uk);
    Isle of Man Diving Holidays (www.isleofmandivingholidays.com)

  • Entering
    Entering the Cave of the Birds in the Sugarloaf Caves, Isle of Man.
    Launching
    Launching Mike Keggens RIB at Port St Mary.
    Atherton
    Atherton Sub Aqua Club members enjoy a holiday in the Isle of Man - Derek Evans is fourth from the left.