Diving with Seals! Farne Islands Expedition 2022
We had an awesome time in the Farne Islands. What an very special and unique opportunity to dive and play with seals in their natural habitat!
The Farne Islands is just a short distance off the Northumberland coast and is renowned as THE BEST place in the UK to dive with seals – approximately 4,500 Atlantic Grey Seals live there. The area is a popular location for wreck diving, with many wrecks having sunk here throughout history.
For us though, the seals were the main attraction!
Being lucky enough to visit at prime time and having managed to dodge the majority of bad weather predictions, we made the most of our time with the seals! They did not disappoint, giving us amazing encounters on every dive.
Our group of 9 divers completed a total of 36 dives, an average depth of 13m and a total of just over 26 hours underwater.
Scuba Diving in the Farne Islands
The Farne Islands offer a wide range of diving for all experiences. Shallow and deeper dives are available, with the primary focus being one of the largest grey seal colonies in the UK and wreck diving. Visibility can also often reach up to 20 metres during the season.
Diving in the Farnes is renowned as some of the best diving in the UK and for good reason. Aside from the obvious residents (the seals) you will find beautiful soft corals, sun stars, sea urchins and anemones to name but a few.
We also have a few wrecks around the islands which act as a natural reefs and are perfect for all the wildlife to flourish too.
There are 28 islands in total so it’s no surprise that there’s many wrecks off the coastline here. While most of the wrecks have deteriorated over the years, they still make for fantastic dives. Boilers, props and engines can be found lying on the seabed, creating the prefect reef for all the wildlife and the perfect dive site for all.
One of the most famous wrecks is that of the Somali – a 6,810 tonne passenger-cargo steamer, which was bound for Hong Kong when she was bombed. The Somali now rests in 29 metres of water.
Our First Trip to the Farne Islands
Part of the group made a 9-hour long trek from Cornwall to Northumberland on the Thursday, arriving early evening. Others travelled from Sussex and Leicestershire, arriving on the Friday, ready to start a full weekend of diving on the Saturday.
The Olde School House was our base, comprising spacious and comfortable rooms, just a short distances from Seahouses town and harbour. The B & B comes well-recommended by Booking.com, scoring an average of 9.4 overall. We were not disappointed at all when we arrived; the owner, Joan, was extremely welcoming and hospitable.
We all met on Saturday morning for a delicious cooked breakfast before making our way to Seahouses Harbour to meet with our Skipper, Ron. The parking is conveniently located right in the harbour (£6 per day fee), making it really easy to offload equipment. After sorting our dive kit, we boarded the Mara Mhor – a large spacious, catamaran style dive boat for groups up to 12, with a diver’s lift for maximum ease.
We stayed 3 nights at the Olde School House and dived during Saturday and Sunday. This allowed us to spend a relaxed final night in Seahouses, socialising and discussing our adventures, followed by a leisurely drive back after breakfast on Monday.
Seal Diving in the Farne Islands – Video Highlights!
Check out the highlights from our trip.
Encounters with the Seals of the Farne Islands
On Saturday, with the weather looking much better than the forecast had been telling us all week, we headed a short distance from Seahouses Harbour to a popular dive site – The Hopper. As we approached, the seals greeted us from the rocks, with many jumping into the water, swimming on the surface and diving beneath. We were more than a little excited to get kitted up and enter the water!
Captain Ron had explained that the main seal activity would be within the hopper – a natural, sheltered cove in the island, where the seals love to play. Within minutes of entering the water and descending, we had curious seals all around us. With the strong winds from previous days, the visibility was not at it’s best. However, it was still around 5 metres or so, making it easy to see each other and spot seals coming towards us up ahead.
We ended up doing two more dives at the same site during the weekend and one dive at another site – which despite the amazing seal encounters, was a little more exposed, making it a bit of a challenge to board the boat!
All in all, we were incredibly lucky to have so many seals with us on each dive. It was also interesting to see the variety of marine life, including various crabs, lobster, squat lobster, anemone and colourful starfish. There was always something to look at.
Best Memories of our Farne Islands Adventure!
Here’s some of the feedback our group members had to share… pretty much sums up the amazing time we all had! Thanks to Karen, Alice, Tabitha, Zara, Magi, Phil Alan and John for making this an awesome trip to remember!
”The Farnes did not disappoint, even after bad weather before our trip. Seals on every dive, great boat and fab B & B. Well organised from the start. Well done Ayaan.Karen
”Really great trip...just like old times! So good to see everyone. Thanks to Ayaan for organising it.Alan
”Amazing life experience diving with the Farnes seals. Location was stunning. Great comfy B & B. Well organised and good boat and captain to take us to dive sites. I’d go again. Thank you Ayaan.Zara
”What an amazing break away, scuba diving with the seals at The Farne islands, hundreds of seals to be seen on the islands and many in the water to see and some confident ones wanting to interact by touching our fins. Great dive boat with a lift and a nice hot drink waiting after each dive...great company, great cakes Magi. The B & B was ideal, located within walking distance of all the pubs and restaurants of which there were many...thanks Ayaan for organising a wonderful trip, a much needed break away...I would definitely do again.Alice
”Beautiful location, gorgeous cheeky seals, great company, comfy B & B and clean, spacious boat with the all important lift and good captain. Can’t wait to go again. Thanks for great trip Ayaan.Magi
More Seal Diving in the Farne Islands: Videos from Sovereign Diving
Note: Images and videos from soverigndiving.com, booking.com and pixabay.com