The St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Nature Reserve was officially opened by David Bellamy in 1984. Situated on the Berwickshire coastline, it is still the only reserve of its kind in Scotland. This reserve, and the rugged coastline adjoining it, is a Mecca for divers. Its sea caves, tunnels, walls and submarine sea mounts are home to a staggering array of marine life--including seals wolf fish, angler fish, octopus and squid.
Anyone wishing to visit the St Abbs and Eyemouth area of Scotland will find Lawson Wood's well-set-out new book a valuable tool. Helping to take some of the headaches out of organising a trip to the area, the dive sites depicted usually contain a diagram and surface or under-water picture, and GPS co-ordinates are usually given. There are also realistic assessments of the diver qualifications needed to complete the dive safely.
The maps and diagrams are clear and easy to follow, and the photographs fit the text well, helping to explain what sort of marine life you can expect to encounter. When, for example, would you expect to find squid eggs in the marine reserve? Should you need to know, this book tells you. You might recognise the pictures of the wolf-fish and anglerfish - they are old favourites.
Descriptions of the dive sites are generally very good, though I did notice in the case of Weasel Loch, Hairy Ness, Divers Hole and Little Leeds Bay at Eyemouth that each site was described individually, even though most divers would take them all in on a single dive. This made the reading a little repetitive, if very informative. Another site, where a Messerschmitt BF 110 aircraft crashed into the sea, gets only a passing mention in the general text to whet the appetite but lacks detailed information. New divers to the area will benefit the most from this guide, but those who frequently visit will still be interested to learn of the lesser-known sites around Fast Castle and Burnmouth and their stunning marine life.
- Mike Clark
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