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ISSUE 8 ARCHIVE - A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE ISLES OF SCILLY

Now some of you may be lucky and manage to get on a dive club trip out to the Isles of Scilly, as it seems most of the diving around these most south westerly islands off England is booked out years in advance by clubs. With only three dive boat charters catering for the reefs and wrecks of these beautiful islands you can really look to some fantastic diving opportunities.

If you are not booked with a club, there is still the chance to jump into these waters, although you are unlikely to pack in an intense week of diving. However, when you're not breathing compressed air, there is still much to enjoy and see on these islands.
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Soft Coral With only five of the one hundred and forty islands that make up the Isles of Scilly, being inhabited, you will probably find that you are staying on either St Mary's (the largest of the islands with the widest selection of facilities) or St Martin's, as it is from these two islands that the dive charters will go.

A Good Night's Kip
If you're looking to posh it up, then really the Star Castle on St Mary's is your best option.
Tel: 01720 422 317 / 423 342.

Beachfield House is a great B&B option. Just a 10 minute walk from the centre of Hugh Town and right on one of the Porthloo beaches.
Tel: 01720 422 463.

If you want to feel like you're on a Mediterranean holiday, then St Martin's on the Isle Hotel (on St Martin's) has a great location with a sun terrace to enjoy your Strawberry Pimms whilst looking out over the white sandy beach and blue waters obviously this relies on the fabulous British weather to maximize this idyllic view.

The Stables, St Martin's owned by renowned underwater cameraman, John Boyle, provide a self-catering option (two properties with 1 & 2 bedroom accommodation) with views to both the North and South of the island.
Pin Cushion Food & Booze
Blues Restaurant
The Cornerhouse,
Hugh Street,
St Mary's,
Isles Of Scilly,
TR21 0LL
Tel: 01720 422 221

Dibble and Grub
Porthcressa,
St Mary's
Tel: 01720 423 719

St Martin's on the Isle Hotel
St Martin's
Tel: 01720 422 090 (great value food)

Make sure that you also go out on one of the supper boats. I recommend going over to The Turk's Head on St Agnes.

Out and About and Island Hopping
If you're staying on the Isles of Scilly then island hopping is a must do. It's up to each of you to decide which is your favourite, as they all very much have their own characters.
Ocean Leisure
Tresco Abbey Gardens these famous gardens were established in the grounds of the Benedictine Abbey (founded in 964 AD) in the nineteenth century by Augustus Smith. At £10 entry fee visitors can enjoy exotic plants from all around the world, that benefit from the mild winters and long hours of summer sunshine on the islands.

Pelagic Boat Trips It is well worth joining the birders on one of these pelagic boat trips (run on some evenings and at most weekends during the summer months). Not only are there some unusual seabirds out there in these Atlantic waters, but the chumming will bring in the occasional blue shark and there will also be the chance to see minke whales; ocean sunfish; leatherback turtles; dolphins and many other pelagic sea creatures.
Gig Racing The Scillonians are proud of their pilot gig racing (traditional 32 foot wooden working boats) and races are held every week throughout the season between the islands (Wednesday women & Friday men). Go and support the teams from the boats following the race.

Local Diving Contacts
Scilly Diving
Offers dive charters on hardboats: Moroven from St Martin's and Moonshadow on St Mary's which can be booked by groups for 6 day charters. They also have a 6.3m RIB which can be booked for single dives or for a week's charter.
Tel: 01720 422 848

Diving Scilly Isles
Run by skipper and underwater photographer, Dave McBride, the dive boat Tiburon operates out of St Marys and provides dive charters for a maximum of twelve divers.
Tel: 01720 423 162
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