Porthkerris divers have it sorted. A short hop from the Manacles, where jewel anemones blanket granite pinnacles and wrecks litter the seabed, the Cat and Kitten make boat diving effortless. The shore dive round Drawna rock is a short scramble from the car park. Post-dive slabs of home baking await, fresh from the oven of a converted Police incident van on the beach, washed down with decent coffee. Dogs roam happy and free on the private beach, the dive shop is stocked with tempting goodies, and even the back of the loo door will spark your imagination with taped-on excerpts from Charlie Hood’s 100 Best Dives in Cornwall.
We towed Ruby Studios from Babbacombe to St Keverne, telling stories of dive club trips to Porthkerris, and sharing happy holiday memories. We’d had great reports on recent diving conditions. The weather forecast was good. We were looking forward to meeting the team from Cornwall Wildlife Trust at their Porthkerris beach event. Our fingers were crossed for some great footage.
We knew big spring tides weren’t the easiest time to dive the Manacles, but we do like a bit of tide to create movement in our shots. These five metre tides pushed water through at pace, giving barely 15 minutes of slack water, compared to the relaxed hour of slack you get on neap tides. A plankton bloom reduced visibility and pushed us into macro filming – we did get some lovely jewel anemone shots. The shore dive was kind to us; a group of three cuttlefish let us get to know them slowly. The “fish bowl”, a sandy-bottomed area just a few metres out to sea, teemed with friendly wrasse. We didn’t get all the footage we had hoped for, but that’s wildlife filmmaking for you. We bid a fond farewell to Porthkerris and headed west, to Penzance, Mousehole, and Lands’ End.
Images by Andy, words by Jackie.