Chesil Cove is a favourite shore dive due to its accessibility, good visibility and protection from southerly/southeasterly winds through to north north-westerlies. It has a max depth of 15m, with an average depth of 8m and can be dived on any tide.
There is limited parking at the top of Brandy Row, however there is a car park at the bottom of Brandy Row and it’s fairly easy to get a space. Usually it’s most convenient to drive up to the esplanade wall, dump the kit then go and park the car.
The dive itself is described in Dive Dorset as an ‘underwater fairyland’ and to a certain extent this is true. The best diving lies between the two symmetrical slips that come down to the beach from the esplanade. Many ships have met their end on this part of the coast and there is a considerable amount of wreckage around. One such structure lies in about 5m of water directly out from the left hand slip. It is a good place to teach a few early drills such as DSMB deployment.
The pebbly beach soon gives way to bigger boulders at around 6-7m which, in turn, gives way to large sandy areas surrounded by rocks and boulders at about 12-13m. Life can be prolific on the dive with many different types of wrasse, pipefish, crustaceans, sand eels, pollack, mackerel and cuttlefish, with a John Dory being spotted on more than a few dives. The seaweed is also very colourful and provides homes for macro life such as nudibranchs. The visibility can get up to 10m during the summer, but the average is nearer to 5m. It is much less during May due to the plankton bloom.
If you veer too far south on the dive, the rocks become kelp-covered and the amount of life decreases noticeably. You’ll also come across a few large outlet pipes (one of them is bright yellow) in about 6m. If nothing else these will help you with your pilotage for getting back to your exit point.