Hope Cove has a short slip and a very long sandy beach where the boats can be launched. Launching costs are £6 per boat per day (2012 prices). To run a trip here you need to pick a weekend with favourable tides for launching the boats as the beach is very flat and the tide goes out a long way. This means the boats will have be carried a long distance. Preferably launch on an ascending tide and retrieve them on a descending tide. Picking the tides for launching is far more important than picking weekends with neaps. Once launched at Outer Hope the divers need to go round to Inner Hope to get aboard the boats, in low season the harbour master may make an exception and allow you to use the beach all day. If you’re early you can park on the road near the slip or on the hill further along the shore. Otherwise you will have to use the car park and pay. From here you can find the wrecks of the Persier and the Maine.
The Maine is a brilliant dive and is fairly easy to find with transits (it is relatively intact so it returns a strong echo). The second transit on the distant headland can be difficult to line up, but by driving out to sea on the first transit using the echo sounder you can locate the wreck. This is a slack water dive, with the seabed at 35m.
The Persier is a lot further away from Hope Cove, so can be a long drive back if the weather turns. It is a lot more broken up than the Maine with a reef that runs along the west side of the wreck. This can be dived at any state of tide.
A good second dive is Bolt head, the headland on the way back to Hope cove.
- The Maine: 50.12.820 N, 03.51.045 W
- The Hope: 50.17.115N, 03.58.138W
The number for the Harbour master is 01548 560 928. His name is Ray and it’s advisable to contact him in advance of a trip.
The campsite we’ve used is Bolberry Farm (01548 561 251). They’re really diver friendly and will allow us to use our mobile compressor during low season providing you are considerate towards other guests and don’t leave is running too late.