Hand Deeps (50º12.425 N, 004º20.445 W)
The shallowest part of Hand Deeps is a kelp-covered flat-topped pinnacle sitting some 10m below the surface, but its rocky terrain plunges down to more than 50m.
There are some fantastic rock formations covered in jewel anemones, and the rock face is quite sheer in some places. There are gullies, coves in the rock and extensive boulder plains with sea fans, wrasse, congers etc. There is also no freshwater run-off from land out there, which can give really good visibility – but occasionally there are plankton blooms.
There are several different locations to drop-in and, if you have time or are waiting for slack water, a few runs with the echo sounder can pay-off with a spectacular dive. The site is well known to Plymouth Sound divers and can be dived at any time during neap tides, but slack water is advised during springs and is 2.5 hours after HW and LW at Devonport.
Hand Deeps is called such because there are a number of underwater pinnacles that fishermen thought resembled the fingers of an upturned hand. The best pinnacle is at 50:12.582N – 04:20.391W at around 15m. A short fin northwards takes the diver to a breathtaking drop off that is liberally plastered with colourful squidgies of all sorts. The drop off goes down to 45m plus but the best parts are around 35m. If there’s a flow tide then the diver can dive over to the east to see a number of colourful gullies. On an ebb tide the diver is taken SW into a 30m gulley between 2 pinnacles. Excellent scenic diving.
About 1km north of Hand Deeps there is another slightly deeper pinnacle system called Dice Rock – 50:13.076N – 04:20.421W. Although not quite as spectacular as Hand Deeps, this is a very pretty set of pinnacles and drop offs that are well worth spending time on. Depths range from 24m down to 50+m.
Other Pinnacles include:
50:12.517N – 04:20.501W – small pinnacle at 15m – head NW for the 45m depths.
50:12.554N – 04:20.867W – pinnacle at 25m – head west for a drop off or other directions for a scenic dive.
50:11.697N – 04:20.864W – pinnacle at 40m – any direction down towards 60m.