vitalizing ocean currents: lying on the same latitude as Hudson Bay and Labrador, where seas are frozen for many months each year, Skye is favorably influenced by Gulf Stream currents originating in the Gulf of Mexico. These Gulf Stream currents keep the western coastal seas warmer than the eastern seaboard of Britain, bringing an abundance and variety of marine life which the clear and clean waters help to sustain.

The Hebridean Minch is a mixing pot for a rich variety of oceanic currents. Here warm Gulf Stream waters reach their Northern extremity, while cooler currents from the north bring species to their Southern extremity. Underwater visibility is often spectacular, reaching up to 30 metres at certain times of year. Even during the worst sun induced plankton bloom, it rarely drops below 8-10 metres within the sea lochs.

the warm gulfstream currents: bring a dramatic variability in weather patterns, whereby days of mist, rain and storm are followed at all times of year by sun and days of perfect visibility both above and below the water. In the Hebrides they say: 'if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 mins.' One short day can witness a tranquil morning sunrise burst over the mountains, shortly later bringing misty rain that appears to draw the ultramarine water in sheets from the sea. Abating by lunchtime and the sun back out, evening witnesses an enormous red fiery sun, slide into an oily calm purple sea on the north westerly horizon.

the sometimes inevitable island ‘weather days’: cause little dive inconvenience as the geography of the island, and the nature of its coastline with protected sea lochs, means that there is always somewhere safe to dive.


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Gordon MacKay and Aileen Robertson, Dive & Sea the Hebrides, t/a Hebridean Diving Services, Shorepark, Lochbay,
Waternish, Isle of Skye, IV55 8GD,
Phone: +44 (0)1470 592 219, email: