The Maharees Peninsula is a mostly sandy spit located off Dingle Peninsula between Tralee and Brandon Bays. Located of the tip lie the Maharee Islands or the Seven Hogs. The largest island Illauntannig has remnants of an early monastic settlement on it. There is also a local seal colony. There are lovely sites at Gurrig and Inistooskert.
Also divable from here is the coast on the opposite side of Brandon Bay from Brandon Point to Sauce Creek. We swam with basking sharks after diving Deelick Point in 2009.
Laura M ran an OD trip here in 2009 and Martina organised a trip with the local dive centre in approx 2001.
Boats can be launched from Scraggane pier, there are two slips and no problems launching or retrieving except possibly at very low tides. Ask at the dive centre for which moorings to use. They also kindly offered us an anchor if needed. There are toilet facilities and ample parking at the slip.
The sites are fairly non-tidal, even mid tide there is only a small drift. Of the Maharee Islands the best diving is around Gurrig Island and Inistooskert. There is also reportedly a wreck in about 10m off Inistooskert but we haven’t dived this.
Diving nearby at Brandon Point, Deelick Point, Moynihan’s Rock and Sauce Creek is meant to be lovely. We have only dived Deelick Rock.
Lovely dive- dived extensively in June ’09. Drop in at the large rock on the NW side and work your way back towards the mainland along the rock face. It opens up into a very large gully with resident lobsters and shoals of fish. Visibility was lovely and walls of sheer soft coral on either side. As the gully narrows there are walls of anenomes on either side. Some lovely scorpion fish were spotted here on the island side of the gully. The gully eventually peters out entirely and becomes quite kelpy. Again stay in to the landward side and watch out for shoals of wrasse and pollack above the kelp. There are also loads of swim-throughs here – look for patches of dark amongst the kelp and a few swim throughs were discovered that were a haven for life. An absolute cracker of a dive with a max depth of 20m
You need the usual boat safety equipment: O2, 1st Aid Kit, flares, VHF, GPS. Also make note of the following:
- Shannon Coastguard
- VHF Channels 28, 16, 67, DSC 70
- Valentia Coastguard
- VHF Channels 16, 67, 24, DSC 70
- Working channel
- Emergency services
- 112 (or 999) on land
- Nearest hospital
- Tralee general hospital, +353 (0)66 7126222
- Lifeboat (RNLI)
- Weather Dial 1550 123 855
- RTE Radio1 (88-89fm) at 0602, 1253, 1655, 2355
- VHF 0103, 0403, 0703, 1003, 1303, 1603, 1903, 2203
We compressed down at the slip and by the house.
There is a dive centre Waterworld (www.waterworld.ie) run by Ronnie Fitzgibbon that has a compressor. They were extremely helpful with information and our one dive with them was great. They have a rib and a hard boat.
In June 09 we stayed in a house in Fahamore belonging to Joan Long, Laura M has her number or you can contact Marilyn Spillane of Spillanes bar (email@example.com) , she has a list of self catering accommodation in the area of Fahamore.
The nearest ATM is in Castlegregory. There is a small shop at Sandy Bay campsite but it is only open during high season and possible bank holiday weekends so do stock up in Castlegregory.
There are two pubs nearby, Spillanes bar (www.spillanesbar.com) which also does good food and The Green Room aka O’Connors which does a great pint.
You can get more information about the area from the following sources:
You can get directions from the route planner on the AA website.