Words can't explain how important Chesil Beach is where the issue is environment. Both this 16 mile beach and the Fleet are part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many wrecks along the beach which is made up of a shingle bank leading straight into deep water. It's global attraction to anglers reflects the abundance of fish life in those depths. But Chesil's inhabitants are not just fish. From the rocks covered in kelp forests to the thousands of pieces of wreckage and gullies, the beach offers shelter to various kinds of diverse marine life.
On Chesil Beach and Cove we are monitoring changing conditions and sea life -- as well as outside influences like pollution, litter, debris etc.- helping to create an infrastructure not only to observe and record things but to to be able to respond to and interact with issues in a timely manner.
For the divers or prospective divers among you we also have an exclusive Guide to Diving Chesil Cove.
Complementing its past activities on Chesil, Underwater Explorers set up a voluntary system to monitor Chesil Cove on a more regular basis with our own staff and resources, together with the contribution of locals and visitors (divers and non-divers alike). Our daily online photographic blog Chesil Beach Watch is one side of this.
Part of what we are doing is to document any environmental changes, notable fauna and flora throughout the seasons (both on the surface and underwater). This effort naturally encompasses the monitoring of water or land based pollution. Our aim is to work closely together with non-diving locals, environmental campaigners and groups & cooperate with or instigate land-based activities (beach cleanups, recording and documenting litter, pollution etc.).
If you are a diver and considering coming to Chesil Beach/Cove the link above will give you updated information on the conditions. Also, we have prepared a DIVE GUIDE ON CHESIL COVE for you with useful images, video and information. For divers and non-divers we have also prepared a series of visual information which you can find below:
As you see, we are doing our very best to make your interest in Chesil a safe, enjoyable and rewarding one. If you are diving Chesil Cove anytime of the year, please take a moment after your dive and drop in to tell us about your experience or let us know so we can also share with others. If you have never dived Chesil before don't forget to also check out our
exclusive Guide to Diving Chesil Cove.
Daily Monitoring on the "surface" - Regular monitoring underwater:
On Chesil Beach we are monitoring changing conditions and sea life - sharing this with you on a regular basis. The overall plan is to monitor Chesil Cove on a more structured regular basis while also documenting any changes, notable fauna and flora throughout the seasons. This also encompasses the monitoring of water or land based pollution in an interactive and responsive way. The Chesil Cove side of our project which has been continuing for several years to date involves cooperation with non-diving locals, environmental groups and land-based activities (beach cleanups, recording and documenting litter, pollution etc.)
Through the above we hope to be able to produce record of logs and images that will raise public awareness in environmental issues while providing first-hand feedback for a range of other projects and studies. The divers involved in the Chesil Beach monitoring are the ears and eyes of the public as well as citizen scientists doing what they can in an (underwater) environment not accessible to everyone.
Details of this 'prime' site:
You can find detailed information on Diving Chesil Here. Chesil Cove is the most southerly point of Chesil Beach and part of the Jurassic Coast. The shingle beach is 18 miles long, some 200 metres wide and 15 metres high. The beach on this side provides shelter from prevailing winds and waves for the village of Chiswell (Portland underhill) and the nearby town of Weymouth. Although Chesil is open only into the English Channel, it is heavily under the 'Atlantic influence' when it comes to weather, wind and waves. A continuous long-shore drift and the regular storms have shaped Chesil in such a way that it's said fishermen landing on shore on a pitch black night would roughly know where they are from the size of the pebbles. Very small and sandy grain to the West end of the beach pebbles grow in size towards the South/East until Chesil gets it's new nickname around the Cove: Pebble beach. Waves and currents have also shaped most of the beach line - creating the steep and sharply shelving profile of Chesil. The Cove itself is not uniform underwater and consists of sand beds, kelp forests, rocks and boulders and gullies with pieces of wreckage to be found almost everywhere.
Chesil Beach can be regarded a medium risk dive with all risks associated to shore diving applicable. Special care is required to dive with a surface marker against any boat traffic (though it is not an area of heavy traffic it is subject to smaller fishing boats and the occasional anchoring yachts) and to carry a cutting tool in case of entanglement on the hundreds of fishing lines lost and left behind by shore anglers. The most genuine risk on Chesil Beach though are conditions encountered by divers during entry and exit. The steep and sharply shelving structure of the beach is bad enough without millions of loose, wet and sometimes slippery pebbles moving under the feet. This can make the downward entry dangerous and the upward exit extremely difficult where there is swell. Chesil's "rule of thumb" is not to dive if there is a 2'+ swell or an undertow due to long shore drift can be observed. If a dive has already commenced and such conditions are encountered, a tug-rope extended by surface cover on the beach can be used. Alternatively, divers prefer to 'crawl' up the first shelf on their knees where they de-kit before the haul up to the road.
Please remember we're involved in a series of ongoing projects related to Chesil Beach & Cove and our pages are being constantly updated. We will soon have information here regarding dive site details for Chesil, entry and exit methods together with information on local facilities and access points. In the meantime we are always here to help you and give advice if you are coming to Portland or diving Chesil Beach. You can also get updates on underwater conditions for your upcoming trip to make it more enjoyable at Chesil Beach Watch.
For more information you can also look at the following online articles from Diver Magazine's Divernet:
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