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Paddy's Head
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Location: St. Margaret's Bay, NS Canada
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Difficulty: Novice

Description:
Paddys head offers sandy bottom, rock ledges, kelp covered areas, eelgrass and of course the sea life that thrives in this environment. Visibility ranges from 5 feet to 20 feet depending upon weather and time of year. Temperature ranges from 32F to 60F depending on time of year.

The most known structure at Paddys Head is the 'Block' where dive flags are tied during diver certification courses. As most people are aware this is located by swimming a heading of 330 degrees from the entrance points. However if you continue from the block at this heading for another 5 minutes you go down a slight incline in the sand and will happen upon 12 reef balls in about 23-28 feet of water depending on the tide. These are the newest addition to Paddys Head.

Twelve large concrete structures were introduced to this area in August of 2004 by DFO. They are part of a study on habitat replacement. A second set is located at McNabs Island. The main interest of the study is lobster habitation and therefore they are sometimes referred to as 'Lobster Balls'. This particular reef ball is intended for coral reefs but scientists hope that lobster will make them a home as they mimim dark sheltered caves. The one fear is that divers will spook the lobster when peering in at them so please be kind and do not disturb them. In September 2005, some smaller concrete blocks have been added to the north side of these balls. These are called 'Comeau Habitats' which are meant for smaller criters to burrow under them. This information has been obtained courtesy of DFO Invertebrates and Marine Plants division.


Directions: dive flag
1. From Torpedo Rays (Dartmouth) turn right onto windmill road.
2. Continue straight through the set of lights.
3. Take ramp and go SW on Hwy 111 (Circumferential Hwy) to cross MacKay Bridge.
4. Stay in right lane to take ramp to Joseph Howe Drive.
5. Continue straight on Joseph Howe Drive going through 4 sets of lights.
6. Take ramp for Hwy 102 (Bicentennial Dr) at lights.
7. At exit one take ramp and go west on Highway 103.
8. At exit five take ramp turn left at the lights (unless you need a Timmy's fix then turn right and grab one).
9. Continue down until the next set of lights then turn right on Highway 4.
10. Immediately take left at lights On Hwy 333 right after the Irving.
11. Continue down Highway 333 for 20 minutes until you pass the Indian Harbour sign and turn right onto Paddy's Head road.
12. Continue down the road until just before the bridge where there is ample parking right at shore.

Notes:
Paddys Head is one of the most dove areas in St. Margaret's Bay. Found in Indian Harbour off Paddys Head Road less than 10 minutes from Peggy's cove. This area offers easy entrance and exit right at the beach as well as depths from 20 feet up to 60 feet if you want. Many new divers are certified at this location. It offers a challenging dive to the more experienced as well, provided you can maintain an air supply for 70 minutes you can swim to the ledges at either the left or right points which reach depths over 60 feet. The location itself is easy entrance and exit right from the parking lot onto the small beach. This proximity to parking makes winter diving bearable in our climate. The sea life is abundant and the water temperature ranges from 32F in February to 60F in August. One of the newest attractions at this site are the reef balls that were put in by DFO in August of 2004 to study lobster.

Hazards:

Boats overhead especially during lobster season.
Large black nets strung across during fishing season: a major entanglement would occur if caught up (be aware of buoys in the water and take mental note of their locations when diving). Avoid night dives when these are in the water!
Rock ledges on both shores and beside entrance can beat you up in rougher seas, use caution as they are slippery.

Source:
Bobby Jo Arnold
Torpedo Rays

Submitted By:
FA