Somerset County Gazette: advertising feature

Who Needs Holidays to Egypt Anyway?

An amazing new discovery just off the coast of West Wales could make holidays to Egypt, the Caribbean and even Australia a thing of the past.

The wonderful clear waters just off the west coast of Wales around the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve might not be quite as warm as its foreign counterparts, but they can certainly challenge them on the natural beauty side.

Mark Burton, Marine conservation Officer said "People think that our native fish and marine life are colourless and dull." Amateur divers have captured images of the colourful corals and fascinating marine life which have stunned scientists. Species such as Red Gurnards and the complex Cuckoo Wrasse have been seen along with Compass Jellyfish which were thought to only live in more tropical waters.

The Cuckoo Wrasse is a fascinating species of fish believed to usually live in the Atlantic and has baffled scientists for years as they are all born female and have the ability to change sex. The divers even snapped two species of sea slugs that marine biologists were totally unaware of up until now.

Divers have so far found over 1,000 species of marine life on the sea bed here proving that life below the water around the UK coastline could be far more interesting than most people think.

The Skomer Marine Nature Reserve lies just of the Pembrokeshire coast next to Skomer Island and boasts an excellent range of dive sites. Skomer Marine Nature Reserve visitors centre has a stunning display of some of the examples of marine life you can see on the sea bed however there is no substitute for the real thing.

Back on the surface you are treated to a rugged coastline offering sheltered bays, hidden inlets, and rocky outcrops covered with various shades of lichen. Nesting birds and seal pups are often your only companions as you relax by the waters edge amongst the stunning scenery and picturesque views.

Many people spend hundreds of pounds visiting exotic locations just to see the marine life. Holidays to Egypt, Australia and the Caribbean often lure people to their resorts by advertising the fantastic diving opportunities. However you now need travel no further than the stunning coast of Wales to see unusual species, and fascinating examples of underwater life.