One of our last dives in SA was at Second Valley, around the corner from Rapid Bay. Just before jumping in, we had a guy on the pier look over at us and asked “Bobbi?”. Famous! Turns out that he was who we were headed to get our airfills from later, and he recognised us from my posts on the local facebook page. Pays to have your name on your tank (and pink hair!)
He was lovely, and gave us some pointers on the dive site before sending us on our way. Highlight of the dive was definitely the massive wobbegong shark we saw near the point – whilst not a particularly aggressive shark, they have been known to clamp down on people who inadvertently get too close, so makes sense to stay socially distanced from them! We also spotted cuttlefish, blue devils and more.
This dive site starts at a short sandy pier, but the interesting stuff it to be seen by following the coastline around to the rocky point. Next time we’ll go beyond, but this time we only just made it to the point as we were taking our time. Parking not too far away, with toilets accessible closeby also. Busy and popular beach spot on a hot day, imagine parking can be an issue.
Location: Second Valley, SAWater Temperature: 21°CAverage Depth: 3.5mMaximum Depth: 8.3m
Cuttlefish have long held my interest as they are just fascinating creatures – as a child all I knew of them was finding the white chalky bones on the beach to bring home to the cocky. I was blown away as a diver to discover how fascinating they look and behave underwater – changing colour and texture and dancing through the water.
Every year in the waters of Whyalla (South Australia) giant cuttlefish meet in huge numbers to mate – we had intended on visiting to witness this last year but alas it wasn’t to be. Perhaps this year. In the meantime, the sheer number of cuttlefish we saw on our SA trip was fantastic, spotting at least one every dive and often more. This video is from Port Hughes, an impromptu stop after chatting to divers in the carpark of our previous dive. So much to see, and the underwater soft coral and sponge growth reminded me of a winter wonderland.
Another accessible diving location, with plentiful parking and a relatively short walk down the pier to the staircase leading into the water. Simple dive – out and back underneath the pier, with big schools of fish to observe. Toilets closeby the carpark, and next time we’ll make this a late afternoon dive as there is a pub on the other side of the carpark!
Location: Port Hughes, SAWater Temperature: 21°CAverage Depth: 5.1mMaximum Depth: 6.9m
We were told that Rapid Bay Jetty was an epic dive, and it did not disappoint. When we arrived at the jetty, it was blowing a gale and we were hesitant to jump into unknown waters given the wind. A chat with some friendly divers in the carpark quickly changed that and off we went.
The main aim of our dive was to spot a leafy seadragon – cousin to the weedy seadragons we see here in Victoria. Such otherworldly creatures, we were lucky enough to spot one (probably the same one!) on each dive we did here. Of course there were loads of other creatures to see also – octopus, cuttlefish, massive schools of fish and so much more, with different critters greeting us on our night dive. A massive dive site, we did two day dives and a night dive and still didn’t make it to the end!
Rapid Bay Jetty is actually two jetties – an old large dilapidated jetty with sections falling into the water and a newer fishing jetty running parallel about 20m to the east. To access the old jetty (and dive site), walk down the fishing jetty (it’s long, consider a trolley), down the stairs and to the dive platform. Upon entering the water and descending, you’ll see a series of starpickets that lead the way to the old jetty. Head out (watch for fishing line) and then along to the T. Keep an eye on your air as it’s a large dive site, better to return with some air as opposed to a long surface swim!
We were advised to bring spare tanks with us given the long drive back to Adelaide and were grateful to not have to worry about air through the entire trip (public holidays and Sundays are a little different in SA!). On our return for the night dive we did discover that Peter at Second Valley Air Fills was available for air, super handy. Not many facilities in the area, so pack snacks for your surface interval and note that the closest toilets are at the campgrounds. Check the conditions with a local beforehand – our new found friends in the carpark were able to advise on current, recommended turn around points etc, which made for an easier dive.
Location: Rapid Bay, SAWater Temperature: 20°CAverage Depth: 6mMaximum Depth: 9.8m
Whilst our final dives in Nelson Bay didn’t feature the magnificent sharks of the previous days, they were exhilarating in their own right. On Monday we headed out to Halifax Park, to what used to be known as one of the best shore dives in Australia. Unfortunately storm sand movement has covered much of the colourful sponge gardens, but the sand is slowly retreating and the colour is re-emerging. On the day that we visited the skies were overcast with occasional thunder, the wind was piercing and the “light showers” felt like hail – what a way to feel alive!
Under the water it was a different story – once the craziness of the weather was out of sight we were able to concentrate on our dives, and the stunning coral and sponge gardens, inquisitive fish and even a wobbegong shark. The second dive was even better – my first drift dive. Starting off at a nice slow pace, we were able to control our movements to still be able to video fish (check out the adorable pair of cuttles that got a fright and changed colour in front of us!). Once the current picked up however, we were whooshing along, zipping up and over sand banks before being deposited at our exit point. What a rush and an exciting way to finish out Nelson Bay dives! Thanks Jason & Mick at Let’s Go Adventures 🙂
Location: Nelson Bay, NSW, AustraliaWater Temperature: 18°CAverage Depth: 12mMaximum Depth: 20m
GREY NURSE SHARKS! One of our most anticipated dives for our trip was the boat trip out to Broughton Island, where Marky and I were lucky enough to spend 4 dives over two days observing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.
And they certainly did not disappoint. From the first eerie sight of them, swimming towards us through the slightly murky waters, through to our final dive, where they were almost pausing in front of us, begging us to take their photos, we were awestruck.
Whilst we were here we also took the PADI Project Aware Shark Conservation with Mick and Jason from Let’s Go Adventures. Through the course we learnt about the different levels of conservation status, why sharks are so critical to our environment and what steps we can take to better improve their status. If you get the chance to observe these super important creatures in their natural habitat, with environmentally conscientious operators, please do. See www.projectaware.org if you want more info.
As always, watch in HD if possible 🙂 Vid is a bit long because I had trouble cutting out any of shark footage #sorrynotsorry 🦈