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Dive Review of Southwest Rocks Dive Center in
Australia/Southwest Rocks

February, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Ian Kennedy, California, USA
Report Number 2373
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Hawaii, California, Florida, Virgin Islands, Cozumel
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy, cloudy  
choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
79   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Follow the dive master. Divers low on air sent up anchor line; others
allowed to remain below longer.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
No rinse tank.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
Southwest Rocks is a small town about 6 hours drive north of Sydney. It is
a favorite spot for families to vacation at the beach and for fishermen.
The town is very pleasant and an excellent place to spend a quiet few days
doing bushwalks (as Australians call hiking) and hanging out at the pub in
the afternoon. It also boasts one of the best dive sites on the
south-eastern coast of Australia (just to confuse things geographically
with the name of the town).

I signed up with Southwest Rocks Dive Centre. This is a small operation
that goes exclusively to Fish Rock which is the main site. Occasionally
they may go to another site if the weather is bad. When we were there in
late February we encountered heavy rain showers every day but not enough to
keep us inside, nor enough to stop diving, at least on the first day. The
ride to the site is about ½ hour in a fairly small boat. The boat
has room for about 8 divers; on my day there were only 4 customers. One
dive master went with the 3 certified divers, the other was busy with a
student. The crew was very helpful but an appreciation of Australian humor
would be useful.

Fish Rock sits alone about ½ mile off shore. The rock is only about
200 yards or so in diameter. A tunnel opens up at 80 ft below the surface
and runs through the island, via a vertical chimney in one part, to exit at
about 40 ft. Before we entered, we spent 20 minutes watching the grey nurse
sharks that congregate at Fish Rock in the late summer. There were about a
dozen 6 to 10 ft sharks. On the first dive, they kept their distance. On
the second dive, when I was without my camera due to a small leak on the
first dive, they approached to within a few feet. It was a great sight.

The tunnel is completely dark so this was a sort of a night dive. A large
wobbegong shark was resident in the dark recess of the tunnel and did not
budge as we moved by. Near the exit of the tunnel, we moved through a sea
of fish. It was a beautiful sight to see the enormous schools of fish
silhouetted against the open blue ocean.

Some pictures are available at 

[ link]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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