Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Black Rock, Batemans Bay
The southern NSW town of Batemans Bay has dozens of dive sites. Some of the best are located around Black Rock which, to state the bleeding obvious, is a black rock located right off the main beach areas of Batehaven. There are two main dive dites here, The Arch and the Bubble Cave.
On the eastern and southern end of Black Rock the reef drops away quite dramatically to about 15 metres whereas the northern and western sides are generally a bit less vertical.
On a trip to Batemans Bay over the Xmas/New Year period of 1996, we decided to do a different sort of dive around Black Rock. In the morning we had dived The Tunnel (a bit to the south) and there had been a slight current from the north. This gave us the idea to do a drift dive from the northern side of Black Rock to The Arch.
We started by dropping into the water right off the northern side. After descending we dropped over a ridge onto the sand gutter that extends right into the rock and a very small cave. The depth in the gutter is about 19 metres. From here we moved back to the north a bit and then over the ridge to our right. The depth comes up to 10 metres or so and then drops to 18 metres again. We begin following the wall to the south and then south-east. After a while the wall we can tell we are no longer following the main Black Rock wall (there is no white water overhead) and the wall comes to a sort of end (it doesn't really, but it is an obvious change) and we turn right and headed west. A couple of minutes later we are back on the main wall of Black Rock. We continue to the south, being gently carried along by the current.
|Steve Shaw and an eastern blue devilfish|
The wall is vertical up to the surface (from 16 metres) and there are numerous large rocks off the wall. We come to a small "inlet" and there is a bit of a cave. There is also a small swim-through out front of the inlet. We continue on our way and then the wall turns to the west and in front of us is a very large cave with a sand bottom. This runs back under Black Rock and is normally home to a number of wobbegongs and/or Port Jackson sharks.
In front of the cave there are some small rocks and one time I dived here there were two small eastern blue devilfishes under one of them. Continue to the south. When the wall turns to the west, swim across the sandy bottom (with some larger rocks)
Under The Arch there are some magnificent patches of yellow commensal zoanthids while in the bowl there are sponges, gorgonias and sea squirts on the walls.
The depth increases a bit here to 15 metres and by turning around you can see immediately why the site got its name. Keep following the wall to your left and you will see a long, low cave that runs back under Black Rock. You can enter this but beware that not only does it silt up very easily (there is no way to get lost), you must be wary of wobbegongs lying in wait for a diver!
You can follow the wall to the north for about 40 metres and you will see another cave.
Return to you boat by ascend over the western side of the bowl and retracing your steps. The maximum depth on this dive is about 19 or 20 metres (off the wall) and the visibility is normally pretty good. Fishlife is also quite good, with plenty of blue groper around. An excellent dive.
I used to use Malua Bay Dive but I understand that they have closed. I cannot recommend anyone else at this time.