Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Bare Island has at least a dozen different dives"
    Bare Island - Dive Summary
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Bare Island Introduction For the history of Bare Island, click here.

    Bare Island Panorama
    A panoramic photograph of Bare Island on a perfect day

    The Dive Location

    The local Aboriginal tribes of Gweagal and Kameygal are almost certain to have given the small island a name, but it has not survived through to present time and is not even known now to the locals.

    Bare Island Satellite PhotoBare Island Rainbow
    A satellite photograph of Bare Island showing the reefA photograph of Bare Island on a stormy day
    with a perfect rainbow

    The island has certainly changed since those tranquil days. In the 1870s the authorities of New South Wales had the view that the Russians were likely to invade Australia. Therefore, in 1877 two British fortification experts, Sir Peter Scratchley and William Jervois were sent to Australia as a result of a request from the Colony of New South Wales. They were given the task of designing and co-ordinating the defence of Sydney and they planned a series of forts and gun batteries to protect against attack. Bare Island was planned as the sole defence of Botany Bay. The fortifications on the island were built during the period 1881 to 1889 under the direction of the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. The barracks were completed in 1891. It became apparent that the fort and barracks had been subject to substandard workmanship and this led not only to the resignation of James Barnet, it led to a Board of Inquiry and then to Australia's first Royal Commission.

    For more information about the Bare Island Fort, see the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Web Site.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    A map of Bare Island created in 1968 by divers
    from URG (the Underwater Research Group of NSW)

    Click to enlarge
    A map of Bare Island I did in early 1990s
    Notice how close it is to the 1968 map which I never saw till 2015

    Click to enlarge

    Joined to the mainland by a small timber bridge, Bare Island is perfect for either day or night diving in almost all weather. In even moderate seas you can safely dive in almost any spot and in very heavy seas you can usually dive the protected (right) side of the island. Only in huge seas (say over five metres average) can you not get a dive at Bare Island.

    There are many different dives can be done around the island itself, as well as along the shore on either side of the bridge. These are listed below with a short description.

    When diving here, beware of small boats and jet skis which regularly speed under the bridge, taking no notice of dive flags or the ban on jet skis. When ascending at the end of a dive anywhere near Bare Island, make sure you listen before leaving the bottom. Best bet is to not ascend at all, even if you have lost your buddy. Swim back to shore before ascending.


  • Definition of underwater and above water features
  • Bare Island Right - Sea horses, sea dragons and pygmy pipehorses - 15 metres
  • Bare Island Left - Sea dragons - 12 metres
  • Bare Island 15 Metre Reef - 16 metres
  • Bare Island Deep Wall - Sea horses, sea dragons and pygmy pipehorses - 19 metres
  • Bare Island Isolated Reefs - Sea horses, sea dragons and pygmy pipehorses - 19 metres
  • Bare Island Bombora - Sea dragons, snapper - 14 metres
  • Bare Island Circumnavigation - everything - 19 metres
  • Bare Island Deep Wall Drift - Half Circumnavigation - everything - 19 metres
  • Larpa Drift - Sea dragons, sea horses - 14 metres
  • La Perouse Point - Sea dragons, sea horses - 14 metres
  • Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2021
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!