Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - The Cutting
When the seas are calm, there are many great dive sites off Royal National Park on the southern side of Sydney that can be dived. These cannot normally be dived as they have some sections that are shallower, so the calmer seas are required so that divers (and boats for that matter) can access the sites. One of these sites is The Cutting.
After leaving Port Hacking, turn right and head south for about 2.8 kilometres till you approach GPS mark 34° 05' 55.7"S 151° 09' 50.7"E (note that all my GPS Readings are using AUS66 - if you use any other datum, you will need to convert the reading - see my GPS Page for more details). Once in this area you will notice that there you are in a small bay and at the head of the bay there is a large crevice on the shore. This is The Cutting. This continues underwater, stepping down over the various rock ledges and walls to the sand. You can either anchor straight off The Cutting or, better still, run in from the sand to the north-west. You will notice that the reef rises from a sand bottom of about 22 metres to 17 metres and then in a vertical jump to 10 metres. Anchor in this area. The reef runs like this all the way to the east.
Once you have descended you will notice that the reef runs in a roughly easterly direction from the anchor and also in a south or south-westerly direction. Head to the east and you will notice that the reef bottom is composed of lots of large boulders. On the sand there is the ocassional rock. After about 10 minutes you will notice that the depth on the sand has come up to 20 metres and there are some very large boulders off the reef. Explore these as there are some nice sea whips and sea tulips on the rocks.
Just past here you can turn around. Go up a little to the bottom of the wall. The depth here is 17 metres. There are lots of small overhangs and holes created by the boulders. In August and September there are plenty of Port Jackson sharks in these areas. Once back in the area of the anchor, head back to the sand and explore the southern section of the dive site. There are many more rocks on the sand here and the reef slopes more gently up to 10 metres than the section you have already examined. In the area of 10 to 12 metres there is normally prolific numbers of fish. These are mostly yellowtail, seapike and ladder-finned pomfrets. There may also be lots of one-spot pullers and in late Winter, more Port Jackson sharks. There is also a resident large black ray that floats in and out of the area.
From here follow the 10 to 12 metre contour back towards the anchor. When back in the area of the anchor, if you have time you can go up into the reef top which runs from 10 metres up to 5 metres. Again, this whole section of the reef has great fishlife. When you are ready to finish your dive, head back to the anchor.
Other fish seen on this dive are black reef leatherjackets, mosaic leatherjackets and small rays. One the rocks there are lots of sponges, small gorgonias and sea squirts as well as nudibranches.
A very nice dive site.