Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - The Gap
One of the busiest tourist sites in Sydney is The Gap. This notorious place is visited by virtually every Japanese tourist that comes to the City, with bus after bus dropping them off for a few minutes to see the spectacular views of the ocean and North Head. The Gap gained its notoriety as Sydney's number one suicide location, a place where people jumped off the high cliffs to meet their maker (I was once on a boat in the Harbour and we pulled a body aboard - we later learnt that the poor girl had jumped from The Gap a few days earlier).
The Gap is also the location where the ship Dunbar was wrecked in August 1857 while trying to enter Sydney Harbour. Every single person on board bar one (James Johnson) was killed when the ship ran straight into the cliff during a gale.
|One of the many caves at The Gap||Two nudibranchs mating at The Gap|
Despite the notoriety, The Gap has a better side, its diving. Leaving Sydney Harbour, turn south and run along the shore for a few kilometres till you see the lower cliff of The Gap (the cliffs are far higher north and south, hence the name, The Gap). Anchor at 33° 50' 44.0"S 151° 17' 08.6"E when the bottom comes up from the sand at about 23 metres to a rocky reef at 16 metres. Note that all the GPS Readings on my Web Site are taken using AUS66 as the map datum. If you use another datum you may be about 220 metres off the wreck. See my GPS Page for more details and how to convert readings.
The reef here runs north-west to south-east, maximum depth all along is 23 metres. The reef has a lot of small and large boulders on the edge and in places, a shear wall. The depth comes up to 16 then 10 metres in most locations. The boulders create a lot of swim-throughs and there are also a lot of small caves. Some of the large boulders are quite huge, as big as a room. The boulders are covered in sponges, ascidians, sea squirts and small gorgonias. While I have not seen any sea dragons here, I would not be surprised to see some along this section of the coast.
On the wall there are a lot of fish, including black drummer, luderick and sometimes blackfish. There are also a lot of one-spot pullers, leatherjackets (black reef, six-spined mostly) and bream here as well. I have also seen a huge school of yellowtail kingfish which swarmed around me.
This site is partially protected from southerly seas and can often be dived when other ocean sites cannot be dived. A very good dive site.