Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - 4th Hole, Little Bay
One of the first new dive sites that my brother Stephen and I investigated when we first took up diving was in the suburb where we grew up, Little Bay. Located just behind Prince Henry Hospital (formerly the location of NSW's only civil recompression chamber) in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, Little Bay is the hidden jewel of Sydney's many beaches. The bay is, as the name suggests, very small with a size of 200 by 75 metres.
|Satellite photo of the 4th Hole|
We had known that divers visited the bay occasionally and we had dived the bay itself a few times. However, the divers generally appeared to limit themselves to the area just inside and outside the bay. Although this is a very good dive, especially at night, we were more interested in an area to the immediate south of Little Bay.
Access to the site is via the main entrance to the former Prince Henry Hospital on Anzac Parade. Travel straight down the main road until you come to the chapel. Turn right just before the chapel and follow the road to The Coast Golf Club. Go past the clubhouse and park in the rough car-park behind it. The dive spot is located approximately 100 metres to the north-east from the parking spot. Remember that the land you are on is the property of the golf club and as such, all divers should respect the club's property and go out of their way to avoid annoying or disturbing the golfers. My other brother, Paul, is the Captain of the golf club and so he wanted me to especially mention this, but I had already done it anyway.
After gearing up, walk across the golf course fairways (watch out for golfers and flying golf balls) to the entry spot. Climb down the slight slope into the small inlet and go to the water's edge nearest to you. This is a good entry point. Depending upon the tides, this is also a good exit point. At low tides, the best
exit is probably to your left in the narrow gully. Care should be taken when diving here as in high tides there can be quite a tidal flow back out to sea.
|Map of the 4th Hole|
Click to enlarge
After entering the water, swim out about 15 to 20 metres and drop to the bottom where the depth is about 8 metres. Here you will find that you are in a small clear area surrounded by walls that rise up to the rock platform. Under each section of the platform there are small caves, overhangs and a larger cave under the southern wall. From here follow this wall to the east. You will have to pass between a huge rock and ledge that almost form a swim-through.
If by now you have not discovered why I called this "A Ball of a Dive", you are probably diving with your eyes closed. Over the seabed you will find quite a few golf balls. The inlet where you entered the water is situated between the tee and green of the very short Fourth Hole of The Coast Golf Course. The balls are hit accidently, and sometimes deliberately, into the sea by golfers.
From this location, swim to the south following the rock ledge. Around the back of the cave mentioned earlier there is a small swim-through that is worth exploring. Further south there are some interesting rock formations and an excellent swim-through which is located under a large flat rock.
After exiting the tunnel, or if you can not find it, go to the south-west where you will find a great vertical ledge that is very interesting. About 3 metres off the bottom is a low, deep cave that shelters large numbers of big eastern rock blackfish and luderick. Continue along the wall to the east past its end until you go over a small ledge and reach a depth of about 12 metres. Make sure that you do not go as far as the sand. Turn to the north and examine the small niches under the rocks. Port Jackson and wobbegong sharks are regularly seen here.
Swim north until you reach the end of the small ledge. In this area there is another swim-through. Go further north for about an easy five minutes or until you have used half your air. Head west and when you encounter the main rock platform you should be a little to the north of the entry point. Turn to the south
and you will soon see a large overhang on a corner. Just past here you will be back in the vicinity of the entry/exit point.
Around the corner from the overhang, you can swim between the wall and a huge rock outcrop. A few metres past here a long tunnel goes in the direction of the exit point. I have examined this tunnel on a number of occasions but due to the surge in the top part of the tunnel I have not gone right to the end to see if it is possible to swim right though. However, you can go into the tunnel for a short distance for a look before retracing your steps. You will see that light is visible at the top end of the tunnel. If you have enough air (keep at least 50 bar for exiting) you can investigate this area in more detail.
When you decide to finish the dive, go from the first overhang you found when you descended and head to the north-west. Keep submerged as it is easier to exit this way. Keep continuing on until the water is only 0.5 metres deep. Surface and swim into the gully. Leave the water anywhere in this area.
This site can only be dived in slight seas, although it is nowhere as restricted by the seas as are some others. So long as the waves are not breaking at the entry and exit points it is safe to dive here, although only experienced shore divers should dive here.
After the dive, why not have lunch in the Golf Club where they have a cheap and quite good bistro, cool drinks and the best view from any restaurant or club in Sydney. You will be quite welcome and it pays the club back for using their carpark and course.