"Bare Island has the greatest number of dives of any location in Sydney"
M & K Reef
The coast north from Botany Bay is probably the most under-dived section of the Sydney coastline. This is a pity, as there are numerous dive sites that are as good, if not better, than other better known sites. The main reason that this section of coast does not get dived is that there is no wharf at La Perouse (where boats would normally be expected to run from).
Over the years from 1992, I have made efforts to dive as much of the coast from Botany Bay to Bondi as I can. This is about 12 kilometres. The section closer to Botany Bay has obviously been dived more and although I have dived the whole section from Malabar to Botany Bay, you can still miss parts that turn out to be very good. Such is the case with this site.
About two kilometres north of Cape Banks, the northern headland of Botany Bay, is St Michael's Golf Club. This is a Club that my father was been a member from 1960 to his death in 2010 and where a lot of our family events were held. This is how this dive site gained its name (as I will explain).
An interesting crack in M & K Reef
Kelly behind a swim-through at M & K Reef
Deeper off the coast is the wreck of the SS Kelloe. The club house is used (with the water reservoir) to find the wreck and this mark is also used to find this dive site. As I mentioned, I had dived this area before but we had dived a lot closer to the shore. I think we also did a drift dive past here in the mid-1990s.
Out deeper, there is another site that is well worth a visit. The site was found by St George Scuba Club member John Beddie and his crew. They found this site in mid-2008, shortly after Kelly and I married. As we had our reception at St Michael's Golf Club, they decided to name the site M & K Reef (after Michael and Kelly of course).
I did not get to dive this site till we had a Club dive here in August 2008. As mentioned, you can find the site by running in from about 30 + metres towards the club house. Line the right side of the water reservoir with the second major pillar from the right side. When the depth comes up from about 30 metres to 22 or so metres, drop your anchor.
A GPS Reading of 33° 59' 12.9"S 151° 15' 24.3E (using WGS84 as datum) will put you at the location mentioned below.
The marks and GPS will put you in the vicinity of a cave and a sort of "island". This is located a bit off the main wall and creates a gully. After you descend, you should be able to see the wall. If you are shallower than 21 metres, head east till you do and drop over to the bottom. The top of the wall will be about 22 to 23 metres if you are east of the wall and about 27 metres if you are at the bottom. The wall runs roughly north-south but it has a couple of diversions. North of the anchor spot it runs out to the east for a bit before heading north again. Near the anchor it has the "island" which creates a pinch to the east.
Kelly on the wall - very colourful sea squirts
Kelly above a colourful patch of reef
Once on the bottom and at the wall, head north. The wall has some small cracks and overhangs and soon you will see a largish but low swim-through that is created by a huge rock resting against the wall. There are lots of sponges and sea squirts all along the wall, as well as some nice gorgonias. Off the wall the bottom is composed of rocks, with lots of kelp. This gradually slopes from 27 metres to 30 metres, with a few small drops in spots.
After about 10 minutes, you will come to the section that goes out to the east. This is probably a good spot to turn around. Due to the depth, this is about as far as you want to go as you will only have a bottom time of perhaps 20 minutes. head back to the south and go over the reef off the wall. You will soon come to the "island" and you can go around it. South of the anchor area the wall is similar to the other section.
Go along the wall for a bit, perhaps heading east for a while, before turning back. Once back near the anchor, spend some time examining the overhangs and cracks.
Kelly and Jason approach a red rock cod at M & K Reef
Kelly and a gorgonia at M & K Reef
This is a very nice dive site, with good numbers of yellowtail, silver sweep and seapike over the reef. There are also leatherjackets, cuttlefish and more lower down as well as eastern blue devilfish in the caves and sea dragons amongst the kelp. Well worth visiting.
A video shot by Kelly on 19 May 2012, edited by me, of our dive here and heading back in the boat afterwards.