The town of Kiama south of Sydney is famous for its blow hole. What Sydney-sider has not gone there as a kid on a school excursion to see the Kiama Blow Hole? Even now, the town is very busy on weekends as people travel there to see this fabulous natural phenomenon. In the 2000s, the crowd on weekends at the Blow Hole represents the immigrant nature of Sydney, with all the newer migrants visiting this place that they have obviously been told about.
Up till about the early 1990s there was a dive charter boat that ran out of Kiama. It was called PT-73, named of course after the famous boat from the 1960s TV series McHale's Navy. I never went on this boat, as the only time I booked on the weather conditons caused the dives to be cancelled.
There was a dive shop in Kiama till about the early 2000s, I think it may still have had a boat, but it did not advertise and Sydney divers probably did not even know it existed. My only dive until 2010 at Kiama was at Afghan Reef.
In 2010 the St George Scuba Club decided that its annual dive weekend to the near south of Sydney would be to Kiama rather than the normal Shellharbour. We had no idea what the diving would be like and, in fact, we could not find anyone who had details of sites where we could do boat dives.
After a blown out Saturday, Sunday saw us heading out to dive. We decided to try the Bombo Headland but as we went out the depth sounder suddenly registered a rise in the bottom a short distance out from the harbour. The bottom went from about 15 metres to 10 metres and then back to 15 metres. We ran around a bit and marked it on the GPS for later use.
After our first dive at The Olgas, we decided to try this new site out for our second dive as the north-easterly wind had come up making it too rough to go far for our dive. As mentioned to find head straight out of Kiama Harbour, on a track just to the east of the channel guides. The location is less than 500 metres from the harbour entrance. A GPS Reading S34° 40' 02.3" E150° 51' 43.5" (using AUS66 as a datum - see my GPS page to see what this means) will put you over the reef.
|Sea squirts on the rocks at Blind Shark Reef||Part of a huge school of |
one-spot pullers at Blind Shark Reef
You will see that the eastern side of the reef has a good wall while the other sides mostly have a slope. It also appears that there may be a couple of other smaller reefs nearby. We were soon anchored and Kelly and I headed down. As we dropped under the water, the bottom at 14 metres came into view, the visibility was pretty good, perhaps 15 metres.
We had anchored on the north-eastern corner of the main reef, just off the sand. The reef is composed of a rocky bottom, with the white/pink looking rock so common to the south coast. The rock is surrounded by sand, although on the eastern and northern sides at least there is a lot of smaller rocks and kelp.
|Kelly in a huge school of yellowtail at Blind Shark Reef||Kelly with a sea dragon on the sand|
From our anchor, we followed the small wall to the south-east. This is about a metre or two off the sand. There were a lot of nice sponges, sea squirts and gorgonias on the rocks. This wall turns a bit to the south before it goes hard to the west. We turned around here as we were not aware if we could keep going right around the reef.
Near this spot, we had huge schools of one-spot pullers and yellowtails swimming around and over us. On the way back we followed a wall a little shallower. This had a few overhangs. In one of them we found a blind shark. Others on our dives found two more in other locations, hence the name we gave this site.
|A blind shark at Blind Shark Reef||A short-tailed ceratomosa nudibranch|
Once back at the anchor, we headed west and went around the north side of the main part of the reef. This lead to the western side of the reef. There are rocks off the main reef on this side and they are worth looking at.
On the way back to the anchor, we came across a sea dragon on the sand. To the north of the main reef there is a lower reef. As our boat was hanging back over this reef and we could see the deco weight, we ended our dive here before ascending straight to the deco weight.
Another nice dive, worth visiting and especially good in southerly winds as it will be fairly calm here and only a short minute's run from the harbour. Also good in north-easterly winds (as when we dived it) meaning you do not need to go too far into rough seas.
Unfortunately, you will need your own boat to dive here as there are no dive charter boats at Kiama.