Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Aztec Reef
Jervis Bay has literally hundreds of dive sites. Some are deep (over 30 metres), most are over 20 metres but only a few are shallow. Two of these are The Nursery and Aztec Reef. Aztec Reef is located on the northern side of the north-western corner of Bowen Island. Travel to this corner of the island to GPS Reading 35° 06' 49"S 150° 45' 58"E. 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 site. See my GPS Page for more details and how to convert readings. Once you arrive at the point, anchor as close to the point as seas permit. In flat seas, anchor on the northern side and in rougher seas, anchor inside the point. Be aware that in big seas the waves can break off and around the point. If seas are too big, you may need to anchor to the south-west of the point. The depth here will be from 15 to 7 metres or so, depending on where you have anchored.
Aztec Reef gets its name from the strange drawing-like designs on the rocks in this area. They look like Eqyptian or Aztec writings, but in fact are some sort of algae growth that are almost all the same shape and design.
Once you have descended, if you are in the 7 metre area, head to the west till you drop over the small wall to about 15 metres. If you are in 15 metres, head south-east till you hit the wall. Follow this wall to the north and east for as long as you wish. This is where the "drawings" are most common. In outgoing tides, there can be a strong current in this area. Explore all the rocks, all the small overhangs. You will find some sea dragons in this area, including sometimes juveniles (in March 2002 I found 5 150 mm long sea dragons within 10 metres of each other).
You can get to over 20 metres if you wish, but I would not go past about 18 metres. Once you have spent enough time in the deeper water, follow the wall back to the south and explore the boulders off the wall as well as the cracks and overhangs. Then go to the top of the reef. Here you will see hundreds and thousands of yellowtail, seapike, luderick, one-spot pullers and bream. As well, there is are cuttlefish in the overhangs, a huge resident ray and many other fish. This spot has some of the most impressive fishlife I have seen anywhere. Spend a lot of time here, it is worth it.
This spot is normally only dived in rough seas as it is very protected. It is an excellent dive, worth doing even in good seas.