Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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St George Scuba Club
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Dive Sites
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Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
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Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
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Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
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Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
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    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "The MV Malabar is a reminder of an historic Sydney event"
    North Bowen Island
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - North Bowen Island
    Bowen Island
    Bowen Island - the dive site is above the Google logo
    Note that north is to the right
    Roughly circular in shape, the largest bay on the NSW coastline is Jervis Bay. Almost 10 kilometres wide (east to west) and just over 15 kilometres north to south, the bay has a mouth 5 kilometres across. While the land to the immediate north, west and south is fairly low lying, the east side of the bay is composed of enormous sandstone cliffs that rise up from the sea to create the bay. The dramatic cliffs give way to an even more dramatic undersea terrain which drop away to well over 40 metres, in some places only 50 metres off the shore.

    Located just over 180 kilometres south of Sydney by road, Jervis Bay is a piece of NSW that has been largely undisturbed by development. Like Sydney Harbour, a large section of the land surrounding Jervis Bay is under the control of the Australia military, in this case, the Royal Australian Navy. As strange as it may seem, this has led to the bay being protected from development. Despite having a naval bombardment range on one section of the bay and coast and being originally proposed for a nuclear power station, the bay is now almost totally protected from further development. The majority of land around the bay is now either part of the NSW Jervis Bay National Park, the Federally run Booderoo National Park (it used to be also called Jervis Bay National Park meaning there were two!!!) or the navy base and bombardment range.

    Bowen Island is located at the entrance to Jervis Bay and is basically the southern headland of the bay. Bowen Island is not as dramatic as the rest of the coastline, but it is still very rugged. The diving right along the outside of the island is excellent, as good as anywhere I have ever been.

    A cave at North Bowen
    One of the many caves and overhangs
    at North Bowen Island
    In poor weather conditions, the winds and seas generally come from the south so the only protected area at Jervis Bay is the northern end of Bowen Island. In these conditions, the only spot open to diving is the northern end of the island. Depending on the seas and exact direction, the only spots that can be dived are Little Egypt, North Bowen Island and The Nursery.

    While the whole of the northern end of Bowen can come under the description of North Bowen Island, I use this term to cover the section of coast from about 100 metres from the north-eastern point to about 300 metres. Anchor anywhere in this area, using your depth sounder to pick out a depth of about 20 metres in which to anchor.

    The bottom in this area consists of many small boulders with some larger ones. They are covered with sponges, gorgonias and sea squirts, nothing spectacular, but interesting. In between the rocks there is some kelp growth. When you start the dive, head down to the sand edge which is about 24 metres where you first strike it. The sand has a lot of boulders on it and the depth actually drops away to over 27 metres on the other side of the boulders. They extend out up to 30 metres from the main reef in some spots.

    In among the boulders and along the reef edge there are many sea dragons. I have seen up to 10 along here, including some deformed ones. Other fish seen here include many squid (I have seen them on most of my dives), kingfish and many species of leatherjackets.

    After a time at depth, head in towards the shore. Here the reef is truely spectacular, with huge boulders creating small canyons and swim-throughs in the shallower sections. The depth here ranges from 5 metres down to 10 metres under the boulders. The fishlife is prolific, with yellowtail, one-spot pullers, seapike, bream, luderick, blackfish been the most common. I have also seen a very large ray on most dives here.

    I always spend a lot of time exploring the caves and swim-throughs, checking out every nook and cranny. It is great fun to swim in and out of the caves. Photographers can get some very good shots looking out from the larger caves.

    A great dive site.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2024
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!