Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Big Saigon
The section of Sydney coast from Botany Bay to Port Hacking is not really regularly dived. The only diving normally done in this area are the dive sites on the southern side of the Bay at Inscription Point. These sites are called Inscription Point, The Leap and the Monument (see Inscription Point for similar description).
As far as I know, very few, if any, commercial dive boats dive the area south of the entrance to the Bay down to the northern side of Bate Bay (this is the bay in front of Cronulla and Wanda Beaches). The reason for this is that the Cronulla Sewage Treatment works used to dump basically raw sewage into the ocean at Potter Point, the northern-most part of Bate Bay. However, this sewerage works now treats the sewage to tertiary standard and the "stuff" dumped into the ocean is now of a very good quality. In addition, there are a number of other outlets in this section of coastline. These include outlets from the oil refinery at Kurnell. These outlets are located at Tabbagai Gap, about half way between the two bays. As far as I know, these outlets now dump a better quality waste into the ocean.
As such, during the 1980s and 1990s this section of coast was not a place that many divers wanted to visit. However, now that the waste being dumped from these outlets is much cleaner, the dive sites along here really beg to be dived.
Over the years I have dived a number of places along here, GT Reef, Black Streak, Little Saigon and the wreck of the SS Hilda.
Another of the places we have "discovered" is Big Saigon. This is located to the north-east of Cape Baily and the Hilda and about 140 metres to the north of Little Saigon. This dive site got its name from Little Saigon which we had named for the number of Vietnamese fishers that we saw in this area.
Once you have travelled past Cape Baily Lighthouse (if coming from Port Hacking) and just before you get to the lighthouse if coming from Botany Bay, head to GPS mark 34° 02' 12.3"S 151° 13' 35.2"E (note that all my GPS Readings are using AUS66 - if you use any other datum, you will need to convert the reading - see my GPS Page for more details). Once in this location, find the wall (it should be to the east a very short distance) and drop anchor on the reef top.
This dive site consists of a wall that runs north-south. The reef top is about 17 metres and it drops to 20 metres in spots. The wall drops to about 25 metres. There are numerous overhangs and some small swim-throughs and arches. There is a small archway right next to where your anchor should be located. I have explored to the north for a long way (eight minutes using a scooter - about 200 metres or so) and the wall stays the same all this way. There are some gullies along the wall formed by some very large boulders. To the south, the reef is also the same, right to Little Saigon.
|Some of the huge boulders
|The main wall
Away from the wall there are lots of boulders. Some are small but others are quite large. The reef drops down in some small "walls" to over 32 metres. This is still not the sand edge and I am not sure how far it may be to the sand.
All along the reef there are excellent sponges, sea squirts and small gorgonias. The fishlife can be very prolific, lots of one-spot pullers, silver sweep, small seapike, yellowtail and other fish. These include mosaic and six-spined leatherjackets.
This is an excellent dive site.