Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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St George Scuba Club
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Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Sydney Dive Visibility, Swell and Temps
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
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Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
Free Shipwreck Books

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
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
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
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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
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "North Head has numerous dive sites with excellent sponge life"
    Cape Banks
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Cape Banks Caverns The outer northern headland of Botany Bay was named in 1770 by Lieutenant James Cook, RN, Cape Banks after Sir Joseph Banks who was the first European to record the flora and fauna of New Holland (or New South Wales as Cook was to later name it). Cape Banks has the remains of a shipwreck on the inside rock platform. This is the SS Minmi. A collier, the Minmi was on its way from Melbourne to Newcastle when it hit the outside of Cape Banks on 13 May 1937. As can be seen, the main hulk of the wreck now lies above high water mark on the rock platform, but pieces of the ship can be found over the eastern side of Cruwee Cove (the bay inside the headland) and around the Cape. These remains include metal plate, timber pieces and steel. I have been told there are other bits in very shallow water on eastern side of Cape Banks, but I have not been able to find any on a couple of dives in this area.

    The length of coast north from Cape Banks to Maroubra Beach has some of the most underrated dive sites in the Sydney area. As well as the now famous MV Malabar, there are great dives at The Pistol Crack, Isolated Cemetery and Tupia Point (amongst other sites). About 50 metres south of the tip of Cape Banks at GPS Reading 34° 00' 09.6"S 151° 15' 00"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), there is a dive spot that is the equal of any dive site I have visited in Sydney. Run in from the sea and anchor at the location mentioned or when the depth comes up to 15 metres or so and then 12 to 13 metres.

    The terrain here is quite varied, with the depth going from only a few metres down to almost 30 metres further offshore. If you anchor in the location mentioned above, you will find that there are gullies, holes and caves galore. Most of these are to the south of this anchor spot but some may be to the north. In addition, there are some very nice walls, with the depth going from 5 metres to 13 metres and from 13 metres to over 20 metres. There are some nice overhangs and some excellent swim-throughs. I have found more than six good sized caves/tunnels and I am sure that there are more.

    Eastern blue devilfishCape Banks Reef
    Steve Shaw and an eastern blue devilfishOne of the small gullies at Cape Banks

    The gullies are quite large, with some being more than 30 metres long and 10 metres wide. Their depth is often 10 metres or so. In the gullies there is usually excellent fishlife, including yellowtail, sweep, one-spot pullers, all in large numbers. In Winter they are home to Port Jackson sharks in large numbers (up to 20 in a group). I have also seen eastern blue devilfish in the caves and overhangs. Deeper there are sea dragons.

    If the seas are calm, you can dive in very close to the headland. Here there is prolific fishlife, including bream, luderick and eastern rock blackfish. Beware of the many fishers who are nearly always fishing along this section of the coast, as it is easy to get entangled in their lines and even easier to upset them. Anchor 30 to 50 metres to the north of the point on the outside, about 30 metres off-shore in a depth of about 15 metres.

    In summary, a great, exciting dive site, worth many dives.

    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!