Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Cape Banks Bridge
As regular Sydney divers would now know, there is a resident school of grey nurse sharks to be found off Sydney's best beach, Maroubra Beach. These are located at Magic Point at the southern end of the beach.
In the December 2000 issue of DIVE Log, Akos Lumnitzer wrote about a spot where he said there were even more sharks than Magic Point. From his description, my friends and I attempted to find this location on Christmas Eve, 2000.
To find the location, travel out of Botany Bay and round Cape Banks (the northern head of Botany Bay) and go a few hundred metres north. Cape Banks is almost an island, joined to the "mainland" by a very low spit of rock. Looking towards the shore as you pass the spit, you will see a bridge that seems to provide access to Cape Banks. It is actually a bridge for golfers from the NSW Golf Club to get to a tee so they can hit across Cruwee Cove to a hole.
When you are off the bridge, run in until the reef comes up off the sand and anchor in the 22 metre range (or shallower if you like). GPS Reading for this site is 34° 00' 02"S 151° 15' 02.3"E (using AUS66 datum - see my GPS Page for details on what this means to you). The reef here consists of a sandy bottom at 27 to 28 metres, with scattered rocks and a lot of sponges and small gorgonias and a rise to 23 metres. Between here and 22 metres there is a flat reef covered with kelp.
The sharks were supposed to be found in this area, in a cave at 22 metres. However, despite using scooters which enabled us to explore 100 metres north and south of this location, we could not find the sharks and could not find the cave in which Akos said they lived. I later found out that Akos had written the article in an attempt to get a certain dive charter boat to limit the number of times it goes to Magic Point. The information in the article was made up, there is no cave and no sharks.
Shallower, the reef here jumps to 15 metres in a vertical wall and from here gradually rises to 10 metres. The rock here is clear and has a few nooks and cranies.
Away from the sandy area, the reef has some very good fishlife, with a lot of rays (including a huge bullray). There are also eastern blue devilfish, one-spot pullers, sea pike, bream, leatherjackets and other species to be seen. Although we did not see any grey nurse sharks, we had a great dive here, well worth the effort.