Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
Home Contact Me Sydney Reef Dive Sites Sydney Shipwrecks NSW Dive Sites Australian Dive Sites Overseas Dive Sites Dive Accidents and Incidents My Yachting Adventures 4WD Trips Weather Search 15 July 2024 18:55

About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
Contact Me

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
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
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
Site Map
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.
  • Login


    Forgotten your password?
    Request a new one here.
    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
    "Shelly Beach has dusky (black) whaler sharks"
    Sea Lark Channel Drift
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Sea Lark Channel Sydney divers do not really get the opportunity to do drift dives very often. The only regular drift that I know people do in Sydney is at the entrance to Botany Bay and I believe Melbourne divers have a couple and there is one at Swansea in NSW. I do a lot of drift dives, both in Sydney and elsewhere in NSW but these are generally from a private boat.

    Drift dives, if properly run, can be an easy and exciting way to dive as anyone who has done them will testify. Divers who have visited Heron Island are almost sure to have done a drift dive. Overseas, one of the main dives in Palau is Blue Holes/Blue Corner which is a drift dive and on my trips to PNG nearly every dive we did was a drift dive.

    Sea Lark ChannelSea Lark Channel
    These gorgonias are bent over
    in the current Sea Lark Channel - 1992
    A huge gorgonia in Sea Lark Channel - 1992

    In the Solomon Islands, a site to the east of Honiara is well set up for drift dives. The site is Sealark Channel which is the main shipping channel into Honiara from the east. It is a leisurely 60 minute boat trip from the capital to the dive site.

    On an incoming tide you enter the water at the eastern end of Sealark Reef and flow with the tide. The reef here drops from the surface down to more than 30 metres a short distance off the reef. While not a vertical wall, there is a lot of coral growth and many huge gorgonias. The water drops down further away from the reef to over 300 metres. Fishlife is not overly prolific, although we saw at least one huge hump-headed wrasse.

    Sea Lark ChannelSea Lark Channel
    John Fowden with a nice gorgonia - 1992A close up of a gorgonia with some feather-stars

    The current was very strong although generally you could swim against it for a short distance. However, on a slight bend in the reef, the current increased to such an extent that it was certainly over two knots and far too strong to swim against. Despite this, it was a very enjoyable and easy dive and provided good photographic opportunities.

    Some of my photos dramatically show the huge gorgonias bent over in the current although my attempts at taking photos were made difficult by the current's strength. It sometimes took two or three attempts to coincide everything at the right moment as I drifted past. After 50 to 60 minutes it is time to surface as you will be approaching the end of the reef.

    Sea Lark ChannelSea Lark Channel
    The reef in Sea Lark Channel
    is extremely colourful - 1992
    More colourful reef - 1992

    Visibility here was very good, in the order of 25 metres. Due to the distance from Honiara, this dive is best done as the second of a double dive that has the USS John Penn as the first.

    Due to the ethnic problems that started in early 1999 there was no dive operation on Guadalcanal until late 2004. Until early 2004 you could not even visit the area where the wreck and reef are located. Since the Australian, New Zealand and other Pacific Island military forces regained control of the country (at the Solomon Islands invitation) and especially this area, the situation has changed. However, I have no idea if this reef has ever been dived since we did it.

    NOTE: Underwater photographs taken with Niklonos IV-A in 1992 and scanned 2011.

    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!