Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Jolong
The section of Sydney's coastline north from Botany Bay towards Sydney Harbour is not dived all that much by boat. This is for a number of reasons, the main ones being that there is no dive charter boat that runs out of Botany Bay on a permanent basis and there is no wharf at La Perouse where divers could easily get onto the boat from the shore. I still cannot fathom this, as the diving is excellent.
|A satellite photo of the coast showing the|
Jolong fishing and diving sites
The flat rock platform is obvious to left of the Jolong dive site name
This site is located 700 metres north of Cape Banks, the northern headland of Botany Bay. It is named after the rock fishing spot on the shore. This is a very prominent flat rock that extends far out from the cliff. The site is south of Pistol Crack. The fishing spot is one of the most dangerous locations in NSW, with many people losing their lives when swept into the ocean. The shore straight in from you is part of Botany Bay National Park and behind that is NSW Golf Club. In the national park there are World War II gun emplacements. These are under the green mounds (sand dunes covered with bitou bush) you can see.
To find the site, head out of Botany Bay and north to GPS Reading 33° 59" 47.1"S 151° 15" 14.4E (this is using WGS84 as datum - note different to what I normally use). See my GPS Page for more information. Run in towards the flat rock and when the depth comes up from about 27 to 28 metres to 20 to 23, anchor (depending on the wind).
The reef here is composed of a wall that runs roughly north to south. The reef top is 20 metres in spots although closer to the wall it is about 23 metres. It drops in one or two steps to 25 or 26 metres. The wall has some nice overhands and there are a few small cracks. Off the wall there are some large boulders and further out, the reef drops again to 28 metres. If you keep going the reef will drop in a very gradual slope to over 30 metres, but it is not worth doing this.
The wall and boulders have lots of sea tulips, sponges, small gorgonias and more. The overhangs are home to cuttlefish and there are lots of one-spot pullers in the spaces between the boulders and the wall and the cracks. Out a bit, in amongst the kelp, there are sea dragons.
|Peter Flockart and Bob Trudgeon on the reef at Jolong||A sea dragon with Bob Trudgeon in background|
Once on the bottom, the best bet is to head north or south for about 10 minutes (depending on if there is any current - this section of coast for some reason seems to have current far more often than off places like Royal National Park). The bottom off the main wall has a sandy bottom with some rocks and kelp. There are sea dragons here and some small rays. Assuming that you head north (as the main current normally comes from the north), you will see that the reef comes out a bit to the east and there are some overhangs and small cracks. There are lots of one-spot pullers here and some large cuttlefish can normally be seen in the overhangs and cracks.
Go a bit past this and then backtrack to the anchor, perhaps a little shallower along the top of the wall. Once back near the anchor, explore a bit past this to the south, but take into account any current.
Due to the depth you will get only about 25 minutes on the bottom (if you keep to the bottom of the wall and out from here). You cannot really get much shallower to extend your dive much.
As well as the fish mentioned, there are sometimes bream, luderick, yellowtail, silver sweep and black reef leatherjackets.
As mentioned, this is a very good dive location, well worth doing numerous times.