Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
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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
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.
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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
    "Bare Island Isolated Reefs have sea dragons, red indianfish and sea horses"
    The Olgas
    The town of Kiama south of Sydney is famous for its blow hole. What Sydney-sider has not gone there as a kid on a school excursion to see the Kiama Blow Hole? Even now, the town is very busy on weekends as people travel there to see this fabulous natural phenomenon. In the 2000s, the crowd on weekends at the Blow Hole represents the immigrant nature of Sydney, with all the newer migrants visiting this place that they have obviously been told about.

    Up till about the early 1990s there was a dive charter boat that ran out of Kiama. It was called PT-73, named of course after the famous boat from the 1960s TV series McHale's Navy. I never went on this boat, as the only time I booked on the weather conditons caused the dives to be cancelled.

    There was a dive shop in Kiama till about the early 2000s, I think it may still have had a boat, but it did not advertise and Sydney divers probably did not even know it existed. My only dive until 2010 at Kiama was at Afghan Reef.

    In 2010 the St George Scuba Club decided that its annual dive weekend to the near south of Sydney would be to Kiama rather than the normal Shellharbour. We had no idea what the diving would be like and, in fact, we could not find anyone who had details of sites where we could do boat dives.

    After a blown out Saturday, Sunday saw us heading out to dive. We decided to try the Bombo Headland but we could not find too much of interest using the depth sounder. We headed a bit further north till we were off Stack Island at Minnamurra. This is about 5.5 kilometres north-north-east of the Kiama Harbour (where there is an excellent boat ramp). Here at a depth of about 24 metres we found a site that looked very interesting. The depth sounder showed a bottom that had lots of ups and downs.

    We decided to try it out and three out of our four boats anchored. The location is exactly one kilometres off Stack Island at GPS Reading S34° 37' 33.0" E150° 52' 29.8" (using AUS66 as a datum - see my GPS page to see what this means).

    OlgasThe Olgas Gorgonia
    Kelly in a gutter formed by two large bouldersTypical of the very colourful sides of the large boulders

    We were soon anchored and Kelly and I headed down. As we dropped, the bottom soon came into view, the visibility was pretty good, perhaps 15 metres. Straight away the bottom confirmed what I had expected, the bottom was composed of a sandy bottom with some huge boulders interspersed with smaller boulders.

    The only trouble with this is that it is very hard to navigate as all the boulders look much the same, with no distinct walls to follow. We decided to head south and then west. We went from one huge boulder to another and then to one to the west. It was easy to go around a couple that were within sight of this boulder and then return back to the anchor.

    Olgas GorgoniaOlgas Sea Squirts
    Kelly with one of the very colourful gorgoniasSea squirts and sponges like this are everywhere

    Our next excursion was to the north-west. Again, we picked out the larger boulders to try to sense our route out. All these boulders are covered with the most colourful array of marine growth. There are huge numbers of sea squirts, sponges and some gorgonias all over the boulders. The colours are absolutely magnificient.

    The fishlife is pretty good as well. Lots of yellowtail, silver sweep are over the reef and quite a few numbrays and even large bullrays can be seen. We saw a made-up phyllodesium nudibranch here as well as many starfish.

    This is an excellent dive site, worth visiting many times. As to its name, we decided that the boulders made the site look like Kata Tjuta in Central Australia. Formerly known as The Olgas, the rocks there form canyons and open areas.

    Unfortunately, the only way you can dive this site is if you have your own boat as no charter operator runs out of Kiama.

    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!