30 November 2023
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Ladies Reef:
Lady Reef is a small, tennis court size, reef off the Front Beach in S...


Kirby Smith
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Kirby Smith: Messages

Take a look at the messages of member fishrock. You can visit the corresponding dive site by clicking at the link or take a look at each message by clicking 'view'.

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Australia > Ladies Reef > Lady Reef is a small, tennis c > [View]

Lady Reef is a small, tennis court size, reef off the Front Beach in South West Rocks. She is a great spot for a shore dive, for night dives and also for beginners. Expect to see moray eels, catfish, feather stars, resident fish including puffers, soft corals and sponges and possibly a juvenile Wobbegong shark or Port Jackson shark.

Australia > Fish Rock Cave > The craggy island of Fish Rock > [View]

The craggy island of Fish Rock gives no indication of the splendor that lies underneath. At 120 metres long, and well known as one of the largest ocean caverns in the southern hemisphere, Fish Rock Cave has attracted divers worldwide. Enter the deep end of the cave at a depth of 24 metres where thousands of bullseyes hang suspended. Swim into the tunnel entrance over huge wobbegong sharks and a large bull ray resting on the bottom. You’ll pass by clusters of live cowry shells, a large Spanish dancer, bryozoan lace coral and sea cucumbers to name but a few.

Ascend up one of the two vertical chimneys with only your torch light piercing the darkness, and see the many glowing eyes from hundreds of painted crayfish following your progress. At the right time of year, giant cuttlefish lay their eggs in the cave and the huge male is a spectacular sight with his colours flashing. Pop up into the bubble cave for a quick chat before emerging into the light zone.

The shallow end usually stops people in their tracks. The deep blue opening is a vision people have seen in many photographs, magazines and books and it still doesn’t prepare them for the spectacular beauty. Silhouetted in the opening are thousands of bullseyes, gorgonian coral fans, trumpetfish, black cod and many other species of fish. During most of the year grey nurse sharks are regularly sighted silhouetted in the opening making it a photographers' paradise. There are also nudibranchs, bright orange zooanthids, moray eels and anemone and clown fish.

Australia > Black Rock > The starkness of these two bla > [View]

The starkness of these two black rocks above the surface gives no indication of the beautiful coral garden below. The two rocks are situated off Smoky Cape beach which sweeps southwards from Smoky Cape Lighthouse towards Hat Head in the south. Though there are two rocks the surge in the gutter between prevents safe passage through them on all but the calmest days. Also as a matter of safety we encourage diving within visual surface sight of the boat and therefore the skippers watchful eye! Usually this means Black Rocks is split into two different dives; a northern and southern route.

Northern side

The centre of the natural bay formed by the two rocks are often used to begin this dive allowing divers to explore the bay up to the rocks and out to the reef edge. Close into the rocks you will see in around 6-8 metres small crevices and larger boulders which get smaller in size as you swim away from the rocks towards the reef edge on the sand (14-16 metres). A large part of the reef here is made up of large plate coral - Black Rocks is the southernmost point at which you will see plate coral growing in such abundance.

Everywhere you look you will see friendly moray eels, beautiful lionfish, obscure nudibranchs, feather stars, active octopus and juvenile fish darting in and around the boulders and hard coral. Take your time on this dive and ensure you look under the overhangs and in the cracks - you will be rewarded by the variety of marine creatures you see. The fish life at Black Rocks can be as abundant as at Fish Rock - look out for the huge schools of bulleyes and bait fish plus the tropicals adding dashes of colour. There are also small gutters or areas of sand in amongst the reef which are worth a closer look particularly to see (hiding just under the sand! numerous white-spotted shovel-nosed rays and also flounder. Bigger fish are also seen by divers at Black Rocks - Grey Nurse Sharks, large king fish and jewies are all visitors here.

A particular highlight at this dive site are the amazing egg cowries that live on the coral and rocks - look out for a bright white shell partially or almost completely covered by the black mantle - the small white dots on the mantle are reminiscent of diamonds on black velvet! Another top spot are the resident loggerhead and green turtles that may join you on your dive - particularly look out for the large three flipperred loggerheads that are resident close into the rock. Plus if you have the time on your dive do check the sand edge of the reef for very large black bullrays.

This dive is a popular alternative to the dive sites at Fish Rock and is suitable for all levels of diver. The bay is also a pleasant place to spend the surface interval and have a hot drink and snack!

Southern side

Similar in topography to the northern side this side of the rocks offers greater depth at the reefs outer edges - down to 20 odd metres in places. Again Fish Rock Dive Centre usually begins the dive in the centre of the small bay created by the two rocks. Large boulders and small sand gutters create habitats for numerous juveniles, octopus, egg cowries, lionfish, scorpion fish and inquisitive eels. As you swim along the main rock keeping the rock to your left look out to the ocean to catch a glimpse of more of the large visiting pelagics - king fish, jew fish and occasional bronze whalers!

Turning back towards the boat keep an eye out for the turtles that make this area their home - sometimes hard to spot through the myriad fish life that gets in the way! Huge schools of pomfrets and bulleyes are well known here with passing schools of long tailed banner-fish making regular appearances. South Black Rock is again a popular alternative to the dive sites at Fish Rock and suitable for all levels of diver. Snorkelling is popular during surface intervals.