Australia Day Long weekend on the Tasman Peninsula
We will be heading up on Saturday Evening and returning Tuesday Evening
*This Event has been moved from the North West Coast*
Come along and enjoy magnificent diving in one of Tasmania’s best dive regions.
Shack accommodation is provided, but this event is BYO Food.
Two large Islands lie about 8 kilometres to the east of the Fortescue Bay boat ramp.
These small volcanic outcrops are very remote and exposed. Down at the 30 meter level the water is still and this has allowed a massive array of invertebrate life to grow. Just about any part of the two islands are covered in anemones, sea whips, nudibranchs and sponges. Erosion on the seaward side of the Big Hippolyte has has created a lot of swim-throughs that are packed with life. Also on the northern side of the Big Hippolyte there is a small seal colony. Any dive on the rocks usually attracts the attention of these animals. Don’t be surprised to find a seal looking over your shoulder during the dive!
There is a nice garden of sea whips in 30 meters on the western side of the Little Hippolyte. Exposed to ocean currents the area often attracts school fish. and the visibility is usually excellent.
These factors make for some of the best diving in Tasmania and is always a TUDC Favorite!
This series of rocks 12 kilometers to the north of Pirates Bay offers some excellent deep diving. The best diving is on the seaward end of the Outer Sister. P.ere huge
schools of Butterfly Perch patrol the vertical drop-off. At the base of the drop-off there are large forests of sea whips, up to two meters in length. Numerous large bommies and good fish life is a feature of this dive. The water is normally clear especially in Winter. Good diving can also be found on the many rock walls and reefs along the sides of the island chain. The diving is particularly good on the rock walls between the Second and Outer Sister. They are noted for good fish life, sponge gardens and large patches of yellow zoanthids (sea daisies). The area is very exposed and the rocks are subject to a noticeable current at times. It is also very easy to lose track of the time and fin too vigorously on this dive. Therefore, divers should be very careful about dive times and always do a safety stop.
Deep Glen Bay
On the northern extremity of Deep Glen Bay a large reef extends out to sea from the point. Close to the shore it is only 15 metres and the bottom supports a large weed garden which is covered in the usual varieties of reef fish. The bottom then drops off sharply in a series of narrow ledges into a maximum depth of 35-40 metres. In order to extend the dive time it is better to remain at about 30 metres where there is still plenty to see. The rock faces are covered in colourful sponges, hydroids, gorgonia fans and anemones. The whole area is very exposed to inclement weather. The rest of Deep Glen is also very attractive. Eaglehawk Dive Centre have located many interesting rock walls and sea caves.
Often northerly winds blow out the dive spots outside Fortescue Bay. If the seas arc not too strong: you may be able to reach the shelter of the Thumbs and anchor in the lee of the islands. This is a dive that can be very spectacular in good visibility. so it is probably better as a Winter or Autumn dive. The shallows are covered in hardy varieties of seaweed, and are fairly uninteresting at first. The bottom drops away sharply into 25-35 meters and become covered in colourful marine life. The seaward side drops sharply into over 50 meters. with large schools of Butterfly Perch patrolling the slope. Schools of Real Bastard Trumpeter are also seen quite often. On the inshore side of the rocks you should find a small but attractive garden of sea whips. This lies in the channel between the cliffs and the first island. As this is a deep dive a safety stop is recommended.
Waterfall Bay contains some of Tasmania’s best sea caves. They are readily accessible by boat, and are set amongst brilliant coastal scenery. The bay gets its name from the large waterfall that cascades over the cliffs on the southern side of the bay. This beautiful landmark has tended to draw divers to these cliffs, with the result that the rest of the bay was rarely dived. This has led to huge areas of Waterfall Bay being only recently explored. It was originally thought that Waterfall Bluff contained only one small cave penetrating the cliffs. Since then dive charter operators have found a veritable maze of tunnels and chambers and have meticulously mapped them all. The interest in this site is well founded and it is probably the most impressive sea cave in Tasmania. The large cave dome is visible from the surface and in calm weather can actually be entered by boats. The depth inside the caves is slightly over 20 meters although depths of 30 meters can be found at other points around the bluff. The water is often crystal clear especially after long periods of calm weather in Winter. Feeding away from the main cavern is a number of relatively narrow passages. At the southern end of the main dome there is Purgatory Passage and Grommet’s Grotto a maze of small and dark passages terminating some distance inside the bluff. To the north there is the Cathedral Arch which opens out into Waterfall Bay. Nearby and slightly to the west are the Aisles, Bullseye Chapel and the Catacombs. These mazes of tunnels also open out into Waterfall Bay. Although the passages are dark, light from the openings can still be seen for most of the dive. The large schools of Bullseyes found there are an impressive sight especially when framed against the light. The area near the openings also supports a colourful array of sponges, hydroids, ascidians and sea anemones. Obviously a reliable torch (preferably two) is a necessity and bring a camera if you have one. Inexperienced divers should buddy up with an experienced guide, or stay close to the cave openings if they are likely to suffer from claustrophobic reactions.
When the kelp is in full bloom. this is one of the nicest shore dives in Tasmania. For the visitor it is the perfect introduction into the splendor of a Macrocystis kelp forest. Entry is from the shore near the Fortescue Bay boat ramp. For obvious reasons boat traffic is the major hazard. Show a dive flag to warn boat owners. The bottom is dominated by sand and rock. and these patches of rock form holding points for vast columns of kelp that rise to the surface ten meters above. The patches of sand on the bottom reflect the sunlight to make the dive bright and clear. Good visibility will make this dive an unforgettable experience. The kelp also attracts a lot of fish life and abalone are easily found. The quality of this dive docs vary considerably depending on natural cyclical factors. In good years the kelp can grow out in depths up to 20 meters.
On the 16th of November 1915, the steamship “Nord” was on her way to Hobart with a British (and probably Chinese crew). She was hugging the coast trying to evade bad weather. She was originally built with a shallow draught for the Russian trade and was probably rolling heavily with a light load of cased motor fuel from the Far East. The captain decided to take his ship closer to the coast and pass in between the Big and Little Hippolyte. His chart showed no obstructions. The captain did not know that Needle Rock sat in the middle of the channel, and had claimed the S.S. “Tasman” in 1883. The “Nord” struck in the middle of the night and badly damaged her bow. The captain decided to head for the shelter of Port Arthur. but could not make it around Cape Pillar in the heavy swell. The only remaining option was to beach her in Fortescue Bay and save the crew. However, she had only travelled a few kilometres when rising water put out the boiler fires. Soon she started to take a dangerous list. The crew managed to escape in the boats before the “Nord” sank in the deep waters of Munroe Bight.
Denison (Dunalley) Canal
This is the only drift dive in South-East Tasmania and one of the few that are relatively safe. The Denison Canal was cut through the narrow neck of land at Dunalley around the turn of the century. It was intended to shorten the journey of the small coastal craft that once connected the East coast to Hobart. The canal is still used by small pleasure craft and continues to be maintained by the Marine Board of Hobart. If you wish to dive in the canal you must gain permission from the Harbor Master. He will usually require you to provide a manned safety boat. The canal has created an artificial tidal stream and the current can be quite fast. Use the safety boat to pick up divers, or simply swim sideways to the current until the shore is reached. The canal is generally muddy, but is covered in schools of Soldier Fish or mating Spider Crabs. The crabs spawn in the canal and congregate here for a massive ‘orgy’ during the mating season.
Site Descriptions from “Dive Tasmania, Jacques 1997”
|Dive Qualification Required
|Day or Night Dive
|Number of Dives
Refunds are at the Dive Coordinator's discretion however the following guidelines apply to normal events:
Cancellation where a replacement diver is found: 100% refund
No show or cancellation with less than 48 Hours notice: 0% refund
Cancellation with greater than 48 Hours but less than a week's notice: 50% refund
Cancellation with greater than a week's notice: 100% refund
Bookings are closed for this event.