Blog submitted by Barbara Winters, Web Editor at Adreno:
There are not many big cities in the world where you can dive from the shore, just out of the city centre and see amazing marine life. But residents of the Gold Coast, and its Brissie neighbours, are the lucky few city dwellers who can dive at just about any time in their own backyard and see beautiful fish, turtles, sharks and even sea horses.
I have been living in Brisbane for exactly a year now and hadn’t been diving at all. At first there were the floods which made a mess of the bay, then I was focusing on studying and finding a job, which resulted in me having to work most days, but in fact it just came down to lame excuses.
Spoiled diver Truth was: I was putting it off because I am a very spoiled diver: I only dive in great conditions or when there is something remarkable to be seen. Having learned how to scuba dive in the crystal clear warm waters of Honduras with over 20m visibility and 27 degrees water temperature, and subsequent tropical dives in the Galapagos, Malaysia, and at the Ningaloo and Great Barrier Reefs, has set my standards for life, so it seems. Thanks to my many travels and having lived in many remote places in Australia, my 60+ dives or so were always near perfect and unforgettable. So I wasn’t very tempted to dive into dark brown Moreton bay for a dive with low vis in winter.
Embarrassed But springtime came and I still hadn’t dived in Brisbane and it started to get really embarrassing because my partner is a diving instructor after all (who could easily do my refresher dive with me) and I was even working in the IT department of Adreno Scuba Diving Centre, surrounded by divers and talking and writing about dive gear all day for the past six months!!
So when our work mates James and John went out to test the new Oceanic Bladefish 7000 in the Seaway I couldn’t say no to their invitation anymore and decided to dive the famous Gold Coast Seaway. With its rich bottom sediment, rock walls and pipes, this dive site attracts an abundance of marine life. The beauty is that you can just about jump in any day of the year, if the tide is right of course.
Refresher One overcast steamy Sunday my partner Colin and I met up with a group of keen scuba divers from Brisbane, some of them having dived the Seaway for about 50 times already (!), and drove to the Southwest wall. We geared up and before I knew it my basic skills such as clearing my mask and recovering my regulator underwater were being tested just off the rocks in a sandy patch at 3m. Some divers don’t think a refresher dive is necessary, but in my 10 years of diving I’ve had to do them now and then and must admit: it can really be a life saver to brush up your skills.
Like now: I actually had difficulty recovering my reg because I had forgotten that you can tilt your body to one side. But the second time around I did everything right and soon enough we were on our way, following our dive master Ryan and John with the Oceanic Bladefish and enjoying an exceptional clear day for this location: 10-12m visibility!
And we saw lots: massive flounders, rays, parrot fish, schools of bigeye trevally and even a banded moray eel who came out of his shelter to check us out. Not bad for a city dive! We explored the rock wall for an hour and got up to 7m deep.
I even got to play with the Bladefish for a while, which is an underwater scooter and was quite useful because there was a bit of current and I was getting tired legs from all the kicking. But personally I prefer taking my time, exploring crevasses and small fish, without the sound of an underwater scooter and with both hands free.
I dived the Pooway! When we came back along the wall the water was much murkier around the pipes, which spits out ‘domestic wastewater’ (read: sewerage ) on the ebb tide. So when I came out I shouted excitedly to the other divers in our group: "Woeaaah, I’ve dived the Pooway!" But of course we all knew the sewerage is treated and there is no health risk, and I was secretly impressed by this dive which is accessible to anyone with dive gear, without having to pay for a boat trip.
Impression Check out this short movie with huge schools of bigeye trevally, a very common sight in the Seaway:
TIP If you are interested in diving the Seaway too, check out this website about Gold Coast dive sites. Ian Banks has dived and researched the area extensively and his website offers pictures of all marine life that can be spotted there, exit and entry points, weather reports etc etc. Very useful!
SHARE YOUR DIVING EXPERIENCE! Have you ever dived the Seaway? Do you know any other dive locations so close to a city that have that many marine species? Tell us about your dives on our Facebook page!