Scuba Diving at Gravel Loader

I had one of my best scuba dives at the Gravel Loader this weekend.

The Gravel Loader (Link to Google Maps) is located at the entrance of the bass point reserve, near Shellharbour. It’s quite a shallow and easy dive with a maximum depth of around 10m. There’s two possible entry points from the shore for this dive, either from the boat ramp on the east side of the Gravel Loader (not shown in the aerial photo) or from the west side of the Gravel Loader. The boat ramp entry point provides an easy entry as there are hand rails on the boat ramp which you can hold on to when putting your fins on in the water, and a very short walk from the car to the water. The other entry has a long walk from the car to the water and a slightly trickier entry point (especially in rougher water), however has a shorter swim to the loader. Access to the boat ramp isn’t always available too as it is within the Bass Point Reserve and the gates in the evening and shut whenever there is a total fire ban.

Swimming through hoops as part of some buoyancy games

For this weekend’s dive, I dived with Scott and Darren and we used the entry point on the west side of the Gravel Loader. This is because we were going some buoyancy performance tuning exercises and the area on the west side had deeper water, fewer sea urchins and a large rock with sand surrounding it which is perfect for doing some buoyancy games like swimming through hoops.

Scuba Diving at Gravel Loader

After doing the buoyancy tuning exercises and seeing how clear the visibility was, we decided to swim to the Gravel Loader to check out the aquatic life. The Gravel Loader that day had one of the best visibility I have experience in all my time of diving there and the water was warm too, at 22 degrees Celsius. There was plenty of the usual fish life in there, the Old Wives, the Porcupine fish and the large blue eastern grouper. There were also a large number of giant cuttlefish and we saw one of them attack a small fish. It happened so fast, where it stuck its white tentacles out and grabbed the fish, and it was quite amazing to witness this first hand. It looked very similar to the attack in the video below. The cuttlefish attacked one of the yellow tailed black and white stripped fish which you can see in out of the photos further down the post.

And to add to that, a few moments after that, we saw a curious Grey Nurse Shark swim by. Grey nurse sharks are not a common sight in the area, so it was a rare treat. This shark was about 1.5m long and for those who are familiar with the shark, they can look quite intimidating with their sharp teeth showing as they swim around. I think the shark was quite curious of our presence as it swarm past us, looped around, gave us a second pass before swimming away. And to top it off, on the swim back to shore from the Gravel loader, we saw an eagle ray swim by! (Another rare sight).

Everyone enjoyed the dive, it was pretty amazing seeing the cuttlefish feed, the grey nurse shark swim by twice and the eagle ray! This dive is definitely one of my best dive in Bass Point so far!

Giant Cuttlefish

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