For this year’s valentine’s day, we decided to do a double date dive at Bare Island with Lauren and Colin. So we rocked up at Sydney Dive Academy at the usual valentine date meeting time of 8am to hire our equipment and headed off to La Perouse.

Having not dived there for many years, I looked up Michael McFadyen’s website for some information on diving at Bare Island. When we got to there, we also went and approached a local diver to get more information on diving routes and where we should dive.

Poor visibility

She suggested that we dived to the right side of the Island (the west side) and suggested that we walk across the bridge, get down the steps and get into the water on the ramp to the right of the bridge. Once in the water, descend and swim at the sandy bottom, keeping the wall to your left. Once we hit a metallic shark fin and outboard motor to swim up the rocks and keep going in the same direction. We’ll next hit a channel where we can choose to swim across it and continue in the same direction or to follow it south (turning left). As this was out first time diving at Bare Island in a while, she recommended we swim across it. We’ll then hit a few kelp gardens where we might find some pigmy pipehorses. At that point we should have been about 35-40mins into the dive.

So with that information, we geared up and headed for our dive. When we got into the water, we realised that the visibility was terrible. We couldn’t see past a few meter, so we had to stay really close together. The next problem we encountered was buoyancy. Lauren and Colin hired their weight belts and Lauren wasn’t given enough weights (she said her wetsuit was too big and I think she was given a thicker wetsuit that the usual 5mm) Also we were given aluminum tanks, instead of steel tanks which we were used to, so Kelly and I were a little under-weighted. That wasn’t too much of a problem during the start of the dive but once we got to the metallic shark fin and tried to swim up on the rocks, it got really difficult as the depth there was just 3m. (I think the reason the island is called Bare Island could be because there are no rocks around the island which we could use as weights). We eventually made it to the kelp, but it was really hard to spot the pigmy pipehorses and after trying for some time, we still had no success and had to turn around. We did see plenty of nudibranchs, old wives, banded sea perchs, a couple of wrase though.

For the second dive, we headed to the left of the island (east side) and it was much deeper there so the buoyancy issue wasn’t too bad. Visibility was also better for that dive too and we saw a Wobbegong shark.

What I’ve learnt from this dive at Bare Island is that the dive sites can be very very shallow. When we went to the right side on our first dive, we hit a max depth of 8m, but most of the time we were around the 3-4m depth. And for the second dive where we went to the left side, we hit a max depth of 9m but were at around 7m for most of the dive.

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