More sharks than you can count: as a non diver, this maybe an experience reserved for nightmares. However as a scuba addict it is usually one of many diving dreams.
Southwest Rocks, Fishrock dive site makes these dreams reality. With 2 metre Grey Nurse sharks everywhere you look, turtles coming in for a face to face look, friendly Batfish Galore and an amazing 120 metre long cave open to the advanced certified diver, this is one for every diver’s bucket list. Fishrock is an island a few hundred metres offshore of the small town of Southwest Rocks.
The island boasts a multitude of Grey Nurse sharks, a locally endangered species with a beautiful temperament. Large schools of fish swim around you as you gaze at the approaching Loggerhead turtles with awe that are a common site around the island.
The attraction that draws the most divers from around Australia is the amazing cave that dissects the island. As you swim into the channel, curtains of fish block the entrance. They move apart forming a gap just wide enough to swim through, you know over 1000 eyes are watching you slowly swim into the cave opening.
Inside the cave you carefully swim over the occasional Wobbygong shark and past giant Bullrays. As you ascend a section called “The Chimney,” beady lobster eyes shine off your torch beckoning you to take a closer look. The cave continues on until you see a beautiful blue exit, the excitement builds as silhouettes of Grey Nurse sharks and Batfish cover the exit. This is when you get that camera ready. As you emerge different sea life comes in for a closer look, multiple eels appear to see what all the fuss is about before slowly slinking back into the cracks of the island.
Diving around the island yields more marine treasures. Lionfish and Anemone fish make for some great sightseeing and photography practice with their standstill nature. Big rays cruise on past and you may be lucky enough to spot the shadows of a Hammerhead shark off in the distance. The long gutters around the island hold a majority of the Grey Nurse population. Tuck yourself into the rocks along the side and watch these beautiful creatures effortlessly swim on by. Their eyes watch you closely as they try to understand what this strange creature blowing bubbles is.
Making your way back across to the boat mooring one of these sharks will sneak past you. More than once will you turn only to find yourself face to face. The peace you get from their presences assures you that you’re safe. After a brief encounter you both part ways.
No matter how many dives you do at Southwest Rocks you always want more. A long weekend trip away is never long enough and I find myself trying to figure out a way to spend a week or two just diving off Fishrock Island. With free Nitrox and a maximum depth of 30 metres it is perhaps one of the most relaxing, beautiful and inspiring dives in New South Wales.