Being a Divemaster is possibly one of the best jobs in the world. You take people to your favourite places and show them a few creatures that you have such a passion for. Leading dives at Oak Park and checking out a few of the local fish species for a job definitely ticks all my work boxes.
Cronulla’s most famous dive site is easily Oak Park. Located near the outlet of the Hacking River, multiple reefs run out from the beach and parallel to the shore. As you dive these rocky walls more and more you will come to know the location of a few fish life locals. Gus (or Gusses) is the local Blue Grouper and he can be seen wherever he senses potential tucker. Yes, Gus is always a boy the females are a smaller greener fish. Although when poor Gus the Grouper moves on she will change sex and take his place.
The Old Wives are always present in a dense group hanging out halfway up the first reef (yes the Old Wife is a fish species not an elderly lady). Some days they will be out in force relinquishing the shelter of reef to stretch their fins. Other days they hide beneath the rocky overhangs and require a bit more of a search to locate.
In the shallows keep your mask on and snorkel in for a chance to see one of the huge bull rays that inhabit the shallow sandy areas. Seeing them glide through the water effortlessly whilst the surge pushes you around is a superb site. Even the little Tobies swimming in half a metre of water bring a smile to your face as you wonder how they manage to avoid being washed up onto the sand.
Another bonus of Oak Park is the abundance of back street parking available even during a perfect summer weekend. It’s almost a hidden gem of the Sydney coast. Once you have done a dive there is also a quiet park to sit back and relax in whilst you wait out your surface interval. There aren’t many places in Sydney where you can dive and relax with such ease so if you haven’t been join a shore dive and get a tour of the underwater sites, then head back and finish exploring whenever you have some free time to dive.
Ever wonder what that fish was at Oak Park you saw moving through the kelp or giving you the eye from under a ledge? It could have been a Crimson Wrasse. These guys are all over Cronulla and whilst they aren’t as tame as their cousins they are still a nice fish to spot and have a gander at. With large red markings, yellow fins, a white jaw and a smaller mouth they have an almost tropical appearance to them. So next time you’re at Oak Park see if you can spot one.