When thinking about diving people often have ideas of beaches and dive sites way out in the ocean. Most never consider that just beneath that jetty or pier you’re standing on whilst waiting for the dive boat is a myriad of life, waiting to be explored. From small council owned jetties to bigger ferry terminals and even container ship loaders, some of the best diving is often found around these artificial structures.
Beneath man made quays and promenades you will find an amazingly unique collection of underwater life , from commonly seen Leather Jackets to Weedy Seadragons and mysterious looking Cowfish. Crabs crawl up and down the pylons, whilst octopus snag unsuspecting fish that venture too close. Huge rays do patrolling runs up and down the length of the structure you are diving beneath, often brought in by the scraps of fishermen.
The patrolling patterns of Bull Rays under wharfs often make them easier to photograph, pick a spot and lay in wait until they make their next pass. Be careful not to corner them though like any wild animal they require respect, especially whilst carrying such huge stingers on their tails. If you want a really special view of these animals find a location such as a bridge or jetty with a strong current and find somewhere to hold onto whilst you watch these amazing rays use their unique swimming style to fight the current. An appreciation for these unique animals really can be found once they are swimming at full speed.
Whilst you wait for the Bull Rays to sweep past look amongst the sponge growing on the support beams and you may just spot some well hidden seahorses hiding in plain sight. Watch as they pick animals out of the water that are too small for a human eye to see. Seahorses also have unusual swimming styles, their back fin warps back and forward propelling them through the water column. When they come in to rest it’s a peculiar site to watch as their tails wrap around the fingers of a sponge or the base of a Sea Tulip.
Sydney diving gives you great opportunities to explore different piers and may also allow you to see some of the more rare and unusual species that other divers chase around the world. Frogfish and Ghost pipefish are occasionally seen during the warmer months. Once you know what they look like the excitement you get when one appears is almost indescribable, with rattles and underwater signalling devices going crazy in order to alert your fellow divers. So if you haven’t gotten out to your local jetty, wharf, quay, dock or pier lately grab a torch and a dive buddy and go explore!
Ornate Ghost Pipefish have an average size of 10 to 15 cms and usually live in pairs. The visibly smaller of the two is most often the male. They spend a long time in the planktonic stage, being especially tiny, this allows them to be swept far and wide by various ocean currents before they settle down and mature. They really are one of the ocean’s most magnificent species.