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A Giant Stride Entry
|Site||Swim-throughs, drift diver normally with good visibility|
|Experience Level||Advanced Open Water|
|Warnings||Can be very slippery around the entry point, tread carefully|
|Conditions||Exposed to swell E to S greater than 1m, Best on an incoming tide, close to high tide|
|Location||Kamay Botany Bay National Park, 250m past The Steps|
The Leap is a dive offering not only the thrill of a giant stride, but it normally offers some of the clearest water in Sydney, large schools of fish, lots of seahorses and some magic swim-throughs.
After entering, swim on the surface for about 50 metres and descend into around 10 metres, heading northeast until you reach a distinct drop-off that meets the sand in 22 metres, populated by boulders and overhangs. Head along the wall in a general westerly direction until you reach a narrow rock canyon with a sandy floor. It ascends to about 16 metres, meeting a broader gully. Follow this and be on the lookout for a neat swim through on your right. From here you can meet up with the sand line which will lead you into the vicinity of the Steps site (depending on your air consumption, you may prefer to head to the 5-metre mark with a dense line of boulders just on you're left (to the south)). Eventually, the rock will be replaced by kelp, which abruptly stops (at about 8-9 metres) leaving an expanse of sand that leads right up to the shore-line boulders in the 5-metre mark, before resuming about 30 metres onwards. This is your cue to head to the shore. See the Steps site for exit details.
Things to see:
Great swim through to be found at The Leap including Garth’s orifice and the Chimney - keep your eyes peeled for the sand ramp that leads off the bottom through the bedrock and you’ll be led to these swim-throughs (see map). Wobbegongs and giant cuttlefish are often at rest under the overhangs leaving Port Jackson sharks to chill on the sand line and don’t be surprised if blue groupers follow you for the entire duration of the dive. In season, almost impenetrable schools of catfish lurk within the swim-throughs (don’t let them touch bare skin – their barbs are toxic). A great site to spot massive bull-rays and if you’re very lucky, grey nurse sharks. At the 15 metre mark, you can be lost within dense schools of yellowtail. Near the exit, keep your eyes peeled for weedy sea dragons amongst the kelp; Steps has arguably the highest population density on the entire planet for this unique species.
Things to be careful of:
- The path down the cliff can be treacherous in wet weather
- Because of the profile of this site, it must be dived using a dive computer
- When reaching the bottom avoid the black moss – even when dry it is extremely slippery
- Maximum depths at this site exceed the limit for Open Water divers; don’t dive beyond your limitations
- It’s recommended that if diving Leap for the first time, go with a diver with site-specific experience