A small fishing town, 450 km south of Sydney, Tathra is
situated on the edge of a deep bay.
The area round Tathra Wharf is one of the best shore dives in New South Wales with crystal clear water for scuba diving, snorkeling and underwater photography and a wealth of temperate water marine life.
The reefs and pinnacles offshore sustain substantial populations of marine fish and marine invertebrates.
Young specimens of the Big- belly Sea Horse Hippocampus andominalis are often adorned with spectacular head filaments. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
A small fishing town, 450 km south of Sydney, Tathra is situated on the edge of a deep bay. The area round Tathra Wharf is one of the best shore dives in New South Wales, and in the waters off Tathra are reefs and pinnacles sustaining a substantial population of fish and invertebrates.
Found right around the southern coastline of Australia, the Beaded Sea Star Uniophora granifera has a great many variations and due to this has received quite a number of scientific names, many of which are now invalid.
( photo: Neville Coleman)
Incredible sponge gardens decorate these twin peaks that drop steeply from 10-30 m. The two rocky pinnacles are covered with finger sponges, sea tulips, gorgonians, sea whips, bryozoans and ascidians. Have a close look among the sponges at the dozens of nudibranchs, sea stars, shrimps, cuttlefish and small reef fish. Schools of pelagic fish often sweep past the pinnacles.
A schooling species which occurs from south east Australia around to Victoria and northern Tasmania, the Eastern Nannygai Centroberyx affinis is generally seen at depths below 15 metres. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
The adults of the Lord Howe Island Coralfish Amphichaetodon howensis seem to prefer deeper water where they patrol along the base of drop offs and huge rock underhangs in search of food. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
The Snake-skin Wrasse Eupetrichthys angustipes is a bottom – dwelling fish that inhabits areas of algae covered rocky reefs and patch reefs in shallow water. The species is distributed all along the southern coastline of Australia and grows to 15 cm. This is an image of a female.
( photo: Neville Coleman)
The 6-8 m of water under the Tathra Wharf is worth exploring. The colourful pylons are encrusted with sponges, jewel anemones and other associated marine life, blennies, shrimps, crabs and numerous nudibranchs. Moray eels, sea horses, octopi, cuttlefish, blue gropers and reef fishes also live among the pylons. From the wharf, divers can swim to a rocky reef in 15 m of water, which is covered in lovely sponge gardens, with an interesting variety of reef fish and invertebrates. Divers usually see stingarees, kingfish, fiddler rays and giant cuttlefish on most dives.
Although this species is an Australian endemic, it is confined to shallow waters along the south east coast. The Eastern Sea Star Meridiastra oriens grows to 30 mm and may be a mottled mauve, or orange in colour. ( Photo: Neville Coleman)
One of the few species of stony corals that venture into temperate waters, the Green Stony Coral Plesiastrea versipora can be found off the coast of every State in Australia and is widespread across the Indo – Pacific. Its colour is influenced by the zooxanthellae living in its tissues. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
An ever – present member of the shallow water reefs along the south east coast is the Waratah Anemone Actinia tenebrosa. They are also seen attached to jetty pylons and in rock pools, where they live on plankton washed in by the waves. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
Kianinny Bay is another exciting shore dive. The bay itself is quite shallow, but out along the channel the reef drops to 18 m and is covered in lush sponge gardens. Here gutters, pinnacles and ledges are shared by wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks and a good variety of reef fish.
This is a boat dive on a brilliant pinnacle, with sponge gardens at its base in 22 m, a great place to see weedy sea dragons, blue gropers and just masses of colourful invertebrates.
With few identified images available regarding this species, its presence as a dominant gorgonian in the deeper waters off the south eastern Australian coast it has remained somewhat elusive over the years. Whitelegges Sea Fan Pteronisis whiteleggei appears pink in colour and has a unique growth pattern.
( photo: Neville Coleman)
Neville Coleman's diving expeditions, fauna surveys, photographic fauna surveys and marine life identification courses include every major group of marine life.
Neville Coleman's expertise in living taxonomy and marine life identification extends to the identification of Algae, Sea Grass, Forams, Sponges, Stony Corals, Soft Corals, Sea Anemones, Sea Jellies, Zoanthids, Corallimorphs, Black Corals, Flatworms, Segmented Worms, Crustaceans, Barnacles, Shrimps, Rock Lobsters, Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Molluscs, Chitons, Univalves, Bivalves, Cephalopods, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Squid, Opisthobranchs, Nudibranchs, Sea Slugs, Bryozoans, Sea Mosses, Echinoderms, Sea Stars, Feather Stars, Brittle Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Ascidians/Sea Squirts, Marine Fish, Sharks and Marine Mammals, all found in the waters around Tathra.
( Copyright Neville Coleman/Nigel Marsh)