Many thousands of visitors enjoy Jervis Bay each year. Scuba divers come to explore the underwater walls and caves and marvel as the fantastic biodiversity of the marine life and sea creatures that cover every site.

The reefs are crowded with sponges and there are a wide variety of sea fishes and marine invertebrates which encourage a high interest in underwater photography. Some interesting shore dives lie inside the bay at Murrays Beach and Green Patch. Outside the bay the scuba dving is ledgendary.

 

Bowen Island

Bowen Island is a magnificent dive site, even when the swell is running a bit, the deeper water around the island and in behind in the gutters, the amount of marine life is superb.
( photo: Neville Coleman)

For years conservationists campaigned against plans for the relocation of a naval base from Sydney to Jervis Bay. Such a move would have involved the dredging of significant seagrass beds within the fragile marine environment of the bay. In 1994, the Federal Government decided to protect Jervis Bay by listing it on the Register of the National Estate, especially good news for divers, as the bay has some of the best dive sites found on the coast of New South Wales.

Weedy sea dragon Phyllopteryx taniolatus TAS-2

Endemic to Australia, the Weedy Sea Dragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus is a common inhabitant of kelp beds and rocky reef gutters all along the south coast and around to  south Western Australia. It grows to 45 cm and feeds on small schooling mysid shrimps. ( photo: Neville Coleman)

 

Many thousands of visitors enjoy Jervis Bay each year, relaxing on the clean, white, sandy beaches, birdwatching and bushwalking in the thickly-wooded forests that line the shore. Divers come to explore the underwater walls and caves below the 200 m-high cliffs which tower above the water outside the bay. These walls are crowded with sponges and a wide variety of marine life. Some interesting shore dives lie inside the bay at Murrays Beach and Green Patch, but the best dive sites, inside and outside the bay, are reached by boat.

Paarma microlepis

Known as the White Ear because of the presence of a white patch on its gill edge, Parma microlepis is one of the most common species along the south east coast and ranges down into Victoria. They are very territorial and males minding eggs will chase away anything that come close, including divers.
( photo: Neville Coleman)

 

Boat dives depart from Huskisson, where all dive shops are based, to the superb dive sites (including a recently-established fur seal colony) located in and around Jervis Bay. If planning a visit during the holidays, book dives and accommodation early.

Smugglers Cave

This spectacular wide cave is 150 m long and cuts right through the headland. The main entrance is half above water, while the boulder-lined cave floor is at a depth of 15 m. Take a good flashlight, and have a look at the many sponges and gorgonians. The cave is reasonably safe as light from the entrances can be seen at all times, but should be avoided in big seas. You can swim through the sponge-coated cave and back around the headland which drops into deeper water, or return via the cave.

Caesioperca lepidoptera

Residents of deeper water, Butterfly Perch Caesioperca lepidoptera swim in huge schools which form up over rocky reefs during the day and feed on zooplankton.( photo: Neville Coleman)

  

The Arch

The Arch is a natural bridge spanning a step in the rock wall. The top of The Arch is in 28 m, the base in 38 m, and the area is alive with a profusion of colourful marine organisms. Reef fish are common, as are wobbegongs, stingrays and schools of kingfish and butterfly perch.

 

Point Perpendicular

Point Perpendicular drops steeply to incredible sponge gardens at 40 m, however, the best diving is found around the huge boulders in the shallows, on the inner side of the point. Numerous swim-throughs are found at 15 m, encrusted with sponges and small invertebrates. Wobbegongs, stingrays, cuttlefish, Port Jackson sharks, blue devilfish and a good variety of reef fish are very common.

Hyoplectrodes nigroruber

A  'wait  and watch' style predator, the Banded Sea Perch Hypoplectroides nigroruber is a conspicuous resident of rocky reefs from south east Australia around to south Western Australia.
( photo: Neville Coleman)  

The Docks

Sheer walls, boulders and caves make The Docks a popular dive site. The walls drop straight to the sand in 20 m, where nudibranchs, sea stars and other invertebrates feed in the sponge gardens at the bottom of the wall. The caves shelter various reef creatures, the elusive red Indian fish, cuttlefish, weedy sea dragons, octopi, bullseyes, moray eels and blue gropers. Usually seen near the bottom among the boulders are Port Jackson sharks, blue devilfish, stingrays, grey nurse sharks (over summer) and fiddler rays.

Ptaerolidia lanthina

Common right around Australia, the Serpent Pteraeolidia Pteraeolidia ianthina is also found across the Indo – Pacific. It feeds on hydroids, grows to 120 mm and adults have resident zoxanthellae living in their tissues.
( photo: Neville Coleman)

Stoney Creek

Stoney Creek is one of the most exciting dives in the area. The site is deep (dropping from 25 m to well over 60 m) affected by currents, and is for experienced divers only. The rocky walls of Stoney Creek are overgrown with sponges, ascidians, sea whips, anemones, gorgonians and bryozoans, all competing for space. The reef is packed with invertebrate species, numerous reef and pelagic fish, and is occasionally visited by sunfish.

Longnose Point

Some of the best places to see grey nurse sharks over summer are the gutters, pinnacles and ledges off Longnose Point, in depths from 10-25 m. Blue gropers, wobbegongs, boarfish, rock lobster, weedy sea dragons, moray eels, stingrays and giant Australian cuttlefish are found year round.

Neodoris chrysoderma

 A rather strange little Dorid is the Chrysanthemum Neodoris  Neodoris chrysoderma. It only grows to 20 mm and although it occurs around southern Australia it is more common on the south east coast. it feeds on sponges and has little variation in colour throughout its distribution.
( photo: Neville Coleman)

Middle Ground

This reef at the entrance to Jervis Bay reaches from 35 m to within 16 m of the surface. Part from some brightly-coloured sponges, Middle Ground is most famous for its fish life, kingfish, pike, trevally, boarfish, yellowtail, bullseyes, fiddler rays, stingrays, wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, butterfly perch and reef fish.

Chromodoris tasmanensis

The colour variations of this species found at Jervis Bay are by far the most colourful. The Tasmanian Chromodoris Chromodoris tasmaniensis feeds on the sponge Darwinella gardineri and grows to 60 mm.
( photo; Neville Coleman)

Bowen Island

Bowen Island has many excellent all-weather dive sites.  The inner western side has shallow, rocky reefs to 15 m, where there is plenty of invertebrate and fish life. The northern and eastern sides, which drop into 30 m plus, are covered with a dense carpet of sponges. Kingfish, blue gropers, angel sharks, eagle rays, stingrays, wobbegongs and cuttlefish are just some of the resident species.

Scallop Beds Jervis Bay

Typical of the "Scallop Beds" dive site, this area has produced a lot of interesting species over the years and despite being a 'Muck dive' is makes a great little night dive.(photo: Neville Coleman)

 

Scallop beds

Just one sample of the hundreds, or even thousands of Oyster Reefs to be found at the scallop beds. The mini reefs are settled by many other species, ranging from sponges to scallops and ascidians. In turn providing food for other creatures.(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 in and around Jervis Bay.

( Copyright Neville Coleman/Nigel Marsh)

Jervis Bay Scuba Diving information

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