Fish Cave Rock

South West Rocks Travel Blog

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Getting there.

So it’s 6.30am, the kangaroos have gone and we’re getting ready to go diving. For the first time in quite a while it’s been sunny when we’ve woken, which I must admit is a pleasant surprise.

 

The people at the dive shop are very laid back and relaxed, we go through the process of collecting all our respective kit and try out our wet suits. For some reason they ask us if we feel the cold.  Not particularly I say and Wendy tells them she does and is given a 2-piece. I’m happy with the 5mm suit I’ve got as the water so far has been around 29degrees - plenty warm.

 

Everything is then loaded into the boat and is hauled off to the boat ramp, we follow in one of the dive guides cars.

Nudibranh
The journey to the jetty only takes around 5mins, soon the boat is launched and we’re off. After a few minutes of flying towards the mouth of the river that’ll take us out to sea they start handing out the life vests and we’re told to put them on. Even the crew do, this isn’t a positive sign. There’s a sand bank at the mouth of the river where the sea crashes in and this is just a safety precaution. When we get there we can see why, there’s a heavy swell coming in and the boat is crashing off 2-3m waves. Once past these waves the vests are removed and it‘s back to powering across the calm sea.

 

Our journey to the dive site takes only about 30 mins, which is good because Wendy isn’t very talkative. This could be the recently acquired bout of sea sickness rearing its ugly head again. Luckily we both make it there without puking.

 

The site itself is just a rocky outcrop sticking out of the sea about 5km’s from the nearest shore, from the surface nothing spectacular.

Loadsafish

 

After putting our wetsuits on we’re made to hang around for an uncomfortable amount of time on the boat, finally rolling over the side is a welcome break from the sweating. Whilst pulling ourselves down the mooring rope at the front of the boat it quickly becomes apparent why they asked about the cold, this water is fricking freezing. My computer is registering 19degrees, but it’s getting colder by the metre. I didn’t notice it on the boat, but all the guides are wearing hoods. My noggin begins to freeze and Wendy is gesturing the same thing to me. Well there’s not much we can do now so we continue.

 

The main reason for diving Fish Rock Cave is the 120 metre cave that runs from one side of the rock to the other; however we won’t be going through the mainly light locked cave today.

Inquisitive fisg
Even though it doesn’t get particularly tight in there, the thought of going through the cave just doesn’t appeal. Instead we’ll be pottering around at one end of the cave.

 

The amount of sea life on this rock is amazing, not quite up there with the Yongala, but it’s pretty spectacular. Whilst swimming to the mouth of the cave I kept noticing sharks swimming about 5 metres above us, going in the same direction as we were. When we got to the cave there they were, loads of Grey Nurse Sharks (large and small) just hanging in the current. Wendy and I just settled to the bottom and watched them coming and going. Swimming to our left, right and above. The guide asked if we wanted to go into the darkness for a better look, Wendy didn’t fancy it so we didn’t. By now the water temp was seriously cold so we headed back up to the shallower depths where it was warmer. This is where we could find all the Woobigong Sharks hiding out in all the crevices (see pics).

Grey Nurse Sharks

 

Since we weren’t going into the cave, the second dive would pretty much be identical to the first. By the time we’d spent 20mins fighting against the current and were settling onto the bottom again, Wendy signalled that she was about to die due to hypothermia and wanted to go shallower. After a brief underwater discussion using hand signals the dive guide came over. He gestured ‘boat’ to Wendy, she nodded, I got buddied up with the other couple diving with us and off they went. We just sat there swaying in the current taking pictures of the sharks, until the guide came back. This time I wasn’t going to pass up going into the mouth of the cave to see what the sharks were up to. There must have been around 25+ just hanging in the current, every so often trying to catch one of the thousands of fish that surrounded them. I took the pics I wanted and we all headed off back towards the boat, watching out into the blue for anything larger.

Wobbegong Shark
After all this rocky island is relatively close to the continental shelf where the big stuff lives.

 

Wendy was smiling when we got back to the boat so no need for me to be fearful. She was just cold and wanted to go shallower, she doesn’t cope with cold very well it seems.

 

On the boat journey back we ran over what looked like foliage in the water, but on closer inspection it was a group of 30+ bat rays, so the boat chucked a u-we and we went back for a closer look. I’d forgotten that I’d put my camera in my wetsuit for safe keeping and as I leaned over to get a closer look, it tumbled out into the sea. Wendy’s high pitched scream letting me know what had happened.

Menacing the smaller fish
I wasn’t to concerned, the thing floated so as long as we could see it, we’d be able to retrieve it. I did get a little anxious when it took a while to surface, but once it had been spotted all was well. The boat had trouble manoeuvring into a position to be able to just pick it up, so I dived overboard to retrieve it (see the picture I took of the boat). I’m sure Wendy was offering them money to just leave me bobbing in the Pacific Ocean, but they all kept quiet about it when I got back onboard.

 

After helping out rinsing all the kit, we left South West Rocks at around 2.45pm to head to our next destination.

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Getting there.
Getting there.
Nudibranh
Nudibranh
Loadsafish
Loadsafish
Inquisitive fisg
Inquisitive fisg
Grey Nurse Sharks
Grey Nurse Sharks
Wobbegong Shark
Wobbegong Shark
Menacing the smaller fish
Menacing the smaller fish
More scary
More scary
Two moray eels
Two moray eels
Can hardly see the divers
Can hardly see the divers
Is she staring at me or the fish
Is she staring at me or the fish
Annoying the fish
Annoying the fish
Lets go in this direction
Let's go in this direction
Baby grey nurse shark
Baby grey nurse shark
Fish playing chicken with the shark
Fish playing chicken with the shark
Just getting close to the mouth of…
Just getting close to the mouth o…
In the mouth of the cave looking o…
In the mouth of the cave looking …
dupe
dupe
Theyre everywhere
They're everywhere
2 wobbegongs
2 wobbegongs
Thankfully they came back for me.
Thankfully they came back for me.
South West Rocks
photo by: 16weeks