Night Diving at Sydney’s Camp Cove

There were many leatherjackets out at night, most of them were not shy of us.

Camp Cove is a small protected bay near Sydney’s South Head, north of Bondi and east of Double Bay. It’s a great spot for a night dive, calm water with an easy sandy entry and exit. Last Saturday Rich and I geared up in the right side carpark and hit the water just after dark.

This big guy followed us around for over twenty minutes.

We entered the water in line with the right most pylon and noticed it was was cooler than last week. Two weeks ago I recorded 22 degrees during a dive at Long Bay, while last week at Bare Island it was down to 20. With winter only a few weeks ago, 19 is still pretty good, but I did get cold towards the end of the 70 minute dive.

We saw many small cuttlefish on our dive.

We swam over the green leafy weeds at the start of the dive and saw many juvenile cuttlefish and a couple of large octopi. I set out straight from shore, expecting to find the main reef section a 100 metres or so from the shore, but all we found were a couple of rocks, which fortunately had a healthy fish population. Fish seem far less weary of divers during the night, and we soon found ourselves being approached by some large Rough Leatherjackets and a pair of Old Wives, some of which followed us around for over twenty minutes.

Small ray glides along the sand.

Camp Cove is a shallow dive, you will need to have a high tide to find anything deeper than 6 metres, but this gives you plenty of bottom time. We spent the first half an hour working our way further to the right side, where I thought the reef section was, but we were having difficulty navigating along the weedy bottom and a quick check at the surface revealed we were going around in circles.
In fact there seemed to be a current drawing us towards the middle of the bay, which turned out to be a good thing as this is where we finally found the reef.

The reef is more interesting than you would expect in an enclosed Sydney Harbour bay, with large overhangs and narrow channels between rock slabs that you can nearly swim between. There were plenty of tame fish around the naturally formed caves including Yellow Finned Leatherjackets, large Red Morwong, sleeping catfish,  and Crested Morwong. We spent twenty minutes at the reef then made our way back, spotting a Smooth Flutemouth on the way back.

We struggled a bit to maintain a straight line back in, even with compass help, so we ended up swimming back on the surface, enjoying the view from the city lights as we made our way to the shore.

This shot worked out better than I had hoped, with the Old Wives posing for Richard as I captured the scene.
Some of the baby cuttlefish grow up to be big!
Another shot of Rich taking a shot, this time of a Smooth Flutemouth,

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