We arrived at the small car park near the boat ramp about an hour before slack tide. As it was a full moon the high tide was large at 1.9m, which translated into a reduced slack dive time due to the large volume of water passing under the bridge. We decided to make use of the moving water and drove up to the RSL, and entered the water at the small bay nexy 3 hours to the carpark.
The nearby Swansea Safari Dive Shop advertised slack water at 12.26pm, which was nearly three hours later than at Sydney’s Port Denison. Apparently the slack period is impacted by the height of the tide, ranging from 2 hours and twenty minutes to 3 hours after Sydney’s high.
We swam out to the breakwall, descended and let the tide gently push us towards the bridge, which was around 200 metres away.
As we approached the bridge we came across more and more debris in the water, including a couple of shopping trolleys and many broken pipes, the hollow insides of which were home to many species of fish. We hit the first pylons right on slack water and the real dive began.
Swansea Bridge would be a great place to host an Underwater Naturalist Specialty class. The sheer variety of species within such a small area is not typical of most dive sites in New South Wales. The only downside was the relatively poor vis, which did however lend a nice spooky feel to structures.
We spent around 25 minutes in roughly the same spot, there was really no need to explore much more as there was so much to see. The maximum depth we found was 12 metres, though we didn’t explore much of the bridge.
Soon enough the tide turned, ending the slack period. We left the pylons and slowly cruised back over the broken pipes and shopping trolleys and along the rock wall. This became a proper drift dive with no swimming required at all as we were pushed over the kelp surrounded by dozens of large puffer fish. We arrived back at the small bay after 50 minutes and after a small struggle against the current as the bay drained we were back at the RSL in time for lunch and a beer.
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