Here is just a sample of some of the various wreck, boat and shore dives around Sydney that Dive Centre Manly can take you to.
Manly Dive Sites
The only beach on the entire east coast of Australia to face west, Shelly Beach occupies a scenic comer of Manly's ocean beachfront. White sand and a natural reef of tumbled boulders and rocks descending to a maximum depth of 14 metres have made this one of Sydney's premier shore diving sites. The marine life includes regular sightings of Wobbegongs and Port Jackson Sharks, huge Eastern Blue grouper, wrasse, painted shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish, squid, long fin banner fish, globe fish, blennys', and much, much more. For beginners and experienced divers alike an escorted, Dive Centre Manly, Shelly Beach Discovery Dive is an experience that will long be remembered.
Situated between Manly surf beach & Shelley Beach, Fairy Bower is one of Sydney's easiest dive sites. The depth ranges from 7 to about 10 metres and numerous species of marine life can be spotted here, such as - moray eels, wobbegong & port jackson sharks, weedy sea dragons, cuttlefish, octopus and blue gropers.
Another easy shore dive, Fairlight boasts a wide range of sealife - reef fish, stripies, john dory, leatherjackets and bream. The entry point is off an exposed rock platform (low tide) - you then swim approx 50 metres to the drop off which runs parallel to the shore. Here you will find small overhangs, small boulders & caves. The depth ranges down to about 6 metres and is an excellent night dive.
Located right at Harbord (Freshwater) Pool, this is an excellent shore dive for the advanced diver. The depth ranges from approx 8 to 14 metres with a terrain consisting of boulders, overhangs, crevices & sponges. The abundant marine life consists of wobbegong sharks, huge blue gropers, cuttlefish, leatherjackets, nudibranchs, octopus & morwongs. As this site can get quite rough in south & south easterly winds, it is best dived in westerly wind conditions.
North Head Sponge Gardens
The bright multicoloured sponges that cover the reef that runs from North Head to Old Mans Hat will impress even the most experienced & discerning diver. Sea fans, southern coral and green, red, yellow & grey sponges flourish along this reef. The depth ranges from about 7 to 26 metres and is one of Dive Centre Manly's most popular boat dives. Marine life consists of nudibranchs, snapper, trevally, kingfish & leatherjackets. The best time to dive here is when a north to north easterly wind is blowing as it is protected which are very common throughout the summer months.
The depth at Doubt Reef is approx 32 metres and is for the advanced & deep diver. The reef boasts drop offs, caves, boulders, swim throughs & overhangs. Average southern fish life exists here and is often dived in the Deep Diver Course.
Blue Fish Reef (Inner & Outer)
Although Outer Blue Fish Reef is generally a better dive site, Inner Blue Fish Reef is a safe haven for divers when there is a strong southerly blowing or when there are less than ideal dive conditions. Depth gets to about 18 metres with some kelp, sponges, boulders & caves to be seen. Outer Blue Fish Reef is approx 25 metres deep and has sponges, large boulders, overhangs, swim throughs & drop offs. The marine life here consists of mullet, wrasse, leatherjacket, sea perch, bullseyes & goatfish.
Midway Reef (DY Wide)
Midway Reef lies approx 3 kms off Dee Why Head and the average depth is about 35 metres over the drop off. There are many swim throughs, caves, gullies, overhangs and the gorgonian sea fans, southern corals, sponges and zoanthids attract a huge amount of southern fish life such as cuttlefish, perch & bullseyes. This dive is suitable for the advanced or deep diver.
Midway Reef (North)
This site boats excellent diving and runs to a depth of about 37 metres. The terrain consists of tunnels, caves, swim throughs, boulders & overhangs. Some of the abundant fish life seen here are cuttlefish, butterfly & black banded sea perch, sergeant bakers, red rock cod and gropers. Numerous sponges exist here along with deep sea whips & gorgonian branches. This dive is suitable for the advanced or deep diver.
The Wall depth drops from about 10 to 20 metres and is encrusted with red & yellow southern corals, sea fans, long tube sponges & gorgonians. At the base of the wall are boulders scattered over the sand. Abundant fish life exist here - wobbegongs, schools of silver trevally, goatfish, flounder, moray eels & large blue gropers.
A boat dive that's guaranteed to impress even the most jaded of divers, the 'Apartments' lie just a few minutes offshore from Long Reef. Beginning at a depth of about 12 metres, and shelving away to 22 metres, huge rocks and boulders lean into the reef, forming caverns and swim-throughs. The most notable is aptly named, 'The Cathedral', a four metre swim-through whose vaulted ceiling and walls are lined with yellow commensal zoanthids. Sea-tulips are in abundance in this area and there are regular sightings of large pelagics, wobbegongs, and vast schools of fish.
Close in to South Head, at the entrance to Sydney Harbour, Chapel Steps is an area of flat rock that descends, in stepped ledges, to the sand at a depth of about 15 metres. A maze of gullies and hidden swim-throughs, it's an area where giant cuttlefish are frequently spotted hiding beneath the ledges.
Among the profusion of sponges and soft corals, divers can still, occasionally, find relics of Sydney's maritime disasters. The marine life and fish variety alone is worth the dive.
The victim of a collision, the 'Royal Shepherd' went down in 29 metres of water at the entrance to Sydney Harbour on 14 July, 1890. Built in 1855, the 331 ton collier is one of Sydney's more popular wreck dives. Although the superstructure has disintegrated the prop shaft, fly wheel and large boilers form the main aspects of the wreck which are now covered with soft sponges.
A collier of 368 tons en-route to Sydney from Newcastle, the 'Duckenfield' ran on to Long Reef, north of Sydney Heads, on May 24th, 1889. She slid off the reef and sank in deep water soon after being abandoned. Now resting in 24 metres of water, the remains of the 'Duckenfield' are scattered over a wide area. Prominent features include the boilers and heavy-duty winches.
The Dee Why Ferry
Scuttled in May, 1976 in 48 metres of water off Long Reef - to the north of Sydney Heads - the 'Dee Why' was one of the ferry fleet plying between Manly and Sydney. Built in Scotland, the twin-decked ferry was 'retired' to become an artificial reef. One of the sunken fleet of deep wrecks lying in Sydney waters, the 'Dee Why' is a popular site with the deep and technical diving community.
Lying in about fourteen metres of water only a short distance from Inner North Head, in Sydney Harbour, the 'Catherine Adamson' was a wooden vessel of 768 tons, built at Aberdeen in Scotland in 1855. She sank on the night of the23 October 1857, after losing steerage while entering Port Jackson, with the loss of twenty-one passengers and crew. Among the relics recovered have been a sextant, pewter mugs, pottery, spoons and forks. One of her anchors, standing about two metres high, still has 300 metres of chain attached.
One of Australia's most notable shipwrecks, the 'Dunbar' smashed onto the rocks at the entrance to Port Jackson on the night of the 20 August, 1857. Of the 122 passengers and crew only one survived. Built in England in 1854, the 'Dunbar' was a wooden ship of 1167 tons. Resting in nine metres of water relics from the ill-fated ship are still being recovered.
A hard-core wreck dive, the 'Myola' was a typical steam-powered collier of the early 1900's. She foundered in heavy seas off Sydney in the early hours of April 2,1919. In 1994 two Sydney divers, Peter Fields and John Riley, located the remains of the Myola lying in 48 metres of water. Fish life around the wreck includes large cuttlefish, groupers, wobbegongs and port jackson sharks. Because of the depth this dive is well suited to technical divers.
'Annie M. Miller'
A steel steamship of 707 tons, the Annie M Miller foundered off Macquarie Lighthouse on the night of 8 February, 1929. Resting in about forty-three metres of water, the superstructure has since collapsed although the keel, ribs, boilers and other fittings are still reasonably intact. The remains attract an interesting variety of marine life.
Built in Aberdeen in 1930, the Birchgrove Park was a steel steamship of 640 tons carrying coal between Newcastle and Sydney. She capsized and sank, drowning ten of her crew, on 2 August, 1956. Today she rests on her beam at a depth of about fifty-one metres and is one of Sydney's
more popular wreck dives.
A Bucket dredge sunk in the 60's to form an artificial reef for fishing. It is regularly dived by Sydney’s avid deep diving fraternity. She lies in 48 metres of water.
Was a tug, again sunk to form the artificial reef. As she is a little deeper then the other wrecks extra precautions need to be taken. She rests in 51 metres of water.
The former HMS Wexford and HMAS Doomba, the 'Meggol' was an 800 ton vessel scuttled off of Long Reef in December, 1976 at a depth of 48 metres.
Built in 1876, and operating in New Zealand waters until 1917, the Koputai was a steam driven, paddle tug. While steaming out to pick up a sailing vessel on March 5th, 1920, the 'Koputai' sprang a leak and quickly foundered. She now lies about 8 kilometres south-east of Sydney Heads at a depth of 78 metres. Discovered in 1994 by David Allchin, this is a serious deep dive for the dedicated trimix techies.
Built in 1902 and loaned to the Royal Australian Navy in 1912, HMAS Encounter was a light cruiser of 5,880 tons. Scuttled in the disposal area south-east of Sydney Heads in September, 1932, the remains of the 'Encounter' lie at a depth of 75 metres.
Only one seaman survived the sinking of the Bulli Coal Mining Company's collier Woniora, on a voyage from Bulli to Sydney with 242 tons of coal aboard. She was struck by heavy seas a little south east of Botany Bay and founded almost immediately after rolling on her beam end. Depth - 63 meters.