While many of my new friends I met with Ultimate Oz headed up the East Coast to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, I decided to work on an Olympic Eventing stable and then a Warmblood breeding farm outside of Sydney.
It was nice to be in one place and not traveling every few days. And, working around horses again was wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I missed them.
But, don’t get me wrong. I was totally jealous seeing everyone’s diving and snorkeling pictures of the Great Barrier Reef. I came *this* close to booking a flight there the next day!
After moving to the South Coast, one of the first things I did was to look for nearby diving opportunities. Sure, it might not be the Great Barrier Reef, but this was Australia, one of the best places in the world to dive!
Through my Google searches, I found Dive Jervis Bay, a small dive shop located in Huskisson at the mouth of Jervis Bay. I was completely sold after seeing their ad for seal diving. During the winter months, several colonies of Australia Fur Seals call Jervis Bay home.
Diving with Dive Jervis Bay
I arrived at the shop at 8:15 am to get my gear sorted for the two tank dive. For $190 you get full gear hire and two tanks with a divemaster guide. After signing my life away, I was quickly sized for a 7mm wetsuit, which was quite the experience to put on after learning to dive in a 2mm shortie in the warm Caribbean waters. All my gear was set up and brought down to the boat for me. Bonus!
It was the boat ride from hell. Due to the high wind and rainstorm we had during the middle of the week, the seas were at least 5-8 meters high. I’m prone to motion sickness, but I’m usually okay with some Dramamine. We began our long ride out to the seal colonies. As soon as we left the protection of the bay, our little 8-meter boat was tossing and turning all around.
Our chances of diving with the seals slowly diminished as the waves grew bigger and bigger. Finally, our guide broke the bad news – we weren’t going to be diving with the seals that day due to safety reasons, but they would bring the boat over to the seal colonies so we could see them.
I was a wee bit disappointed we couldn’t dive with the seals, but with the conditions, I was totally okay with finding a more protected dive site.
On our way back into the bay was when it happened. I had been sitting with my eyes closed for some time trying to keep my nausea at bay when I felt the beginning of my breakfast resurfacing. I spent the next 10 minutes or so hurling my stomach contents over the side of the boat. Yum!
Finally, we made it to our dive site, “The Nursery,” for the day. Once we were all geared up, we took our big step off the back, and we were in the water. For 40 minutes we explored “The Nursery” where we saw Port Jackson sharks, a couple of cuttlefish, a gray nurse shark, and a few wobbegong, among lots of other fish. I didn’t quite know what to expect with the dive, but I was impressed with the array of sea life that we saw.
After an hour long surface time enjoying snacks and a little chicken noodle soup, it was time for our second dive of the day just a short distance from “The Nursery.” The “Wall” was our deepest dive of the day maxing out at 23.6 meters. We didn’t stay here long, though. Our mission was to see the weedy seadragon and that we did!
We ascended slightly to about 15 meters and continued to follow our divemaster along the wall to look for more sea life. We saw loads of Port Jackson sharks just resting on the bottom with schools of fish swimming above us in the current. The current was much stronger on our second dive as we were in more open water than our first dive, but it was manageable. I sucked through my tank pretty quickly again and shared for with our divemaster for about 10 minutes until it was time to ascend for the last time for the day.
Overall, I had a great experience diving with Dive Jervis Bay. While I would have loved to have dived with the seals, Mother Nature was just not working with us that day. Despite the rough conditions and my sea sickness, I was very happy with the dive. We saw a ton of new-to-me sea life that my dive mates were giddy over. It wasn’t until we reached the dive shop that I was able to identify what we saw on the dive.