The East Coast of Oz: Part 3 – Diving with the big stuff

Bonus stop: Forster- The best and worst diving so far!

After  a brief farewell stop to drop Jules and Tom in Newcastle, Alex and I headed back up the ‘freeway’ to Forster  where we checked into a cheap hotel, slightly reminiscent of a retirement home, and then headed to the beach for a couple of hours.

A Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus). Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks, NSW (Photo courtesy of Richard Ling)
Grey Nurse Shark

Diving the following day, was the best and worst dives of our trip so far. Whilst diving in Asia, we’d naively expected to be surrounded by dolphins, huge manta rays, sharks and even whale sharks  at every turn, (yep we know- stupid but nevertheless true!). We’d almost started to doubt that there really where loads of big things in the ocean for us to see. Fortunately, this dive resolved any disillusionment we had! On the first dive, which was also our deepest so far at 33m, we spotted about three 3m long Grey Nurse sharks as well as lots of jack fish… On the second dive, we saw 25-30 sharks, an eagle ray and a logger-head turtle and it was AMAZING!! We had to swim through the kelp, creep through a crack and hide ourselves behind a ridge half way up and looking into a bowl shaped hole. There we were metres away from around 15 1 ½ -3 ½ m long Grey Nurse sharks that were circling the bowl. It was one of the most awesome experiences of our trip. Possibly one of the most frightening experiences for Alex was when he narrowly avoided grabbing the tail of a Wobegong shark that he’d not seen resting on the bottom! The dive instructor later told us that the ‘shark attack’ in Sydney the previous week had been by a Wobegong- although apparently it’s one of the first ever reports of this type of shark being aggressive. Oh and the Grey Nurse sharks are also very docile and aren’t man-eaters for anyone questioning our sanity at this point! We’ve no photos as we don’t have an underwater camera that works below 10m BUT we’ve found some photos online to show what the sharks we saw looked like.

A Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus). Fish Rock Cave, South West Rocks, NSW (Photo courtesy of Richard Ling)
Wobbegong Shark

The reason the dive was also the worst so far was mainly because of the company we dived with who where quite unfriendly telling me not to tell anyone I’d ‘fed the fish’ when I was vomiting over the side due to sea sickness and they were also snobby about us having predominantly dived in Asia, which apparently isn’t ‘real’ diving. Fortunately, the highs definitely outweighed the lows- by about 25 sharks 🙂

(Photos courtesy of Richard Ling – they’re not ours! Licensed under Creative Commons)

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