Exploring underwater at Jervoise Bay harbour wall
Wednesday 23 October 2019
Keeping an eye on the weather since early morning, the downpour hammering on the roof at work around 2pm had me thinking this would be anyone’s guess regarding viz at tonight’s proposed site and I quickly thought-up a river site in reserve. Thankfully my hedging bets on the inside of the Jervoise Bay harbour being secluded enough from the weather having done a reckie a few weeks earlier during a similar crap spell, all paid off. There aren’t many sea sites that remain doable with 20knt westerlies and 3m swell, but sheltered behind Gardens Island and with two breakwaters knocking the energy out of the sea, the inner Jervoise Bay harbour was flat calm and over 5m viz at the entry point, a stark contrast to conditions 20m the other side of the wall resembling a top loader washing machine.
Entering from the small beach, hundreds of Toadies carpeted the floor as we slipped into 20oC snooker table like smooth waters. We were soon dropping down past 5m with seaweeds towering from the boulders, creating mini forests in places and much to my surprise, numerous small brain corals with some pretty colourful symbiotic algal species to their credit. Reaching 10m depth, numerous big holes in the wall and verticle faces with overhangs and still 5m below the surface allowed for some neat cruising and swooping up and down – just as long as you didn’t try swimming back through the silt cloud left behind. Able to get inside the mini caverns with torches and cameras we found Stripeys and Magpie Morwong. Although keeping close to the wall for safety reasons, Flathead were seen out on the floor, and Blue Swimming crabs were everywhere.
At one point I was encountering numerous big prawns, then a few minutes later, orange nudibranch every couple of metres. A young Cuttlefish first put on a defiant tentacles up challenge, then became extremely inquisitive and after making a beeline for my camera, was then nudging my arm and not afraid of a gentle hand lift. After buzzing my buddies torches it calmly swam under his chest, disappearing between his legs. Around another corner a small red octopus popped out of a rock crevice and after crawling up the boulder then leisurely swam away.
Shoals of Trumpeter roamed in and out of view over the bottom and Gobbleguts flickered in the flitting torch beams. I was surprised to see an Old Wife and then a second, and as we came back up into 3m we were further treated to a large cascade of several hundred young Striped Catfish pouring down between the rocks like some sort of weird lava. If you think you have no alternative but the river when Kwinana and the Bulk terminal are looking too sloppy, think again.
This place certainly had us six divers excited after an hours exploring, and admittedly, very pleasantly surprised.
Martin Crossley – PADI Instructor
Want to join our next free club dive?
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