Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Pig Island North
The Five Islands Nature Reserve is composed of, as you would imagine, of five islands a couple of kilometres from the city centre of Wollongong. The diving off all of the islands is basically good, with number of spots being exceptional. One of the islands is Bass Island, more commonly known as Pig Island.
|Kelly McFadyen with a school of old wives on the main reef|
The whole of Pig Island has very good diving. The northern and eastern sides of Pig Island are very good. Here the reef drops to sand at 24 metres or more and is composed of a rocky bottom with the occasional large boulder. A very good reef dive. One very good spot is off the northern end of the island.
The best spot to launch your own boat is the Port Kembla boat ramp, located in the Outer Harbour, behind BHP. It is about 4.3 kilometres from the ramp to the site and 6.9 kilometres from the alternative ramp at Wollongong Harbour (not good for anything but small boats). Head out to Pig Island (the furthermost island from Port Kembla) and go to the northern end. You will see that there are two sort of small points at this end, go halfway in between and run in towards the island. Anchor when the depth comes up to 15 metres. There is no wall, just a slope. In northerly or north-easterly winds, you may need to anchor further out in a bit deeper water. The GPS Reading is 33° xx' xxS 151° xx' xx"E (to come). Note that all the GPS Readings on my Web Site are taken using AUS66 as the map datum. If you use another datum you may be about 220 metres off the wreck. See my GPS Page for more details and how to convert readings.
The main reef runs east west and the bottom is composed of a rocky slope. These rocks are white/pink in colour are are typical of the rocky reefs seen on the South Coast of NSW. The slope has some larger rocks and boulders on it.
|Kelly McFadyen with a cuttlefish at Pig Island||A huge ray at Pig Island|
At the bottom of the slope the depth is about 15 metres. The bottom here is composed of rocks but it is covered mostly in kelp. Start the dive by swimming north across the kelp. You will see that there are some isolated rocks that stick up higher from the bottom. These rocks have a good covering of sponges and sea tulips. There are also a few small gorgonias. The bottom slopes very gradually to almost 24 metres and apparently gets to 26 metres if you go far enough. After a while, turn to the east and go in this direction for a while. The bottom is similar. Again, after a while head south till you come back to the main island reef. While crossing the kelp area and on the rocks, look for cuttlefish, moray eels and other fish. The rocks have lots of different nudibranches on them. I had expected to find sea dragons in among the kelp, but I did not see any.
When back at the main reef, come up a bit and range between 12 and 15 metres as you head west back towards the anchor. There are lots of fish in this area, heaps of one-spot pullers, seapike and much more. Keep an eye out for large rays and there are also some eagle rays to be seen. On a dive here in February 2006 I saw eight long-finned bannerfish and one Moorish idol. Go past the anchor for a while before returning back to the anchor.
In summary, a very good dive site. You can dive here using United Diver who run from Wollongong Harbour. I recommend Leon's service as been up there with the best in NSW.