Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Martin Island
The southern seaward approach to Wollongong is protected by the Five Islands. The most distant (not that they are far really) is Martin Island.
If you are taking your own boat, the best starting point is Port Kembla boat ramp which is located in the Outer Harbour behind BHP. This is a very good ramp, with all the facilities and plenty of parking space. Once out of the harbour, turn to the south east and you will see Martin Island. Head to the northern end of the island, to GPS Reading 34° 29' 43"E 150° 56' 19"S (note that all my GPS Readings are using AUS66 - if you use any other datum, you will need to convert the reading - see my GPS Page for more details).
Once at this location, run in a north-west to south-east (or vica versa) and anchor on the top of the reef near the southern wall. The depth on the top is 14 to 15 metres but you will probably be anchored in 20 metres if near the wall edge. The bottom of the wall here is 25 to 26 metres. If you anchored at the spot mentioned above, you will be in or near a small gully. Swim out of the gully and you will pass through a channel. Follow the wall to the north-east. The wall gets more prominent as the depth drops to 30 metres. Out from the wall the reef is small scattered rocks and about 20 to 30 metres away, the bottom is sand. The sand comes in closer the further you go. All along this area there is excellent sponge, sea squirt, gorgonia and other fixed marine life. This is very colourful.
After 8 to 10 minutes you will reach a corner and the wall turns left. The wall is most prominent in this area. You can go a little further but not too far as you will end up with insufficient remaining bottom time to return to the anchor. Come back along the top of the wall at first, just below the kelp line (25 metres). You will end up back at the wall bottom near the anchor. If you have remaining air and bottom time, go south of the anchor for 30 or 40 metres. The depth is less than 24 metres here.
To finish the dive, go up on the top of the wall and explore this area till it is time to ascend. Using an Aladin dive computer you will get about 27 to 28 minutes bottom time.
Fishlife seen includes black reef and moasic leatherjackets, combfish, Port Jackson sharks (Winter and Autumn), groper, seapike and ladder-finned pomfret. There are also lots of one-spot pullers and nudibranches.
I have also been told that as of mid-2009 there is a colony of about 50 Australian sea lions on Martin Island. I will have to check this out later in 2009.
In summary, a very good dive site. You can dive here using United Divers who run from Wollongong Harbour or Coastwide or Leisure Coast Dive who will run from Port Kembla Harbour.