Local Diving

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Local Diving
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The North West Coast
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Leatherjacket


Many pored Star
Fromia polypora


Banded Stingaree
Urolophus cruciatus

Most local diving conducted by LSC members takes place along The North West Coast of Tasmania, mainly between Stanley in the West and Port Sorell to the East. This region forms the western portion of the southern boundary of Bass Strait. The shoreline includes numerous cliffs, sand and pebble beaches, headlands, bays and islands. Favourite dive spots include Stanley, Rocky Cape, Sisters Beach, Boat Harbour, Wynyard, Doctors Rocks, Mersey Bluff, Horseshoe Reef, Port Sorell and Badgers Head..

Leven SCUBA Club members mainly dive around here:

For the diver, there are many off-shore reefs, bommies, walls, swimthroughs and canyons with kelp beds, tesselated pavements, boulders, sponge gardens and sandy expanses. Bass Strait is quite shallow and the diving depth in most places generally varies between 6 and 20 Metres. While the shallow depths are a bonus for the open water certificate diver, the strait is prone to being whipped up by strong winds. During the winter months, savage westerlies make diving difficult while in early summer it is not unusual for easterly winds to have the same effect. There are very few sheltered diveable waterways which are protected from East-West weather and swells.

When Bass Strait itself is undiveable, excellent sheltered shore diving can be found in the Tamar Estuary an hours drive to the east of Devonport. Good spots are the Monument at Georgetown, Kelso and Garden Island. Tamar diving is highly dependant on the tides and divers unfamiliar with the area should seek out someone experienced with these sites.

Southerly winds and swells which often wreck east coast diving generally signal the best conditions in this neck of the woods. While Bass Strait can resemble a washing machine during winter storms, there are weeks when it is a millpond. Some days you can see the reflection of the clouds in the water. The shallow nature of the strait also means that tidal currents can be cause for concern. Always check the tide tables and weather conditions before venturing forth.

Tasmania is regarded for having some of the worlds best temperate diving locations. Temperate, to many people means cold and there is no denying that the water temperature is far from balmy tropical. Water temps range from 12 deg in Winter to 18 deg in Summer. From late December to late April one can get by with a 5 mill wetsuit, but outside these months a 7 mm semidry or drysuit is recommended. Perhaps of greater concern is the air temperature and divers should endeavour to stay warm after leaving the water.

Like most places in the world, the best dives are to be had from a boat. Good shore dives are possible from many spots in the right conditions but to get to the choice reefs and bommies, transport is required. Most available boats can carry a maximum of 3 or 4 divers with their gear so some pre-planning is essential for large outings.

Much of the underwater scenery along the North West coast is very pretty. Quartzite reefs and granite shelves have created homes to a wide variety of flora & fauna. The sponge gardens which are a hallmark of Tasmanian diving are evident in many locations as are expanses of Yellow Zoanthids, along with Gorgonian Seafans, Crinoids, Ascidians and Sea whips. One can expect to see, (but not in the same spots or on the same dive) the following sea creatures:

Old Wifes, Boarfish, Zoanthids, Magpie Perch, Trevally, Ascidians, Wrasse, Cod, Nudibranch, Zebrafish, bastard Trumpeter, Banded Stingaree, Draughtboard Sharks, Leatherjackets, Warty Prow Fish, Angler Fish, Sea Stars, Crays, Abalone, Gorgonia Fans, Bulls Eyes, Sea Dragons, Sea Horses, Black Rays, Bryozoans.