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.