The first in a three part series from Scubaverse regular bloggers CJ and Mike as they dive South Australia…
Mike and I got the travel bug again back in February and went off on another adventure! This time we planned to leave the grey skies of Manchester behind and fly to the warmth of Australia, for a week’s diving in Adelaide to try and spot some Leafy Sea Dragons. So it was off to Australia! Singapore Airlines was lovely, staff provided lots of water, the food was tasty and the seats were comfortable, but no seat will stop a very numb bum after 21hrs of flying. Arriving in Brisbane we found it really quite warm after the UK winter, (in Australia they have sunshine and blue skies, don’t you know!).
Since our destination was Adelaide, we boarded another flight having let our backsides recover somewhat and picked up out trusty rental car. We headed to chat with the friendly and helpful staff at Diving Adelaide, who we had been in email correspondence with prior to our trip. On arrival we were told weather was looking bad for two days and Rapid Bay Jetty, (our main aim) was going to be blown out that day, but Edithburgh Jetty might prove to be more diveable the next day, as it’s protected from south westerlies. Given the forecast we took a rest day (jet lag was making itself known at the point) and planned to go and check out Edithburgh the next day. You just can’t beat local knowledge!
One of the things we were most excited about on this trip was that it was that the dive sites are all shore dives. As great as boat diving is, I do love being able to show up somewhere with my buddy and just jump in. Particularly, when you can jump into waters so rich in marine life in just a few metres.
Dive 1: Edithburgh Jetty
After a much needed rest, the following day the weather was nice and cool (thank goodness, as we were in drysuits) and it seemed like it’d be worth risking the 3 hour drive and hoping the conditions are ok. Since we’d been up since 3:30am (Yay, jet-lag!) we made an early start and headed out about 6am for Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula, very much hoping to get a nice first dive of the trip in.
The drive went well and we saw lots of interesting local birds and lots of Aussie roadworks before arriving in Edithburgh. Turning left at the stop sign in town we came to the jetty and see divers in the car park kitting up. Result: It’s good to dive! Kitting up took a while as it was our first dive of the trip, but the time was well spent and we enjoyed a fabulous 70 min dive under Edithburgh Jetty, at a max depth of 5.3m. We saw a HUGE numbers of fish and invertebrate species we had never seen before and had a great, relaxed dive exploring, with Mike snapping away happily.
Edithburg Jetty dive details:
- Dive level: Easy
- Depth: 8m
- Type: Shore dive – Jetty, Photography, Night.
- Vis: 10m+
- Marine Life: Invertebrates, macro, squid, leafy seadragons.
- Entry: Steps
- Water temp: 18-21 degrees C (65-70F)
- Facilities: Yes, toilets, fresh water, car park, nearby food & drink, air fills at gas station.
Edithburgh Jetty is an easy dive, with good entry, shallow depth and is protected from the prevailing weather most of the year, making it very popular. It boasts a large amount of marine life including the striped pyjama squid, often seen on night dives and is highly rated for underwater photography.
The jetty begins at the end of Edith street and points east. It is 170m long and 11m at its widest point. The seabed is white sand littered with discarded structure which are covered with sponges and other invertebrate life, venturing out from under the jetty you will find seagrass and other marine plants in the surrounding area. The piles support a huge array of colourful marine life, it is very important to watch your buoyancy and fins so you do not damage the marine life on the seafloor and on the pilings.
The entry point is the steps 30m from the start of the pier, at about 2m at high tide, there is a handrail and the steps are close together making exiting the water comfortable. The maximum depth is 8m on the north side of the jetty where boats used to moor, but most of the dive is around 5m, so a good long dive exploring the whole structure is possible. Slow is best on this dive, air allowing, as it is shallow and you will likely see more critters if you take your time.
Visibility is often good (10m+) allowing you to see the jetty structure on both sides and navigate easily, however the vis can drop below 5m when easterly winds blow through. Possible dive plans include a simple out and back swim of about 350m, a swim to the end of the jetty and exploration of the deeper dredged area (8m), which is popular for squid spotting on night dives or a swim of around 550m, from the jetty to the tidal pool and back along the coast. When diving the jetty be aware of fishermen, it is best to stay fairly close to or underneath the pier. The tidal flow crosses the jetty and so be aware of the direction of water flow as it may cause more collisions with the pier structure.
The facilities here are good. There is car parking beside the jetty and car parks on either side of Edith street overlooking the jetty. There is also a small toilet block with a fresh water tap and nearby changing facilities at Edithburgh Tidal Pool. Food and drinks are available at the stores on Edith street and neighbouring streets and the BP petrol station offers air fills for AUD$10 per tank.
Next up… Rapid Bay Jetty.