Type of Dive: Reef / Bolders
Access: Boat (about 30 min)
Minimum Qualification: Open Water
Depth: 8 - 20 meters
The starkness of these two rocks above the surface gives no indication of the beautiful coral garden below. The two rocks are situated off Smoky Cape beach which sweeps southwards from Smoky Cape Lighthouse towards Hat Head in the south. Though there are two rocks the surge in the gutter between prevents safe passage through them on all but the calmest days. Also as a matter of safety we encourage diving within visual surface sight of the boat and therefore the skippers watchful eye! Usually this means Black Rocks is split into two different dives.
Fish Rock Dive Centre usually uses the centre of the natural bay formed by the two rocks to begin this dive allowing divers to explore the bay up to the rocks and out to the reef edge. Close into the rocks you will see in around 6-8 metres small crevices and larger boulders which get smaller in size as you swim away from the rocks towards the reef edge on the sand (14-16 metres). A large part of the reef here is made up of large plate coral – Black Rocks is the southern most point at which you will see plate coral growing in such abundance.
Everywhere you look you will see moray eels, lionfish, nudibranchs, feather stars, octopus and juvenile fish darting in and around the boulders and hard coral. The fish life at Black Rocks can be as abundant as at Fish Rock – look out for the huge schools of bulleyes and bait fish plus the tropicals adding dashes of colour. Bigger fish are can also besotted, like Grey Nurse Sharks, large king fish and jewies are all visitors here.
A particular highlight at this dive site are the amazing egg cowries that live on the coral and rocks – look out for a bright white shell partially or almost completely covered by the black mantle – the small white dots on the mantle are reminiscent of diamonds on black velvet! Another top spot are the resident loggerhead and green turtles that may join you on your dive – particularly look out for the large three flipperred loggerhead who is resident close into the rock.
This dive is a popular alternative to the dive sites at Fish Rock and is suitable for all levels of diver. The bay is also a pleasant place to spend the surface interval and have a hot drink and snack!
Average depth 12 metres varying between 8 metres close to the rocks and 16 metres out on the sand slope.
Similar in topography to the northern side, this side of the rocks offers greater depth at the reefs outer edges – down to 20 metres in places. Large boulders and small sand gutters create habitats for numerous juveniles, octopus, egg cowries, lionfish, scorpion fish and eels. As you swim along the main rock keeping the rock to your left look out to the ocean to catch a glimpse of more of the large visiting pelagics – king fish, jew fish and occasional bronze whalers!
Keep an eye out for the turtles that make this area their home – sometimes hard to spot through the myriad fish life that gets in the way! Huge schools of pomfrets and bulleyes are well known here with passing schools of long tailed bannerfish making regular appearances.
Again a popular alternative to the dive sites at Fish Rock and suitable for all levels of diver. Snorkeling is popular during the surface intervals.
Average depth varying between 8 metres close to the rocks and 20 plus metres on the sand.