M@re Nostrum

Six Fathom Reef
Cronulla, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Saturday Mar 14,1998
by Mike Scotland

e were heading out for a dive on our favorite wreck but a stiff twenty knot southerly breeze meant that the long trip down the coast was too risky. We decided to dive a twenty metre reef we call Six fathon reef, since it is about 12 metres or six fathoms to the top of the reef.

Visibility was good at fifteen to eighteen metres. The water is beautiful and warm.... although we temperate dives prefer cold water diving..... it is vastly under rated.... on a world scale.

Nothing that happened on this dive was out of the ordinary... it was just one of those days when the temperate fish were about in great numbers, the sun shone down, and the magic of the ocean was shining down in its own wonderful way.

Large schools of Pomfrets (gold and silver fish) swirled near schools of swirling Yellowtail scad. Some Sea Pike scuttled in amongst them. A Seargent Baker, related to the fearsome Lizard Fish, flashed up an fed on a small fish in a lightning fast motion. A 60 cm Blue Wrasse we call a Blue Groper followed us about for the entire dive. We finally fed it some sea urchins at the end of the dive. It has the friendly personality of a puppy, we even gave it a stroke or two.

A medium sized Sepia apama, the local giant Cuttlefish at 50 cmn, one of the world's largest cuttles( they grow to well over a metre here), displayed for us in its cave, At this time of the year, they are known to try to steal divers gauges and underwater flashes. This one displayed its aggression pose for us. Some large Kingfish( Seriola grandis) buzzed through the Yellowtail Scad.

Numerous other reef fish were about including Black Leatherjackets, Red Morwong, Nannygai and Halfbanded Sea Perch. Northern hemisphere divers may take note that 70 to 80 per cent of the fish here in temperate australia are endemic..... logically enough, they have been separated from the rest of the world by six thousand kilometres of tropical water for millions of years.

A great dive!

© Text: Mike Scotland


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