Over many years I’ve visited Byron Bay and surfed at ‘The Pass’, drank chai with strangers, watched the lightning storms and mused over the ocean. Many ill-timed visits have seen Byron’s shoreline lapping at the ankles forcing one to seek elsewhere for activities to fill in a flat day.
Blasting out to Julian Rocks on Sundive’s inflatable and looking back at Byron Bay, it seems so close. Looking back at the headland with the lighthouse, I remember looking down at this spot and seeing whales jumping around, but even then, you only see what’s at the surface.
For a first real open water dive, Julian Rocks is amazing. Even if its not your first diving experience, Julian Rocks is amazing. The wide variety of colourful small fish darting around rocks, large schools of Mulloway and Kingfish crowding the Cod Hole, Grey Nurse Sharks parading the sand trenches, Wobbegongs dozing on any flat surface, turtles drifting by and corals swaying in the current creates a rich ecosystem and underwater experience.
The convergence of the East Australian Current and more temperate waters brings diverse species to congregate around the rocks. Julian Rocks’ protection from extractive activities within the Cape Byron Marine Park makes it a sanctuary for the different biodiversity.
Grey Nurse Sharks have been focus of conservation efforts as their population is threatened with extinction. Recognised as a critical habitat site for Grey Nurses, Julian Rocks is protected to cultivate this population. To see one of these Labradors of the Sea swim past is incredible and makes the appeal for their protection more real. Though touching a shark was out of the question their casual demeanour challenged a close encounter.
Coastalwatch.com is soon releasing a web-series looking at Australia’s east coast underwater environment. Watch out for the series coming soon, and the chance to win an awesome prize pack from PADI, Tusa and Xcel.
Big thanks to Sundive Byron Bay for the memorable experience.