Diving With Dolphins at the Monument

Diving With Dolphins at the Monument

Every so often something magical happens on a dive that lodges it into your memory forever. This was one of those dives. It started on less positive notes, as a friend was leaving Sydney, so the dive was planned as a farewell of sorts. Visibility had also been amazing all week, but due to large swells overnight had taken a turn for the worse. We therefore weren’t expecting much from the dive.

Things got off to a rocky start…thanks mostly to the rocks. The swell from the evening before was still present, although it had gotten a fair amount smaller. That said, we still needed to wade across the rocks, and then do a rock entry into a small swell. One of the divers with us had some balance issues, so this meant everyone had to chip in to help get them over the rocks and into the water. This meant a few small bumps on the way out, but we eventually all got into the water.

As we were swimming out I stuck my face into the water and looked down. It was murky at best, and I was struggling to see the bottom in what must have been less than 2 meters of water. But we were there, and there were limited other options nearby, and so we ventured on. I lifted my head out of the water and looked across the bay to the far bank. And that was when I saw a large, grey fin break the surface, heading straight for us. Not wanting to scare my fellow divers, I kept it briefly to myself, until another fin breached next to it, easing my stress as I could clearly see they were dolphins.

Relieved, I let my fellow divers know, and we watched in awe as dolphin after dolphin broke away from the pod and swam over to us to check us out. They were breaching the water less than 2 meters from us, and we could easily have reached out and touched them if we wanted to. I stuck my head back into the water and watched as dolphin after dolphin swam by.

We decided to start our descent early, in the hope the dolphins would stick around, but sadly they were gone as quickly as they had arrived. We made our way underwater to the rock wall, and dropped down to 10 meters. Visibility was better, but not great, sitting somewhere in the 4 to 5 meter range. It was a chilly 16 degrees but we were all still buzzing from the dolphins and so none of us noticed.

Our dive plan was to head east towards the Steps. This was partially because it was an incoming tide, and we wanted to start the dive swimming into the current. More-so, it was due to reports of seals at the Steps, as well as the higher likelihood of finding a weedy seadragon.

Despite the poor visibility the dive was great, as the Monument generally is. We saw all the usual critters, including a ton of nudies, schooling baitfish, boxfish, a wandering anemone, and so much more. The highlight was finding a turtle hiding out under a rock ledge. It relaxed there for a while before popping out and swimming along with us for a few minutes.

After 45 minutes we rose to the surface and made our way back out over the rocks. We stuck our gear back into the cars, had a quick shower, and headed for the Kurnell 1770 Bakery and Cafe. It was an absolute gem of a find, with not only good food, but a great atmosphere, amazing pastries, and a small shop which reminded me of a farm stall back in South Africa. We had a great lunch and then said our farewells and headed home. Not bad for a low vis dive, and a great farewell for a mate.