Diver lays on the bottom next to a harmless Leopard shark at South Solitary Island.
Diver lays on the bottom next to a harmless Leopard shark at South Solitary Island. Mike Davey

Exciting times for divers

WATER quality has been improving and the array of unique life beneath the surface has left divers with a sense of awe.

Jetty Dive Coffs Harbour have been busy in the water, taking clients out to visit the spectacular South Solitary Island in the Solitary Islands Marine Park off our coast.

"This time of year can shape up to be better diving as the water starts to clear up a bit and we tend to have a grey more Grey Nurse sharks appear," said Mike Davey from Jetty Dive.

Mike recalls one dive at this time of year a couple of years ago, looking around and counting 40 to 50 sharks on either side of him, milling about on the bottom.

"I remember it clearly, we had unreal vis of around 50m. It was so clear it wasn't funny.

Depending on sea conditions, nurse numbers can vary immensly as they travel along the coast, usually hanging around in large numbers around June and July.

"Last year didn't really lend itself to good diving conditions but it's shaping up to be better this year.

"This year we've had leopard sharks hanging around longer than in previous ones. A couple of manta rays have also been sighted recently at North West Solitary Island.

Not only is it an exciting time for divers to visit the well known location to dive with the grey nurse sharks as the whales start to appear along the coast as they make their journey north to breed.

Mike said they will start to be wary of the whales while boating from now and we should start seeing them any day.

Whale watching tours will start back up on the June long weekend.



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