Snorkelling and Diving
There are three great places in Bayside for snorkelling and diving: the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, Half Moon Bay and Brighton Pier.
The Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, off the beach at Beaumaris, protects 115 hectares of sandstone platforms and offshore reefs where there is plenty of room to explore. The marine habitats range from rocky sandstone, intertidal and sub-tidal, to sandy beaches and sub-tidal soft substrates where there are many plants and animals. Near the shore, the rocks are covered with green and red algae sheltering many invertebrates, including brittle stars, bristle worms and crustaceans. The surrounding sandy bottoms have seagrass that attract many fish species. In deeper waters, rock bommies (coral outcrops) are carpeted in green caulerpa and brown sargassum, which conceal many small animals. These rocks also attract Southern Hulafish, scalyfin and Morwong, and the expert in camouflage, the cephalopod.
The scuttled remains of the Victorian naval ship, HMVS Cerberus, sit in only five metres of water in Half Moon Bay and can be easily dived from the shore. Most of the ship sticks out of the water but divers are advised to keep clear of the badly deteriorated and unsafe hull and be aware of the exclusion zone (25 metres each side of the centreline and five metres beyond the bow and stern). Divers will also be rewarded with a wonderful patch of reef abundant with seahorses, stingrays, starfish, molluscs, scallops and reef fish.
Brighton Pier offers divers and snorkelers a reef that’s no deeper than eight metres, so it’s ideal for the less experienced. This is a good spot to look for the Rakali, the rarely-seen amphibious native water rat with partially webbed feet and a waterproof fur coat.