Description: Tathra Wharf – A Shore Dive
This is a reliable site, producing a good variety of life and reasonable access. It is protected against southerly conditions so it is normally available when Merimbula wharf is blown out.
As this site produces quite a shallow dive, bottom time can easily be extended to well over an hour. This is a shore dive that makes it worthwhile. It is also an exceptional night dive.
Drive through Tathra township. Immediately east of the shopping centre is a road leading to the ‘historic wharf’. Follow this road to its end. Parking is usually limited due to the wharf’s popularity as a fishing spot. You should be able to stop in the no standing zone for long enough to inspect the conditions though.
To gain entry to the water requires a clamber of about 3 metres down the side of the cliff. It sounds more difficult than it is. The starting point is at the south end of the Armco barrier. The climb is quite obvious and leads to a flat sloping rock which is the entry point for the dive.
Entry is easy as the rock conveniently ends just after it meets the water, allowing for a pleasant giant stride.
Directly out from the entry the bottom is rocky and slopes away until meeting the sand at about 10 metres. The rocks are well carpeted with growth and provide opportunity to find a wide range of invertebrates. Especially at night, big bellied sea horses are readily seen.
Moving to the north the diver quickly sees the wharf. It is supported by more than a dozen piers, all of which are well covered in growth. There are also some older pipes and piers lying on the bottom. Among these can be found octopus, large star fish, crabs etc. During holiday time the bottom is usually littered with bate from the myriad fisherman that use the wharf. At these times the dive is normally alive with schools of fish taking advantage of the human generosity.
Not to be missed is the resident bull ray. With a wing span of close to two metres, he makes an impressive sight. He seems to be used to divers but still maintains a reasonable distance.
Return to the starting point to exit from the water. The easiest way is to take advantage of the swell and ‘ride’ a wave in, then crawl up the sloping rock on your knees until clear of the water.
Around the wharf there is a clean toilet and a coffee shop. There is no shower but the parking area is sealed so gear can be kept reasonably clean.