Dive Site Spotlight – The Steps at Kurnell
The first in a new series of posts providing an insight into Sydneys best dive sites. These blog posts are ideal if you are looking for somewhere new to dive or, have been considering diving at this location but wanted to know more about that site in particular.
The first dive site that will be under the spotlight is The Steps at Kurnell.
Best time to dive: Incoming tide
Experience Level: All, although entry & exit can be challenging
What can you expect to see: Weedy Sea Dragons, Cuttlefish, Bull Rays, Nudibranch
The car park for this dive site is signposted from the entrance so finding it is super easy, type in inscription point car park and google maps will take you straight there. Parking costs $8 for the day and tickets are available at the gate.
Aptly named as you have to walk down a fair few stairs to get to the entry and exit of this site, so don’t leave anything behind! Set up your gear at the top of the stairs and make your way down to dive site. Entry and exit are at the same spot, the only consideration here is to time your entry with the ebb and flow of the swell. If there is white water breaking into the channel where you enter and exit, do not attempt to get in. Check the swell forecast before you arrive, anything over 1.4m in any direction or a SE/E/NE usually means you wont be able to dive this site.
This site is best to dive during an incoming tide, swim out from the entry for 15m then descend down into around 5m of water. Swim down the boulders to around the 8-10m mark, turn right and swim along the sand/boulder line. Either take a compass heading at this point (E/NE) or put your natural navigation skills to use and swim into the current for the first half of your dive.
The Steps is the primary Weedy Sea Dragon hangout and there are plenty to find here. Another tip is to take a really close look at the large rocks that interrupt the sand line as they are home to some amazing macro life – angler fish, pipe horse, sea moths and nudibranchs to name but a few. These creatures are extremely fragile so please mind your hands and feet!
As you get to about 110 bar you want to think about turning around, either swim back the way you came or head up the boulders to the 5-6m mark and follow this line back in whilst performing your safety stop. The other option is to drift all the way around and get out at the Monument, this will take you around an hour and is for the more experienced diver who is better on their air. We will review the Monument at a later date!
To summarise this is a dive site that is really easy to navigate, a good tip is to note the lack of kelp when you descend – when the kelp beds disappear you can start ascending. Just be careful getting in and out.
We hope you find our advice useful 🙂