Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Back Creek
The town of South West Rocks on the Mid-North Coast of NSW has some simply amazing dive sites. As well as the normal ocean dives such as Green Island and Black Rock, there is the mind-blowing Fish Rock. Fish Rock Cave, the Pinnacle and The Shark Gutters are fantastic dives but, well, they are in the ocean.
Two other dive sites at SWR that are excellent but very unexpected at the Back Creek and the Macleay River. Back Creek is located on the western side of the township and is where most of the dive boats depart for Fish Rock. On incoming tides, the normally dirty water of the creek can be quite clear. In June 1994 after I returned from a dive on the PS Agnes Irving, the water was so inviting, a friend and I decided to go for a dive. Using the rest of the air in our tanks, we spent 31 minutes (maximum depth 5 metres) exploring the wharf, moorings, bridge piles and creek bottom. Imagine our surprise to find numerous firefish, flutemouth, and huge flathead everywhere. Hundreds of big luderick and bream swarmed in and around the pedestrian bridge pylons while the biggest moray eel I have ever seen lives under the north-eastern pylon.
Since 1994 the water depth here has lessened due to silting up (lack of a decent flood) so the dive is a bit more awkward than before due to the extreme shallowness.
A truly amazing dive site, though care must be taken to avoid passing boats. A must do if the water is clear and a chance for a dive if the open ocean is blown out.
NOTE: Since about 2002 the Back Creek has been severely silted and is probably not worth the effort. A good flood may well clean it out.