Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Latitude Rock
While the New South Wales Mid North Coast town of Forster has a world class dive site called The Pinnacle, there are relatively few other class dive sites in this area. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the reef that runs from the rock platform along the coastline in most cases only extends for a few metres from the shore and reaches a maximum depth of five or so metres before meeting the sand. This shallowness means that there is a very poor extent of reef for fish to live on and in.
However, there is a section of the coast that has a bit more extensive reef. This is located to the north of Cape Hawke. There are a number of dive sites here, clustered in a relatively small area. They include Spot A, Colours and Latitude Rock. Of these, Spot A is the best and Latitude Rock the next best.
Latitude Rock is a large rock that protrudes from the ocean about five metres or so. The dive site here is located to the north of the rock at a GPS reading of 32° 12' 36"S 152° 33' 52"E (using AUS66 as datum - see my GPS Page for what this means). There is a mooring here. The reef consists of a series of walls/ridges/gutters running east/west. The rop of the main ridge is about five metres and the gutters about 10 to 14 metres. The sand to the north is about 18 metres.
A good dive plan here is to head to the sand and then west till you get to 11 metres and a totally kelp covered reef bottom. Turn around and follow the reef to the east and select one of the gutters you will have passed and then run up and down each one in turn. After about 25 to 30 minutes you will be back at the mooring so now head to the east and explore the sand area here before coming south to the main wall/ridge again. Go over the ridge and explore this gutter before heading to the west, keeping to the northern side of the gutter till you return to the mooring once agin. A safety stop can be done on the top of the ridge in 5 metres while looking at the fishlife.
Things to see here include moray eels (heaps of them), bream and snapper on the sand area, ladder-finned pomfrets and bulleyes in the gutters, very friendly blue gropers, squid all over the place (I have seen squid mating and laying eggs at this site) as well as eagle rays.
All in all, a fairly good dive location that is unfortunately dived a lot of the times only when the sea conditions are poor meaning The Pinnacle and Seal Rocks are unreacheable.
On my trips to Forster, I have always dived with "Rotten" Ronnie Hunter of Dive Forster. Ronnie has a large comfortable cat to dive from. Ronnie also has cheap but neat accommodation in a house centrally located to all facilities. Contact "Rotten" Ronnie on 61 2 6554 7478.