Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
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Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Sydney Dive Visibility, Swell and Temps
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
Free Shipwreck Books

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "There are two Manly Ferries that can be dived off Sydney, SS Dee Why and SS Bellubera"
    Golden Bommies
    There are a few dive sites that words cannot adequately describe. One of these is Golden Bommies located at Bicheno in Tasmania. This site is located within the Governor Island Marine Reserve and is off the north-eastern corner of the island. Like all the dive sites at Bicheno, it is only a few minutes run out from the boat ramp to the dive site.

    The site consists of a main section of the reef that drops from about 26 metres in a slope to almost 39 metres on the sand. To the north of this there are two bommies (bomboras or rock islands) that are just attached to the main reef. These come up to about 26 metres as well.

    Golden BommiesGolden Bommies
    The main reef at Bolden BommiesThe first of the bommies

    A GPS Reading of 41° 52' 10.1"S 148° 19' 3.4"E (using WGS84 as a datum) will put you right near the bommies. This is off the eastern side of a small rock which is off the northern-eastern end of Governor Island. Run around till you see the reef and either anchor on the reef or the sand (anchoring is permitted but it is preferred if you anchor on the sand or in the shallower kelp areas).

    Diving this site with Bicheno Dive Centre we put down a drop line and descended down that rather than do the normal free descent. Once on the bottom we were a few metres off the main reef so we swam over. This reef is totally covered in sea whips and sponges, the visibility was excellent, well over 20 metres.

    Golden BommiesGolden Bommies
    Kelly on the wall at the south side of the second bommie
    Note the long-snouted boarfish
    Kelly lights up a sea whip covered in jewel anemones

    We were to the south of the bommies. Here the sand was about 39 metres and the reef sloped up at about 45° to 26 metres. Heading north we could just see the first of the bommies. The fishlife before and over the bommie was amazing. Huge schools of seapike, bastard trumpeters, morwongs and butterfly perch covered the reef, almost obscuring the bommie itself.

    Between the main reef and the first bommie there is a crack. We continue north on the eastern side of the reef. The second bommie soon comes into view. We have already ascended a bit as you do not get much bottom time at the level of the sand. We are now at 35 metres and gradually ascending as we go.

    The second bommie is also separated from its neighbour by a crack. There are lots of fish and crays in this. We start to circle to the left around the northern side of the bommie. The sea whips and sponges are as good here as on the main reef. Here and there are lots of other fish, including a large yellow and black striped species I have not seen before (I am yet to identify it).

    Golden BommiesGolden Bommies
    The huge school of fish that came around
    near the end of the dive - mostly butterfly perch
    Kelly is surrounded by the fish

    A lot of the sea whips have jewel anemones on them and there are yellow xanthoids all over the steeper wall sections of the bommies. The western side and the cracks are virtually shear walls.

    We head south back past the second bommie, still ascending. We go over to the main reef and head to the top. We are already into decompression, as we only had about 12 minutes no-deco time on the profile we did. We decided to run a few minutes into decompression and start ascending when we have two minutes of deco to do at three minutes. This gave us a bottom time of about 17 minutes. As we ascend, we encounter a huge school of fish that blots out our view of the reef and even each other. This is great!!

    After the two minutes deco and a five minute safety stop, we surfaced after 27 minutes of one of the most enjoyable reef dives we have ever done.

    As mentioned, one of the best dive sites and best dives I have done. Well worth doing for experienced divers.

    As usual, the service of Bicheno Dive Centre was not to be faulted.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2023
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for over 25 years by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!