Moray Eel in the Gold Coast Seaway
Having observed divers entering from the shore at the Spit, I always wondered what on earth there was to see. Little did I know that the Seaway is in fact a treasure trove of marine delights. Divided into 4 main areas: South Wall (including the Sand Bypass Pipe and the Short Pipe) – the Seaway represents great marine biodiversity. On the North Wall – you'll find schools of pelagic fish, wobbegong and whaler sharks; SouthWest Wall offers beach entry and is home to little critters. And then there's Wave Break Island - excellent for snorkelling and learning to dive.
I must admit, I have been a little judgmental, ignoring the delights right under my nose, preferring to discover the exotic treasures of the Great Barrier, Vanuatu and Tahiti.
It wasn't until I heard about Devocean Dive on the Gold Coast that my interest in our local diving perked up! Checking out their website, I discovered a crew true to the pleasures of diving! No high flying corporate attitude for these guys, no siree! What I really appreciate about them is the fact they make a point of looking after the divers and catering specifically for the individual and whatever it is they are looking for. It's all about personal service and taking the client's needs into consideration.
And so it is that my interest in diving has been renewed! No expensive diving trips overseas, when there's beautiful diving right here on our doorstep! Both Shona and Peter, the directors of Devocean Dive, stress how lucky we are to have this kind of diving so accessible. Between the two of them they sport almost half a century of diving experience! And it is no surprise then that out of all their combined experiences, they still marvel and appreciate what the Gold Coast Seaway has to offer.
According to Shona, the Seaway has truly come into its own right in the last 5 years, scores of aquatic life teem within its safe confines. “There's nowhere else where you have exceptional diving right in the middle of a city” she said. “In fact, most people believe they have to go overseas to spot some of the more “elusive” sea creatures, when in fact, right here in our very own Seaway you can find the magnificent Striated Frog Fish or Harlequin Ghost Pipe Fish!”
Students of Devocean have been dazzled by dolphins coming to play with them, and one of Peter's particular highlights was having a Humpback Whale join their team for a dive in the Seaway last year! These are the kinds of experiences that money can't buy!
Another hidden treasure in the Seaway is a wreck called the Scottish Prince. Settled comfortably at 12m, this is a great dive for anyone, and in particular those interested in an easy introduction to wreck diving. “The wreck's been there for well over a hundred years,” said Shona, “and it's absolutely packed with beautiful marine life!”
“In fact, when the tide is right, it's easy to race across in a tinnie and put in an amazing dive before work!” Where else but Queensland? Peter and Shona are both devoted to offering the best possible dive experience to newcomers and experienced divers. And that is how the name came about! Peter says that Shona was the one who came up with the concept of “their devotion to the ocean and diving as a sport”, and so the name was born!
Together they have been teaching their beloved sport to locals and tourists for the past eight years. “While we cater for locals and tourists, the locals are by far are biggest market!” says Shona. Clearly, the locals know something that this South African immigrant doesn't!
According to Peter visibility in the Seaway can vary, and he's seen anything from eight metres through to 30 metres, depending on the tide and weather conditions.
Peter's love for diving began at an early age. “I used to watch a TV show presented by Jacques Cousteau which really inspired me,” he says. His dad being a Surf Lifesaver also encouraged them to enjoy in the water. In fact, Peter's been snorkelling local waters from the age of seven, and enjoyed his first dive at the tender age of 14! According to Peter, children can now qualify for their junior ticket at the age of 12, and it's not unusual to find young ones from the age of eight getting familiar with dive gear in the pool.
No wonder then that locals are enjoying the delights of diving in the Seaway.“It's something that we'd like to conserve for future generations,” says Shona, who has held the position of President of SOS, Save Our Spit. The pristine conditions and delicious position has developers in a frenzy, with new applications for development being received by City Council on a weekly basis. And while they vie for development rights, locals know something the rest of us don't. The Spit and all it has to offer, is something that is being enjoyed on a regular basis. “Any development will upset the balance, and close off the possibility of free access to the community” says Shona.
So what is a writer to do? Clearly, get to the Seaway and begin to enjoy it before it's too late. There are no airline tickets to book, no accommodation to arrange! All that is required is to hop in the car, drive for approximately one hour, and step into another world, right off the Spit at Surfers!