Broughton Island is a lovely 1 hour trip on one of our purpose built dive boats and includes a complimentary guide to share with your experience with you or to provide a detailed briefing to allow you to have fun with your buddy.
After the boat passes Cabbage Tree Island it heads directly toward Broughton Island where you can recognise the Looking Glass dive site well before you reach the area. When you arrive at this site you will see the narrow channel which cuts through this part of the Island. This area is called Looking Glass because of the rock formations to the left of the channel where there is a uniquely natural hole at the top of the rock cliff.
There are two sites here, the channel swim through and the outer wall. You can do them individually or as one big dive for those good on their air.
Looking Glass 8-18 metres
What is commonly referred to as the Looking Glass dive is swimming through the channel and around the surrounding entry way. The boat anchors in approx 15 metres on the sandy rocky bottom. Depending on the dive leader on the day you can either follow the anchor line down and navigate to the entrance of the channel or more frequently you will do a small surface swim to the island and descend directly into the entrance.
Following the rocks into approx 8 metres, keep an eye out for Wobbegongs and Port Jackson sharks on the bottom throughout the rock formations and don’t forget to look up to catch a Grey Nurse Shark cruising by. When you start to feel the swell pulling you in and pushing away, this is when you know you are almost there! At the opening you will see a variety of fish enjoying the surge where you swim over a rock ledge covered in sponges, sea squirts and other colourful life sitting in the prim position to feed on in the almost constantly moving water.
If it is surgy you will be lifted and sucked over the rock into the channel. When the surge changes direction, stop and gently hold on (gloves are recommended for this dive) then as the surge goes back in your desired direction let go and start kicking. Riding the surge can be a load of fun! Your dive leader will help show you how if this is your first experience with surge.
Once inside the channel stop on the sand in approx 12 metres and look up at the sheer walls which are often covered with bait fish. The light glimmering down through the fish and small sponges is spectacular and make for wonderful photos. Often patrolled by large black rays, you can find wobbegongs on the sand and on occasion grey nurse sharks. For this reason the dive leader will instruct you to swim single file along one side of the channel then swapping over the other side on the way home. This way divers bubbles do not disturb the free swimming animals travelling through of hanging out in the main passageway.
About half way the channel become shallow and you must be careful, especially in bigger surge not to become too buoyant and find yourself at the surface. Once on the other side by either swimming around or over the rocks you will drop down again following the rocks to the opening at the other side of the channel. Depending on air consumption and conditions as to how far in the channel before turning around. Of course if you encounter the Grey Nurse Sharks divers will tend to stop negative on the bottom and simply enjoy the sharks circling over head. As you exit the channel you can explore the surrounding rocks and swim throughs before returning to the boat. A spectacular dive and even more exciting with a little surge.
Looking Glass Wall 15-40 metres
Sheer walls to a boulder bottom which slopes way down to 40 metres. Several small caves and overhangs feature colourful sponges. Good fish life including the rare (for the north coast ) eastern blue devil fish. A good alternative when the surge through the Looking Glass is too strong and great for Advanced or Deep diver training.
From the entrance to the channel keeping the island to your left follow the wall which is covered in small sponges and life. At approx 22 metres on the left there is a little “cave”. This is often home to an eastern blue devil fish. With torch in hand have a look just inside the opening then continue in looking up inside to see if he is hiding in the pocket to the right. Only one or two divers can fit comfortably at a time so be careful not to stir it up and take turns having a look. Recommend those photographers get in first for best conditions!
Next to the cave is the start of the sponges. Depending on your dive objective, you can either turn around now and follow the sponges back (on your right) or if you are after more depth simply continue along with the wall to your left and away from the island a bit until you get to your desired depth.
The Looking Glass is famous for its Grey Nurse Shark population, but there is so much more to see at this site. Have a look at this great footage shared by one of our divers, John Marshall.