For many years North Rock has been THE place to hang out for our resident colony of Grey Nurse Sharks which Broughton Island is famous for. Obviously we can not guarantee they will be there but we have had a high success rate in this area from a few individuals up to over 25 individuals. Sadly this area is not inside the protected grey nurse shark critical habitat zone and is shared by divers, fishermen and spearo’s. As a result some sharks have been seen with fishing line, trace and even gaff injuries.
As divers, we treat this area as though it is within the protected areas and dive accordingly to minimise disturbance to the sharks. Your dive leader will give you a thorough brief at the site but in short we keep close to the rocks and are negative to allow us to sit on the rocks or sand to admire the sharks. Keeping single file as we move from place to place and low in the water provides the sharks with a bubble and diver free area to swim. If you swim up the middle of the area or two by two you create a wall of bubbles and block the way of the sharks and as a result they will swim to another area. By asking ALL our divers to follow these simple dive techniques we help the sharks to be appreciated without being disturbed.
Don’t worry, this does not mean you will not get the best viewing spot or place to get photos, video or simply to admire... By sitting quietly or wedging yourself into the rocks the sharks will get used to you and will swim very close sometimes right up to your face or overhead. They are curious graceful creatures that will take your breath away.
The primary dive area a large gutter that runs from east to west with a shallow sloping kelp shelf that is a great viewing platform. Schooling fish such as the Striped Trumpeter and Mado provide a pretty backdrop. Keep an eye out for the shark detection device in deeper waters. It is a transmitter / receiver connected to a pole secured by a tyre filled with concrete. This records the number of Grey Nurse in the area for scientific study.
From the surface you can see where the wall starts. Head down the anchor line and into the gutter. You will notice the sharks tend to congregate in the deeper areas so keep to your left. There is a sloping wall covered in kelp which is a good observation point. At the western tip there is a cave and overhang. Schooling Bullseye, Roughy and Cuttlefish hide in the shallows. The overhang is in approximately 5 meters of water. On this dive you can also drop down to 18 – 20 meters back towards the boat. There is a large boulder and a lot of small round boulders on the ground. If you’re lucky you may find a shark tooth on the ocean floor.