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Question to South Australian divers


Alex B

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I had a chat with a guy about diving SA jetties (Edithburgh, Rapid Bay) and  Giant Cuttlefish Whyalla.

A question which came up is,

 

Is it possible to dive both spots in the same season/month? Is there a seasonable wind direction change?

 

I got the information the wind goes offshore February/March at least, which is perfect for the jetties. Not the worst for the shallow Whyalla too, i guess 🧐

 

I have been there myself and it was perfect almost all the days, just a few cancelled days, wind direction wise. Where we switched on the other side of the peninsula.

A few years later a dive buddy came back to SA later in the season. He said they were not able to dive Edithburg because of the wind direction.

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Australian weather is not really seasonal, rather there are frontal systems alternating with highs moving across the country from west to East and the wind changes with these systems coming through.  Having said that the centre of the high pressure systems moves north-south in winter/summer which changes the average wind direction, so the East coast gets more westerly winds in winter for example.

 

So basically it is a case of being in town long enough for the wind to move around to where you want it, with seasonal wind directions favouring one site vs the other.   You can find a wind rose (pdf file each month) in this table for Edithburgh:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_022046.shtml

and Noarlunga near Rapid Bay:  http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_023885.shtml

Here are location guides:

https://indopacificimages.com/australia/diving-edithburgh-jetty/

https://indopacificimages.com/australia/diving-rapid-bay/

Edithburgh is hazardous in south - south east winds, while Rapid Bay is sheltered from those winds while Rapid Bay won't go well in North winds, but on average is more sheltered.

 

You might want to contact one of the local dive shops, presumably you would want to rent tanks and weights and not travel with them, also in Edithburgh which is about 3-4 hours drive from Adelaide there is no dive shop so you would need to bring tanks from Adelaide.  You can however get air fills at the service station in town.  I used Dive Adelaide and they were very helpful.

 

Final consideration in water temperature, it's dry suit diving (11-13C) in winter and into spring while it can get to 22° in summer through to about April.  Do you want to travel with a dry suit or dive in a wetsuit?.  It can get stinking hot in summer so a sauna inside your suit till you get wet.

 

All things considered I would go in April weather tends to be calmer then and avoid being there in School holidays so you can be a bit flexible with accomodation, you would probably want to over night in Edithburgh when you travel out there.  Then pick your days at each site according to the weather, you can generally get a good idea 4 days out from the BOM website and swell forecasts: 

https://swell.willyweather.com.au/sa/yorke-peninsula/edithburgh.html

 

Probably want to avoid long period swells . 

 

While you are in the country you might fly in and out of Sydney - go diving there for weedy sea dragons.  Again it it's a matter of timing for swells and wind.

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and by the way Giant cuttlefish season in Whyalla is June- August for the aggregation.  I probably wouldn't travel all the way to Whyalla unless you there for aggregation.  You will likely see Giant cuttlefish at the other sites like Rapid Bay I saw one there and also in Sydney.  This Giant cuttlefish was at Rapid Bay jetty. 

GiantCuttlefish2.jpg

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6 hours ago, Chris Ross said:

Australian weather is not really seasonal, rather there are frontal systems alternating with highs moving across the country from west to East and the wind changes with these systems coming through.  Having said that the centre of the high pressure systems moves north-south in winter/summer which changes the average wind direction, so the East coast gets more westerly winds in winter for example.

 

So basically it is a case of being in town long enough for the wind to move around to where you want it, with seasonal wind directions favouring one site vs the other.   You can find a wind rose (pdf file each month) in this table for Edithburgh:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_022046.shtml

and Noarlunga near Rapid Bay:  http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_023885.shtml

Here are location guides:

https://indopacificimages.com/australia/diving-edithburgh-jetty/

https://indopacificimages.com/australia/diving-rapid-bay/

Edithburgh is hazardous in south - south east winds, while Rapid Bay is sheltered from those winds while Rapid Bay won't go well in North winds, but on average is more sheltered.

 

You might want to contact one of the local dive shops, presumably you would want to rent tanks and weights and not travel with them, also in Edithburgh which is about 3-4 hours drive from Adelaide there is no dive shop so you would need to bring tanks from Adelaide.  You can however get air fills at the service station in town.  I used Dive Adelaide and they were very helpful.

 

Final consideration in water temperature, it's dry suit diving (11-13C) in winter and into spring while it can get to 22° in summer through to about April.  Do you want to travel with a dry suit or dive in a wetsuit?.  It can get stinking hot in summer so a sauna inside your suit till you get wet.

 

All things considered I would go in April weather tends to be calmer then and avoid being there in School holidays so you can be a bit flexible with accomodation, you would probably want to over night in Edithburgh when you travel out there.  Then pick your days at each site according to the weather, you can generally get a good idea 4 days out from the BOM website and swell forecasts: 

https://swell.willyweather.com.au/sa/yorke-peninsula/edithburgh.html

 

Probably want to avoid long period swells . 

 

While you are in the country you might fly in and out of Sydney - go diving there for weedy sea dragons.  Again it it's a matter of timing for swells and wind.

 

Hi Chris,

 

thank you much for this very detailed information! 💪

 

I dove SA a few years ago, all self organized, we even bought weights on Ebay an picked them up at arrival. It was cheaper as rent them for 3 weeks.

I wished i had a dry suit at that time for the night dives, getting out of the wet suit was a bit chilly in Feb/Mar at night, plus a trolley for the gear for the long walks like at Blairgowrie

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On 12/31/2023 at 5:11 PM, Alex B said:

 

Hi Chris,

 

thank you much for this very detailed information! 💪

 

I dove SA a few years ago, all self organized, we even bought weights on Ebay an picked them up at arrival. It was cheaper as rent them for 3 weeks.

I wished i had a dry suit at that time for the night dives, getting out of the wet suit was a bit chilly in Feb/Mar at night, plus a trolley for the gear for the long walks like at Blairgowrie

No problem,

 

you would certainly want a drysuit for the cuttlefish aggregation, 12°C water and cool breezes running with low air temperatures.  Wet suit is fine for daytime diving up till April- May for most divers.  Sydney you can usually get away diving wet till around June and many dive wet year round.  It's the boat dives where drysuits come into their own in winter.

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