Dragon Alley

Solanderia fusca (Dusky Hydroid) - Dragon Alley
Dragon Alley
Chromodoris loringi (Loring's Chromodoris) - Dragon Alley
Hypselodoris bennetti (Bennett's hypselodoris) - Dragon Alley
Pteraeolidia ianthina (Blue Serpent) - Dragon Alley
Chromodoris woodwardae (Woodward's Chromodoris) - Dragon Alley
Ceratosoma amoenum (Sweet Ceratosoma) - Dragon Alley
Balanophyllia bairdiana (Orange Solitary Coral) - Dragon Alley
Isopods, slaters, pill bugs (Order Isopoda) - Dragon Alley
Sponges (PORIFERA) - Dragon Alley
Sponges (PORIFERA) - Dragon Alley
Fromia polypora (Many-pored star) - Dragon Alley
Schuettea scalaripinnis (Eastern Pomfred) - Dragon Alley
Dinolestes lewini (Longfin Pike) - Dragon Alley
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish) - Dragon Alley

Dragon Alley, named after the Weedy Sea Dragons that sometimes frequent the Kelp areas of the site, is just off Barrenjoey Headland in the the shadow of the lighthouse. It is a tremendous little dive with stacks of fish and critters to see.

The sand line of Dragon Alley is at ~15m. The reef steps up though large boulders to about 10m at which point a wall heads up to the surface. This shallow sections of the reef are somewhat bare of growth but certainly not fish life. You can be surrounded by schools of Yellow-tail Scad and Eastern Pomfret in this area. The good fixed growth is in the deeper area of the site on the boulders. There are some larger boulders out on the sand that are worth check out as well. Keep a close eye out around the kelp areas and you may be lucky enough to spot a Weedy.

The fish life you will commonly encounter at this site includes:

  • Black tipped Bullseye (Pempheris affinis)
  • Small scale Bullseye (Pempheris compressa)
  • White Ear Parma (Parma microlepis)
  • Estuary Catfish (Cnidoglanis macrocephalus)
  • Black Reef Leatherjacket (Eubalichthys bucephalus)
  • Longfin Pike (Dinolestes lewini)
  • Red Morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus)
  • Half Banded Seaperch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi)
  • Weedy Seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)
  • Silver Batfish (Monodactylus argenteus)
  • Eastern Pomfred (Schuettea scalaripinnis)
  • Mado (Atypichthys strigatus)
  • Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi)
  • Yellow-Tail Scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae)
  • Blue Wrasse-Grouper (Achoerodus viridis)
  • Maori Wrasse (Ophthalmolepis lineolata)
  • Common Stingaree (Trygonoptera testacea)

To dive the site, just use the sand line as a navigation guide and head in either direction along the reef. It is easy to head off in one direction concentrating on the deeper section of the reef and return via the shallower section.

I am not sure what commercial operators are running out to Dragon Alley at the moment. Scuba Shack Charters would be your best bet. Alternatively, the GPS mark for the site is S33º34.776' E151º19.993' (WGS84 hdddºmm.mmm'). Seek to anchor in about 13m, there is plenty to get a good anchor hold in.

Dragon Alley is a good site when a Southerly is blowing as you will be in the lee of Barrenjoey Headland. You would want to be careful in a Northerly or in a NE sea breeze as the boat will hang towards the rocks. Given this site is in the mouth of the Hawkesbury and Brisbane Water, I seek to do this dive in the last few hours of the run in tide to increase my chances of reasonable Vis.