Terrigal Haven

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Terrigal Haven
Terrigal Haven
Terrigal Haven
Terrigal Haven
Terrigal Haven Admiralty Anchor
DIOGENIDAE (Diogenid hermit crabs) - Terrigal Haven
Rhynchocinetes serratus (Hinge-back shrimp) - Terrigal Haven
Scyllarides squamosus (Slipper Lobster) - Terrigal Haven
Portunus pelagicus (Blue swimmer crab) - Terrigal Haven
Isopods, slaters, pill bugs (Order Isopoda) - Terrigal Haven
Pyura gibbosa gibbosa - Terrigal Haven
Botrylloides magnicoecum (Magnificent Ascidian) - Terrigal Haven
Sycozoa cerebriformis (Brain Ascidian) - Terrigal Haven
Pyura spinifera (Sea Tulip) - Terrigal Haven
Phlyctenactis tuberculosa (Wandering Sea Anemone) - Terrigal Haven
Phlyctenactis tuberculosa (Wandering Sea Anemone) - Terrigal Haven
Phlyctenactis tuberculosa (Wandering Sea Anemone) - Terrigal Haven
Anthothoe albocincta (White-striped anemone) - The Haven
Pachycerianthus delwynae (Banded Tube Anemone) - The Haven
Candelabrum australe - The Haven
Isaurus cliftoni - The Haven
Hydroids (Order Hydroida) - The Haven
Sea cucumbers (Class Holothuroidea) - The Haven
Phyllacanthus parvispinus (Eastern Slate-Pencil Urchin) - The Haven
Ophiothrix spongicola - The Haven
Holopneustes pycnotilus (Thickened Sea Urchin) - The Haven
Octopus tetricus (Common Sydney Octopus) - The Haven
Hapalochlaena fasciata (Blue-lined Octopus) - The Haven
Sepioteuthis australis (Southern Calamari Squid) - The Haven
Sepia plangon (Mourning Cuttlefish) - The Haven
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish) - The Haven
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish) - The Haven
Pteraeolidia ianthina (Blue Serpent) - Terrigal Haven
Glossodoris angasi (Angas's Glossodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Ceratosoma amoenum (Sweet Ceratosoma) - Terrigal Haven
Hoplodoris nodulosa (Nodulose Hoplodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Madrella sp - Terrigal Haven
Polycera capensis (Punk Polycera) - Terrigal Haven
Hypselodoris bennetti (Bennett's hypselodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Neodoris chrysoderma (Chrysanthemum Neodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Glossodoris atromarginata (Black Margined Glossodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Chromodoris splendida (Splendid Chromodoris) - Terrigal Haven
Bullina lineata (Lined Bubble) - Terrigal Haven
Hydatina physis (Rose Petal Bubble) - Terrigal Haven
Bulla quoyii (Botany Bay Bubble) - Terrigal Haven
Polybranchia pallens (Pale Polybranchia) - Terrigal Haven
Oxynoe viridis (Green Oxynoe) - Terrigal Haven
Berthellina citrina (Lemon Berthellina) - Terrigal Haven
Syphonata geographica (Geographic Sea Hare) - Terrigal Haven
Aplysia parvula (Little Seahare) - Terrigal Haven
Aplysia juliana (Juliana Sea Hare) - Terrigal Haven
Petalifera ramosa (Ramose Sea Hare) - Terrigal Haven
Aplysia sydneyensis (Sydney Sea Hare) - Terrigal Haven
Serpula sp. - Terrigal Haven
Branchellion sp. - Terrigal Haven
Diopatra dentata - Terrigal Haven
Eunice sp - Terrigal Haven
Nemerteans, Proboscis Worms, Ribbon Worms (NEMERTEA) - Terrigal Haven

Terrigal Haven (The Haven) is a site that I have come to appreciate as an absolute macro diving heaven as well as a brilliant place to fish watch. It took me a while to work out the full charm of the site but now I am simply not surprised by what I encounter. It is a popular shore dive locally but I am convinced most people dive straight over the critters of interest. It is a site well used for training, testing new gear and new divers practicing for "real diving".

I feel tremendously lucky to have such a good shore dive so close to home. I can often be found down at The Haven for an early dip before work or at the end of a day in the final hours of light. You can get an idea of the diversity of fish life from my gallery page of the Fish Life of Terrigal Haven.

The Haven is far more protected than the dives on the rock platform and can be dived most of the time. You will find the water clearer the higher the tide but when there is clean water outside that will be reflected in the Haven at low tide as well. If there are swells breaking across the reef it is not a pleasant dive because of the surge so best to dive into a coffee at one of the Haven cafes instead. As a general rule of thumb if there are surfers on the reef break, give it a miss. The only other time to avoid diving the site is after a period of rain when the council has opened up Terrigal Lagoon to the sea.

There are a number of ways to dive the site or more specifically a number of different types of habitats to explore. You can start your dive from either the boat ramp or the second ramp on the Terrigal Dive side of the Haven. See my description of The Cod Hole for some other ideas on how to dive this site.

The area underneath the moored boats is sand flats and sea grasses. Along with a host of juvenile fishes that you will find amongst some of the structure underwater in this section you will find:

  • Pipefish
  • Seahorses
  • Anglerfish
  • Sea Hares
  • Bubble Shells
  • Nudibranchs
  • Crabs

The shallow section of the reef straight out from the boat ramp is covered in kelp and there is also sea grass beds off to the side and you'll commonly find:

  • Bulleyes
  • Pomfret
  • Yellowtail Scad
  • Luderick
  • Happy Moments
  • Sweep
  • Mado
  • Sole & Flounder
  • Silver Bream, Snapper & Tarwhine

The further you head out the kelp will disappear and the you will see clean reef made up of boulders covered in red coraline algae and the odd piece of sponge and growth. It is not until you get around onto the ocean facing deeper section of reef will you start to see Gorgonians and other fixed growth. Out in the deeper water you will see:

  • Blue Grouper
  • Wrasse - Senator, Maori, Crimson-banded
  • One spot pullers
  • Australian Salmon
  • Kingfish
  • Black Reef Leatherjackets
  • Port Jackson Sharks
  • Crested Horn Sharks
  • Wobbegongs

Most people dive the site starting at the boat ramp. Swim out until it gets deep enough to submerge but be careful in this area as it is a very busy boat ramp. To dive the site follow the reef out keeping it on your right hand side. Look into the shallows it is often teaming with Luderick and juvenile fish. This area teams with Common Silver bellies during the summer.

As you get deeper the rocks of the reef will become more pronounced. They form some small caves where you will find Bulleyes and Stripeys. You will come to an old admiralty anchor that lays down the reef slope and often has fish schooling around it. The patch of kelp out of the reef contains a few species of leather jacket, dusky, toothbrush, fantail as well as the more common yellowfin. In this area you will also find Painted Stinkfish as well as Long-finned Gobies. If you dive late in the afternoon in early summer you may be lucky enough to see the Painted Stinkfish breeding.

As you make your way out out the reef you will get to a quite distinct "corner" and you will start heading in a more easterly directly, this is the top of the reef. Eventually you will turn around to the south-east and you will be on the open ocean side of the reef. You should be in about 15m by this and it is really the point where you will start to see some Gorgogians, a little more sponge and fixed growth. Depending on air you can spend a little time here as it starts to get truly interesting and more like a boat dive.

On the way back I like to dive up off the sand line more on the reef and you will see a lot of cryptic species in nook and crannies on the reef. I have seen the endangered Black Cod out on the reef as well as Eastern Blue devils, commonly Eastern Wirrah. When the tropical species are in over late summer, this is a prime location for Butterflyfish, Boxfish, Surgeonfish, Cleaner Wrase and Blennies.

The alternate way to dive The Haven is to start of the ramp on the other side, ie. closer to Terrigal Dive. The sea grasses in the Haven are a much overlooked habitat and some of the most interesting critters I've uncovered at this site have come from this area. You can just dive the sea grasses to blow off an almost empty tank or you can check out the sea grass areas on your way to and from the reef edge. You will find incredible schools of yellowtail Scad under most of the moored boats in the Haven. Make sure you look closely through the sea grass for Seahorses, Pipefish and Anglerfish.