The Garden (Spoon Bay)

Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
The Garden
The Garden
The Garden
The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Ascidians (Class ASCIDIACEA) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Ralpharia Magnifica (Magnificent Hydroid) - The Garden
 Cnemidocarpa pedata (Basal ascidian) - The Garden
Botrylloides magnicoecum (Magnificent Ascidian) - The Garden
Mopsella zimmeri (Gorgonian) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Sponges (PORIFERA) - The Garden
Neodoris chrysoderma (Chrysanthemum Neodoris) - The Garden
Glossodoris atromarginata (Black Margined Glossodoris) - The Garden
Pteraeolidia ianthina (Blue Serpent) - The Garden
Hypselodoris bennetti (Bennett's hypselodoris) - The Garden
Jorunna sp (Black Spot Jorunna) - The Garden
Ceratosoma amoenum (Sweet Ceratosoma) - The Garden
Ceratosoma flavicostatum (Yellow-Ridged Ceratosoma) - The Garden
Orectolobus halei (Ornate Wobbegong) - The Garden

Spoon Bay is at the North of Wamberal Beach, separated from Forrester's Beach from a small headland and to the south a set of rocks on the beach. We first started sounding around off Spoon Bay in summer of 2012 after I heard that people had previously dived a reef off not far offshore. What I found was a ridge of reef running a few hundred metres, roughly North/South. The reef is ~14m on top dropping down to ~18m at the sand. I was always somewhat hopeful about the diving as this reef is not too far away from the popular Two Poles site, a similar profile and about the same distance offshore (~600m).

The GPS mark for the first site we dived on this reef on the Southern end is S33º25.663' E151º27.604' (WGS84 hdddºmm.mmm'), seek to anchor ~18m. We have named this site "Spoon South" and it is a nice spot for a second dive and a potter looking for critters. The Garden itself is further North up Spoon Bay reef at S33º25.589' E151º27.614' (WGS84 hdddºmm.mmm'). Seek to anchor in about ~17m.

The Garden is a reef edge that makes it way down from ~14m to ~18m. At around the 16m mark, mid way down the slope you will found one of the most prolific sponge gardens I've encountered on the Central Coast. On the top of the reef there are some outcrops that are similarly covered with fantastic fixed growth. Being quite shallow, this is a site to avoid when there is a swell running as it would be surgey and stirred up below.

This is definitely a macro site and not one you would go expecting to see large schools or a variety of different fish. The fish life you will commonly encounter at this site includes:

  • White Ear Parma (Parma microlepis)
  • Half Banded Seaperch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi)
  • Maori Wrasse (Ophthalmolepis lineolata)
  • Eastern Hulafish (Trachinops taeniatus)

Given the quantity and variety of different sponges you can expect to see a wide variety of Nudibranchs and other macro life. The nudibranch's we've seen at this site include:

  • Yellow Ridged Ceratosoma (Ceratosoma flavicostatum)
  • Sweet Ceratosoma (Ceratosoma amoenum)
  • Splendid Chromodoris (Chromodoris splendida)
  • Black Margined Glossodoris (Glossodoris atromarginata)
  • Chrysanthemum Neodoris (Neodoris chrysoderma)
  • Black Spot Jorunna (Jorunna sp)
  • Blue Serpent (Pteraeolidia ianthina)

I really like this site and can highly recommend it to blow off the remains of a tank or a chilled 2nd dive on a calm day.