Phillip Island, Victoria
Type of dive: Reef
Access: Boat (30 minutes)
Minimum qualification: Open Water (Advanced & Deep recommended)
Depth: 7-40 metres (23-130’)
Visibility: 10-30 metres (30-100’)
Water temperature: 13°C (56°F) – 18°C (65°F)
Best time to visit: October – May
Snorkelling: No, too deep.
The Pinnacle, just off Cape Woolamai, is a towering underwater pinnacle of granite and one of Victoria’s most awe inspiring dive sites.
Cape Woolamai is the rugged granite, south eastern end of Phillip Island, the home of Victoria’s world famous Penguin Parade.
Situated only about one kilometre (0.6 miles) off Cape Woolamai, the Pinnacle is bathed in the cool clear, nutrient-rich temperate waters of Bass Strait.
The underwater scene is easily imagined because the Pinnacle is an underwater replica of the most seaward pinnacle of Cape Woolamai. The difference being that underwater, the rock is covered with seaweed, a huge diversity of invertebrate life, and is teeming with fish.
The peak of the rock pinnacle, a plateau about the size of a small house, is the highest of three underwater rock ridges and a spectacular dive in its own right.
At about eight metres (24’) the sides of the Pinnacle plunge steeply to the bottom at 40 metres (130’).
The most spectacular diving is at 24 metres (80’) and beyond.
Around the base there are ravines, caves, overhangs, crevices and large rocks, all hiding an enormous array of marine creatures including abalone and southern rock lobster (crayfish).
The Pinnacle is covered with kelp to around 20 metres (60’) and as the light penetration falls off with depth, the plant life is replaced by colourful invertebrates including delicate sea whips.
Bright yellow zoanthids, colourful sponges and gorgonian fans sprinkled with a bright array of sea stars adorn the rocks, making it one of the most colourful temperate water dive sites.
An underwater torch is essential to reveal the extraordinary colour of the dive site’s vast array of invertebrates.
Large resident schools of beautiful pink barber perch and pike, hover around the Pinnacle, and pelagics such as yellowtail kingfish, trevally and tuna are regular visitors.
Port Jackson sharks are quite common on the bottom lying in the sand.
The Pinnacle can be subject to strong currents and wave surge. Patience is essential waiting for the right conditions but the wait is certainly worth it!
Copyright C 2015 Steve Sinclair
Other great dives to do while you are there:
George Kermode, Pyramid Rock, The Arch, Seal Rocks and The Nobbies.
Phone: (+61) 412 808 798