Most divers use Geraldton as a stepping stone to reach the famous islands and reefs of the Houtman Abrolhos. However when we arrived in Geraldton, all dive boats were either in use by the mining industry or had moved down to Perth for the summer to do Rottnest Island or river tours, so there was no possibility to get to the Abrolhos Islands.
But since we were here already, the friendly staff of the only resident dive shop, Batavia Coast Dive Academy, volunteered to take me out on a shore dive off Point Moore which features a wealth of limestone reefs with caves and crevasses and populations of reef and pelagic fish.
The seas were fortunately quite calm and BCDA's resident instructor Corey did a very fine job navigating me and one of their new dive masters in training to some reasonably shallow ledges overhangs.
For me the very first thing that hit me was CRAYS … and then crays, crays and crays. They call them rock lobsters here in WA for obvious reasons and the cray season had just started. Less than 10 minutes into the dive it became very clear to me why over here they call these critters the cockroaches of the sea, as there were literally everywhere on this dive site. Any crevasse or little hole in the reef was packed tight with 'lobsters' … legs and feelers everywhere.
Other things we saw included an apparently well know local moray eel and a good mixture of temperate and tropical fish life including the Margined Coralfish (Chelmon marginalis), schools of stripeys, some very interesting looking pufferfish and much more.
All in all not a bad outing at all and I am glad I decided to take the plunge on the shores of Geraldton. We will however have to come back one day to dive the Abrolhos Islands, so the might have to be an 'Around Australia Underwater' adventure Part II.