Diving with Grey Nurse Sharks at Broughton Island


I had the pleasure of diving at Broughton Island (just north of Port Stephens) a couple years back and ever since that time I’ve been counting down the days until when I could return. The experience did not disappoint. A weekend getaway with my wife provided an opportunity to book in for a couple of boat dives.

The weather predictions weren’t great but managed to hold out to provide a couple of beautiful sunny days for diving. The first day we were originally booked to do a deeper dive (the Oakland wreck) but this was cancelled due to a broken mooring line so instead we headed out to Broughton Island (which I had no issue diving twice over two days).

The first day we headed out to Northrock Gutters followed by an exploratory site which the crew was calling ‘Malcolm’s Cove’. Even on a bad day northrocks is an amazing dive site and the conditions and wildlife didn’t disappoint. Northrocks is an amazing site with plenty of greynurse shark presence. The second dive had some very interesting topology and it was enjoyable exploring the various nooks and crannies of the rocky floor looking for different things.

On the second day I was cautiously optimistic in the early morning as the winds were predicted to pick up and we were warned we may not be able to dive Broughton. We headed out there and diving Northrock Gutters again was out of the question due to the direction of the swell, instead we headed to the Looking Glass. The Looking Glass is a cutting right through the island around 16m deep and about 5m wide. The surge can get a bit strong but it was deemed reasonable so we prepared to dive. We geared up and did our buddy checks then jumped in to get ready to descend.

greynurse-leftGoing through the Looking Glass is an unforgettable experience. You start to feel like a part of the ocean as the surge ‘gently’ rocks you forward and backward around 5 metres in places. It’s a bit weird at first but you start to get used to it. Then you see some larger shapes take form in the waters above and in front of you – the grey nurse sharks. While granted their smile looks pretty teethy and they are a scary looking shark, they are completely harmless to humans and generally tolerant of divers being around as long as they aren’t harassed. They can swim past you quite close at times, you can see their eyes swivel about giving you a good once over wondering what these clumsy creatures are doing swimming around in their home. They are beautiful, graceful, intelligent, all at once. It is so sad to think these beautiful sharks are threatened and I do hope the general public will stop believing the lies fed to them in the media about sharks in general and stop underestimating the importance of sharks in the ecosystem of the ocean.

I had my GoPro with me and took plenty of video footage and I have some highlights I’ve edited together and shared below, along with some still images I’ve captured from the video. Most of the shots of the sharks are from the Looking Glass as I didn’t get much great footage from Northrocks due to above mentioned problems. I hope you enjoy some of the highlights from my dives below!

If you have any questions for me about these dives, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for checking this out!