Howies Scuba

Busselton Jetty

Geographe Bay

  • If you have spent any time in WA you will have heard of Busselton Jetty and, if you haven't heard of Busselton Jetty, then you haven't been in WA long enough. Situated in Geographe Bay this 1.8km jetty is just next door to the HMAS Swan wreck site.

  • Since landing in Perth in 2009 (3 years ago as I write) I have wanted to get down to Busselton and dive its iconic jetty and finally I have completed this, and I have to say.............. oh.......... oh well.

  • We had a great day, loved every minute of it, the boys and I had an absloute blast, the jetty whilst not being a disappointment didn't in anyway blow my mind, or even get me really excited. The daft thing is I would happily spend another day down here exploring the jetty even though I am convinced I would not see much more than what we encountered on our dives this time.

  • Its a nice jetty but apart from its length it is a rather unimpressive jetty, very skinny with the Observatory really the only place this dive spot gets any width, and I have to say the area I would highlight about this dive site. The only really disapointing thing about this days dive is we were unable to get air fills in time so that we could complete a night dive we were hoping to get in.

  • But I am not going to put down these dives, I am going to revel in the fact we dived it, survived it and had a great day and yes I do think you should go down and dive it.
  • I don't know who these dodgy looking guys are, but they hassled me all day, even got in the way of my dive. Anyway ignore them, I certainly tried to, more importantly you can see the jetty stretching out behind them.

  • We never took the option of going with one of the local dive operators such as The Dive Shed or Cape Dive. We knew the train which operates along the jetty allows you to take your gear on the train so decided to utilise this option, with hindsight we needed more forsight.

  • This photograph was taken just at the car park by the jetty entrance maybe, 70 meters give or take. The only problem with this was 6 cylinders, 3 complete dive set ups, cameras and chains to lock some gear up, that stuff is very heavy and we hadn't considered that it was going to get wet.
  • When the train arrived I was surprised not to see some type of trailer or trolley for dumping gear in, unfortunately there is only a few little container areas for you to place cylinders and gear and, due to the amount of stuff we had brought, we had to give up one of our seats to gear and the hero of the day Owen walked the length of the jetty, He actually managed to beat us to the end, that's how slow the train moves however, we where here and, ready to dive.
  • Ok dive platform............ locked......... typical the day we wanted to dive they had been doing work on the platform. We had devised a plan about stashing cylinders and gear etc. that was reliant on the platform being open and, before we got on the train this plan looked possible as we were told the platform was open, I told you that train moved slow, I am not kidding.
  • So we were a wee bit reluctant to leave our spare cylinders just lying around, not that I really thought anyone would walk off with them or mess about with them, but more take temptation out of the equation, but we didn't know what else to do. Luckily for us a certain person who will remained unnamed to protect the guilty but good natured (but they know who they are) allowed us to stash the cylinders behind the observatory, which gave us some peace of mind.

  • So as the dive platform was closed we had two options, climb down a 5+ meter skinny arsed ladder into the water or do a 100 meter walk to Allies Landing and use the very broad 1.5 meter ladder. Well we had two cylinders for two dives so we did both, firstly we walked to Allies Landing and the second dive we used the the skinny arsed ladder by the observatory, which nearly killed me on the way back up, getting too old I think, or certainly unfit as the other two are way older than me and they didn't seem to have a problem.

  • So we completed two dives, we were hoping to get a night dive in but due to time constraints we didn't manage to get to the shop for an air fill so, we have that to look forward to in the future. If you wish to do 3 dives then you need to get to the jetty earlier than we did, make sure you book your tickets early as we had to wait over an hour to get on the train and, maybe go mid week as we went on a Saturday and I am sure most weekends the jetty will be busier than a week day.

  • I have to say with this new found wisdom future dives shouldn't be too difficult.

The Topside Rabble

  • Ok you didn't come here to read some old story, you want to see photographs of life under the jetty.

  • Well the next photograph sections are pretty much self explanatory, from Allies Landing we dived towards the Observatory and then returned which is dive 1. Dive 2 we dropped the skinny ladder and dived the other side of the Observatory, simple.

  • Warning: You are supposed to remain 10 meters from the Observatory at all times. There is a large Anchor to the south of the Observatory that is apparratly 7 meters from it, so if you see this just move back a wee bit.

Dive 1

Shore Side


Dive 2

Seaward Side

Dive 1: From Allies Landing we dropped to 6 meters over a rather sparse sandy area, with plenty of seagrass to either side of the jetty which teamed with life, the pylons looked quite new with only a dash of sessile life.

The first few meters or so of the dive you are covered by the jetty and the landing however this narrowed to only the jetty, which quickly bathed the area in a nice soft light.

For the next  50 meters or so this was generally the story, sandy, sparse but with plenty of fish to keep you occupied.

Then you come to the jetty where the train stops and the observatory begins, the jetty broadens out really nicely, and the piles seem to multiply and the area became quite dark, overcast, like walking into a dense forest, really nice eerie feel to it, kind of misty almost.

I really enjoyed this part of the dive, the floor was covered with all kinds of debris, iron tracks jetty pylons and, the marine life just seems to explode.

One of the unusual moments is there massive pylon just before you reach the observatory lying on its side that rolls with the surge. If you look closely you can see how the iron tracks and rocks have cut perfect shapes into the pile fitting like a glove.

Well we reached the observatory, turned back and that was end of dive 1.

Dive 2: We climbed down the slender ladder next to where the train stopped approx. 6 meters and made our way around the outskirts of the observatory and explored the newer area of the jetty that is currently under construction.

There were a few little surprises, like these large cylinders just sitting in the middle of the seabed, and metal pipe sculptures that I am presuming are to encourage some type of marine life habitat, not that we saw much going on and the farmers fence, which makes for a nice photo opportunity. Other than this, the areas marine life appear very similar on both sides of the obseratory.
















  • So what am I going to say about Busselton Jetty, not a lot more than what has already been said. This jetty is not going to blow you away, its not going to make you rave about it to friends, family or fellow divers. It is an iconic and historical site, it is one of those dive sites that you have to be able to say "I have dived there" and nothing more, it's a good dive site, and I am sure the local divers are happy they have it on their door step. We will be going back at some point and I wouldn't do a 5 hour round trip if it were that bad, just don't expect too much and try and just enjoy the day and the privileged we divers have.

  • I will give you a few tips, pearls of wisdom:

    1) If you going to by-pass one of the dive operators
    and why wouldn't you, its not a difficult site, get yourself some kind of a trolley, something from a DIY shop, one of those 4 wheel pulley thing-me-jigs and don't bother with the train, the walk isn't that far.

    2) Definitely check to see if the dive platform is open, then check again............. then make sure you triple check.

    3) If you have 2 cylinders make sure you have a way of securing them, small chain and padlock for the neck and a padlock to chain it to the fence (if you don't have a cylinder handle). I have considered descending with the 2nd cylinders (via the dive platform) and tie them off below the jetty, you would be really unlucky to have them stolen by another diver. Obviously you will have to make sure water doesn't get into the cylinder via the valve. None of this is a problem if you are going to do a single dive.

    4) If you are going to use the train and its going to be busy, it maybe worth purchasing an extra ticket for your gear if there is a small group of you, check this is possible and pre-book through the Jetty shop, the staff are brilliant, if not a little anal about telling about being 10 meters from the observatory.
    Make sure you get the running times, especially the last return train time. remember if you don't book until you get there and it is busy you have to wait until the next available spaces which could be 2 hours on a busy day (dive plan & day just thrown out of the window).

    5) Last but not least "Don't forget the bloody Tim Tams"............ "YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE" (Stevie G)
Conclusion 2,3 & 4
  • Ok just to state the obvious, since completing the first dive, I have completed another 3 dives at the Jetty, and what can I say...... not a lot really. I still really like this dive, and dive 2 was absolutely fantastic, just loads and loads of marine life and the vis was stunning.

  • Unfortunately by the time I got to dive 3 the pylons had been stripped of all its encrusting life due to some type of infestation that was effecting the structural integrity of the pylons and obviously the jetty itself. There was still an abundance of marine life but it felt a bit drab to be honest.

  • Dive 4 was mucky, with really poor vis compared to previous dives, the marine life was also sparse.

  • Since the first dive we have not bothered using the train and I have bought a small 4 wheel garden trolley form Bunning's, similar to what you can rent form the Dive Shed Dive Shop situated over from the jetty. It can easily accommodate 3 sets of gear like we did on dive 4 and we just pulled the trolley together... nice and easy. We just used a bike padlock to secure it at the end of the jetty on the diving platform and descended with the key.

  • Never take anything down the jetty that you are not prepared to lose or have stolen, we kitted up in the car park, loaded up the trolley and and walk down in our wet-suits. Your car keys on the other hand, I recommend either a dive or valet key which will allow you to lock your keys in the car and descend with the valet key, make sure your keys do not have a proximity sensor incorporated for key-less entry as this will trigger whilst in your car. You can also buy surf locks which are unbelievably robust, you just lock your key in it and attach it to your car.

  • Last but not least on dive 4 we actually had a full day of it, so if you think a 5 hour round trip (from Perth) is a bit much for a jetty, you could always incorporate a double dive on the HMAS swan then a single dive or possibly two on the Jetty, like we did in November 2015.

  • We dived the Swan through Cape Dive, we were back on dry land by 1pm, then just tootled off down to the jetty and did a single dive of that. Its a long day (especially only on 3 hours sleep) but we just shared the driving and for once in his life Stevie G remember the Tim Tams..... you see years of nagging does pay off..... 

  • Enjoy....



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