Howies Scuba

Scuba Diving Perth WA

Shore Diving


CY O'Connor Reserve - South Fremantle WA.


  • Shore Dive: Jetty Dive.

  • Depth: Max 8 meters.

  • Diveable length of jetty: Approx. 120 meters. No actual jetty remains just the broken down pylon's, which gives you a guided area in which to dive within. There is also sea grass beds to the left (Southerly) side of the jetty broadening the actual dive site. 
  • The pylons are not visible from the shore but if you make your way to the statue of CY O'Conner (suicidal engineer) that's sits approx. 50 meters in the water and, also there is part of an old boat sitting on the shore line, you will see just approx. 20 - 30 meters to the left of the statue as you stand on the shore in the waters edge the beginning of the old jetty, take a bearing from this marker,  approximate bearing of 245 degrees WSW and do a surface swim for approx. 120 meters max. Keep your head in the water and you should see the remnants of the old jetty, when these become a little more obvious, descend, should be at about 5.5 meters at this point.
  • Visibility: Perfect day 10 meters...... Poor day 1 - 2 meters...... Average 6 meters. 
  • The main dangers with this shore dive is the fact it is in open water and you can potentially get boat traffic overhead, so make sure you take a dive flag and if you need to ascend quickly make sure you have your head up, looking around and keep an ear out for boat traffic. I remember diving with Andy A in October 2010 and we both could hear boat traffic, it sounded like it was right on top of us, when we surfaced it was about 0.5 km away, so the noise should hopefully give you a good warning that boat traffic is in the area but don't take that for granted. 
  • I love Robbs Jetty, one of my favourite shore dives, it gives you that sense of safety a jetty dive gives you in the respects of having boundaries set by the old broken down pylons but also, has that freedom of being out in the open water. Unlike Ammo Jetty which feels confined, Robbs has a total freedom to its make up as there is no actual overhead jetty anymore and the site gets bathed in day light. That said the nature of such an open area is you never know what you are going to get but with Ammo you pretty much guaranteed some kind of consistency. 
  • You will know when you have come to the end of the jetty area as it just turns into sand, with nothing obvious in front of you, when that happens you have reached the end of the jetty. Obviously if you decide to go and explore the sea-grass area then this changes the dynamic of the site. 
  • At the end of the jetty (open water end) if you take an approximate bearing along 150 degrees SSE for approx. 80 meters you should hit the seagrass. Don't get turned around the beach is roughly East, worse case scenario you have a bit of walk back to where you entered the dive site.
  • This shore dive has a nice blend of macro life and the potential to see larger sea life. I have one minute been checking out tiny Nudibranches and Wavy Grubfish, and a huge school of Yellowtail will swim past or a Ray will swim overhead. 
  • The bottom make up is one of silty sand but not as fine as Ammo Jetty and no where as bad as Rockingham Dive Trail. Simple rules apply, try and stay 1 meter above the seabed and do slow shallow kicks, when you need to descend do it slowly, if silt stirs up take a moment and it will settle. This is a nice shallow dive so loads of bottom time.
  • NOTE: Many moons ago people used to park on Robb Road and make their way to the site via the old cattle path, we don't do this any more due to breaking in of vehicles.
  • This site is about 15 minutes away from the City of Fremantle, its about 20 minutes from Rockingham and, about 40 minutes from Perth CBD.

  • You need to get onto Cockburn Road and turn onto McTaggart Cove. Page 346 UBD Street Directory of Perth.

  • Follow McTaggart Cove and drive over the train tracks and park in the car park at the end of McTaggart, this is a dog park car park so can get busy.

  • Park up and kit up, if you are a bit shy I think there are toilets and showers just by the entrance to the car park. Make sure all your possessions are not on view and your car is secure.

  • Head to the North Westerly corner of the park you will see a sand path over the dunes to the beach (Dune of Death), take this, when on the beach you need to decide whether to enter here (I do every time) or walk up the beach and enter at the beginning of the old jetty.
  • NOTE: The first entrance I will describe I will use this every time, just think about this for a brief second, as a novice diver would you want to have 160 meters of jetty to aim for or just 15 meters...... I thought so 160 meters every time.

  • Head directly into the water after coming over the sand dune, at the waters edge take a bearing of approx. 300 degrees WNW, a bearing of 295 degrees will put you in the middle of the jetty, may be wise to do this the first time. You can either swim on top of the water or descend after a few minutes, just keep your heading.

  • If you have not seen the Jetty after approx. 5 minutes, ascend check your bearings, if you have swam past the statue of C Y O'Connor and are not too far from the shore you have missed it and the chances are not by much, you have most probably swam in a more Northerly direction than required, reverse your direction making adjustments to your compass heading.

  • You can if you wish walk up to the old beginning of the Jetty and swim directly out to it. You will have to walk approx. 150 meters along the beach. Look for the Statue of C Y O'Connor he is approx. 50 meters in the water.

  • Approx. 30 meters South of the statue on the beach in the shallow water you will see the old concrete posts that use to be the beginning of the old jetty. Take a heading from this approx. South Westerly 245 degrees, you will now be doing a surface swim for approx. 120 meters max. Keep your eyes peeled you only have 15 meters to aim for, in good vis this isn't a problem as the jetty pylons, even the small sporadic ones will be visible.

Life at Robbs Jetty




  • The Cardinalfish are beautifully coloured fish, with their rusty red body and fine bluish coloured pinstripe .
  • When diving at Robbs check out the top of the pylons, where it has been eroded you find that there is an explosion of life in these little craters. I have found that the Cardinalfish like to hang out around these (left) and cautiously check you out.
  • Cardinal fish brood their young in their mouth, hence the name Gobbleguts.



  • The Western Talma are one of the easiest fish to recognise, with its broad body and its wide distinctive black/silver banding.
  • Talmas were one of the first fish I saw when diving in Perth waters. However there is something non-descript about their presence when diving. You will see plenty of them but generally they will go unrecognised. I think this because they go about their business and don't get caught up in all the commotion a diver can bring to a site. I guess we're neither interesting or important enough for them.


  • Cheeky..... yep.... definitely cheeky. The Brown Spotted Wrasse at Robbs seem a playful bunch, its almost as if they want to play tag.
  • They will dart in and out and play all around you, they will flick sand and chase your fins.
  • Now I am not 100% sure but I believe this is due to some type territorial behaviour, there appears no genuine aggression but then, I have never had a fight with a fish before.
  • They wont let you get too close but you can get close enough to get a nice picture as they laze about or feed.



  • Look at the size of that sail and those lips...... HUGE! you wouldn't want to give these sweeties a kiss in case it poked your eye out.
  • I am unsure if these young guys (left) are confused, "when I grow up I want to be just like you" (brother from another mother).  
  • Actually maybe it was me that was confused, when I took this photograph I though it was a pair of Crested Morwongs as I had only noticed the Morwong on the left, it was about a month later it dawned on me it that the little fella on the right was juvenile Western Talma.


  • These are the Grand Daddies of Robbs Jetty, they are the largest fish you will see around the site.
  • They usually reside on the south side of the jetty, you may swim past them as sometimes they will sit motionless on the floor next to the broken pylons.
  • You can at times find them hiding in the small sea grass beds to the side of the jetty.
  • This beauties can grow to approx. 1 meter in length.



  • Striped Trumpeters have a swim bladder at the back of the skull, they contract this bladder when stressed and create a croaking sound, I guess the name makes sense to me now.
  • I dont know why they're called Shitty though, do I really want to know?
  • They like to feed off algae as you can see by this school (top) and this picture was taken in spring when Robbs was full of particles. The particles took a good 1 - 2 meters off the vis that day, the week before it was near perfect.


  • This was a wonderful moment at Robbs Jetty.
  • On my way back a large school of YellowTails blocked my path (left). I slowly swam towards them and they dispersed slightly.
  • As they seemed to get accustomed to my presence they let me edge closer until I was completely surrounded by them.
  • I just sat there in the middle of this giant school as they just circled.
  • This is one of my favourite moments, (video).
  • I always feel so privileged when a school of fish will allow you in their company, it feels brilliant. 



  • Wavy Grubfish are feisty, inquisitive little fish, they will check you out whilst you are checking everything else out.
  • They will dart into your space, perch themselves on their ventral fins and give you a good glare, then scoot off, and then maybe nip back one more time just for good measure.
  • They remind me of that annoying, loveable relative that needs to be in every photograph at a wedding.
  • You will see a lot of these little guys around sandy/rubble areas, especially around jetties.



  • Shaws Cowfish is not uncommon around the local jetties but you are more likely to see the females rather than the males.
  • The females markings vary in colour compared to the blue of the males, with brown, orange and white striping.
  • Boxfish have the ability to release poisonous toxins into the environment to kill off predators.......
  • So don't drink the water, because we know you all pee in it.......... 


  • I love this picture (top), it is as if the Boxfish is playing hide and seek, and saying "ooooohh you have caught me"
  • I have seen many Western Smooth Boxfish and feel that visually anyway, they're more abundant than Shaws Cowfish, but who's counting, certainly not me.
  • Most you will encounter will be females, they usually come closer to shore than males, the males are a lot larger. I believe I saw a male at Ammo Jetty and it was at least 2 - 3 times the surface area than the females. (see Ammo Videos)


  • You will see plenty of schools of these, especially during the warmer months.


  • Rough Bullseye apparently like to come out at night, hence the large eyes, and prefer to hide during the day in dark corners. That said I have seen plenty during daylight hours.
  • There is a pipe approximately 1/3 of the way down the site if you take a peek in there, you will surely find a small group of Bullseyes, a torch maybe required. (left) these guys are foraging on the outside of the pipe. 



  • I have only noticed these fish once here and once at Rockingham DT.
  • They blend nicely with seagrass, so I question whether they are more common than I have noticed. 


  • These fish can get up to 5kg in weight and, are the most valuable scalefish caught in Australia.
  • Its' good job I don't fish, otherwise........



  • Usually in the spring months you can get to see Batfish at Robbs, you can see these also at Ammo & RWT.
  • One of my favourite moments at Robbs was this school of of Batfish in a bout 1.5 meters of water, right on the shoreline swaying in the surge.
  • There was a matriarch keeping me a good meter distance from the main school.
  • As I moved it just manoeuvred itself between me and the school.... Brilliant.

  • Over the past 12 months 2012-13 there has been a large increase in this and other venomous fish around the dive sites.
  • This could be due to a warm winter in 2012 as some of the usually suspects have decided to move on this following winter.
  • I have to say I do love the irony of the names of these fish considering they have poisonous spines.


  • Another critter that attempted to make a long term stay during the winter months has been these beautiful Lionfish.
  • The dive sites where awash with these last 12 months and there seemed no end in sight to their growing dominance.
  • Again this is most probably due to a mild winter last year as this year they have currently left Robbs.
  • Look for these in the first pipe north side of the jetty, watch your fingers.


  • The rough Flutemouth is a great looking fish.
  • You will be hard press to see these due to there very slender make up, but once you do, you will chase it about the site trying to get a better look.
  • These fish are not only difficult to see but fast as lightening, with a flick of the tail they are gone.




  • There are a only few nooks and crannies I have noticed where these guys hang out.
  • They don't appear to be as abundant as they do at Ammo, but there is a lot more distraction here than at Ammo due to its larger size, so keep your eyes open.
  • Also over recent months 2012/13 there has been a lot of occy pots being placed around the jetty, so maybe the fisherman know more than us.



  • This was one of those great moments that you only get, when you're down and wet.
  • My wonder Buddy had her bionic eyes on again (I don't know how she does it) and she noticed this beauty swimming along. I tell you, you would of swam straight on past if it had already settled in place, look how well it can blend into its' environment............. perfect. 
  • Now I have read that Cuttlefish can be so inquisitive that it appears that they are being aggressive. As this was the first time I had encountered a Cuttlefish I didn't take any chances and kept a fair distance, approx. 1.5 meters.
  • You can see from this photograph (right) that it is beginning to flare its tentacles so, I didn't  push my luck this time. 





  • These are my favourite Sharks and the one and only time I have seen a Port Jackson in the open water.
  • I have to thank Andy A for spotting this just before we were about to surface. We sat with it briefly before it swam off but, not before I got my pictures and a little bit of video. One of my best moments so far diving.



  • This little guy was a fortunate shot. I was just descending at about 4 meters and hadn't even set up the camera when I noticed it sitting high on its fins.
  • It was just about swimming off and I just hit the shutter button and hoped for the best. Luckily for me and with a little bit of software I was able to salvage a half decent photograph. 


  • I need to get a book on Nudi's, there is just so many of them. 
  • Here are just a couple enjoy.
  • Actually there is an excellent website that is cataloguing Nudis' called Nudi Pixel

  • The warty Nudi's are my favourite, look at the blue colouring to the spots, stunning. 



  • I think the contrast between the brown Star(Ecinaster Varicolor) and the cream of the ribbon is fantastic.
  • Who needs interior designers, certainly not Robbs Jetty.
    • This beautiful Nudibranch egg ribbon belongs to the very large Burgundy Asteronotus.
    • I have only seen the Burgundy Asteronotus at Robbs jetty, likes to come out at night and on silty days.
    • See dark mound behind eggs, this is the Asteronotus.
    • I think the contrast between the brown Star(Ecinaster Varicolor) and the cream of the ribbon is fantastic.
    • Who needs interior designers, certainly not Robbs Jetty.



    • Beautiful and painful, I brushed passed a Feather Star and, one of the feathers broke off in my skin, I had a small lump and a little bit of discomfort for about a week, like a small mozzy bite, so be careful.


    • I haven't got a clue what they were doing but they were all doing it, must be something in the water. 



    • Some time ago in the far off distant past, a shipment or part shipment of bottles where lost to the vast 8 meter depths that is Robbs Jetty (can you tell I don't know the actual story). Robbs Jetty has been used for lots of shipping deliveries, including cattle many a moon ago, the jetty was demolished in the 1960s', and this was one of Perth main industrial areas, until people want to live by the beach, that's right suburbia moved in.
    • That said these bottles have now become a natural part of this environment and in doing so various sea creatures live within and around it, so please don't remove any bottles from the site, they do make for some interesting little photographs.
    • Being a fish is hard you know, and they require just as much R&R as we do, just ask the little Wavy Grubfish stopping for a swift one after a hard days work before he returns home to the wife and kids.
    • Oh yeah if the sentimental stuff doesn't grab you then, maybe one of the Blue Ringed Octopus that occasionally reside within the bottles will, just to let you know they are highly venomous and extremelly deadly......................enjoy. 


    There is only one problem I have with diving at Robbs Jetty.

    Bloody Coca Cola have got sponsorship everywhere and I'm a Pepsi Man myself.

    That said Andy A couldn't resist and got himself a drink.

    Thirsty work this diving lark.



    (No bottles were harmed in the making of this picture)



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