Discover black coral, seals, colourful sponges and some of the Southern Hemisphere's most impressive shipwrecks scuba diving off the Albany coast.
While the Island reefs are amazing, there are two great wreck dives close to Albany, including the HMAS Perth, sunk off Albany in King George Sound in November 2001. The decommissioned missile destroyer is 133m long and sits 35m below the surface at its deepest point with its mast sticking out above the water. The Perth was prepared before being scuttled so divers can safely swim over the entire ship.
The SS Cheynes III Whaler was scuttled 20 years ago off Michaelmas Island and was the first wreck prepared and sunk for divers in the Southern Hemisphere. Home to an exciting world of colourful corals, sea dragons and exotic fish, the wreck takes 30 minutes to reach by boat, so those interested should contact one of Albany's three local dive shops, Albanydive.com, Albany Scuba Diving, and South Coast Dive Supplies.
There are a couple of great shore diving locations in Albany. While reef diving around Albany is quite deep, Two Peoples Bay and Cheynes Beach to the east offer protected sites at a wide range of depths catering for divers of all levels. The fishing is good here and underwater photographers should get a couple of great snaps. If you're looking for someone to take you there, South Coast Diving Supplies is the only operator able to access these sites. They are also the only ones to regularly visit the largely unexplored West Cape Howe, WA's southern most tip.
If you're travelling with a family, or would simply rather watch your partner take the plunge, Albany Scuba Diving takes tour groups out on Silver Star's 50ft, fully licensed, totally luxurious catamaran. The vessel holds up to 79 people and small children are welcome, although must be fully supervised at all times. Stocked daily with The Naked Bean's freshly roasted coffee, this is the perfect tour if you want to dive and your partner wants to sit back and enjoy the cruise.
You don't need any diving experience to participate in a scuba tour as all operators offer introductory dives that are fully supervised at all times. If you'd rather do your beginner's certificate in Albany, but can't spare a full day away from the city, you can actually study part time with Albanydive.com. They send you a manual or CD-rom so you can study at home, so once you get to town you only have to spend three days training.
All dive shops provide a complete diving service including gear hire, air fills, retail sales, package deals and instruction ranging from beginner through to dive master classes. If diving in deep areas makes you a little nervous, all operators will put you in situations where you can dive safely on the most appropriate sites, making sure you get the most out of your scuba experience.