Pender Bay, Western Australia, June - November 2010
Pender bay is situated approximately 180 km north of Broome at the Dampier Penninsula in Western Australia. I was staying there for volunteering at Two Moons Whale and Marine Research Station from June to November 2010. The non for profit project was initiated by Andrew Bowles in 2006 (I think...but not entirely sure about the year) to evaluate the numbers of humpback whales migrating up the coast and to get knowledge about Pender Bay as a calving ground for humpback whales. The studies where conducted in cooperation with universities and more recently with WAMSI (Western Australian Marine Science Institute).
Pender Bay has a large variety of marine species ranging from hard corals, soft corals, reef species, pelagic species to large pelagic predators and marine mammals. Due to its remotness the area is still almost untouched and its natural beauty can litterally be felt while diving the waters of Pender Bay. The region has strong tidal movements reaching peaks of about 9 m difference between high and low tides. Thus, strong currents occur and visibility is influenced by the movment of large amounts of water. During my stay the visibility averaged 8 m with maximum visibility of 15 m and a visibility to the point where you just can see your own hand. Visibility was usually slightly better at the reefs close to shore than directly on shore. While skin diving during neap tides is quiet save, you have to carefully plan your dives at high tides. Slack tide is usually the best moment to dive because of low currents and usually better visibility.
Almost all of the videos an pictures I took were taken close to shore. Unfortunately the few shots I took at the reefs a bit further out didnt turn out too well. Still, you can get a good impression of the beauty and diversity of the rough nature of Pender Bay.