Rapid Bay Jetty on the Fleurieu Peninsula is about an hour and a half drive from Adelaide. It is Diving Adelaide’s most popular shore dive due to the fact that it’s the home of several Leafy Sea Dragons. Most of our conducted Leafy Sea Dragon tours take place at Rapid Bay Jetty. Quite often our customers ask: “But will we be likely to see a Leafy Sea Dragon on a shore dive?” and the answer is YES! The Leafy Sea Dragons actually live underneath the jetty at Rapid Bay so there isn’t a better way of seeing them.
The Rapid Bay Jetty actually consists of two jetties right next to each other. There is one old jetty, which is no longer accessible to the public, and a new jetty that is open to the public to dive and fish from. Scuba divers dive across from the new to the old jetty (as this is where the “Leafies” live and there is much more to see under the old jetty compared to the new jetty). To enter you can simply access the water from a nice platform and easy stairs that are located towards the end of the new jetty. There aren’t any toilets (or other facilities) located close to the jetty, but you can find toilets at the Rapid Bay Camping ground that you’ll see on your right before the Rapid Bay Jetty parking area. As there is no kiosk or anything similar here, make sure you bring enough food and drinks.
Rapid Bay is not only a very popular site because of high chances of spotting Leafy Sea Dragons, but also because the old jetty is a beautiful dive site and a photographer’s dream itself. The old jetty pylons are beautiful overgrown with soft corals in a multitude of colours! You’ll find sponges and ascidians in bright colours like yellow, orange, purple and blue. You can find lots of colourful nudibranchs, (pygmy) leatherjackets, cowfish, and massive schools of old wives and pufferfish and much more.
The big schools of fish tend to hang out around the T-Section, which is a little further along the jetty. One of our favourite photography moments is when the sun is out and you see rays shining straight through the old jetty through the water underneath. If you’re lucky you will meet one of the massive local Bull Rays, which are very friendly and usually quite curious! Don’t be surprised if they circle you a couple of times!
Even though it’s a jetty, navigating this site can be a bit daunting if you haven’t dived it before. This is mainly because of its strange shape towards the end and the fact that compasses don’t work properly underneath the (metal) structure. Have a look at our Diving Adelaide Leafy Sea Dragon page if you’re interested in taking a Leafy Sea Dragon Tour with us or contact us directly!