from 1 reviews
PADI Dive Center
Banana Coast Divers
312 Harbour Drive
New South Wales
1st July 2012 by Taezar
Fastest Boat by Far
Visit Date: December 2010
There are a couple of choices for diving out of Coffs to enjoy the amazing diving of the South Solitary Islands (Split was my favourite site by far). This location is a fantastic day stop if you are heading down to Sydney from Brisbane or the reverse though to really enjoy the location you need to spend a few days. The diving here is spectacular (though cold even in the height of Summer) and it is a bit of a journey from Coffs to the dive sites.
Mark's boat (ex Special Forces RIB similar to a large Zodiac) has two huge 200 horse power motors on the back. So while the other dive companies spend the best part of the day slowly making their way out over the swell, Mark's Water Rat powers across the top of the ocean, getting you to the dive site first each day (so you take your break while the other divers are in the water), then second dive you have the primo site of the day to yourself again!
I found the guiding a bit average, but I think that was mainly because all of the divers bar myself were just doing one day of diving (double dive) whereas I was there for the week, and generally without a lot of dives under their belts. So while they were low on air at 40 mins, I was still over 100bar. Mark did buddy me up a couple of times with his wife so I could enjoy the bottom time more, and I would hang out around the anchor line for macro photography opportunities after the divers had surfaced if I was not buddied up.
The only negatives are that it can be a bit rough on board during the break (couple of times guests were throwing up from sea sickness) due to the size of the boat, and also there is no ladder to get back on board. This meant that most of the time, getting back on board was a pain in the behind.
There is a youth hostel attached to the dive shop (or vice versa) which was clean and serviceable, but there was NO air-conditioning in the rooms and it was often 30c at night in the rooms with the fan going. There are accommodation and dive packages available, and Mark was able to arrange a good discount on my dives given I was diving every day.
Please note though, there was a service charge to use a credit card - so check first if this is still in place, and just pay by cash instead if so.