Jervis Bay has long been recognised as one of the finest bays in New South Wales, if not Australia. Its popularity with divers has increased steadily over recent years, as its visually dramatic and biologically diverse features have become better known. Many previous articles have concentrated, however, on the Bay’s outside waters, where the underwater scenery is characterised by massive sandstone blocks, arches, caves and deep water.
The waters within the Bay, cradled by Bherwerre and Beecroft Peninsulas, offer divers a variety of underwater experiences unrivalled anywhere on the east coast. This bay houses a wide range of tidal and Subtidal habitats supporting a wealth of marine plants and animals. While many of the species are also found elsewhere along Australia’s eastern and southern coasts, taken as a whole, there are few, if any places in Australia where such a diversity of marine habitats and biota occur in such a relatively small and accessible area, close to major population centres. The plants and animals group together into very diverse communities. Many species occur here at the northern and southern extremes of their ranges. Some plants occur at greater depths because of the deeper penetration of light into the Bay’s clear waters.