Solitary Islands Marine Park
Big Fish, Big Cave, Big Depth,…. Big Dive!!
This has some Big Mean Fish…!!
Pimpernel Rock is located right on the North western point of Solitary Islands Marine Park. It is a advanced dive site on it’s best day, because of a few factors; The sheer depth of the site, and the vunerability of currents
Drawing courtesy of Tom Byron
Pimpernel Rock has no mooring, it can be accessed by an anchor line placed in the correct position, however, you cannot dive the area from a private boat without a permit to do so. So the area is usually dived by one of the charter boats that travel to the site.
The site is not always friendly! Any current can be difficult and more than slight current, can make it a challenge beyond diver’s ability to get down to the site!
This area is known for Large Pelagics including big Kingfish and Mulloway and common sightings of Grey Nurse Sharks in the deeper cave areas.
Pimpernal Rock is mind blowing when you get the conditions right! The descent down the peak leads you into the entrance of the Cave that is more of a huge swim thru than a cave.
This cave is the size of a tunnel that would allow a Semi Trailer Truck thru! Within the cave is deep water marine life. Sea whips and Sea Tulips are something that you notice that are different, as these species don’t thrive in shallow depths. The Bottom of the Cave is 39 metres and areas around can get deeper. Your dive time is very limited with the depth, but if you multi-level with the use of computers, you will extend your bottom times.
Nitrox can be an amazing difference in this site, especially if you plan 2 dives on the area.
Dive times are relatively short but offers some amazing animals for our area. To have Kingfish and Mulloway cruise close to you and know they are bigger than you is nothing short of exciting! Truely an Advanced to very Advanced Dive-site and should be done only with extra preparation and planning!
What you’ll see at Pimpernel Rock..
What you see on most dives!
What you might see, if you’re lucky!
Hazards or Dangers
Currents: Depending on the East Aussie Current, Pimpernel Rock can be exposed to quite strong currents, this can make it difficult to start and finish the dive in the same location. (The Pimpernel Rock gutter itself is usually calm)
The current usually heads from north to south around the Rock, and can be too strong to swim against. Pimpernel Rock on a small current day, is a great to Dive. Beware! The current at this point can swing divers out into the deep blue sea!
Be careful if you are diving from a boat without a surface watch! We do not recommend this in this area with that current!
We run charter Dive Trips on calmer days, If there is no current and looking good, we start at the Jetty Dive shop EARLY!! Pimpernel Rock is 1.5+ hours north by boat and due to the extended distance we charge an extra $60 per diver with a minimum of 10 divers and a maximum of 12 divers, diving in 3 groups led by our Divemasters or Instructors.
Minimum experience is Advanced Open Water with at least 20 dives recently including Deep Diving.