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Rowley Shoals Liveaboard Diving

Remote Liveaboard Diving In Stunning Isolation On Pristine Reefs That Fewer Than 200 Dive In October Each Year

Popular Rowley Shoals liveaboards

Liveaboard Diving in Rowley Shoals

Rowley Shoals liveaboard diving is the only way to access one of Australia’s most remote dive locations to join fewer than 200 other divers who dive this isolated and pristine location in October each year. Liveaboards depart from Broome and dive Mermaid and Clerke Reef atolls in stunning isolation.

The only way to scuba dive Rowley Shoals is by Australia liveaboard that take divers to one of the most unspoilt places to dive in the world. Rowley Shoals is about 300 kilometres (188 miles) from Broome in Western Australia, on the North Western coast of Australia.

If you get to dive the Rowley Shoals, you will be a part of only a select few that have this amazing experience. To dive Rowley Shoals you need to have an Open Water Diver certification, or equivalent, and have a minimum of 20 completed dives. You will complete around 26 dives in total, which include a night dive at Clerke Reef.

Rowley Shoals is one of planet Earth’s true watery wildernesses to explore and enjoy, where you will find some of the world’s most spectacular diving and snorkelling sites at Rowley Shoals Marine Park.

Rowley Shoals is made up of three coral atolls, which are Clerke Reef, Imperieuse Reef and Mermaid Reef. It has untouched coral gardens, with amazing marine life and gin-clear lagoons. The three atolls have shallow lagoons with an abundance of marine life and colourful coral.

The marine life seen at Rowley Shoals includes sharks (sharks include whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, tiger sharks), sailfish, dog tooth tuna, turtles, cuttlefish, bumphead parrotfish, giant potato cod, Spanish mackerel and coral fish galore. On top of this list of marine life, there is also the chance to spot humpback whales too.

When you snorkel in the lagoons and within the channels between the reef there are both gentle and strong currents to propel you through the lagoons.

At the Rowley Shoals, you’ll be scuba diving with visibility in excess of 60 metres (197 feet) and with an average water temperature of 27°C (80.6°F). The diving is in beautiful coral gardens, which is home to giant clams, wrasse, Giant Potato Cod, sharks and many tropical fish.

Dive Sites of Rowley Shoals

Mermaid Reef Diving

Your Rowley Shoals liveaboard cruise will usually spend a couple of days at Mermaid Reef. This will give you plenty of time to scuba dive and snorkel this superb dive location.

Swimming at Mermaid Reef includes crystal clear lagoons, cave dives and swim-throughs. The diving at Mermaid Reef will include exhilarating drift dives that take you from outside the atoll and into the lagoon.

It is the presence of these currents that keeps the corals bright and pristine, which includes giant Gorgonian fans that sway in the currents. These currents are the result of the dramatic 5 metre (16 feet) tides that pour massive volumes of water in and out of these isolated coral atolls.

Two perfect dive spots at Mermaid Reef include Vee in the Wall, Odyssey Alley and Cod Hole. These two dive sites are on the outer sections of the atoll, which means divers can enjoy the reef itself, whilst at the same time glancing out into the deeper ocean to catch a glimpse of sharks, sailfish or even humpback whales.

When you snorkel or dive Mermaid Reef you’ll swim with large schools of small reef fish together with the big stuff too, such as potato cod, green turtles, dog tooth tuna and sharks.

There is no recreational nor commercial fishing permitted around Mermaid Reef.

Clerk Reef Diving

Clerke Reef is an atoll close to Mermaid Reef and includes diving to suit all levels of experience. Similar to Mermaid Reef, Clerke Reef has a sheltered turquoise lagoon too. You can explore this lagoon and enjoy a lazy drift dive.

You will often be able to experience a night dive here, where you’ll see whitetip reef sharks resting on the bottom and you may also see the large potato cod too.

One of the dive sites located at Clerke Reef is the Aquarium dive site where you’ll find clear warm waters and a healthy coral ecosystem with plenty of marine life too. South Park is another dive site to enjoy, which includes swim-throughs where you’ll discover sharks and pelagic fish. Then there’s Jimmy goes to China dive site which is home to large sharks and pelagic fish.

Then there is one of the most adrenalin pumped dives you will do, which is aptly named “The Rollercoaster“, which is an exhilarating drift dive/snorkel through Clerke Reef channel. During this drift dive/snorkel, you will drift past corals, drifting faster and faster as the tide propels you out of the lagoon and onto the edge of a plunging midnight blue abyss.

Rowley Shoals – Odyssey Expeditions Dive Trip – November 2021

How to Get to Rowley Shoals

The only way to get to the Rowley Shoals is by liveaboard boat. Odyssey is one of only a few charter boats that take guests to this remote location. Broome, in North Western Australia is the most common departing point for liveaboard cruises to Rowley Shoals.

The best way to get to Broome is by internal flight from Perth International airport in Western Australia. If you don’t live in Perth, there are many flights that connect to the airport from around the world and from different cities of Australia.

When Can You Dive Rowley Shoals?

The Rowley Shoals have one of the shortest dive seasons, and runs from September through December each year. This means that no more than 200 people dive this isolated and pristine location each year, which means you need to book on a liveaboard sooner rather than later to avoid missing out.

How far from Broome to Rowley Shoals

Rowley Shoals Marine Park lies 300 kilometres (188 miles) west of Broome in Western Australia.

Is the Rowley Shoals in Australian waters?

Rowley Shoals is in Australian waters and is regarded as the most perfect example of shelf-edge atolls, as they are located right on the edge of the continental shelf in the Indian Ocean.

How long does it take to get to Rowley Shoals from Broome?

The trip from Broome to the Rowley Shoals takes around 12 hours, subject to sea conditions, which is why this remote diving location is an Australian liveaboard only snorkelling and diving location.

Can you fish at Rowley Shoals?

Recreational fishing can be enjoyed in most areas of the Rowley Shoals marine park, but special rules apply in some zones. Rowley Shoals Marine Park consists of three zone types:

  1. ‘No-take’ sanctuary zones.
  2. Recreation zones and a general use zone.

You can fish from the Rowley Shoals liveaboards on your trip and they will know which zones to fish in and what the rules are around the fishing rights.

Rowley Shoals Snorkeling

Rowley Shoals is the perfect place for snorkelling and free diving as wells as scuba diving. You’ll find some of the world’s most spectacular snorkelling sites at each of Clerke Reef, Imperieuse Reef and Mermaid Reef.

I hope you enjoyed this page about Rowley Shoals liveaboard diving

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Rowley Shoals liveaboard diving), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

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