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“Fantastic diving with Grey Nurse Sharks”
Review of Dive Forster

Dive Forster
Ranked #3 of 10 Tours in Forster
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Forster's only PADI Dive Centre. Our dive boat is rated as being one of the best on the NSW coast, and we have a year round population of Grey Nurse Sharks.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic diving with Grey Nurse Sharks”
Reviewed 2 April 2013

I am surprised that there are not more reviews for Dive Forster on Trip Advisor! I booked a double boat dive for myself, partner and his brother for Easter Saturday to Seal Rocks.

Pros:
* Dive shop is easy to locate with plenty of off street parking nearby
* Rental equipment appeared to be of good quality and well maintained. Mid range BC's, regs and computers. BC's were mostly weight integrated from what i could see (i have my own gear, partner hired though)
* Plenty of steel tanks available for hire
* Diving was fantastic. First dive at Big Rock with the Grey Nurses was amazing. We saw at least 20 sharks, up to three metres, in very close proximity. Informed that there are approx. 200 in this area
* Plenty of time to relax and observe the aquatic life. Didn't feel rushed to move on quickly
* Having never dived with Grey Nurses before, our DM Gary made us feel comfortable and confident
* Diving experience will depend upon a number of factors but weather was ideal, water was warm, visibility was great (15 metres plus), little surgey though on second dive
* Maximum depth approx. 25 metres. Good for all divers. No need for AOW
* DM was very safety conscious and knew where all group members were at all times
* Boat skipper Gabs was great. Really knew what she was doing (according to partner who is a skipper also, i know very little)
* Good wash area at dive shop

Cons:
* We were not told that we needed to drive to Seal Rocks ourselves when we booked
* Decent wait for boat to arrive from Forster to Seal Rocks
* There are no food facilities on board. Tea and coffee is provided in between dives and basic biscuits. For the price, something more substantial would be appreciated given the amount of time you are out on the water (e.g fruit platter)
* Boat felt small for the number of divers and amount of equipment on board. Felt a bit chaotic at times and not a lot of space to gear up and load weights etc
* No formal introduction or welcome by crew that i can remember

Tips:
* Book early, especially if it is for diving on a long weekend as it books out early
* If you are prone to sea sickness, take something before you get on board. It can get quite rough and numerous divers were vomiting on our trip
* Eat a good breakfast in the morning and bring a light snack to eat before you get on the boat at Seal Rocks whilst you are waiting for it to arrive
* Bring a camera if you have one. You'll be kicking yourself if you don't!

Would i recommend Diver Forster to fellow divers? Yes, and i'll be back with my brother and his partner next time. Diving with the Grey Nurse Sharks at Seal Rocks is not a dive you could get sick of at all.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank djk085
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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34 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Amazing Sites!”
Reviewed 19 January 2013

Would have been better if they were on time, but the first site we went to was one of the best dives we have ever had - heaps of Grey Nurse Sharks right up close - fantastic!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Trackles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“I've had better experiences”
Reviewed 17 April 2012

The dive shop is like any other that I've been in. It's easy to get to and easy to park. Everyone is friendly and hospitable and great for getting equipment sorted. A bit disorganised but with 20 divers stumbling into the shop at 6am to find weights and weight belts etc I guess thats normal.
Once the gear was loaded onto the boat I was handed my second tank. I was slightly puzzled so I asked what I'm supposed to do with it and I was told that I would be transporting the spare tanks of 4 mates in my group in the car on the way to the beaches near Seal Rocks.
I said "Thats strange, I thought we were going by boat" and they said "No mate, petrol is too expensive like that. You just follow us to the beaches. Only about a 45 minute drive."

So 45 minutes and a quarter of a tank of petrol later we arrive at the beach. Absolutely amazing scenery, you could not ask for a better spot. At the same time I'm wondering whats happening with the boat? There's no way the boat will get anywhere near the shore especially with all that gear on it.
Anyway about 40 minutes later, yes the boat was late in arriving, but no worries as I said the scenery is paradise. You can watch it all day.
I start to realise we need to swim out to the boat in our snorkelling gear; interesting.
The ride out to seal rocks was a shocker! Nothing the dive company can do about it of course but you must take sea sickness tablets!
We gear up and my partner who was very sea sick at that moment was told to jump in immediately so she would feel better. As she jumps and hits the water she pops up and declares that her weight belt fell right off! She has to get back on the boat while the DM's sort her another weight belt while the skipper makes very angry and sarcastic comments how she must be more careful. One of the DM's tells me that they've had problems with those weightbelts for ages and the more of them that are on the bottom, the better he feels. Everyone I spoke to felt their weightbelts were dodgy.
So everything sorted we jump in with our female DM ready to see some grey nurse sharks! As we head down I notice our DM is signalling for us all to fall into a line behind her. Apparently she wants us to follow her one by one with everyones fins in everyones faces and boy was she strict about it! I also noticed she was constantly checking her air.
We get to a ledge and she makes sure everyone is on the ledge holding on and bunched up together in a line. Then she point up to the grey nurse sharks. There were about 7 or 8 of them. It was hurting my neck to be looking up and also being jostled around by close proximity to other divers so I kicked off the ledge and moved backwards to have a more relaxing view. Wrong move! The DM swam right over to me, grabbed me by the arm and brought me back to the ledge gesticulating angrily. After about 10 minutes of that, she leads everyone off to explore the surrounding area, again constantly checking her air and seeming completely dis-interested in the group or the surroundings. I had about 110 bar when she signalled everyone to start ascending the rope. I didn't understand as we all had more than half a tank and we were all thinking "No way she wants to end the dive...really?" The answer was....Really.
So we all got out of the water and we were all looking at each other in bewilderment wondering what happened. No word from the DM, apparently there was no emergency to ascend. She just looked happy to be out of the water.
So we take the boat back to the beach. We had to don our gear, hop off the boat climb up the beach in full gear to our cars where our spare tanks were kept and change them over and have a surface interval while the 2nd group started swimming out to the boat for their go at Seal Rocks.
3 hours of surface interval later, the boat comes back and we don our full gear again, climb down from the cars to the beach and swim out to the boat. We end up going about 200 meters just to the rocks off the beach for a wonderful fantastic dive. No DM, just your mates and heaps of fish, coral, turtles, octopus, morays etc. What a fantastic dive with lots to explore! A great beginners dive!
We get back on the boat then hop back in the water with our gear, climb the beach to our cars and then bring our tanks to some yellow ute waiting at the top of the hill.
SO lets see....a self drive with your tanks, you have to swim to and from the boat with your gear on, climb out onto the beach with your gear to your car, dodgy hire gear, 3 hours of surface interval with no water or snacks(a shop in the area sells food), bad DM attitude.
I'm not having a whinge, I don't mind doing any of the above. But I'd like to know where my $140 goes? I've had dream dive experiences up and down the east coast for less cost than that.
I won't be returning with these guys as I find very little value for your money, the gear is dodgy and dangerous(one of the DM's even said so), and our female DM had a bad attitude and was completely disinterested. Also being a more experienced diver, I didn't enjoy being treated like a 6 year old child underwater.

Easter Weekend 2012

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
9 Thank Jcohen32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gabrielle H, General Manager at Dive Forster, responded to this review, 16 December 2012
Hi there,

Sounds like you were with us for a very busy weekend!

Its unfortunate that you had a bad experience with us, but I'd like to address some of your concerns in the hope that we can improve for the future.

Seal Rocks, by design, is a fantastic place to do amazing SCUBA Dives, with the slight draw back of being an hour by boat away from our Dive Centre. As it is, we have always asked people to drive down by car and meet us there - mainly for the comfort of the divers (an hour is a long time by boat you see, and sometimes the return journey can be longer and a bit rougher as the wind picks up in the late afternoon).

Our boat does get quite close to the shore, and as we're taking SCUBA divers out we do presume that they're happy to swim! Both ourselves and the other dive centres operate like this when diving Seal Rocks.

As we have a duty of care to the Grey Nurse Sharks and we were diving in a sanctuary zone, our DM's have to be fairly strict with the divers underwater as a part of our permit to dive with these magnificent sharks in their natural environment. I'm sorry that you were under the impression that you were being treated unfairly, but we have to do our very best whilst under the water to protect the sharks and avoid disturbing their innate behavioural patterns.

The weightbelt issue is one that we have since rectified; we have replaced all of our hire BCD's with brand new Oceanic equipment that have integrated weight systems

I can only apologise that you have a bad opinion of one of our PADI Divemasters. Ultimately all we aim to do is show our customers some great dives without disturbing the marine life we strive so hard to protect.

Once again, sorry that you had a bad experience with our Dive Centre, and I do hope that it hasn't deterred you from future dives in our lovely area. If you would like to discuss any of this further, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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