Freedive with FishFreedive with unique wildlife, discover reefs and wrecks
Bay Freediving Boat Dive Adventure
Certified freedivers will love this guided 2-hour boat dive adventure to see unique local marine life.
Freedive with marine life that doesn’t exist anywhere else than the temperate waters. Stare into the eyes of unique species below the surface and discover reefs and wrecks on the Bay Freediving Boat Dive Adventure aboard our RIB boat, Kavorca. Safely with other certified freedivers, you’ll swim amongst fish species found only in temperate waters like Boarfish and Weedy Seadragons.
WaterMaarq RIB boat excursions are boutique. Purposefully small in number with a maximum 6x guests per tour. Our excursion takes you on the seas less traveled, it’s designed to help you feel like part of nature, rather than being an observer. WaterMaarq’s professional in-water Guides will be with you to ensure an authentic natural wildlife experience.
- Certified freedivers will enjoy the depths of the bay
- Limited to just six guests, you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted underwater experience
- The tour departs from Sorrento, VIC
- Private tours available
- Our skippers and professional in-water freedive guides are passionate locals about our history and wildlife on the Mornington Peninsula
- More detailed information provided below
Duration2 Hours depending on season and logistics
Certified freedivers (Level 1 or higher)
Ages 14 and up. Some restrictions may apply at times
Expect to seeSeals, Blue-throat Wrasse, Magpie Perch and diverse and unique local marine wildlife
DeparturesWeekends at 9am October – April. Other times by demand
Children 14+: $89
Children (14+) must be accompanied by an adult
Style of TourUnderwater Excursion: Below the surface tour, wetsuits must be worn, minimum 5mm thickness recommended. Rental equipment available
Bay Freediving Sites
Includes a visit to sites ranging from Banksia Reef, Pope’s Eye Marine Park, Chinaman’s Hat, South Channel Fort or Point Nepean Bay. Excursions are for all certified freedivers (minimum Level 1) and tailored for you to experience the best conditions and sites on the day. Special adventures are also scheduled to explore new undiscovered territories.
The Bay here is beautiful with sandy beaches and exposed coastal cliffs. The water is generally cleaner and clearer and in summer months reaches temperatures up to 21 degrees.
Marine Wildlife & Seals
Port Phillip Bay’s Australian Fur Seals once upon a time were under threat, but nowadays they thrive with their restful haul-out platforms. A highlight of any wildlife experience, swimming with seals shows you their diving agility, playfulness and acrobatic skills! Their breath-hold performance will amaze you too.
An excursion from Sorrento is the best way to experience the thriving reefs, both natural and artificial, that give protection to fish, seadragons, stingrays, cuttlefish and crabs. The southern temperate waters are home to marine species, 80% of which don’t exist anywhere else on earth. Our smooth rays are the largest stingray species in the world. Blue-throat wrasse are a key live export fish favoured in asian cuisine. The annual spider crab migration is a little understood highlight of our local region. Other unique species of fish such as Long-snout Boarfish, Old Wives and Weedy Seadragons will delight you with their ornamentation and vibrant colours.
Bay Freediving Boat Dive Adventure
Make your way to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula to meet your local guide and your rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Sorrento is around a 1.5hr drive from Melbourne.
Meeting at the Sorrento Boat Ramp Jetty at least 30 minutes before departure (allow more time in summer), you’ll be greeted by your Guide and introduced to fellow guests.
Slip into your wetsuit and listen to a short briefing on what to expect during the 2-hour boat excursion. Hop in to the boat and take your seat; it may be a lively ride.
On the way out of port, pass the Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry terminal built in 1870 which used to meet the Sorrento Steam Tram Service 1890-1920 to take passengers through Sorrento’s main street to the ocean beach on the other side of the peninsula (locally known as the backbeaches).
Continuing by the scenic coastline you’ll take in the Sorrento Sailing and Couta boat club towards Sullivan Bay and the Sisters Cape, the site of Australia’s first European settlers at Collins Settlement (1872).
The boat will pick up speed as it leaves the sanctuary of the coves and beaches, beyond the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron Marina out into the bay and the skipper will zoom us out around 3 kilometres to the South Channel Pile Light where the seals await your arrival.
Upon arriving, view the architecturally rare construction of the South Channel Pile Light, one of only two surviving examples of four original manned pile lights that originally serviced ships entering Port Phillip Bay. Finally extinguished in 1985 after 111 years of service, the lantern remains intact and an important example of 19th century light technology in Victoria.
Inside the single-storey octagonal timber building comprised the light-keepers quarters which included a bedroom, living-room, storeroom, and an external verandah. There were also two rainwater tanks for domestic use. The quarters were manned by the light-keeper until bottled acetylene gas was introduced for lighting purposes in 1925.
Between 1905 and 1913, the light-keeper painted murals of ships on the interior walls of the quarters. In 1979, these were relocated to the Melbourne Maritime Museum (Polly Woodside).
Here at the Light, you’ll encounter the Bay’s iconic Fur Seals, the largest and most robust fur seal. Up to 2 meters in length and over 200kg, they’re quite a sight and incredibly agile being able to dart in all directions.
Above water you’ll hear them vocalising, which helps them identify both neighbours and strangers. You’ll delight in their inquisitive and friendly manner in the water as they swim around.
Incredible breath-hold swimmers, dives of 3-4 minutes long have been recorded by these seals, with the longest 6-7 minutes. It’s believed they may hold their breath for as much as up to 10 minutes and can reach depths of down to 200m!
Once back on the boat, scanning the horizon you may see the man-made island of South Channel Fort, an artificial island constructed during the 1880s as part of a defensive strategy. Continuing its original objectives, it now protects a colony of white-faced storm-petrels and as such is identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
Further in the distance to the south you may see Mud Island, an uninhabited exposed area of the Great Sands which is the most extensive sand bank in Port Phillip Bay. Declared in 1982 as a Ramsar Site, a wetland of international importance owing to the sanctuary it provides white-faced storm-petrels. Crested terns, pelicans and penguins are also known to breed there.
Depending on the needs of the group, the journey may include a second pause at another significant location such as Chinaman’s Hat, Pope’s Eye Marine Park or even Banksia Reef, chosen for it’s optimal experience based on the best tides and conditions on the day.
• Excursions are two hours in duration
• It is recommended that you book at least one week in advance of your preferred date
• Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure.
• In the event of rain or inclement weather your experience will still go ahead unless contacted by the experience provider
• If your experience is cancelled you will be rescheduled by the provider
• You will need to bring your swimmers and a towel
• Wetsuits are compulsory, minimum 3.5mm with hood, gloves and booties (Summer)
• Thicker wetsuits (5mm) are recommended in Spring/Autumn
• Rental wetsuits and gear (two-piece 5mm with hoods) are available if you do not have your own. *These must be requested at time of booking
• Wetsuits must be put on before boarding the vessel
What to Bring
• Only a very small bag, waterproof is better
• Re-useable water bottle
• Camera / Go Pro
• Sun Hat or Beanie
• Wind / Spray Jacket
• Freedivers will have a safety float available and wetsuits are buoyant, to ensure a safe and comfortable experience
• Freedivers must be certified by a recognised freediving agency and supply their certification before the tour, negotiation will not be entered into.
• Certified Freedivers may use weightbelts
• Items such as knives, spearguns are not allowed
From Melbourne you’ll need to drive around 90 minutes south to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula (allow 2 hours in summer, sometimes longer). Once you’re in Sorrento, you should park near the ferry terminal. Make your way to the Sorrento Boat Ramp jetty (at the end of St Aubins Way, only 5 minutes walk from the main ferry pier).
From Queenscliff, catch the Sorrento-Queenscliff ferry towards Sorrento and once arrived, make your way to the Sorrento Boat Ramp jetty (at the end of St Aubins Way, only 5 minutes walk from the main ferry pier).
Walk from the main Sorrento ferry pier along the beach towards the Sorrento Boat Ramp Jetty, just a 5-minute walk.
Sorrento Jetty (and Boat Ramp) address:
St Aubins Way, Sorrento VIC 3941
*On Google Maps make your way to the pin-drop for WaterMaarq Charters
The excursion includes:
• 2-hour bay guided freediving experience
• Personalised experience for maximum 6 guests
• Bring your own wetsuit or hire one
• Local professionally trained in-water Guide
• Insights into the local historical and environmental significance
• In-water supervision and assignment of buddies
• Safety briefings
Featuring in-water guiding and supervision by a professional guide/instructor, you’ll be more comfortable, dive with a suitable buddy and gain a closer look at the local marine life, underwater features and highlights.
Freedive alongside unique wildlife and keep an eye out for other unique fish species including the Longsnout Boarfish and Smooth Stingrays.
• 2-hour freediving experience by boat
• Professional local guide
• Safety equipment and pre-tour briefings
• Parks Victoria use fees
Equipment Not Included:
Wetsuits, Weightbelts, Mask, Snorkel & Fins:
• You must bring your own wetsuit and gear, or hire equipment for this excursion
• Minimum height for wetsuits: 150cm
• Maximum weight for wetsuits: 110kg
• Minimum shoesize for fins: EU35
• Freedivers may use weightbelts and must observe and use the buddy system at all times (one-up, one-down)
• Wetsuits, all gear and weightbelts are available for hire and must be requested at the time of booking
• Food and drinks
• Hotel pickup and drop-off
· If cancelled within 7 days of the scheduled starting date of the booking, a 50% cancellation fee will required by the company or individual
· If within 24 hours of the scheduled starting date of the booking, a 100% cancellation fee will be required by the company or individual. A cancellation fee will be based on the full cost of the booking at time of purchase
· Refunds are not available for bookings made via tour agents or third party tour booking providers.
Important Things You Should Know
• Adult pricing applies to all travellers
• Children must be at least 14 years old to join the tour
• Please note that the minimum height overrules the age for safety reason
• Minimum height: 1.40 m
• Maximum weight: 110 kg
• It is highly recommended that you wear a 5mm long wetsuit to keep you warm during the dives in approximately 14-21 degree water. Hire wetsuits must be requested at the time of booking
• Confirmation will be received at time of booking
• Subject to favorable weather conditions. If canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund
• Please note: You must bring swimming costume and towel, wetsuit (minimum 3.5mm thick). Please contact your local operator well in advance if you need to hire equipment, as it cannot be hired on the day of the excursion.
• If certified as a freediver, must provide evidence of the certification
• First level freediving certification or higher must be provided
• Evidence of dive certification is required from all divers wishing to participate in a certified dive
• If you have not been freediving for more than 12 months we recommend a refresher course before joining the tour
• Not recommended for participants with heart complaints or other serious medical conditions (to be checked)
• Diving within 24 hours of flying is not recommended
• All participants will be required to complete a health questionnaire prior to diving
• Some pre-existing medical conditions (eg asthma, heart conditions, etc) may prevent you from diving, please consult your doctor