The ‘big’ anchor at Port Noarlunga reef has been there as long as I have known, but only just. It was apparently placed in position at the reef just under two weeks before I did my first dive there. It was years before I got to see it though.

It was Sunday 22nd January 1978 when divers moved the anchor from where it had been buried in sand to a rocky area where it would be seen more by divers. I started my dive course the very next day. I should’ve done my test dive at Port Noarlunga the following Saturday, but the dive was cancelled due to the holiday long weekend for Australia Day. The dive was thus postponed to Saturday 4th February.

I barely got to dive at Port Noarlunga after my test dive. My main interest at the time was to collect aquarium specimens, something that was not allowed in the aquatic reserve. It was December 1978 before I did another dive at Port Noarlunga, but I have no memory of that dive.

My next dive at Port Noarlunga came almost three years later, in October 1981. That was the day that MARIA(SA) members did a survey dive at the reef. I followed that up with a night dive in February 1982. Port Noarlunga then fell off of my radar for another 2 ½ years until I did another night dive there in January 1985. I simply had no interest in diving at Port Noarlunga back then.

A young diver seeing the anchor for the first time

I managed to do another dive there in October 1986 but, to the best of my knowledge, I still hadn’t ever seen the large anchor which had been in place for almost nine years. My dives at Port Noarlunga continued to be long apart for a few more years. I had still not mentioned sighting the big anchor in any of my log books at all. I even went six years without diving at Port Noarlunga.

Things improved a lot when my son-in-law became a diver and my regular dive buddy. I also now had a Zodiac inflatable boat to use. It was, however, November 2000 before I recorded seeing the big anchor at Port Noarlunga, after doing more than 500 dives. It didn’t appear to have been a big deal though. I even did four dives at Port Noarlunga that year (2000). I even re-visited the anchor one more time that year.

My son-in-law at the anchor

But, getting back to the main topic, the big anchor shifted in a storm at some stage and sank in sand once more. A group of divers repositioned it on a large flat rock to keep it above the sand and it still remains in that spot.

22nd January 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of the day in 1978 that divers moved the anchor to a spot where it would be seen more by divers. Then my very own 40th anniversary of diving in the sea fall on 4th February 2018.

Photo credit: header image was taken at Port Noarlunga reef by Dan Monceaux in March 2020.

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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