SNUBA Diving with Port Noarlunga SNUBA (Take 2)

Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
Experience photos supplied by Port Noarlunga SNUBA

Last year, upon visiting Port Noarlunga, I walked around the beachside and stumbled upon a tent that read “Port Noarlunga SNUBA”. Having never heard of this water sport before and being an avid water sports lover, I decided to give it a go – you can read how my first experience of SNUBA diving went here.

This year around, a bunch of friends and I decided to go SNUBA diving together and I made it a goal that I was indeed going to make my way underwater – all the way to the ocean floor – even if the idea terrified me!

The experience
Opting for the standard tour ($99), my friends and I were part of a 5-person SNUBA experience, where we started off by having a quick de-brief in the SNUBA tent with our instructor Jason. We went through the basic instructions – what equipment was attached to us, what equipment aided our ‘dive’, and what hand signals to use when things are going OK (and when things need attention). This was also a great way to get to know our SNUBA instructor and the other members of the excursion!

01/14 with the gals – Tori and Jade (photo courtesy: Port Noarlunga SNUBA)

After suiting up in our ever-so-stylish wetsuits, we were provided with flippers, a weight belt to help us ‘sink’ per se, and eye goggles that are de-fogged and made water resistant (for the most part). While Jason started swimming towards the end of the jetty and towards the reef, the group and myself made our way down one of the longest jetties in South Australia (fun fact!) and met Jason by the steps. One by one, we put on our flippers and eye goggles and swam to the raft with the air tanks (a cruisy metre-long swim – perfect to get used to the water’s temperature + swimming in wetsuit gear).

Excited / nervous to get into the water (photo courtesy: Port Noarlunga SNUBA)

Last time I went SNUBA diving, I 100% freaked out at going underwater, so this time, I made sure I wouldn’t leave till I had conquered the sea (by getting down to the ocean floor)! And while it took a couple of (aka a LOT OF) deep breaths, a bit of encouragement from my gal pals, and squeezing Jason’s hand a bit too hard for his liking, I made it to the bottom of the ocean! Holy moly is it a beaut! Even though the water was a bit cloudy due to the storm the day prior, we were still able to witness some gorgeous gems that reside by the Reef. If you’re super lucky, you might even score seeing and holding certain sea creatures – starfishes and sea urchins are particularly delightful to interact with! Just remember to wait for Jason to hand the creature to you, rather than reach for it yourself.

I will admit that the equalizing of the ears (which needs to happen for a painless and positive experience of going underwater) was a bit challenging at the start, so just remember to keep pinching your nose and breathing out to make ’em *pop* every half a metre (or so) as you go down!

I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful and friendliest fish I’ve ever seen and honestly, there are no words to describe how memorable and fascinating that experience was. Guess you’ll just have to try it out yourself to understand the feeling of ecstasy that I felt the entire time I was underwater. It may not sound like much, but having conquered a fear; not to mention overcoming the struggle of equalizing the ears; has made my ambition to go scuba diving with sharks one day a real one – it used to feel like a dream that would never come true, but when you learn the art of diving underwater the right way, the painless way, and the fun way, it does seem like a probable reality in the near future! Bonus points for doing it on a scorcher day in Australia – it doesn’t get better than jumping in the cool waters, being surrounded by some beautiful underwater life, and making the most out of a day at the beach!

Tori making friends with the marine life (photo courtesy: Port Noarlunga SNUBA)
The Story of Port Noarlunga SNUBA – 1 Year On
Having been in business for 7 years and counting, Port Noarlunga SNUBA has expanded in the last year as a business and now involves two key business partners – Ben Walker and Jason Hienze. While January has been a relatively slow season for SNUBA divers to get out in full force, Jason currently teaches SCUBA courses, which he remarks is “a new part of the business”.
“I have teamed up with Adelaide SCUBA in Glenelg to help facilitate the training and equipment and we are working together more and more to help grow the Dive industry in Adelaide”, says Jason. A couple of years of planning and development led Jason and Ben to become business partners, where Jason handles the business in Adelaide and Ben is in charge of operations in Cairns, on Reef Magic Cruises which operates on Moore Reef (GBR). While Ben manages the SNUBA Guide Team in Cairns and add to the success of the business, Jason divides his time between Adelaide and Cairns to help run SNUBA Down Under PTY LTD. smoothly and seamlessly.
Tema: So, in a nutshell – what is SNUBA?
Jason: SNUBA is easy and for all ages! Snorkelling is like window shopping and SNUBA is like going on a shopping spree – you get to touch, try, and buy what you want. It is 20x better than snorkelling.
Tema: How does SNUBA work?
Jason: SNUBA operates with the use of a specially designed SNUBA raft that allows air tanks to float on the surface. It comes with a 6-metre long air line that delivers the air to the diver via a mouthpiece regulator. You wear a SNUBA harness that holds the air line in a fitting behind your shoulder blades, so that when you swim underwater, the SNUBA raft follows behind you along the surface.

Tema: Can you give me a bit more information on how SNUBA is operating in Cairns?
Jason: Being part of a 3rd party contract, Ben and Jason run SNUBA on Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns, which is a “lovely 3-level Catamaran that holds 240 People and around 25 crew every day”, as Jason explains. The boat heads out 90min / 50km to Moore Reef / Outer barrier reef. Here they have an activity pontoon where the customers get to snorkel all day which is included in the ticket price, we offer SNUBA as a extra activity on-board for those wishing to give it a go and wanting a great guided experience on the famous GBR. visit reefmagiccruises to see our page on there – there are some great pictures to help visualise this.

Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like our readers and your customers to know about the business?

Jason: ​We are open everyday during the summer season (unless weather doesn’t permit), so there’s still time to book a tour or to come hire snorkel gear and see the spectacular Port Noarlunga Reef. For anyone who has purchased gift certificates, we urge you to call up and book in a time before your voucher expires.​

Port Noarlunga Jetty
Opening hours
Summer season + weather-dependant
Social media
*EDIT: This business has now relocated to Cairns permanently and has closed operations in South Australia*

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