Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
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NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
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Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
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Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
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My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

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How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    I established this Web Site about scuba diving in Sydney, NSW, Australia and the South Pacific, as well as a few other places, in June 1996.

    Since then it has gone through a few different versions. This latest version is the fourth and was completed in July 2006.

    The site has grown from a few pages to well over 900 separate pages. More than 650 dives are covered, mostly in detail and most with photographs and some with maps.

    I am fairly confident that this is not only the largest diving related web site in the World, it also has more hits than any diving related web site in Australia.

    This site is a non-commercial site and is unrelated to any dive organisation. It is purely here to provide divers with an information source to increase their enjoyment of scuba diving, shipwrecks and marine life in general. I hope that my experiences can help you when you are planning a dive trip, whether it is locally in Sydney, New South Wales, somewhere else in Australia or the Pacific Ocean region.

    Any and all comments are welcome, as is any information to enhance the pages, especially more information about ships or shipwrecks or corrections to pages.

    I have also included some articles on non-diving related interests, especially four wheel driving and camping. Starting 2014 it will have information about our yacht, a Lightwave 38 catamaran.


    This site is best viewed using a screen sized at 1024 x 768 pixels. If you use a smaller screen, some photographs may force a page that extends off the screen and cause printing problems. I cannot avoid this problem. It may also cause some photos to run over top of text. If you find any of these, please let me know as I should be able to fix.

    In addition, some wide screen monitors (newer laptops especially) may have a screen that is too wide for the page and this may cause photos to appear in strange places. If you find this, let me know and I will see if I can fix.

    I have now added a Search facility to the site. You can access this by clicking on Search on the menu at the top of the page.

    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Red Indianfish seem to prefer northern sides of the entrances to bays and harbours"
    I have now added three Adobe Acrobat (PDF) books to my web site. These collate some of my shipwreck articles into books. See the link at left, the last one under the Dive Site heading. 

    Hope you enjoy them.
    Michael on 25 February 2021 00:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives - January, February and March 2021
    2 January 2021 - The Leap
    Large number of divers here and at Inscrirption Point. Also more fishers here than I have ever seen. Blue water, 30 m viz for first 25 mins, then gradually dropped to about 15 m at exit, 20.8C. Quite a string current for first 40 mins. Saw 5 sea dragons, 5 big belly sea horses, 3 PPH (Paul saw 4 more), a black painted anglerfish, a purple-lined nembrotha and much more. A fantastic dive!. Visibility excellent.
    3 January 2021 - Henry Head
    Too rough outside, wind from NE stronger than the forecast and also some rain around. Over 2 degrees colder than yesterday but almost as good viz, 25 m. Strongish incoming tide. Went S, two sea dragons, one with eggs (second group saw two more). Some small kingfish, lots of black reef-leatherjackets, some nice nudibranchs, a few small crab like species in sponges. Another great dive. Visibility very good.

    4 January 2021 - M & K Reef
    Tried to dive Bypass Reef but there was current there. Even here there was some on the surface. Blue water, 20.4C, about 20 m viz. Dropped to bottom rather than fight the current and went to anchor. Could see boat from here. Straight off S cave, a blue devilfish in there (second group again saw two). Went N and around end, a large wobbegong shark in the cave there. Probably 20 to 30 medium sized kingfish circling this spot as thousands of yellowtail here. Back to main reef and S. Could not find the sea dragon from last week, but Ian found it out wider later. Back to anchor and up. Another great dive. Visibility very good.

    5 January 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went in off W point, slipped and hit my left thigh, hurt a lot but no bruise after the dive. Went WNW to near SHC, then on S side of IR1. Viz out here about 10 m, but in spots on N side, less than 4 m, 19.2C here but warmer 20.4C shallower. Lots of yellowtail on IR2, some large kingfish as well. All up 6 RIF seen, no PPH, a few moray eels, the pineapplefish and small painted anglerfish on way back but no sea horses. A dozen medium sized squid too. Quite a few interesting nudibranchs, including pink okenia and red-lined flabellina. A nice, relaxed dive. Visibility good.

    6 January 2021 - The Monuments
    Calm seas, bluish milky water, about 10 m at best, 20.4C. Went NE to edge then E and then W and back to exit. Saw two PPH (others saw two more), four sea dragons, one with eggs. One Bare Island anglerfish, quite a few rarer nudibranchs, a spindle cowrie. A really nice relaxing 78 mins. Visibility fair.

    10 January 2021 - The Split
    Cancelled yesterday's Tuggerah dive due to wind. Today no wind, smooth seas. Anchored in normal spot, went up Split to N end, then N along wall to the Donut Rock. Saw 10 donut nembrothas here, plus another 4 seen on way back to boat. A PPH, two pipefish and an upsidedown pipefish, a dozen large squid, black reef and a very friendly six-spined leatherjacket and lots more. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    12 January 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    A total of 11 members on dive, most went this way. Quite good viz below 12m, over 10 m. However, very cold at 16.8C. Off W point to reef edge, then to SHC and over to N side of IR1. Reasonable outgoing tide before SHC, but then little on IR1 except when coming back on S side. No PPH, one RIF, one small wobbegong, no sea hroses or the small pineapplefish and painted anglerfish. They seem to have moved away. Some interesting nudibranchs, especially Trinchesia (orange, black and white) and Elyssia species. Lots of yellowtail on IR1, a large sole and a tiny flathead on way back. One person saw a leopard shark. Much warmer back shallower. Another very good dive. Visibility good.

    13 January 2021 - Yellow Rock
    Tried to dive Bypass again but current from N. Went to Yellow Rock and anchored and discovered there was a reasonable current here too. Dived anyway, not too hard to get down, slight current on bottom too. Went N a bit off wall and then came back along wall. Not much on the way N, but on the way back lots of yellowtail, luderick, some large blackfish, a large wobbegong shark, a few squid, leatherjackets and one-spot pullers. Some interesting nudibranchs too. There are a few large overhangs, some swim-throughs and bays along the rock platform. Back past anchor and then back to anchor. Then E a bit deeper to 23 m, a large cuttlefish here, but much colder, dropped at least a degree to 17.2C or even lower. Not the best dive I have had here. Visibility good.

    14 January 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Club night dive, 13 divers. First one I have really done for perhaps 5 years. Big S change came hours early, so had to go in past Carol's plaque. Went to Cave and back. Dirty above 8 m but warm, cold (18.1C) and cleaner below, perhaps 7 m. Lots seen, including two mating octopus plus others, a small fiddler-ray, two RIF, a wobbegong shark, some flathead and sole, two squid, one of which had caught a king prawn, nudibranchs, a tiny boxfish and a larger one. Some also saw two PPH. BBQ afterwards. A great night out. Visibility fair.

    17 January 2021 - The Colours
    Chaos at the boat ramp before and after, so many people have no idea about protocol or how to launch or retrieve their boat. Packed parking area, but I got a spot when a boat came back in. Large swell from SE, surgy even on bottom. Quite cold but some warm patches. A boarfish, 8 frogfish, one PPH, two sawtooth pipefish, lots of yellowtail, one-spot pullers and small trevallies. A cuttlefish too. A nice dive, but not the best we have had here. Visibility fair.

    23 January 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Club shore dive, too windy to do a boat dive. Forgot to put camera in housing, but noticed before diving! Huge seas all week, amazing that conditions today were so good. Visibility 10 m outward bound and about 7 m on way back. In from past plaque. Went to SHC and then to 15 Metre Reef and to end and back. Saw a small wobbegong, lots of red-lined flabellina, a few pink okenia, two razor pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, one big belly seahorse on last rocks (Ron saw the other one), a RIF and more. Chantelle joined us from another club group as we returned as low on air. A very good dive. Visibility good then fair.

    24 January 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Seas a bit bigger than yesterday and more surge, even at 15 metres. Visibility also worse, perhaps 7 m at the best. In from past plaque. Went to SHC and then to halfway of 15 Metre Reef via main reef and then back. Saw another small wobbegong, lots of red-lined flabellina, a few pink okenia, three razor pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish (different to yesterday), two big belly seahorse at Sea Tulip Rocks, same RIF. Lots of ladder-finned pomfrets, small seapike, small squid and plenty of leatherjackets. Saw Marco Bordieri underwater doing his mapping, met him after the dive. Finally found the turtle again in the shallows. A very good dive. Visibility fair.

    26 January 2021 - The Monuments
    Club Australia Day Dive and BBQ, 13 divers. Was a bit rough when I arrived at 7:20 am, but eased off and was no problem getting in or out. Went NE to reef then back into the outgoing tide which was not too strong. At least 10 m viz for first 20 mins then 7 m. No sea dragons but two who dived last saw five! No anglerfish either. Lots of nudibranchs, hermit crabs, a large school of medium sized kingfish, four yellow boxfish and more. A really good dive. Visibility good then fair.

    27 January 2021 - Shiprock
    Very windy and big seas means only spot for next three days. Went N and then back to start and normal dive. not many nudibranchs, a few octopus, one large friendly moray on last bommie, two smaller spotted ones, a frogfish to N, two pineapplefish in normal spot, lots of small whiting and bream, normal leatherjackets. Very relaxing, if uninspiring, dive. Visibility fair.

    30 January 2021 - Henry Head
    Too windy to go anywhere else and also a large rolling NE swell. Dirty water on top but clean 15 m on bottom but cold 18.3C. Reasonable current too as incoming tide. Wetsuit zip broke again, I think it is time to get it replaced. Went S as normal but not as far as most times. One sea dragon near anchor, lots of nudibranchs, heaps of yellow sea spiders. All the normal fish, especially leatherjackets. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    4 February 2021 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive, a day late due to better conditions today. First time out of Yowie Bay since at least September 2020. Virtually no wind when we anchored but came up a little when leaving. Had to use old wetsuit as current one put in to replace zipper. Anchored in front of cave. A donut nembrotha here and two others to south. Huge numbers of fish over cave, ladder-finned pomfret and seapike, thousands of them. Also here and at S end, large numbers of silver sweep and yellowtail. Bastard trumpeters were mostly N of cave towards KFC, but some near cave. Went right around. A really great dive. Visibility good to very good.

    5 February 2021 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Went in off W point, flat seas and no wind. Warm 22.0C, viz at least 10 m deeper. Went to RIF then 15 Metre Reef and back normal way. Aim was to show Leon and Carole the deeper concrete block and Donna the one near SHC. All said they have never seen before. Found a fiddler-ray on RIF Reef with hook in mouth, Leon and I removed it. Lots of interesting nudibranchs, a few rare. Saw two wobbegong sharks, a small moray eel, four pipefish, one big belly sea horse near Sea Tulip Rocks, yellowtail over Cave, lots more. A really great dive, two in a row, see if we can get four! Visibility good.

    6 February 2021 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    This was the 10th anniversary of Carol Martin's death here (well 3/2). Ten divers, lost Kelly as she could not descend but she refound us later at Cave. Went in off W point again and down to sand and then to RIF and back normal way. Wow, what a difference to yesterday! Water 22C up high but a thermocline at about 13 metres dropped temperature to 18.4C. Not too bad considering my holey wetsuit. Viz was better at more than 10 metres. I found a large brown striated anglerfish near SHR. Saw more interesting nudibranchs, four pipefish, one tiny upsidedown pipefish. A few octopus, lots of yellowtail and shallower, small snapper and other fish. Could not find the turtle again and the big belly sea horse was missing. A very good dive. Visibility good.

    7 February 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Huge crowd here at 7:20! Must have been a couple of hundred divers while we were there. Went in thru Pool then up Channel to top of ridge and followed this roughly W. Water temperature dropped from 22C to about 16C below 10 m, but very clear, in spots almost 20 m. Then past SHC to IR1 N side. A reasonable current here (outgoing), so decided to not go to IR2. Went along W side of the gap, saw the big basin for the first time (my new name for it is Super Bowl since it is on tomorrow). It is a large sandy bowl with reef on all sides, bigger on N and W. Then back normal way. Saw lots of yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfret, a couple of large snapper near SHC (first time), 3 RIF (all on IR2 E side), many nudibranchs again. Found the big belly sea horse near Sea Tulip Rocks, could not find the anglerfish from yesterday. Got a better photo of the tiny crab on the swimming anemone at SHR. Three pipefish, one PPH (same as yesterday). Very cold but great dive. Visibility very good.

    10 February 2021 - Fly Point
    Short trip to Nelson Bay with some members of the club. Went in 5 mins before high, drifted for about 35 mins, then back. Not much current at all. A few interesting nudibranchs, a small wobbegong shark and a small fiddler-ray. One pineapplefish, plenty of bream, yellowtail etc. Quite a few butterfly fish, some octopus and rays. A really nice easy dive. Visibility fair. 

    11 February 2021 - The Pipeline
    Went in right on high Fort Denison. Tide did not turn till 65 mins later, current mild anyway. Went NE first to sea horse houses. None on them, but saw three Whites near there. I found a black striated anglerfish near there too. Also some spindle cowries and a few nudibranchs. A couple of dozen huge silver drummer there as well. Then to W. A Couple more sea horses and spindles. Dozens of small cuttlefish and pygmy leatherjackets all over. Past Pipeline for at least 50 metres. Donna found a small ornate ghost pipefish and a nice nudibranch and I found a yellow and black spindle cowrie. Back to exit. Great dive. Visibility good. 

    12 February 2021 - The Pipeline
    Went in 10 minutes before high Fort Denison. Tide did not turn till 60 mins later, current mild anyway. A little cooler at 20.7C today and viz down to 7 m or so. Went N then W at 9-10 m. Three small Whites sea horses. Lots of interesting nudibranchs, a few spindle cowries. Went past Pipeline looking for the small ornate ghost pipefish. I found the marker Donna left and we found it again. Got much better photos today as it was above the weed. Slowly back to exit, found 4 pineapplefish under a block next to pipe, at about 10 m (apparently 5 there). Another great dive. Visibility fair.

    19 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Rotten weather past week so no diving. Went in at Carol's plaque as swell over point. Clean down to 11 m then a bit dirtier. Still okay. Went slowly down to SHC and then back. No PPH, one new baby pineapplefish before First Cave. A couple of pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, two wobbegong sharks, one fiddler-ray. A few interesting nudibranchs, a skeleton shrimp. A good dive, my longest ever at 103 minutes. Visibility fair. 

    20 February 2021 - Xanadu
    Club boat dive, only my boat. Decided to take scooter to explore how far the site goes. Large swell but no wind, surge or current. Warm and dirty on top and cold 16.3C on bottom with 5-7 m viz. Went north for 5 minutes, reef much the same as GPS spot. Goes N then E for a short bit then N again. Back to anchor and south for 2 minutes. Have been this way before. Not so many fish this dive, but a school of bream and seapike at N end. A good dive, only because I explored. Visibility fair.

    21 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Impromptu shore dive arranged via email, 15 members attending, dived in four groups. Probably 200 divers here, and police and 4 ambulances arrived after when a group panicked and called 000 when three divers did not ascend when they became separated. Seas down from Friday but not good enough to go off W point. Went in at Carol's Plaque and did same dive as Friday, down to SHC. Viz much worse, perhaps 5 m above 10 m and then only 3 m. Saw two pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, no RIF or PPH, the small pineapplefish near cave, quite a few octopus, a small sole, two big belly sea horses at Sea Tulip Rocks, a small moray eel, a dozen large squid and a large flathead. A few interesting nudibranchs, including the largest red-lined flabbelina I have ever seen. A good dive. Visibility poor.

    26 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Terrible weather again the past few days, but today sunny and no wind, little swell. High tide 0800 and all over rock platform, so went in well before Carol's plaque. Kim and Steve also on dive. Went very slowly down, did not even get to Cave. Saw the 2 PPH I could not find the other day, near first Orange Sponge. Lots of nudibranchs including some pink okenia, 2 pipefish and 2 upsidedown pipefish near SHR. The new pineapplefish is still there, lots of octopus, a wobbegong shark from the other day, flathead, a large founder, the 2 big belly sea horses and much more. A really good dive considering what people had yesterday. Visibility fair.

    27 February 2021 - Middle Ground
    First dive here since August 2020. A bit of swell, bluish water, no wind, very slight current from west. Heaps of schooling fish on surface. Anchored off eastern wall on rocks. Hard work dragging anchor over nearer to wall. Went around reef, lots of seapike, yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfrets. Also two lots of kingfish. One wobbegong shark, a small tiger pipefish, leatherjackets and more. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    28 February 2021 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Wind much stronger than forecast, over 15 kts SE. There were a few waves coming over the rock platform but when we went it, none. Went S and then SW to start of Deep Wall. Viz here was 15 m and then along wall 10 to 12 m minimum. Current for first bit but then little or none along wall. A large fiddler-ray in gully, a huge ball of catfish, some yellowtail and seapike. At normal Deep Wall dropoff (now called Deep Sea Horse Rocks), there were three big belly sea horses. One was free swimming. Shown to us by Vicki S. Then back normal way, although we cut some corners as we had went a lot slower deeper. Back near Cave the viz dropped to 3 to 5 m. Lots of divers here including Carole, Leon and Kim. Back to exit, two more sea horses at Sea Tulip Rocks. No pipefish at all, the pineapplefish seen. Very high tide at exit, water totally under bridge and near steps. Visibility good overall.

    4 March 2021 - The Monuments
    A few waves at entry and blue water, 22.7C. John is up from Melbourne before our club trip to Wooli. He was using his brand new Seatec wetsuit, ended up underweighted. I gave him a weight and I ended up too light too. Okay deeper than 6 m but shallower a problem. John used a lot of air in first five minutes till we got deeper and I gave him the weight. We went alone as we knew we would have a shorter dive. Saw one sea dragon, two big belly sea horses (same ones we have seen before), a wobbegong shark, some octopus, a few nudibranchs and a small firefish lots of normal fish too. Had to surface at end and swim back on surface as too hard to stay down. Nice dive despite all this. Visibility good.

    Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.
    Michael on 02 January 2021 12:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives October, November & December 2019
    3 October 2020 - The Apartments
    Calm seas and little wind till after the dive when NE blew up as forecast. Anchored to W of Cathredral as fisher over it. Clean top 3 m, then a dirty 4 metres and then cleaner. Went SE and then E to corner, huge number of ladder-finned pomfrets and nannygai. Could not find entry! Went along wall to NW and could not see exit either! A blue devilfish here. Back and then S a bit and back to boat. A few PJs and wobbegongs, a large bullray, but not much else. Okay dive. Visibility fair.

    4 October 2020 - Henry Head
    Club boat dive. Was supposed to dive Red Flag but too rough and windy (NE). Saw whales at entrance to Botany Bay and some dolphins about 10 m from boat as we entered water. Went south, litlle tidal current at first but got bit stronger after 20 mins. Saw four sea dragons, one large, two small and one smaller again. Large had eggs, some hatched. Plenty of nudibranchs, including Okenia harasti and pink okenia. Kelly found a tiny 7 mm long red PPH. A small moray eel, some sea spiders, three large black reef leatherjackets and much more. A great dive. Visibility good.

    5 October 2020 - Henry Head
    So good yesterday, decided to dive here again, despite seas being down and wind low. Same as yesterday. Saw two sea dragons, not the ones we saw yesterday. Lots of Okenia harasti, no sea spiders, plenty of other interesting nudibranchs and a flat worm. Another moray eel, a few PJs, black reef leatherjackets. Wind came up while we were in and anchor came free as we ascended. Rough trip back across the bay. Great dive. Visibility good.

    7 October 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Other engine on port now not working, will take a month to fix due to marine places being so busy. A bit of swell so went in past plaque and then via channel to Shallow Wall. Then to RIF and back normal way. A bit of surge for most of the dive, made it hard to take photos. Viz only 3 m deeper and perhaps 4 shallower. Lots of nudibranchs, one RIF, the small orange painted anglerfish, the big belly sea horse and one Parramatta nudibranch. A really good dive despite visibility. Visibility poor.

    9 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Very strong W wind so too rough to go off point. Went similar way to Wed but stayed at main reef edge and went NW towards 15 M Reef very slowly, 36 mins to reach the start of it. Saw the schooling catfish from Wed that I did not mention. Viz about 3 m but perhaps 4 deeper than 13 m. A lot warmer today, 17.0C min deep and 17.4 for most. Lots of nudibranchs of many species, including rarer ones. Ten mins on 15 M Reef, across to main reef again. Saw a few small cuttlefish, quite a few PJs, no RIF or PPH. Spent a long time looking for the Bare Island anglerfish but again could not find. Also for a baby pineapplefish said to be near the small orange painted anglerfish, again no luck. Parramatta nudi not there but the big belly sea horse was. Another great dive. Visibility poor.

    10 October 2020 - Inscription Point
    Boat out of action for a month due to problem with other engine, so shore diving will have to suffice. Just after low so not the best viz, 3-4 m. The calerpia weed is 2 or 3 times worse than last dive here about a month ago. I found three PPH, two white and one brown. Lots of PJs and plenty of different species of nudibranch. Also plenty of other divers! Saw a shag swimming around, only second time I have seen a bird underwater like this. A very nice dive. Visibility poor.

    11 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    My 100th dive for the year. Went in off W point to W. Ended up at the same spot as 7 & 9 dives. Then along sand edge to 15 M Reef and back normal way. Again, heaps of PJs and nudibranchs, some rarer. One RIF, two PPH, the orange anglerfish, the big belly sea horse, a Parramtta nudibranch (ha ha, Souths beat them last night!) and a few tiny fine-lined tambja. Also two pipefish, one tiny on 15 M Reef. Could not find the pineapplefish despite new directions. A really good dive. Visibility poor.

    20 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A little swell and incoming tide, so went in near plaque. Followed gully and then W to 12 m. At least 7 m viz, 18.2C. Gradually went to 15 Metre Reef, arriving there at 38 minutes. Lots of nudibranch, two dozen PJs, a couple of spiny gurnards, a tiny pipefish, blue groper and a large and small cuttlefish. Then along reef and across to SH Corner and back. More nudibranchs and two flatworms. A red PPH near cave, the tiny painted anglerfish was not in normal spot, about 30 cm away and on low rock. The big belly sea horse looks pregnant. No tamjas at all. An excellent dive, 88 minutes. Visibility fair.

    21 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A little swell and incoming tide, so went in near plaque. Followed gully and then W to 12 m. At least 7 m viz, 18.2C. Gradually went to 15 Metre Reef, arriving there at 38 minutes. Lots of nudibranch, two dozen PJs, a couple of spiny gurnards, a tiny pipefish, blue groper and a large and small cuttlefish. Then along reef and across to SH Corner and back. More nudibranchs and two flatworms. A red PPH near cave, the tiny painted anglerfish was not in normal spot, about 30 cm away and on low rock. The big belly sea horse looks pregnant. No tamjas at all. An excellent dive, 88 minutes. Visibility fair.

    23 October 2020 - The Leap
    Organised a club dive, four plus a non-member. Very warm and dirty on top but a very cold 15.1C 15 m viz on bottom. Very cold hands! Lots to see, three sea dragons, three sea horses, two Bare Island anglerfish, lots of nudibranchs, including a few fine-lined tambjas. Plenty more to see as well. Drifted relatively quick and did not need to kick much, still dive 79 mins. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    24 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Well over 100 divers here I reckon while we were there. Went in off W point to W. Ended up at the same spot as recent dives. Clean and cold! Then across sand towards RIF Reef and then to 15 M Reef and back normal way. A half dozen PJs, plenty of nudibranchs. No RIF or PPH! The orange anglerfish, two big belly sea horses at normal spot, lots of small pipefish, a few upsidedown pipefish, a small moray eel and finally, the tiny pineapplefish at SHR. A really good dive. Visibility very good.

    31 October 2020 - Shiprock
    Club shore dive. Raining most of the dive, very dark at times on bottom, but rain stopped while we geared up and after dive. Visibility fairly good considering a bit of rain during the past week. Went N first, nothing really special except a very large flathead in shallows and a sole on bottom. Then S around bommies. Moray eel on last bommie friendly as normal. Cleaned plaque as covered in light growth. The S buoy has been moved about 25 m to N, so chain etc in new place. Back via wall, one pineapplefish in normal spot, although others saw two here and one higher. Only nudibranchs seen were sweet ceratasoma. Some luderick shallow, a lot of hermit crabs and one decorator crab near bubble cave. A reasonable dive. Visibility poor. 

    4 November 2020 - Fish Rock Shallow Entrance
    Club trip away, mid-week. Couldn't dive yesterday due to wind and seas. Today no wind but a big swell, made it surgy. Lots of sharks at least 20 seen. Went to Turtle Hole, not a great idea, no idea why DM took us that way. A few wobbegong sharks and some GNS on the way. A big school of small kingfish about halfway. Back to mooring and spend the rest of the time there. Only an average dive due to surge etc. Visibility excellent. 

    4 November 2020 - Fish Rock Fish & Chips
    Still the same, very surgy ,especially going over the ridges. Lots of sharks at least 20 seen. Went to Fish and Chips, on the way some huge kingfish and a large ray. Much dirtier at that spot. Some GNS seen over in the other gutters. Lots of nannygai and yellow-finned pomfrets at F&C. Back to mooring via the other blind gutter and the edge of Black Forest. Spent the rest of the time a mooring where at least a dozen grey nurses. Only an average dive due to surge etc, but a little better than previous one. Visibility good. 

    5 November 2020 - Fish Rock Shallow Entrance
    Swell gone and no surge at all. Lots of sharks at least 20 seen in main gutter. Went to near Shallow Entrance to see hammerheads that seen a few days ago. Again, saw a lot of kingfish. Cleaner too. Made our way almost to entrance before current beat us. Lots of nannygai and yellow-finned pomfrets just before. Saw a large turtle on way back to mooring. Spent the rest of the time a mooring where at least a dozen grey nurses. A really good dive. Visibility very good. 

    5 November 2020 - Fish Rock Fish & Chips
    Went to Fish and Chips, some GNS seen over in the other gutters, including one rubbing side on sand a lot. This had a tag remains and furry mouth, saw this morning too. Some nannygai and yellow-finned pomfrets at F&C but not as many as yesterday. Back to mooring via the other blind gutter, the edge of Black Forest and near Shallow Mooring. Less current here than this morning, still no hammerheads. Spent the rest of the time at mooring where still at least a dozen grey nurses. Really good dive. Visibility very good. 

    7 November 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Seas amazingly flat considering yesterday morning were huge. Had to wear wetsuit as left my weight pockets at SWR. Went from plaque via gully to W. Then to RIF Reef, one RIF. Lots of nudibranchs, at least 15 separate species, Sea Slug Census weekend. Back via 15 M Reef. No blue devilfish, no pineapplefish or PPH. The tiny anglerfish was there as were two big belly sea horses on last bommie. Also one upsidedown pipefish at SHR. A really nice dive. Visibility fair. 

    10 November 2020 - The Monuments
    Flat seas, mirror in fact. Sunday could not dive here due to seas. Went in and then E for 20+ mins then W till about 65 mins and then back. Viz over 10 m most of the dive, but a few poorer patches about 45 mins into dive (just after low tide). Two sea dragons, one with eggs. Two anglerfish (painted?), a squid, lots of nudibranchs, large ray, large boxfish, sea spider (pink and black), sea hares and more. Really good dive. Visibility good.

    11 November 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Another club dive, 11 members in two groups. Went of W point to RIF Reef and back normal way. Dirty shallower than 7 m, but 8-10 m deeper. Just at low tide. Had a leak from o-ring. Not as many nudibranchs as Saturday. A few pipefish, an upsidedown pipefish under SHR and also the tiny baby pineapplefish. Two PPH outside First Cave. A large boxfish, a RIF near RIF Reef concrete block. Tiny painted anglerfish is still there, now has red spots on side. Had to come back quick from here as Oscar was a bit low on air (well his computer thought he was and beeped a lot). Great dive. Visibility good. 

    13 November 2020 - Henry Head
    Boat dive on Lachlan's duck. Hard for me to get back in, very high sides! A reasonable current on top, running out. Anchored SE of normal spot. Went W into current and then N. One sea dragon, a few horned sharks, lots of nudibranchs, a moray eel and thousands of ladder-finned pomfret. Second group saw an eastern blue devilfish and a Bare Island anglerfish. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    15 November 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Late organised club dive. Went of W point to wall, then back via RIF Reef and 15 Metre Reef. Water cooler 17.8C but clean deep, 10 m. 18.4C shallower. Millpond and near high tide. Lots and lots of divers, a bit crowded near cave. A big belly sea horse on angled rock near N end of main wall. Could not find the BI angler supposed to be near here. No pipefish or PPH at all, one RIF back near SHR. Tiny pineapplefish is still there but impossible to get a photo. No upsidedown pipefish either. Painted angler in same place as Wednesday. 

    18 November 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Very high tide, 1.9 m when we got out. Went in before plaque as too much water over rest of platform. Dirtier and warmer (18.7C). Went slowly to cave and then back. Found an anchor there and brought it back, hard work, used a lot of air. Saw one RIF, no PPH, Kim saw the pineapplefish but I could not find it. Lots of nudibranchs, the painted anglerfish still in same spot as last two dives. Nice dive though. Visibility fair.

    20 November 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Great dive at Bare Island with fellow club members and one ring-in (Di Conlon). Went off western point to south to Deep Wall. Slow swim back with a very slight incoming tide. Visibility out there was about 15 metres, fantastic (other divers reported same on left side). Water again nearly 19C. Lots seen, although the big belly sea horse on the wall was nowhere to be seen. A couple of flatworms, plenty of nudibranchs, the tiny pineapplefish and painted anglerfish are still in the same spots. Some saw a blue devilfish at Sea Horse Corner. A great dive. All parking gone when we came up and asked if we were leaving so many times, I think I will need to invest in a sign saying "I am not leaving". Too bad tomorrow's weather is rubbish. Visibility very good.

    Next six dives at North Solitary Islands

    23 November 2020 - Bubble Cave
    Club trip to Wooli. Quite strong NNW wind which got much stronger while we were out, so could only dive W side of North Solitary Island. Went from mooring to W, some kingfish, a dwarf wobbegong, a few interesting nudibranchs, three bullrays, one large. Back to Bubble Cave then to mooring where rest of dive spent. Visibility fair.

    23 November 2020 - Elbow Cave
    Moved to Elbow Cave mooring. Went from mooring to S into the basins, on the way a large black cod. One bullray in each and a firefish. Then W and found a manta shrimp. Back past Elbow Cave, a large crayfish, some interesting fish and a few nudibranch. Then to mooring. Visibility fair.

    25 November 2020 - Anemone Bay
    Too rough and windy to dive yesterday. Still quite a strong S wind so wet trip out. Could only dive Anemone Bay on N side of North Solitary Island. Went from outer mooring to NE for a little way, very dirty, so did not go far. Then back to inner mooring. Some kingfish, a wobbegong, lots of large bream and other species. Back to mooring where rest of dive spent. A few firefish, a large crayfish. Wetsuit zip split open towards end of dive. Visibility poor.

    25 November 2020 - Anemone Bay
    Went from inner mooring to NW, to point. A lot of fish. Saw a grey nurse shark near here. Also some firefish, shrimp, an uranutan crab, some other crabs. Then to S to end of bay and back to mooring. Lots of long-finned bannerfish, all through the dive, some Back to Bubble Cave then to mooring where rest of dive spent. Visibility fair.

    26 November 2020 - Pimpernel Rock
    Wind dropped overnight and none at all this morning. A reasonable swell which had a long period so very surgy down to 30 m and extremely uncomfortable while on top of pinnacle. Very dirty, dropped down marker buoy in gully into main archway. Saw grey nurse sharks up high and many in arch. At least 6 or 7, some big females. Very dark down here too. Went back up after only 4 mins on the bottom, went round the pinnacle sort of, very surgy and seemed like current but I don't think it was. Huge kingfish seen here. On the way down a lot of cod and big giant trevally. A great dive in terms of what we saw, but very average due to surge and visibility. Visibility very poor.

    26 November 2020 - Mackerel Run
    Came back to Nth Solitary Island and looked at Fish Soup but way too surgy. Dropped in at NW corner of the island and swam one way. Did not make the mooring as visibility too bad (well did in the end but swimming at 5 m after surfacing). Not much special seen except a large turtle up in the shallows. Very average dive. Visibility poor.

    28 November 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Back home, MakCat still not fixed, hopefully have back for next weekend. Nine members of club diving, 7 of us went off W point. Very hot day, 36C when we got out. Lots of divers and later non-divers. Then back normal way. My wetsuit zip again mucked up and opened up at 35-40 mins, made it a lot cooler despite 19.1C water. Not as many nudibranchs as normal, some red-lined flabellinas, pink okenias and many-lined Janolus. Carole found a big belly sea horse near SHC. No PPH or RIF. Painted anglerfish moved a metre to right, two sea horses on last rock, wonder where they were last few dives. Very nice dive. Visibility fair.

    1 December 2020 - Bare Island Right
    A very high tide again and also swell coming around both sides of island. Had to get in before Carol's plaque. Reasonably clean shallow but then got dirtier as we went deeper and even dirtier on way back. We were going to do Isolated Reef 1 but I had ear problems and could not get deeper than 13 m. Took four attempts to clear by going to 11 m and clearing, six mins all up. Because of this and dirty water, we stopped at Sea Horse Corner. Could not find the sea horse from Saturday. Back normal way. One RIF, no PPH, although some did see. Also I did not see the pregnant pipefish, but others did. I did see two other smaller ones near there. Lots of nudibranchs, the painted anglerfish is back closer to normal spot. Only one sea horse under the rock near end. Back via kelp to look for turtle but no luck. Only a reasonable dive. Visibility poor.

    4 December 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A bit rough, so had to go in nearer to ramp. Went via gully to the first wall. Followed the top of this rather than the bottom and off it. When I came to the end of sponges section, turned left and this was the start of 15 Metre Reef. Back normal way. 18.4C and better viz than Tuesday. Saw a few dwarf firefish, a nice moray eel on 15 M, a few pipefish there too, very small. No RIF or PPH, no pineapplefish either. The baby painted angler is still there and both sea horses on the last rock. Lots of nice nudibranchs, including a new one, Gymnodoris alba, white with small orange dots and some border orange lines. My longest dive ever I think, 92 mins. Excellent dive. Visibility fair. 

    5 December 2020 - SS Tuggerah
    On Peter Fields boat as MakCat still not repaired. A bit lumpy on the way out, but not too bad. Anchored first go about 1/3 way from boiler to bow. No current. Dirty on top but cleaner on bottom, at least 10 m, 17.5C on bottom, 19.3C on top. Went to stern, looks like forward part of engine has dropped a bit and also the boiler has rolled a tiny bit out (or hull moved to east). Back to anchor and then bow. Back to boiler and then up. A very good dive, better than expected as Phil dived yesterday and not as good. Visibility good.

    6 December 2020 - The Monuments
    Club Christmas Party, 25 diving, 49 attending all up. Went in normal spot and exited here too. Millpond seas. Went NNE to sand and then to E, into a reasonable tidal current for her. Warm 19.0C. A large sea dragon with eggs, a small PPH, lots of nudibranchs and 20 medium sized squid. Went E for 25 mins and then back past entry and then back again. Only 43 min dive as Raylene was a bit low on air so played it very safe. A really good dive and great party afterwards. Visibility fair.

    9 December 2020 - The Monuments
    Club shore dive, 7 members. Went in normal spot to and exited here too. Millpond seas. Went ENE to sand and then to W, right at low tide. Later when we turned around, a very slight tidal current. Warm 20.0C. A sea dragon, others saw a large PPH, lots of nudibranchs and some interesting ones. One large Bare Island anglerfish and a smaller, more camouflaged one. Also a tiny black painted anglerfish and a big belly sea horse. Went W for about 55 mins and then back. An excellent dive. Visibility fair.

    13 December 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Very high tide and a bit of Se swell, was supposed to be E. Went in just past ramp and via gully to normal spot. Very slow to SHC via the main reef and then 15 Metre Reef, almost an hour. Saw a small pipefish on 15 Metre Reef, another one near cave with eggs, quite a few large octopus, the pineapplefish and small painted anglerfish. One big belly sea horse near last rocks. A few interesting nudibranchs, but nothing special. Huge numbers of divers entering water as we neared exit and getting out, I counted at least 40. All newbys and no idea. A good dive. Visibility poor.

    19 December 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Very busy week so no diving, good to get in despite poor conditions. Very strong SE wind and swell rising, a bit of surge at all depths. Went in near Carol's plaque, down to near Cave and then back. 93 mins all up, warm 19.4C. Saw lots of nudis, a couple of interesting ones. A pipefish near the one with eggs, but not that one. Two PPH near here too. Saw small painted anglerfish, growing up. The pineapplefish was a bit more visible. Also two frogfish out in open at 13 m. Two big belly sea horses at same spot, both quite skinny. A very good dive. Visibility poor.

    22 December 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club dive, 7 diving. Went from W point but I forgot weights so had to get out and go back and get them. Caught up with the others near alley to RIF Reef. Warm, mostly over 20C but a couple of sections less. Viz 6 m but with some 10+ m spots. Went back normal way. Three moray eels, the small mirror leatherjackets on 15 Metre Reef still there. Three PPH, the two we saw on Saturday outside cave and another one on last bit of reef before orange sponges. The small pipefish is also outside cave and pineapplefish and painted anglerfish in normal spots. The two big belly sea horses were right next to each other, one appears pregnant now. A huge leatherjacket near exit. A very nice dive despite by stuff up. Visibility fair. 

    22 December 2020 - The Monuments
    Another club dive, 6 attending. Went in at normal spot just after low tide, to NE, then E, W and E again. Warm 20.5C but viz a bit down on yesterday. Two sea dragons, one which eggs had recently hatched. Two PPH but after I left, they saw 4 more. One Bare Island anglerfish, a large octopus eating a frogfish, a tiny pineapplefish, smaller than the Bare Island one, some interesting nudibranchs and more. A really good dive. Visibility poor.

    26 December 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A little swell so went in from before Carol's Plaque. Went via the gully to normal spot. Warm 20.4C and variable viz, 8-10 m deeper but at times only 5 m shallower but better even shallower. Then via Concrete Block. Saw at least three upsidedown pipefish, a few pipefish, one RIF, the two big belly sea horses, the baby pineapplefish and the painted anglerfish. Also plenty of nudibranchs, some large flathead and more. A really good dive. Visibility fair.

    27 December 2020 - M & K Reef
    Finally got MakCat back Christmas Eve, all working great. Anchored near N cave, blue water, 19.9C. Went N and around and found there is another wall at back which runs quite a way to SW. Lots of nanygai there. Cut back over to main wall and then S. Lots of seapike near S cave and then at end, a sea dragon. Phil found a blue devilfish in a small overhang, second group saw another one. Back to anchor and then up. Visibility very good.

    28 December 2020 - Henry Head
    Went right up to nearly Yellow Rock but swell got bigger and wind picked up a bit. Went back to Henry Head. Anchored in normal spot. By now southerly had hit, much earlier than the forecast I last looked at. Water a cool 18.6C on bottom but very clear, dirtier and 20+C above 8 m. Went S, a slight current out, one sea dragon, lots of nudibranchs, some sea pike and plenty of black reef leatherjackets. After 18 min turned around and went back past anchor to N and then back again. Near here a large school of kingfish swam past us three times. Wind over 20 kts by the time we left, lucky we came back here. A very good dive. Visibility very good.

    31 December 2020 - Shiprock
    Too windy so cancelled boat dives last two days. Really clean, about 15 m viz and warm 21.5C. Did the usual dive, a few friendly moray eels, a lot of large octopus, plenty of fan-bellied leatherjackets, three pineapplefish, not may nudibranchs though. In shallows hundreds of sand whiting and some bream. A nice dive, but not much out of the ordinary. Visibility good.

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    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.
    Michael on 01 October 2020 00:00 · Print
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