Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
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Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
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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
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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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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
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Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    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
    "Pizza Reef has lots of bastard trumpeters"
    My Recent Dives - July, August and September 2020
    24 July 2020 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    First dive for 5 weeks as away in western NSW. A few problems before the dive, including loosing a wheel from trailer on the way to the ramp (did not know I lost till at RMYC!). Never found it. Anyway, flat seas and blue water, no wind. Was supposed to be rainy till yesterday but the forecast pushed it back to noon (came later at 1600). Les watched boat, we went up Split to outside, a few PJs along the way. Then outside to N and found three donut nembrothas which Natalia wanted to see. Then back to anchor and Cave, bastard trumpeters here and also then at their normal spot. Here I saw a seal and then a minunte later, it came back and the others saw as well. Back up after this. A really good dive, making up for all the problems earlier (and later a flat tyre on trailer!). Visibility very good.

    1 August 2020 - Bypass Reef
    Club boat dive, three boats, 12 divers. Botany Bay very dirty and a bit dirty and cold on top (15.7C) but much better and warmer (17.4C) on bottom. Little current but surgy as large swell on longsih period. Anchored right on corner and went N and then back and S. Lots of silver sweep at N end, quite a few pairs of black reef leatherjackets, plenty of red morwong in a cave and a few PJs. Some on one boat saw a blue devilfish but they were a bit deeper. Whales heard and one surfaced between the boats! Much better than expected considering the rain at the start of the week. Visibility fair.

    2 August 2020 - Middle Ground North 
    Swell dropped a lot since yesterday, no surge at all at 32 m. Water again drity and cold on top but on bottom 17.4C and 7-8 m viz. Fishers on main reef so came over here. Anchored on W side and went to E along a crack. Then NW. Lots of yellowtail and silver sweep up over the reef. Plenty of leatherjackets of different species. A few small octopus. Back across to W side and back to anchor and then S a little. Lots of wandering anemones on sea whips here, some tiger anemones. Another surprisingly good dive. Visibility fair.

    5 August 2020 - Middle Ground 
    Club boat dive. Wind was a bit stronger than forecast, NW at 15 kts, but not too rough. Wind dropped to under 10 kts while we were diving. Viz on bottom 5-7 m but much better above 18 m. Anchored first go on rock off NW corner of reef. Went E and on NE corner saw a large grey nurse shark, the first I have seen here. Brilliant! Then S to SE corner and back again, hoping we could see the shark again. No luck. Thousands of yellowtail and seapike over the reef and plenty of silver sweep too. Also lots of black reef leatherjackets. A great dive. Visibility fair.

    15 August 2020 - Bypass Reef
    First dive for 10 days due to rotten weather. Bay was filthy, but not too bad on surface here. Outgoing tide, but 10 m down cleared up to a cold 16.6C and 7-8 metres viz. Flat seas and W wind. Anchored again on corner cave, went N. Lots of red morwong and some bastard trumpeters in cave. Plenty of silver sweep and one-spot pullers at N end. Back to cave, a Port Jackson shark along way. Kelly found some saw-tooth pipefish near anchor and there were a few swimming anemones S of here. 

    16 August 2020 - The Colours
    Club boat dive, only my boat. Wind W but less than 5 kts but at boat ramp 20 kts. Swell much more than yesterday but okay. Viz really good at surface but dark on bottom as cloudy. Anchored on sand edge at 28 m. Went N along sand edge for 8 mins and then back to anchor. Then S for a few mins and back to anchor. Lots of silver sweep at N end, some black reef leatherjackets. One cuttlefish, lots of nudibranchs. Nice dive despite everything . Visibility fair.

    19 August 2020 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. No wind at all when we got out there but it came up to about 12 kts NNW at the end. A bit of current from N top to bottom, and a bit of surge, warmer again at 17.2C. Anchored on top of cave, hard to work hard to pull anchor forward a bit to put it in a better spot. A few bastard trumpeters in cave with two blue morwong. Hundreds of seapike over the cave. Went S and saw a spiny gurnard and then Lynne found a donut nembrotha in normal spot, on sand. Back around to anchor, a blue devilfish in normal spot near anchor. A few six-spined leatherjackets, lots of silver sweep, old wives and a few small trevally. A very nice dive. Visibility fair.

    22 August 2020 - Fly Point, Port Stephens 
    Club Boys Weekend. Extremely windy, boat dives cancelled, wind 20-30 kts W. Went S just before we went in but came back W. Current did not change whole dive. A few interesting nudibranchs, one small wobbegong, a few Gunther's butterflyfish, huge numbers of bream, snapper, yellowtail and more. Pretty good dive. Visibility good.

    26 August 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Could not get a crew for boat dive, so had to do a shore dive. First dive here for over 10 weeks! A reasonable SE swell running so went it past Carol's plaque. A bit surgy whole dive. Viz was 3 m at most. Only went down to before first cave. Kim showed us a tiny orange anglerfish near SHR. A few tiny firefish, a tiny Vercos tambja, a tiny fine-lined tambja, both on first large rock on way down. A small yellow big belly sea horse that I found here too. One PPH near turn around point. Quite a few other nudibranchs and shells. A large flathead. Hard getting out as high tide and swell coming right in and I had cramps in both legs! Very good dive despite all this. Visibility poor. 

    29 August 2020 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive, two boats. Was supposed to be Underwater Wilderness but seas too big, at least 2 m. Little wind and very slight current from S. Anchored on NW corner. Went clockwise around whole reef. Very, very dirty, top to bottom and cold 15.9C. Like a night dive. Saw lots of fish but all very flighty and disappeared when torch hit them. Mostly yellowtail I think. Saw a PJ, a six-spined leatherjacket, Lachlan saw two spiny gurnards. Not much else of note really. Pretty terrible dive. Visibility very poor.

    30 August 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Club shore dive, organised yesterday, 7 members plus 1. Went off W point, ended up near RIF. Quite a few PJs. Came back normal way. Viz only 2-3 m deep, about 3-4 shallower. One person saw a RIF, I found the anglerfish, PPH, big belly sea horse from Wednesday. Also two small Vercos tambjas, two small fine-lined tambjas. Apparently another big belly on same rock but did not see it. A nice dive despite the visibility. Visibility poor.

    2 September 2020 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. Slight wind from N and very slight current from N. Port engine did not run at full revs for first few minutes of each time I tried to use. Why? Pretty calm. Anchored near cave. Visibility so much better than Saturday, 8-10 m. No blue devilfish and no bastard trumpeters. Where are they? Only one donut nembrotha, on S reef. Lots of seapike over cave area. All the normal fish elsewhere. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    3 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Club night shore dive, first for five years (?). Went in off W point, went to bottom, swam W for 2.5 mins when a loud bang and my reg free flowed. Swam over to Simon, took his octopus and signalled to surface. We swam back to pool and exited. First stage high pressure seat failure according to Don K. Was going to put in for service on Sunday anyway! Visibility fair.

    5 September 2020 - M & K Reef
    Little wind and small NE swell when we went out. Port engine mucked up again, need to fix before any more diving. Anchored in front of S cave. Looked for Kelly's torch that she lost 13 June, no luck. Went N, Kelly found two PPH. We did not see blue devilfish, but second group saw two to the S. Lots of silver sweep and one-spot pullers to N. Back past anchor to S and then back. A few nudibranchs, but nothing special. When others went up I looked for the torch under where the boat was last time, no luck. Back on boat, wind now over 15 kts W or SSW, rough trip back across bay. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    6 September 2020 - SS Tuggerah
    Went out on Peter F's boat. Very sloppy seas and larger SE swell than yesterday. Little wind from E. Anchored first go in front of boiler. No current. When I rolled in my tank came loose, I went to bottom and Phil fixed. On the way down a small seal came rushing up to me. Also saw it on the bottom a few times. Dirty on top and way down but 8-10 m on bottom, dark though. Went to stern and then to bow. Lots of PJs at bow and at least six large wobbegong sharks. Plenty of fish around, including very large seapike and at least 20 reasonable sized bream, first I have ever seen here. Visibility fair.

    8 September 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Went in from W point. Lot cleaner than last week, at least 12 m at depth and 8 m shallower. Despite forgetting my hood, not cold despite 16.5C. Went to RIF Reef, dozens of PJs on sand before it. Then to 15 Metre Reef and back. Two small RIF, no PPH, lots of nudibranchs, some dotos, one Vercos tampja (grown heaps since last week), one red-lined flabellina and the small orange anglerfish, also much bigger and moved about 200 mm. Could not find the sea horse. Really good dive. Visibility good.

    12 September 2020 - Bushrangers Bay, Shellharbour
    Club shore dive. Buddied Evan, Les's grandson, first dive out of dive course. Pretty good and relaxed, just needs to get weighting right. Went out to open sea, 15 m + viz here, perhaps 7 close to shore. Say 7 m here. Saw two grey nurse sharks on the way out, then three on the way back in, two very close. Perhaps three or four in total. Some yellowtail, bastard trumpeters, lots of Port Jackson sharks and horned sharks. A reasonable dive, but without GNS would have been boring. Evan went well. Visibility good.

    13 September 2020 - Inscription Point
    Was supposed to do club boat dive but my port engine not working and awaiting parts. Went in just before low tide, viz amazing at over 15 m. No current till on way back. One small sea dragon, one moray eel, a large spotted boxfish Zorka found a ting orange painted anglerfish. A few nudibranchs, but nothing special. All the usual other fish. Quite a few divers here towards the end. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    16 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Club shore dive as my engine still not repaired. Went in before Carol's plaque. Found the big belly sea horse on first large rock and I also found a small pot belly sea horse. Two Vercos tambjas here and a PPH. Then towards SHR, found the tiny orange anglerfish, still in same area. Then to first cave. Lots of nudibranchs, especially pink okenias and also one opera house. A few other interesting bugs, two RIF. Had to come back from before SHR when I realised I only had 70 bar. Should have been 120, no idea what happened as started with 230 bar! Still did an hour. Very nice dive. Visibililty fair.

    19 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Shore dive as part has still not arrived for my boat's engine. No wind and little swell, but occasional larger ones. had problem with my mask the whole dive, kept fogging up despite cleaning it three times and also kept flooding! Made it an uncomfortable dive. Went in before plaque, similar dive to Wednesday. Found both sea horses, one is a southern big (pot) belly and the other an eastern pot belly. Kelly found a PPH and then I found the tiny anglerfish. Quite a few pipehorses and some upsidedown pipehorses. Also some interesting nudibranchs. Three or four RIF, a small horn shark, some small cuttlefish. Looked for a BI anglerfish near first cave but no luck. Back from here. By end of the dive, swell had come up a lot. Difficult to exit and I lost my strobe, but got it back. A good dive despite my problems. Visibility fair.

    23 September 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Boat still not fixed, Tuggerah dive cancelled due to change in forecast but this never happened till well over 3 hours later. Went off W point to wall. Camera would not fire strobe, cable probably. Kim found a small big belly sea horse on one of the low rocks. Back normal way. Lots of nudibranchs, including red-lined flabellina and opera house. A few RIF, no PPH. Back near first cave, I found the Bare Island anglerfish others had seen a week ago but which we could not find on Saturday. Refound the orange painted anglerfish, Vercos tambjas and a fine-lined tambja and the eastern pot belly sea horse. Could not find the big belly. A large stingray with huge tail past outboard. A really great dive. Visibility fair.
    Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.
    Michael on 01 July 2020 00:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives - April, May and June 2020
    3 April 2020 - Clifton Gardens
    First dive after returning early from Philippines due to COVID-19 and 14 day quarantine. Good to get outside. Due to new isolation rules, only two people are allowed to be together and only for limited reasons. Diving qualitifes under exercise exemption. Went in from W end of beach to net, then along till huge hole and then crossed to the outside. Many huge holes in the net! Saw Whites sea horses right from start, over a dozen and I was not even looking for them. Some nudibranchs, a few butterflyfish, some moray eels, two mating octopus, another large one and two blue-ringed otopus. All the usual fan-bellied and pygmy leatherjackets, lots of bream and other leatherjackets. Went to end of the whark, lingered a long time here. A pineapplefish there too. At the end came back into pool via another huge hole, saw a seamoth, tiny. Very nice dive. Visibility poor.

    5 April 2020 - Inscription Point
    NW winds, millpond sea. Outgoing tide but not too strong. Went very slowly, so got cold despite it being 18.1¬įC. A Bare Island anglerfish, a black anglerfish, two sea dragons, a few nudibranchs and some deformed firebrick starfish. Lots of smoothered reef due to the weed, but most appears to have died off. Saw Rox and Jason underwater. Nice relaxing dive. Visibility fair.

    7 April 2020 - Inscription Point
    Again dived here due to limited places we can dive. Went a bit fast at the start and a bit further. Found both the Bare Island and black anglerfish again. No sea dragons though. Plenty of nudibranchs, including lots of pink okenia and a species that I am not sure I have seen before. Back slowly into the current which was a bit stronger than Sunday. Swell a bit more but okay. Nice dive again. Visibility fair.

    9 April 2020 - Shiprock
    Ended up 7 SGSC members diving here all separately. Quite a high tide so strongish current. Very clean, at least 10 metres I reckon. Quite wamr at over 20C. Went left at start to deeper section and stayed there for quite a while. Found some small starfish living on bottom of a bigger starfish, never seen this before. Back to bommies, a larger boxfish then a small yellow one. Both very cute. Moray eel on top of last bommie, over to plaque and then back along wall. Others saw five pineapplefish but we did not go that far to see. Also saw a frogfish at start, lots of pygmy and fan-bellied leatherjackets, a huge school of striped catfish, biggest I have seen. Only one nudibranch on whole dive! Convict gobies in normal spot. Nice dive, although more life would have been great. All beaches in Shire closed over Easter, so this may be closed too from tonight. Visibility good.

    15 April 2020 - Inscription Point
    Bid swells last few days and over Easter most places, including here, closed due to COVID-19. Conditions better than expected, viz at least five metres. Just after low tide, so viz got better. Found two Bare Island anglerfish and the black anglerfish. No sea dragons, quite a few different species of nudibranchs. Nice, easy dive. VIisbility poor to fair.

    17 April 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A bit of SE swell and also very strong SW wind. Just before low tide, no current at all. Went in just past Carol's plaque. Went up gully and then over reef top. Went to sand and eventually 15 Metre Reef. Jason found a thorny sea horse off SE end of reef. A rare to Sydney tropical species. Back normal way. Saw plenty of octopus, three pipefish, one pygmy pipehorse (PPH), two red Indianfish (RIF), plenty of nudibranchs, including pink okenia and one-red-lined flabellina. A very nice, long (83 mins) dive. Visibility poor. (recreated notes after an error, may be not be exactly correct)

    18 April 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A bit of SE swell and also very strong SW wind. Just before low tide, no current at all. Went in just past Carol's plaque. Went up gully and then over reef top, lost Ron, Donna and Jason here. Found them again at 45 mins at Sea Horse Corner! Went to sand and then 15 Metre Reef. Back normal way. Saw plenty of octopus, four pipefish, one pygmy pipehorse (PPH), two red Indianfish (RIF), a small wobbegong shark, some squid, plenty of nudibranchs, including pink okenia and one-red-lined flabellina. A very nice, long (83 mins) dive. Visibility poor.

    20 April 2020 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went in from plaque again. Seas down a bit but still a little too much for W point. Three hours after high tide but far worse visibility than last dives here. Only 3-4 m at most. Went down and found the tony yellow painted anglerfish that Jason found on Saturday. Kim reckons it is not the same one she has been seeing about 40 m away. Lost Ron and Donna near cave. Went around both reefs, zig-zagging on N side. Very dark and gloomy here. Saw some nice nudis, including a white/yellow/black one. A tiny yellow boxfish as well. On main reef and at end of IR2 lots of small yellowtail. On S side not much tidal current. I lost Kim and Jason near main reef, waited a bit but did not see them (they went further along to Sea Horse Corner). I had to hightail it back to shore as ended dive with very little air. Visibility very poor.

    22 April 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Eight in total diving from club, but in pairs. Went in from W point and to Deep Wall. Then around rocks and back normal way. Better viz than Monday, a very slight outward current as just after high. Some nice nudibranchs, a few octopus, a RIF on RIF Reef. A rarer nudi right near it. Some red-lined flabellina, a pipefish and apparently some PPH on 15 Metre Reef. At Sea Horse Corner, Paul only had 50 bar left so we had to high-tail it back to shore. Stopped for a minute to show him the tiny yellow painted anglerfish which had only moved a few cm. Very good dive, but would have been better without rushing back. Visibility poor. 

    24 April 2020 - The Monuments
    Another brilliant day, just after high tide as we entered water. New whale sculpture near entrance! Went E for a bit and then W and then back to starting point. What a dive! Possibly the best I have had here. Viz was 15 m at least and warm, almost 20C. So many species of nudibranch and flatworm. Blue-ringed octopus, three wobbegong sharks, heaps of pygmy leatherjackets, some saw PPH but not me, a very ugly Bare Island anglerfish (another one I did not see), a sea dragon, a large cowrie, orange mantle, many bubble shells and much, much more. Brilliant! Visibility very good.

    25 April 2020 - The Monuments
    Eight divers. Incoming tide, blue water but got dirtier as we turned at W end of dive. Entered water about 75 metres E of normal spot. Then NE to sand and back W. At least 15 m viz and 20C water. So many species of nudibranch and flatworm. Plenty of pink okenias and all the normal species. A fine-lined nembrotha eating an ascidian and another one nearby. One PPH, three anglerfish, a tiny pink one that Kim found at W end on rock near sand. Also a black painted angler and one Bare Island anglerfish. Four sea dragons. Some saw a eagle ray. Lots more. Brilliant! Visibility very good.

    26 April 2020 - The Monuments
    Nine divers. Incoming tide, blue water and lots of yellowtail. Entered water about 75 metres E of normal spot. Then NE to sand and back W. At least 15 m viz and 20C water. Again so many species of nudibranch and flatworm. Plenty of pink okenias and all the normal species. A fine-lined nembrotha eating an ascidian like yesterday. Two PPH, one a tiny red one near the wall where we turned around. The large cowrie, orange mantle, was still there too. Four anglerfish, the tiny pink one from yesterday as well as an orange/yellow small one and two Bare Island anglerfish. A Port Jackson shark, a yellow boxfish, a clingfish with eggs, two sea dragons and lots more. Brilliant! Visibility very good.

    27 April 2020 - The Leap
    Decided to dive here as viz so good past few days, but not as good. Still okay. A bit of swell with S change, but okay. Very warm on top (22C) but only 20.1C on bottom. Not a big tide, 1.3m, so very little current. Lots of yellowtail all through the dive. Saw one sea dragon, one PPH, one black painted anglerfish, a yellow boxfish, quite a lot of nudibranchs, including dozens of pink okenia and one orange flabellina type species. Still a nice dive. Visibility good.

    28 April 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Did not dive yesterday to have a day off. Millpond seas so went off W point and SW to wall. No current at all. Lots of yellowtail down on wall and also shallow, with ladder-finned pomfrets shallow too. RIF on RIF Reef like last Wednesday. A few firefish, an ornate ghost pipefish SW of 15 Metre Reef, juvenile. Plenty of red-lined flabellina, especially on this reef. Also pink okenia everywhere and a few other rarer species. No PPH but others saw some before 15 MR when I was deeper. Two pipefish at NW end of the reef. Took 60 mins to get to Sea Horse Corner, a record slow trip, got down to NDL of 8 mins. The tiny yellow anglerfish was not where it was last week. An excellent dive. Visibility fair.

    1 May 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Wall
    Too strong W wind to go off W point, so went past Carol's Plaque (her birthday today). Then cut up gully and around back of main reef to sand near 15 Metre Reef. Not as clean as yesterday and also over one degree colder. Looked for the ornate ghost pipefish we saw Wednesday. Found it, still on same sponge. Jason also found a small yellow White's sea horse, all spiky. Kim found a clingfish with eggs on a blue throated ascidian. Back normal way, three RIF, a white PPH, lots of nudibranchs including pink okenias, red-lined flabellinas and more. Could not find the tiny yellow anglerfish nor the one Lynne and Tordis found yesterday. Despite the cold air after, it was a great dive. Visibility fair.

    5 May 2020 - The Monuments
    Very strong winds last few days and big swell since Saturday. Went in at normal spot and into outgoing tide and exited at W end. Surgy even at 13 m, but not too bad. Viz only 3-5 m. No anglerfish but lots of nudibranchs, especially purple dragons and pink okenias. One purple nembrotha. Also a large green turtle next to the first shear wall. Three sea dragons, a nice gobie in a hole. Not a bad dive considering. Visibility poor.

    8 May 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Went in off W point just after high tide. Headed down to 15 Metre Reef, viz about 7 m. Water still a warm 19.3C. Looked for thorny sea horse and orante ghost pipefish but could not find them despite looking in the right spot. Went to reef then back normal way. Four lined pipefish, three PPH, another fatter pipefish. Lots of red-lined flabellinas. On way back, three more PPH, lots of nudibranchs, a larger spotted yellow boxfish, silver sweep and yellowtail. A huge flathead near exit. Really good dive. Visibility fair.

    9 May 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Went in off W point, just before high tide. Went W again. Viz still about 7 metres. Donna found a tiny orange painted anlgerfish in the fork of an orange sponge. A nice yellow spotted boxfish, six PPH, could not find the sea horse or ornate ghost pipefish or the pipefish from yesterday. Three RIF down near RIF Reef, a huge wobbegong shark near SH Corner, a few octopus, lots of red-lined flabellinas and a few other rarer species which I do not know names of. A really good dive again. Visibility fair.

    12 May 2020 - SS Tuggerah
    First time out on boat for about 10 weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. Two on boat and Phil took his too. Anchored at bow, no current and W wind dropped from 12 knots to about 7 while we were in the water. More than a hundred kingfish as I hit bottom. Went to stern, two large wobbegong sharks in front of boiler. Fixed Phil's anchor as I went past. Around prop and back. Some moray eels, lots of yellowtail, seapike, ladder-finned pomfrets and nannygais. Really good dive. Visibility good. 

    13 May 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Went in off W point, just after low tide. Headed W and then back via RIF Reef and 15 Metre Reef. Did not find the tiny anglerfish from last week but did find the thorny sea horse. It has moved about 20 metres to S. It is S from the small concrete block about 30 seconds swim. In an orange flatish sponge. Two RIF near large concrete block, a tiny sea moth and a spiny gurnard too. Back to 15 M Reef, some small pipefish and the larger brown one from last week. Also three PPH. Then to SH Corner and back. Another RIF, and near the PPH from Saturday we could not find the tiny yellow anglerfish that Ron found yesterday. Back normal way. Very good dive again. Visibility good at first but then only fair.

    15 May 2020 - The Monuments
    A bit too much wave action and low tide to get in at normal spot so started to E but still had a hard swim out to deeper water. Incoming tide. Surgy for first 40 mins, viz about 10 m till 26 mins then 5-7 m. No anglers seen at all, spent a good deal of time looking for pinky. Two sea dragons, a huge cuttlefish, one frogfish, one yellow spotted boxfish, lots of pink okenias and two opera house nudis. Came all the way back in. A nice easy 72 min dive. Visibility fair.

    17 May 2020 - Pizza Reef
    First boat reef dive in over 10 weeks! A bit bumpier than expected considering no wind yesterday or last night. However, was still okay. Les's first dive in that time so went to Pizza as so easy. Blue warm water, could clearly see MakCat from anchor at 26 metres. Anchored on W side S of cave. Went S and then up the gully to N and back past cave. About 10 smaller kingfish at S end, but at the N end, wow! A school of 20 good sized bream, thousands of smal seapike, a few dozen bastard trumpeters, yellowtail, silver sweep and near cave, old wives. One donut nembrotha out from cave. Ron and Donna saw a blue devilfish at the N end of gully. A brilliant dive. Visibility excellent.

    19 May 2020 - SS Tuggerah
    No wind and very flat seas meant quick run down to the wreck. Very little current from N, anchored on W side towards bow. Phil and his crew dived first, then we did. Bluish water but a bit milky. Could see boat from over 20 m. Lots of nannygai and big-eyes, a few large wobbegongs. Went to prop and then back to bow. Did 21 mins on bottom, the last couple dragging the anchor to the prop area so that it could drift down current. Used a bit of air doing that. Another great dive. Visibility good.

    20 May 2020 - The Split
    Club boat dive. Not as good seas as yesterday, a bit of a sea from NE. Wind dropped off from NW and water conditions were similar to yesterday, milky blue, could see boat from about 20 m. Anchored S end of Split on reef and had to move anchor as it was just laying there. Then went N up Split. There was a medium cuttlefish there that was very friendly, both Les and I went right up to it. Then a Moorish idol and probably another one outside reef (May have been same one). To end and then back on sand. Lots of mado all over the place. No donuts at all. Plenty of combfish and bastard trumpeters near anchor. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    23 May 2020 - Shiprock
    Huge seas since Thursday night, a lot of rain too. Viz only 2 metres at the most. First dive with my new Seaskin drysuit. Same weight as old drysuit, went well, no water at all thru neck or wrist seals. Valve worked good too. Went to N first and then S. Followed wall as too hard to navigate to bommies. Saw five pineapplefish, one small one bny itself near pyramid rock, the others in normal spot. Lots of bream and small yellowtail. A terrible dive. Visibility very poor. 

    29 May 2020 - The Monuments
    Raining, very heavy at times. Went in from E of normal spot and drifted all the way in. Viz 10 m at first but then 5-7 m. Drysuit again went okay, but a little light in shallows at end. Saw a sea dragon, one small orange painted anglerfish, but some saw another one and a Bare Island anglerfish. Lots of nudibranchs, including some sulphur noumea. Group after us saw a small turtle. Nice relaxing 90 min dive. Visibility fair.

    31 May 2020 - M & K Reef
    A bit sloppier outside than I expected, NE wind must have blown last night. No current at all. Water a blue milky 7 m viz, great considering last weekend's seas and visibility. Anchored just off wall. Went N, Kelly found a PPH and on way back I found its partner. She later found a tiny one. Lots of yellowtail, seapike and one-spot pullers. Not so many nudibranchs. Need a bit more weight for boat dive to stay at 5 m for safety stop. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    1 June 2020 - Barrens Hut
    Much better seas today than yesterday when we went out, but while under the wind came up and it got much rougher. Anchored in normal spot, water same milky blue as yesterday. Les's weight belt came off as he descended and he carried it to the bottom. Paul and I put it back on him, hard as not much space under BCD. Went to Tunnel and thru and then past Cave to small crack where lots of bastard trumpeters, one-spot pullers and some red morwong. Also saw a blue morwong in cave. Back to anchor and up. After dive saw lots of whales, two came past pretty close and one was doing spiral jumps. Fantastic site. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    Next five dives at Port Stephens.

    5 June 2020 - Fly Point
    Went in a little late, very little current. Drifted for 50 mins and then turned around. Viz hit 20 m before tide changed, then the average 10 m. Huge number of yellowtail at start, then on small wall bream, ladder-finned pomfret and other species. Saw a few interesting nudibranchs, one I had never seen before. A few flathead, some porqupinefish, pufferfish, a dozen Gunthers butterflyfish in one spot and more elsewhere. Really good dive. Visibility good.

    6 June 2020 - Fly Point
    Tried to dive The Pipeline but no parking spots at all. Came back here, lots of divers. Very little current and viz averaged 10 m, warmer than yesterday though. Huge numbers on small wall bream of ladder-finned pomfret, bream and other species. Some luderick, a small wobbegong. Again saw a few interesting nudibranchs, the same one I saw yesterday that I had never seen before.Some porqupinefish, pufferfish, a tiny pygmy leatherjacket but only two Gunthers butterflyfish. Really good dive. Visibility good.

    7 June 2020 - The Pipeline
    Got to site early today and plenty of parking spots, even though later than yesterday and more divers here. Drysuit leaked through neck as I disrupted seal when I put my hood on, went to undies! Virtually no current, viz fair for first five minutes then good. Went N from entry point and then followed 8 m to 9 m level to NE. Went to the new sea horse houses. Only one on them but another nearby. Also a tiger pipefish and another later. Saw at least seven sea horses, a dozen spindle cowries, dozens of small cuttlefish and pygmy leatherjackets. A few nudibranchs, two tiger egg cowries on a gorgonia (with spindles too). Really good dive. Visibility good.

    8 June 2020 - The Pipeline
    Got to site early today and not too hard to get a spot. Virtually no current again, viz fair for first five minutes then good. Had a problem with air in boots, used a lot of air because of this. Went N from entry point and then followed 8 m to 9 m level to NE. Went to the new sea horse houses. Only one on them but some before and after. Saw three tiger pipefish and at least seven sea horses, not as many spindle cowries, dozens of small cuttlefish and pygmy leatherjackets. A few nudibranchs, the two tiger egg cowries on a gorgonia, a platypus egg cowrie, a horned shark and lots more. Another really good dive. Visibility good.

    9 June 2020 - The Pipeline
    A bit harder to get a spot today, lots of divers too. Did same dive as previous two for most part, but went along pipeline for a long way at end. Virtually no current, viz fair for first ten minutes then good. Went N from entry point and then followed 8 m to 9 m level to NE. Went to the new sea horse houses as before. Only one on them but another two nearby. Saw a few tiger pipefish and as well as at least three girdled pipefish. Again saw least seven sea horses, plenty of spindle cowries, dozens of small cuttlefish and pygmy leatherjackets. A few nudibranchs, one tiger egg cowrie and a few flat worms. A very friendly octopus that kept grabbing at my hand. Yet another really good dive. Visibility good.

    12 June 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Went in past Carol's plaque as swell on both sides of island. Went via gully to sand to SE of Sea Horse Cave. Then across sand looking for the thorny sea horse but no luck. A RIF on sand here. Then to RIF Reef, then back via 15 Metre Reef. Two pipefish here but not many nudibranchs. Then back normal way. Saw a long-snouted boarfish near Cave and another E of the other Cave. Two PPH near here in normal spot. ALso, Leo, the tiny 10 mm long yellow painted anglerfish. Another one past Sea Horse Rock, a bit bigger. A few nudibranchs along here, but still not many. An excellent dive. Visibility good, almost very good.

    13 June 2020 - M & K Reef
    Club boat dive, was supposed to be to Wedding Cake Island but a bit of swell meant it would have been surgy as it is a shallow dive. Too rough at Yellow Rock, so back to M & K. Very foggy on way out. Anchored off N end of wall, Les had to go back up soon after we got to wall as his computer died so no reading of air pressure. Went N. Not as many fish around as two weeks ago. Kelly found a PPH, some nudibranchs around. Back at the S cave, a small blue devilfish. Then as we headed back to anchor, she found a small yellow anglerfish. Good dive. Visibility very good.

    20 June 2020 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Flat seas and little W wind. A slight current from the north. Anchored near bastard trumpeters. Went N along Split to end. Then back along sand edge, sand has been removed by seas, at least a metre. A few very large squid here. Two donut nembrothas on first rock south and then two more on the small rock past very large rock. Dozens of spindle cowries on some seawhips. After Les went up we went to near Cave and then up. A great dive. Visibility very good.

    21 June 2020 - North Head Boulders
    Club boat dive, two boats and seven divers. Rained from 0415 and very dark, only stopped as we left dive site. Anchored in middle of North Head off shear wall. Lots of large boulders deeper than 13 m. Went to sand edge and then W. Some small reef bits off here. As usual, excellent sponge life. No sea dragons. Not a huge amount of fishlife, few nudibranchs. Saw a large wobbegong shark, others saw a few small cuttlefish. Visibility very good, but less than yesterday.

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    Michael on 01 April 2020 00:00 · Print
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