Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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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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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
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    "The Wall (The Apartments) is a dive site that has spectacular fishlife"
    My Recent Dives - January, February & March 2019
    15 January 2019 - Ilha dos Porcos (Pig Island) - Arraial do Coba, Brazil

    Eastern side of Ilha dos Porcos, Pig Island. Very windy from N or NW, so here only place to dive. Quite shallow, max 10 metres. Dirty below 10 anyway. Went N along slope at 10 m or so, then turned and came back at 6-7 m. Lots of strange sponge-like fans. Saw a few nudibranchs, some large eels with stick crabs/shrimps. A few different types of boxfish. Two smallish turtles.Lots of fish in some places. At 45 mins guide took German up as low on air then came back to us. Did 62 mins. Reasonable dive. Reg made very hard banging on intake if I breathed in soon as I exhaled! Visibility fair.

    15 January 2019 - Sace de Cardiero - Arraial do Coba, Brazil

    Different reg, but leaked a bit. Located opposite side of channel from last dive, on mainland. Drift dive from southern point to bay. Dropped off into 10 metres. Similar to last dive.Colder and dirtier, one sea horse, quite a few large gurnards, a small fiddler-ray, a few butterflyfish, boxfish, some small eels, a couple of nudibranchs. Another reasonable dive of 60 mins. All the other divers went up well before we did. Visibility fair.

    23 January 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club boat dive. Thunderstorm on the way out, lightning, heavy rain but once there it stopped. Slight chop from NE and little wind or current. Anchored on E side. Went around reef as normal. Huge schools of seapike, a bunch of bastard trumpeters, a spiny gurnard and lots of other fish. Found 5 donut nembrothas in front of cave, but none elsewhere. An excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

    24 January 2019 - Shiprock

    Very strong southerly blowing but calm here of course. Could see bottom from top of wall and had to be about 20 m viz. Dropped over the wall and on the first very small bommie Ron found a black anglerfish that they saw 3 weeks ago. Has grown a bit apparently. Went the usual route, a dead ray, lots of sweet ceratosoma nudibranchs, fan-bellied leatherjackets, small snapper and lots more. I cleaned the plaque, face had fine growth over it. We went out to the train track and poles. Could almost see the wall from out there. Turned at 40 mins when tide started back out. A few bream and a small school of seapike, 3 pineapplefish under the bubble cave. Back near the start, the anglerfish had moved about 5 metres towards the entrance. Went usual way back, 75 mins. Very warm at 20.0C. Visibility very good.

    26 January 2019 - The Monuments

    Club Australia Day dive and BBQ. Went in about 150 m to E of normal entry. Very fast drift at first. Viz was 17 m here but later dropped to perhaps 10 m. Saw a couple of moray eels, one horned shark, one white PPH. Saw a crab trap with a blind shark in it, removed it and turned the trap over. Right in front of normal dive entry. Ended dive a bit early due to buddies low on air. Nice dive and very good BBQ afterwards. Visibility good.

    27 January 2019 - Bypass Reef

    Club boat dive. Decided to dive a different spot to proposed site due to extremely good water conditions. Checked that there was no current when we stopped, yesterday there was strong. Very little. Anchored just off wall, huge numbers of bastard trumpeters near anchor when we went down, but gone later. Went to S along wall, further than I have been before. Lots of mado on wall and some small seapike. Also lots of other fish up high, hard to tell what they were. Could see boat clearly from 27 m. aBack to anchor and into the bay, dozens of red morwong here. Second group saw two blue devilfish. Lots of nudibranchs all over the place. A fantastic dive! Visibility very good.

    30 January 2019 - Middle Ground

    Club boat dive, 3 boats and 13 divers. Very big sea running from ENE, steep and sharp. Also a lot of slop. No wind, much less than forecast. Very dirty on top and dark but clean on bottom. Anchored on NE corner. Had to move anchor a bit to better spot and also further from other boats. Went around anti-clockwise as normal. No wobbegongs or blue devilfish, but lots of yellowtail and some seapike up higher. Some leatherjackets and red morwongs. Forgot torch, so hard to see a lot of things, but a very nice dive. VIisbility good.

    31 January 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs

    Very hot, over 30C at 10 am. Went in off W point and W to sand. Very dirty above 10 m but over 15 m viz below, cold here, 16.2C! Followed the edge and then 15 Metre Reef to Isolated Reef 1. Lots of pink flabellina. Saw a small horned shark between the two reefs. Then a nice little anchor, took the chain as I need it for something. Lots of yellowtail here, all over the place. Then saw a rope which ran W. Followed it and found the best chain I have ever seen underwater with a great sand anchor. Too heavy to carry back to shore, so I spent some time at disconnecting rope from chain and hiding anchor and rope. I want to recover it as I need new chain on boat. Back via S side of reefs and normal way back. Two small upsidedown pipefish at Sea Horse Rock. No RIF or PPH, but a great dive. Visibility very good. 

    2 February 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 2

    Weather forecast originally was not good, but when it improved I decided to take boat out with some friends to recover the anchor from Thursday. Anchored on end of IR2. Went down but filfthy on bottom, only 1-2 m. Used a rope I carried to tie to anchor and searched till I found the rope. Then used this to lead to the chain and anchor. Eventually Greg and Shelley joined me (Johnny had ear problems). Attached a rope and lift back and went up. Unfortunately the chain got caught under rocks. Visibility shithouse.

    2 February 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 2

    Had to redive when the anchor we were trying to get got stuck. Went down and attached the lift bag direct to chain. Failed again as it moved and got caught. Dived a again straight away and this time attached to anchor. Sent it up and we got it all! Visibility very poor (was a bit better).

    5 February 2019 - Fly Point, Nelson Bay

    Away for the week at Nelson Bay to do some diving with Ron, Donna, Ida, Ray and Chris. Not much, very slow. Quite dirty and fairly cold for here (19.1C). Turned at 35 mins and went shallower and back. Saw a few morays, one large, some blind sharks, a small wobbegong shark, a fiddler-ray, some interesting nudibranchs and a flatworm, a butterflyfish. On the drop off on the way back, lots of bream, surgeonfish, mado and more. Quite a nice dive despite visibility. Poor visibility.

    6 February 2019 - The Pipeline, Nelson Bay

    Quite a bit cleaner than yesterday. Went NE at first and then slowly back to pipe, getting there after 55 mins (70 min dive). So many things seen, at least 6 pipefish, one sea horse (others saw 8-10), numerous species of rarer nudibranchs, dozens of octopus and cuttlefish, lots of eels, butterflyfish. Hard to recall all the things we saw. A brilliant dive. Visibility fair. 

    7 February 2019 - Halifax Point, Nelson Bay

    Dirty like Tuesday's dive at Fly Point. Sand is still covering a lot of the dive site, but still some good bits. We went NW rather than SW, turned at 20 mins and went deeper and then back. Only a few nudibranchs, a few horned sharks, some bream and similar species, a lot of butterflyfish, five small lined pipefish under a small overhang near entrance. Some large silver drummer deep, lots of blue gropers. Least interesting of the dives this week. Visibility poor.

    8 February 2019 - Fly Point, Nelson Bay

    Another nice day. Went in and headed N then went with current (very slight) to SW. Viz a little better than Tuesday. Saw a few small wobbegongs, a few large moray eels, some huge flathead, quite a few butterflyfish, plenty of different nudibranchs, 2 fiddler-rays, some horned sharks, lots of juvenile bream and snapper, a couple of larger ones too. A nice easy dive. Visibility fair. 

    12 February 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club boat dive, a day early due to forecast S change tonight. Seas smooth but with the occasional larger NE swell, no wind. Dirty on top, cold (17.8C) but almost 15 metres viz on bottom but very cold for February (16.3C). Anchored on top of W side, went into gully and then around from SE corner. Buddies saw a large cuttlefish. Lots of leatherjackets, mostly black reef. Some combfish around, three donut nembrothas in front of cave. Over and in front of cave, about 4-6 bastard trumpeters and lots of seapike, mado and yellowtail. A few other species of nudibranch as well. Next group saw an eastern blue devilfish near anchor. New anchor chain (recovered 2 Feb) worked well. A good dive. Visibility very good.

    16 February 2019 - Barrens Hut/The Split

    Club boat dive, three boats and 14 divers. Big crowd at ramp, had to park at school. A bit of swell from ENE, surgy on bottom. Warm blue water and a reasonable current from N, but blue stopped at about 15 metres. Still reasonable good on bottom. Did normal dive. Two donut nembrothas outside N end of Split. Some octopus, a few black reef leatherjackets, some yellowtail. Went thru Tunnel, lots of kelp at end and a small eagle ray went past. Back via Cave, 20 bastard trumpeters in normal spot. Bill and Jasmine saw a blue devilfish near anchor after I went up. Very nice dive and good morning tea afterwards. Visibility good to very good.

    17 February 2019 - Yellow Rock

    A bit sloppy but not too bad. Still blue water. Went all the way to Long Bay Rifle Range and did this spot. Very slight current from N, fantastic viz, 25 metres and over 21C for most of the dive, only got a bit colder in some dirtier water to S. Went N from anchor, huge amount of fishlife over the boulders. Saw a blue devilfish on deeper ledge, then thousands of silver sweep, mado, surgeonfish, yellowtail and lots of bream, trevally and leatherjackets. Plenty of combfish too. Some cuttlefish and octopus, another blue devilfish, two wobbegongs, one of which almost collided with John D. Fantastic dive, best this year and probably this summer. Visibility excellent.

    20 February 2019 - Shiprock

    Cancelled club boat dive due to strong winds and rogh seas, made the right decision. Seven of us decided to dive here instead. Very clean water, 15 m viz. I could not find the black anglerfish from last dive but Donna found it on the slope below Eddie's gobies. Also some pipefish here. Quite a few moray eels, two large. Also a speckled eel out in open on top as we descended. Plenty of fanbellied and yellowtail leatherjackets. Also lots of bream, some large, and juvenile snapper. Found a nice 1952 Marchants soft drink bottle, almost perfect. Two pineapplefish under Bubble Cave, a few octopus and frogfish. A dozen or more numbrays. A great dive. Visibility good.

    1 March 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1

    Extremely flat seas but low tide. Went in off W point and went W. Very warm water, min was 22.6C, did 85 mins. Saw a very small turtle along the way to the reef edge. When we hit the sand, I had to play with my regs as I was getting water in my mouth. Used occy for a while but eventually it stopped. Later looked at it and could not see any reason for water, perhaps exhaust valve was caught open a bit. Missed 15 Metre Reef due to this and poor visibility. Went over to N side of IR1. A moray eel, a largish orange smooth boxfish (another one later), some nudibranchs, normal fish. Back via the S side of IR1. On the way back saw a fiddler-ray, a small horned shark, lots of nudibranchs, some rarer ones, two upsidedown pipefish under Sea Horse Rock. A large flathead. Ron found a sea spider as he exited water too. Nice dive despite poor visibility. 

    2 March 2019 - Xanadu

    Club boat dive, two boats and nine divers. Anchored on the bottom of wall at 34 m. Dirty on top with 23C, bottom about 12 m viz and 18.9C. No current or wind (Wayne had raging current at Big Saigon which is not far from here). Went N, saw a blue devilfish, some silver sweep, red morwong and various leatherjackets. Back along wall S past anchor, then back to anchor. After Steve went up I went out E a bit deeper to 36 m. Some small ledges here. Very cruisy dive, but not great fishlife. Visibility good.

    3 March 2019 - M &  K Reef

    Very strong current at ByPass Reef and Yellow Rock. Sloppier than yesterday but okay. No wind or current here, bluish water and at least 17 m viz on bottom. Had to drag anchor N and W to a rock as nothing to hook onto. Went N, a large cuttlefish in second cave, then around the end corner, lots of yellowtail swarming around, a blue devilfish in small overhang, another large cuttlefish and two wobbegongs. Back via the deeper wall which is closer to main wall here. Then back to main wall and S past anchor. Saw some "tuna" like fish on the way, probably 100 or more. Then out to deeper wall and back to anchor. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    5 March 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1

    Another fantastic day, millpond seas. Very warm and dirty on top but colder (18.3C) and cleaner on bottom. Went W from W point as outgoing tide again. Saw a fiddler-ray just before 15 Metre Reef and also a small RIF. Lots of nudibranchs, I think I counted 13 species. A bit of work to get over the ridge in front of Sea Horse Corner as tide flowing strong here. Went along N side of IR1. Some found a black anglerfish here but I did not see it. Back on N side due to current. A few very large flathead on the way back and two upsidedown pipefish under SHR. Also 2 PPH before that. The large blue groper that followed us last Friday was seen but did not follow us. Looks like he might have been speared as he has a mark on left side. I had to rush towards end as low on air (70 min dive). Visibility fair.

    10 March 2019 - Minmi Trench

    Club boat dive. No wind or current. Green water, 21C on top but 19C on bottom. Saw a school of kingfish as we hit bottom. Went to wall and then sand and W to cave and a bit past. Nothing really special seen, some black reef leatherjackets and quite a few species of nudibranch, including a large one I have only ever seen a few times. Back E via the Trench to flatter area, then back to anchor. Rest of time spent around here. Reasonable dive. Visibility fair.

    12 March 2019 - Marley Point

    Club bobat dive, early as tomorrow forecast bad. Very smooth seas but a slight SE swell. No wind. Anchored W of normal spot. Les watched boat as cannot dive yet. We went NE along reef, saw two yellow boxfish, a largish wobbegong, lots of kingfish through most of the dive. At 20 minutes we went shallower and headed back. Big schools of bullesyes, ladder-finned pomfret, yellowtail and silver sweep in this area and for next five minutes. Back through swim-through behind high rock. Then SW past anchor (did not see it) and then back to anchor. Water quite cold 17.4C to SW, over 20C where we turned at 20 mins. Also raging current out past the point and on dive it was going NE deep and SW shallow. Very good dive. Visibility fair deep but very good shallow. 

    23 March 2019 - The Wanderers

    Club deep dive. Wind from NW and no current on surface. At least 35 m viz up top (23.8C), but not as good on bottom at 44 metres, perhaps 15 m (19.87C). Anchored on bottom at 42 metres. Strong current coming over wall from N here. Went E along wall, nice gully and overhang, to 44 metres. Back to anchor area. Lots of striped leatherjackets that kept biting my fingers. Thought one had drawn blood! Greg was bitten on cheek. Followed me all the way to about 25 metres. Very annoying. Saw a dozen or so large kingfish when I got to the bottom. The second group lost their way and had to ascend from bottom about 150 metres from where we were anchored. No idea how they could do this. Good dive. Visibility good.

    27 March 2019 - Bare Island Right

    No boat dive due to forecast. Too rough to go in off point, so went in next to Carol's plaque. Went very slow and only reached Cave. Saw a few PPH, two looked pregnant. Mandy found a small Bare Island anglerfish just past SHR. I found a black anglerfish on rocks in front of Cave. Also saw a RIF, a squid, lots of whiting, small snapper, bream and other fish near Cave. Lots of other interesting things as well, octopus, friendly blue groper as normal, some pink okena and other nudibranchs. Great dive. Visibility fair, but was poor in one area.  

    Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.

    Written by Michael McFadyenMichael on 01 January 2019 00:001788 Reads - Print
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