My Recent Dives - January, February and March 2020
Posted by Michael on 03 January 2020 11:00
3 January 2020 - SS Tuggerah
No wind and flat seas, ran down at 20 knots or so. Anchored first go, well not really as when I got to bottom it was just laying on the sand next to wreck towards front on western side. No current either. However, very overcast with smoke and cloud and a dirty layer from 20 to 35 metres meant it was like night on the bottom. Aaron took 5 mins to get to bottom and then was not keen to leave anchor (it took me ages to work out which way was the boiler). I went to boiler and prop and back. Then up. Got a bit better towards end as the sun came out from the cloud. Strange dive. Visibility fair.

4 January 2020 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive, 3 boats and 14 divers. Little wind and no current, but a bit of NE swell and sea. Anchored on NE corner, actually on rocks off it. Moved to main reef. Clear to 10 m and then filthy. Viz on bottom less than 5 metres. Went across N side to cave and back. Found a blue devilfish near cave, same one we have seen a few times lately. Only one bastard trumpeter, no donuts. Lots of ladder-finned pomfrets and silver sweep at cave. Kelly found a tiny pipefish in front of cave. Back at anchor we went S to SE corner and back. Probably worse visibility since 2018 or earlier. Visibility very poor.

8 January 2020 - The Monuments
No boat dive as wind forecast very strong S. A little swell here and surgy most of the dive. Water much cleaner and warmer than the weekend, over 20C. Tide going down from high so got a bit dirtier towards the end. Went to 14.4m before turning around. Lots of normal nudibranchs, nothing special. Ron found a sea horse and a Bare Island anglerfish. A huge bullray back towards exit. Also a wobbegong near exit and half a dozen squid. Visibility good.

11 January 2020 - Shiprock
Blew 60 knots last night so did not plan to take boat out today. Ten members diving, only us here. Went in right at Fort Denison high tide, very slight current, almost non-existent whole dive really. Strange! Saw four moray eels, four pineapplefish, two small cuttlefish doing mating dance, a wobbegong shark, lots of kingfish through most of the dive, plenty of bream and small snapper shallow. Very nice easy 76 min dive with 21C water. Visibility fair.

15 January 2020 - Middle Ground North
Club boat dive. Smooth sea and no wind, but a little swell, long period, so a little bit of surge on bottom. Dirty on top but cleaner on bottom, perhaps 7 metres or so, could see reef from 10 m above. Reasonable 18.1C on bottom. Went SE first, lots of pieces of fine sea algae floating just off bottom. Some wandering anemones on sea whips at end, possibly tiger anemones. Back to anchor and then NW. Saw a pineapplefish just past here. Thousands of yellowtail and seapike here. Some nice nudibranchs and leatherjackets as well. Back to anchor and then up. Two mins of deco. After dive went to see seal which was sunbaking over Middle Ground. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

19 January 2020 - The Leap Deep
Had to cancel yesterday's club boat dive due to extremely strong S winds. Today no wind but large SE swell and very sloppy. Tried Whale Watching and Henry Head, too much wave action at HH, so came over here. Anchored off The Leap entry spot and then went E on bottom. Very warm, 21.0C! Two sea dragons, two small cuttlefish, a large cuttlefish, lots of madao and old wives, some black reef leatherjackets and plenty of nudibranchs. A really nice dive. Visibility good.

21 January 2020 - Bare Island Right
First totally sunny day for months, blue sky, no smoke. Went in past plaque and went down to just past the cave. Very warm, 22C shallow and 21 deeper. However, quite dirty, 3-4 m viz. Saw one RIF, one PPH, lots of nudbranchs, including doto, red-lined flabellina and the species we saw at Henry Head a month ago on the crimson flat sponge. A small moray eel, a large octopus, nice easy dive. Visibility poor.

22 January 2020 - JD Reef North
First time diving here since late November 2017. Artificial reef which was put down in October 2017. Consists of a star-shaped pattern, with four structures in the N, S and middle sections and three in the E and W ones. They are about 40 metres apart. We anchored near S section. I ran a rope to the middle section. Huge amount of growth now, lots of mado and similar fish on them, plenty of yellowtail on surfacing near them. Quite a few crabs and one crayfish. I did not have a good look as I was running the ropes. Need to go back again. Good dive. Visibility good.

25 January 2020 - Barrens Hut
Club boat dive to Tuggerah wreck, 3 boats, but two other clubs boats out as well. Very sloppy seas despite little wind all night. Anchored on wreck but very strong current. Decided not to dive, managed to get anchor out. Anchored behind Cave at Barrens. Still a strong current here, even on bottom there was some. Very warm 22C. Went N in false split, lots of bastard trumpeters and a couple of six-spined leatherjackets. Then back on outside to S of Tunnel. Did not go thru ass Phil did not have torch. Then to Tunnel and back to anchor. Had to move our anchor at start and end. Also moved Craig's into a hole as it was bouncing around. Nice dive, but a long day! Visibility very good.

1 February 2020 - Henry Head
Once again windy, strong NE which got even stronger. Also NE swell. Very dirty and 20C top 7 m but then clean and cold, 16.4C. No current as about low tide. Went S, saw six sea dragons, two of which were larger juveniles. One RIF, half a dozen reasonable sized squid. Back to anchor then saw two more sea dragons. Lots of nudibranchs. Excellent dive. John lost his fin at start but later Abyss found, gave to Wayne H, so he will get back tomorrow. I went down for a search at end as I did not even realise he lost it (he got back as someone found it). Visibility good.

2 February 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef 
Club shore dive, Carol Martin's Memorial. Only had 165 bar in a 9 litre tank! Went in thru pool then S and SW to sand edge. Very dirty but warm 22C on top, below 7 metres cold 16.7C but over 10 m viz. Then to 15 Metre Reef and back from there. A tiny moray eel, lots of red-lined flabellinas, one RIF, some pink okenias, two dwarf firefish, some squid, usual friendly blue groper, a nice flathead, plenty of other nudibranchs, mado and more. Really nice dive followed by great lunch. Visibility good. 

5 February 2020 - JD Reef North
Club boat dive. Decided to dive the artificial reef again to connect up two more groups of structures. Tried to anchor on centre ones but ended up on eastern ones. Water very warm 22C on top and 20C on bottom, but very dirty. Could not see from one structure to another, just a faint shadow. Went round these and found there are three like the map says. Then ran a reel across towards W and found the centre ones with the line I put down two weeks ago. Ran then end of this back towards the E-most one of this group then connected new ropes up and ran back to the E group. Then went back and collected the reel. Took all the dive. Now we have 13 structures connected, so next dive will be purely for looking. Lots of crabs like last time. Visibility very poor. 

26 February 2020 - The Split
Club boat dive, 2 boats and 8 divers. First dive for three weeks due to record rainfalls, huge seas and then very dirty water. Today, flat seas, no wind, almost blue water, even in Port Hacking. Anchored S of Split. Went N, and then outside. Saw a few small kingfish, lots of silver sweep and one-spot pullers all over the place. Two donut nembrothas on first rock to S of end of Split. Back near anchor, found a tiny 2 mm nudi on purple ascidian, dark colour with orange or red dots and skirt. Perhaps a newborn donut nembrotha. A really great dive, considering we were not expecting much. Visibility very good.

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