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Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of 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.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "SS Royal Shepherd is a very compact shipwreck"
    My Recent Dives - January & February 2011
    Thursday 6 January 2011 - Clifton Gardens
    Club night dive. Not a good start to the year, raining, I forgot my swimmers, brought Kelly's booties rather than mine and only had 80 bar in the tank! So much for going back to my wetsuit from the drysuit. Still, had an enjoyable half hour. Went to mooring buoy chain. Two yellow anglerfish, two dwarf firefish, some sole, a friendly moray. Back under wharf some Whites sea horses and lots of small cuttlefish. Visibility poor.

    Saturday 8 January 2011 - SS Tuggerah
    My 100th dive on Tuggerah! No wind or current. Anchored in front of boiler. Could see whole rear half of wreck as we descended. Went to stern and then back to engine and via swim-through to front of boiler. Then to bow. Pineapplefish still there. Lots of volutes laying eggs. Pretty good fishlife, mostly seapike, yellowtail and big-eyes. A great 100th dive! Visibility very good.

    Sunday 9 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Went in off back left. Water very warm and clean. Drifted back along the wall, but current sometimes running out instead of in. A few large and small cuttlefish, 4 spiny gurnards. Lots of yellowtail and seapike. Also quite a few small bream and snapper. Some interesting nudibranchs and near exit, Kelly found what we think were about 20 tiny tiny (1 mm) cuttlefish). Very nice dive. Visibility good.

    Wednesday 12 January 2011 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. Was very windy last night and very early this morning but none when we went out. Seas large, but relatively smooth. Did usual dive, saw 2 giant boarfish, one eastern blue devilfish, some cuttlefish. All the usual bastard trumpeters, lots of seapike and yellowtail up higher. After the dive 2 fishers told us they saw a shark swimming towards us, but we did not see it. Visibility good.

    Thursday 13 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club night dive. Went in of W point. Supposed to be just after high but no current at all during the whole dive. Went S for a bit and then back N. Very clean on the bottom, but very dirty on top. Also colder deep. One dwarf firefish, some medium flathead, some squid and octopus. Lots of purple dragons. Nothing spectacular, but a nice and very easy dive. Visibility very good.

    Saturday 15 January 2011 - Barrens Hut/Split
    Took scooters as Kelly hurt her ankle last week. Went N for 12 mins, wall becomes less prominent after about 8 mins. Head W to a smaller wall then S and then E back to sand edge. Went all the way to cave and back. Cold on bottom, 15.2C but warm and dirty on top.Visibility good.

    Sunday 16 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall

    Went off W point and SW. Then S for a bit. Very clean on bottom, but cold, 15.2C. Then back N and same dive as Thursday. Not as many things seen, but again saw the tiny cuttelfish (?) seen by Kelly and I on 9/1. Visibility very good for all but last bit.

    Wednesday 19 January 2011 - Barrens Hut/Split
    Winds a lot stronger than forecast, with seas a slight chop. Swell right down from the 5 m of Monday. Did the normal dive, up Split and to upsidedown pipefish, both there. Then back to Barrens Hut tunnel and cave (Bastard trumpeters here) and then back to anchor. Very warm, mostly 21-22C but a couple of small patches of 19.2C. Visibility fair.

    Thursday 20 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Club night dive. Went off S corner and then over to the Deep Wall. Current pushed us to the wall. Current was then outgoing a bit when it should have been incoming. Not too bad though. Water cooler again, 17C. Visibility reasonable here but very poor shallow. Some squid, a huge angelshark near anchor, some octopus. Easy dive. Visibility fair.

    Saturday 22 January 2011 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. Seas up a bit so decided to go deeper than original plan. Very dirty on bottom. Les and Carol could not find anchor and did blue water ascent, we had to reascend to check they were back on boat (they were). Not the best dive, very surgy, my computer shows dozens of ascending too fast errors (all were when I was not ascending at all). Visibility poor.

    Sunday 23 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Similar dive to Thursday night. Larger swell, better viz. Had to move along a bit as my buddy used a lot of air and we ended up having to make a rush to the exit where he arrived with only 15 bar from a 12 litre tank (I had 70 bar in an 8 litre tank). Visibility good overall.

    Wednesday 26 January 2011 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went off W point. 2 new divers with us, both went well (only 10 dives each), although 1 underweighted and we had to donate lead. Went to Sea Horse Corner and then to IR1. Lots of nudibranchs, nothing special. Very nice dive though. Visibility fair.

    Wednesday 26 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Went off W point. Second dive with the new divers, but they are competent enough to go here. Ron wanted to find a PPH but could not. I then found  a red one near fishing net bubbles. We also saw a small horned shark and Ron found a RIF on the 17 m reef. Very good dive. Visibility fair.

    Thursday 27 January 2011 - Windy Point
    Club night dive, 12 members present. Clean near shore and out deeper but dirty near sand edge. Went further SE than most night dives, to Fish Soup. Went too far N when coming back and had to head SW back. Bit rough getting out. Not a great deal of interesting things seen, but a lot of small yellowtail, some large black reef leatherjackets and small rays. Visibility fair.

    Saturday 29 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Went off SE point and over to Deep Wall. Refound the PPH I found on Australia Day. Then back normal way. Lots of fish in spots. Nice dive. Warm, 22.4C min, but for most of the dive it was at least 23C. Visibility fair.

    Sunday 30 January 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall and Isolated Reefs
    Nitrox course dives, actually two dives as surfaced for four minutes after 29 mins. Went off W point and headed W. Dropped down to Deep Wall just S of anchor. Then back the normal way, found RIF on the flatter reef near where you turn N and devilfish in first cave. Back E of Sea Horse Rock we went up over the reef and ascended. Then, went W again to 12 m wall. Then followed this W, saw wobbegong, moray eel, another devilfish. Then to IR1 up to break between and then back to exit. Very warm water, min 22.4C. Visibility fair.

    Thursday 3 February 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall and Islolated Reefs
    Took a visiting American diving with a few club members along as well. Went off W point out to the deep wall, but N of the anchor. Followed the deeper reefs then back to reef near Sea Horse Corner. Here I found a yellow big belly sea horse. Then to IR1 and IR2. Saw a fiddler-ray somewhere, some other things as well (3 big flathead). Cannot remember much more for reasons outlined in next dive. Visibility fair.

    Thursday 3 February 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall and Islolated Reefs
    Club night dive. This turned out to be the worst dive I have ever done, not for its content, but the terrible tragedy that happened after we finished. Dive was only fair, but on surfacing, we found that one member of our large group doing the dive was not breathing and having CPR done on her by another. I rushed over to assist and with two other members, we performed CPR till the police arrived. Despite all the attention of ambulance and police and members, she died. A devastating night for everyone. RIP Carol Martin.

    Sunday 6 February 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Kelly and I decided to dive Bare Island and 12 other members of the Club joined us. We did the same dive Carol did last Thursday. Went SW off W point down to Deep Wall. Found red pygmy pipehorse that we have seen lately. There is a small one here as well. Then looking for RIF, I did not see, but some found one. Then to reef W of Sea Horse Corner and refound the yellow big belly sea horse I found on Thursday. Then back to exit. Lots of fish in some spots, as well as the blue devilfish I saw last Sunday. Colder for most of deeper parts (18C) but warmer (22C) shallow. A good dive to get over the trauma of the past few days. Visibility fair.

    Thursday 10 February 2011 - Shiprock
    I did not plan a night dive this week after what happened last Thursday. Ron wanted to dive so he and I and Donna did Shiprock. Low tide and little tidal variation. Lots of yellowtail and small silver sweep, a douple of large moray eels, three octopus, a numbray that wanted to head butt us. Also a lot of nice whiting near exit. Visibility poor.

    Sunday 13 February 2011 - Inscription Point
    Five of us who dived on 3 Feb decided to dive today, together with a few others. Was nearly low tide but little current and nice viz. Lots of purple dragons, a large schools of bream and yellowtail. Donna found a reddish pygmy pipehorse. Eddie's photos show what appears to be a tiny PPH or sea horse on its back! No sea dragons! Visibility good.

    Tuesday 15 February 2011 - Inscription Point
    After Carol's funeral yesterday, I needed a dive to relax myself. I still spent most of the dive thinking of her. Could not find the PPH from Sunday, but Gary found a velvetfish and another small fish we had never seen before. Current was a bit stronger than Sunday, this time running out. No sea dragons again. Visibility fair.

    Wednesday 16 February 2011 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. A bit of swell running, but calm otherwise. Blue water on top, a little dirtier on bottom. Slight current from N. Lots of bream, seapike and yellowtail. A fiddler-ray near anchor. Other saw a blue devilfish. Visibility good.

    Thursday 17 February 2011 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club night dive. Six attended, of whom five were on the dive two weeks ago when Carol died. Did the same dive. Went from W to SW and Deep Wall. No current at first but then slight incoming away from wall. Went S for a short distance and then N. Found only one PPH, red one misssing. Then Ron found two more on flat rock back near wall. I then found one RIF on flat reef near sand gutter and someone found another. Came back to Sea Horse Corner and headed NW. Refound the yellow big belly sea horse and another one on the same sponge. This male was extremely pregnant. Went to rocks near start of IR1 to see more that we had been told about but none seen. No sea dragons. Probably the best dive we have done at Bare Island for more than two years. Visibility good deep but very poor shallow.

    Saturday 19 February 2011 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Slight current from north, little wind but a slight chop from NE. Blue water, could see boat from 26 m. James' first boat dive. Went to Split and saw both upsidedown pipefish. A couple of cuttlefish, some yellowtail and seapike, only a couple of bastard trumpeters. Visibility very good.

    Saturday 19 February 2011 - Inscription Point
    Special Club night dive, 20 attending. Very high tide so strong current. Swam into it to the E. All up, we found 8 pygmy pipehorses! Most I have ever seen anywhere. White ones, red ones and brown ones. Some squid, cuttlefish, a blue-ringed octupus, moray eel and more. Very nice dive. Had an excellent BBQ after. Visibility good.

    Sunday 20 February 2011 - Shiprock
    Club dive. At least 25 members here plus more divers than I have seen here before. Under the water did not really see too many, did normal dive. As it was a very high tide, current was very strong. Kelly found a small pipe fish near W end. One pineapplefish at normal spot near Bubble Cave.  Normal fish seen. Visibility good.

    Thursday 24 February 2011 - Shiprock
    Club night dive. 16 members attending, most for a few years. Low tide, but viz was not too bad. Very warm water, 24C for most of dive, small patch of 23C. Current was very slight and easy to swim against. Found a dead whiting which I fed to the eel on the last rock. Ron found a yellow sea horse here. Could not find the pipefish kelly found on Sunday. Gary D found a tiny 20 mm pineapplefish near exit. Others saw a blue-ringed octopus. Normal pineapplefish near Bubble Cave there as well as other eels. Lots of decorator and hermit crabs and small rays. One tiny 125 mm long numbray. Visibility fair.

    Saturday 26 February 2011 - Pizza Reef
    My 3,100th dive. No wind or current, blue water, 30 m viz on top. Not as clean on bottom but great. Huge number of seapike and bastard trumpeters near cave. Some kingfish swam past up high. Could see the boat from anchor. Great day's diving. Visibility very good.

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

    Written by Michael McFadyenMichael on 07 January 2011 00:003703 Reads - Print
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