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Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
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Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
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Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

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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
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • 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
    "M&K Reef was named as Michael and Kelly had their wedding reception straight on-shore from here"
    My Recent Dives - January & February 2015
    4 January 2015 - Shiprock
    First dive for the year. Viz was really good and water warm at 21.4C. Current behaved strangely, running against us for a long time and then nothing for a long time. Wizzed back though. Saw a couple of moray eels, including one upsidedown and the one with damaged lower jaw. 10 pineapplefish, 8 in normal spot and 2 at W end.A couple of schools of medium kingfish, lots of surgeonfish, seapike, whiting and silver sweep. A fiddler-ray with a sole on its back, strange! Not one nudibranch. Nice dive. Visibility good.

    7 January 2015 - One Spot
    Club boat dive. Have not dived this spot for probably 10 years, so today with millpond seas we decided to have a go. Headed N from anchor into a very slight current. Warm water to 15 m and then dropped to 17.7C. A bit dirtier down here as well. Some schools of trevally and big eyes. Lots of blue groper and plenty of nudibranchs. Headed back to anchor and then S for a bit. Shallower than 18 m lots of large boulders and overhangs. Ended up back W of anchor in shallower for the end of the dive. Not as good as last time, but okay. Visibility fair to good. 

    8 January 2015 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Went in from back left of island and around to the deep wall. Should have been an incoming tide for well over an hour but we had to swim into the current all the way. Very strange. Viz good down deep but only fair shallow. Also much colder deep (17 v 21C). Only one big belly sea horse in the spot where we have seen three, this one looks very unhealthy. Some saw a shovel-nosed ray, I found one tiny PPH. Nice dive. Visibility good. 

    8 January 2015 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club night dive, 10 divers. Went in off W point and then SW. Very dirty and everyone got separated, but we all found each other at the wall. Incoming current on bottom and viz a bit better, but still poor. Found 2 sea horses this time, a RIF and then to E of RIF Reef, 2 more RIF. Two spiny gurnards on sand, some squid on 15 Metre Reef and then back near first cave, 2 tiny PPH. A fiddler-ray as well. I saw 4 dwarf firefish, but Ron reckons there were about 10-12. We all got separated again back shallower as the viz was only 2 metres. OVerall, viz poor.

    10 January 2015 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive, 4 boats and 17 divers. Largish swell but very little wind (from SE not forecast NE). Anchored first go. Much colder water than Wednesday, 17.7C on top (over 21 Wed) and 14.8C on bottom (17.7 Wed). However, also much cleaner on the bottom, probably 12 m viz. Lost Tricia at start of dive, not sure where she went but we never saw her at the anchor. Saw a small wobbegong and a blue devilfish. Lots of normal seapike, silver sweep etc. My torch would not work so I could not see if more stuff under the overhangs. An excellent dive. Visibility good.

    16 January 2015 - Shiprock
    Dive at low tide. Very little current at all the whole dive. Very dirty out on the bommies, a bit cleaner back near wall. A few moray eels, lots of hermit crabs, plenty of small yellowtail. Not many nudibranchs. Only 7 pineapplefish compared to 10 last time. A nice easy dive, but not exciting. Visibility poor overall.

    21 January 2015 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. Very big seas from E, much larger than predicted. Wind however was from W when should have been from NE! A slight current on surface from N and very cold on bottom (16.3C but over 21 at 5 m). Anchored on N side of reef as we slid off top on S side first go. Jane had ear problems so I dived alone. Went around and saw blue devilfish on SE corner. A few cuttlefish on E side but not much more. Got back to anchor and found that Jane had made it down as her reel was tied off on anchor. She came back just before I had to go up. Visibility very good.

    22 January 2015 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club night dive. Went in from W point and lost 25 bar when octopus free flowed. Went SW to wall. Warm shallow but cooler deep, 17.6C. At least 15 m viz here. A couple of PPH here and a dwarf firefish. Back normal way, no sea horses at all, I think the three may be dead now. A RIF near concrete block, one more tiny PPH, some squid and a flounder. One fine-lined tambja, two pink okenia and others saw more species. Very dirty on way back. Very nice dive. Visibility very good.

    4 February 2015 - Shiprock
    First dive for almost 2 weeks due to rotten weather. Viz at least 12 m, amazing considering the rain. Lots of fish, especially small and large seapike and surgeonfish. Saw 8 pineapplefish at normal spot, one horned shark, one wobbegong shark and the moray eel with deformed mouth. Lots of Sydney cardinalfish, every second one with eggs in mouth. Actually saw the eggs in one for first time. No nudibranchs, but quite a few small cuttlefish. Very nice dive, probably my longest ever at 80 mins. Visibility good.

    7 February 2015 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Carol Martin Memorial Dive. About 30 diving, too rough to go in from W point so went in from Carol's plaque. Quite dirty but very warm, 23C. Went to IR1 and around the S side. Here the viz went up to about 12 m. Went this way till the join and cut across to the N side. Then went a little way along IR2 so we could find the big belly sea horses that we found on a night dive in December. I found two and Simon the other. Then back along N side. Viz dropped off a lot on way back till it was only 3 m again. Gary found a small RIF near main reef. We all got separated as we passed other dive groups, but got together again at the exit. No PPH at all. Not a great dive because of the viz, but saw a few good things. Visibility for the most part very poor.

    8 February 2015 - The Leap
    Club shore dive. Seas dropped a lot since yesterday and relatively calm here. Very dirty again on top but below about 8 m went to at least 15 m viz. Slight incoming current. Saw one big belly sea horse and three sea dragons, but some saw 7 including a baby. Lots of small cuttlefish, mado, leatherjackets and nudibranchs. Saw a few rarer ones as well. A really nice relaxing 77 min dive. Visibility very good.

    11 February 2015 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Club boat dive. Very sloppy NE and wind later increased from NE. Dirty on top but cooler and cleaner below 18 m. Probably 10 m. Had to move anchor as jammed in a hole. Then went to Split and N to end. A sea dragon on sand with eggs. A small kingfish went by as well. Lots of blue morwong around. Back to Cave and Tunnel, could not find upsidedown pipefish above Tunnel. Back to anchor and rest of time here. A few bastard trumpeters in Cave. Nice dive. Visibility good.

    11 February 2015 - Yowie Bay Mooring
    Dived on our new mooring to check it out. Very clean till about 15 m and then fine silt/mud. Very stirred up once I moved mooring rope and chain. Pretty sure that the mooring IS NOT new. Need to take this up with contractor. Visibility fair.

    12 February 2015 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Club night dive, 11 members attending. Went in off W point, very dirty water down to 16 m then was about 8 m viz. Went along N side of IR1 to IR2 and back along S side. Saw 8 RIF, 3 big belly sea horses (same as last Saturday), a fiddler-ray, wobbegong shark, lots of squid, some pink okenias, whiting and more. Went real slow around IR1 and IR2 but came back quick from first cave as viz less than 2 m. Overall a brilliant dive. Visibility fair deep.

    14 February 2015 - Pizza Reef
    Was supposed to be a club deep dive, but email problems meant organiser was not aware I was available. Instead decided to do a reef dive. Large rolling swell which made it surgy on bottom. Very slight current from N. Went right around reef, lots of one-spot pullers, only 20 or so bastard trumpeters. Also a lot of smallish seapike and some yellowtail. Only 18C on bottom comparted to 22C at safety stop. Visibility good.

    16 February 2015 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went in off W point and headed just N of W to S of Sea Horse Corner. Across to IR1 on N side. One RIF here. Then to sea horses on IR2. Could only find the yellow one. Then around and back along S side. Some pink okenias out at end. Back to main reef, large anchor that has been at start of IR1 for a few weeks is gone. Then back normal way. Kim showed us a very large striped anglerfish which is on a large rock on the sand 20 m before the cave. Viz at least 15 m below 15 m, but only 5 m above. Very nice dive. Visibility very good overall.

    18 February 2015 - Middle Ground North
    Club boat dive. This is located to the NE of the normal Middle Ground site. I think it is where Seatamer II used to mainly dive. Dirty water on top but cleared at 5 m. Was cold, 16.1C on bottom but very clean, at least 20 m. The reef is not big, main part smaller than MG, but overall deep at more than 30 m. Runs NW-SE. The E side is better, with a drop of about 3-4 m in spots. We saw an eastern blue devilfish, a couple of six-spined leatherjackets, a pineapplefish, lots of one-spot pullers and seapike. A very colourful site, more than MG. Heaps of gorgonias and sea tulips. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    21 February 2015 - Bypass Reef
    Club boat dive. Very large swells forecast but not as big as this. No wind but a very strong current on surface from N, only went to about 8 m. Lots of one-spot pullers and silver sweep, one blue devilfish, a huge school of red morwong in a hole (where PJs were last time). Cold on bottom (16.6C) but clean. A very nice dive. Visibility good.

    24 February 2015 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Went in off W point incoming tide. Very dirty above 8 m but about 10 m viz below that, also colder at 18.6C. No PPH at all on the dive and no sea horses, looks like the 3 on the Deep Wall have died. A few small squid, lots of large flathead, especially at 3 m near exit. A fiddler-ray, a few nice nudibranchs, including a couple of rarer ones. A cute pufferfish and a tiny thing that we could not identify as it was so small. A nice dive. Visibility fair.

    26 February 2015 - SS Tuggerah
    A bit of rolly swell today after very strong S for 24 hours but okay. Very little wind and no current at all. Water blue to 26 m and then very dirty but about 10 m on bottom. Anchored in front of boiler. Cleaned the toilet a bit and then went to the stern. A few wobbegongs around, about 4 I think, the most I have seen here for perhaps 10 years. Also a few medium sized cuttlefish. Went up along hull to bow, more sand here than for past few years. Back to boilers, more sand in holds as well. Spent rest of the time near engine. Excellent dive. Visibility fair.

    26 February 2015 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Club night dive. Too rough to go off W point so went thru pool. Found two PPH before we got to IR1. A RIF near IR1 and then another on IR1. In between IR1 and IR2 3 fiddler-rays. Found the 3 sea horses, the pregnant one is now skinny. Back thru gap and on S side of IR1, some squid, a few octopus. Back to exit, a pink okenia but no anglerfish. Another RIF shallower. Very dirty above 12 m. Warm whole dive. Visibility poor.

    28 February 2015 - Marys Reef
    Calmer seas than recently and little wind, so could go a bit further south than we have been able to do. Blue water, but a bit of sand floating around. Could see the bottom at 20 m from 5 m and the boat easily from 20 m. An upsidedown pipefish and two tiny boxfish in the cave under the boat. Went E and a blue devilfish about 15 m along. Lots of silver sweep, one-spot pullers and trevally all over the reef. Also saw a blind shark and a large boxfish. Went for 18 mins and then came back. W of anchor saw 3 small double saddle butterflyfish. Went to the other cave and then back. A really good dive. Visibility good. 

    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 2015 00:003303 Reads - Print
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