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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.
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    "Wobbegong sharks are now increasingly rare"
    My Recent Dives - November & December 2016
    3 November - Six Fathom Reef
    Club boat dive, three boats, 10 divers. Tried to dive Barrens, but large rolling swell and a current of at least 1 knot from N. Came back here and protected from both. Very dirty on top, but better on the bottom, except on sand where worse. Went to S along wall, then out towards sand and NW along the reef edge. Back to main wall, saw a nice blue devilfish on the way. Some mirror and black reef leatherjackets. Went S along main wall and then E on S edge to E side then N. Cut back across the deeper section of reef to main wall. A big school of luderick, also a lot of yellowtail. Back to boat. Nice dive despite conditions. Visbility fair but poor deep.

    3 November - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Club night dive. Conditions much better than this morning, but could not go in off W point. Went down to IR1 and then to first bit of IR2. Viz okay most of the way, but dropped off in spots. One RIF out there, then back. A couple of dwarf firefish, a few small cuttlefish, one tiny, another RIF (or two?), a large flounder, a large flathead, a large spindle cowrie and a dead cowrie. The tropical sea horse is now near where the small anglerfish were months ago. No anglerfish or pygmy pipe horses. A surprisingly nice dive. Visibility fair.

    5 November - Whale Watching Platform
    Club boat dive, three boats, 10 divers. Tried to dive Barrens, but large rolling swell and a current of at least 1 knot from N. Came back here and protected from both. Very dirty on top, but better on the bottom, except on sand where worse. Went to S along wall, then out towards sand and NW along the reef edge. Back to main wall, saw a nice blue devilfish on the way. Some mirror and black reef leatherjackets. Went S along main wall and then E on S edge to E side then N. Cut back across the deeper section of reef to main wall. A big school of luderick, also a lot of yellowtail. Back to boat. Nice dive despite conditions. Visbility fair but poor deep.

    All following dives at Great Detatched Reef, Far North Queensland, unless otherwise stated.

    8 November 2016 - Cape York, RMS Quetta
    First dive of trip, amazing wreck and conditions, at least 15 m vizz. Went from midships to bow, lots of fish under. Then back to stern, partly via inside. Prop and rudder in place, great photo. Then back to midships, also partly inside. Middle mast still perfectly in place. Lots  of fish all over the wreck, mostly in the holds and holes. Current even at end of dive was slight. Brilliant dive. Visibility very good.

    8 November 2016 - Cape York, RMS Quetta
    Went to stern along outside and inside. Then to bow via inside mostly. Went out the hole in hull to bow, saw the damage there from when it hit the rock. Saw the two anchors, the boiler, the engine etc. Back to stern and then to mooring line. Viz not as good, but lots of big fish. Brilliant dive again. Visibility good.

    9 November 2016 - Manta Point
    Site located NW end of Great Detached Reef on inside. Wall of coral sloping to 12 m then sand with bommies to 25 m. Went W  and then back to boat. Saw a black tipped reef shark, lots of titan triggerfish, plenty of normal reef fish. Also a few different species of clownfish, some shrimp on sea whips etc. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    9 November 2016 - Manta Point
    Did another dive here, this time to the E. Went along at 18 m gradullay coming up to 13 m where we turned around. More titan triggerfish, and a large turtle. Lots of Moorish idols, bannerfish, butterflyfish. Heaps of garden eels on the sand. Viz not as good but still great. Visibility good.

    9 November 2016 - Turtle Farm
    An isolated reef on W side of the GDR. Anchored on E side. Went into current to N, at point huge fishlife. Lots of spanish makeral, GTs, trevally, grey reef sharks, white tipped reef sharks, kingfish and more. Brilliant. Then back to reef near boat where we did safety stop. Lots more clownfish, Mooriish idols, bannerfish etc. Two hhuge sea whips about half way. Fantastic dive. Visibility very good.

    9 November 2016 - Turtle Farm
    Night dive. Went to N again, saw a small grey reef shark and white-tipped reef shark as soon as we hit bottom. A few unicornfish, red bass, trevally etc. Lots of small shrimp and crabs, a couple of nudibranchs, a blind shark, tiny flutemouth, lots of Moorish idols, and bannerfish. Before dive we saw a large tiger shark and after I got out, one swam around the boat with three divers still in the water. Excellent dive. Excellent visibility.

    10 November 2016 - Captain Bloods Wall of Terror
    Located SE end of GDR. Dropped off edge and drifted E. Slopes gradully to 25 m thne steeply to 300 m. Saw 13 sharks, grey reef, wwhite-tipped and black tipped. Lots of red bass, snapper, rainbbow runners and more. Plenty of huge gorgonias, nice coral. Ended up surfacing and doing safety stop under Gigi's safety sausage. Then she called Kalinda using lifeline and picked up. Good dive. Very good visibility.

    10 November 2016 - Southern Entrance
    Located SE side of the southern entrance to GDR. Went to right along shear wall from 5 m to over 200 m. Lots of vertical gullies, thosuands of gorgonias of all colours and sizes. Quite a few sharks, including grey reef, silver and white-tipped. Plenty of titan triggerfish, all seem to be mating or preparing nests. Some barracuda, trevally and GTs, 2 lionfish. A few tiny slugs (same as yesterday). Great dive. Visibility very good.

    10 November 2016 -  Port Arthur
    Located to E of southern entrance on inside of main GDR. Lots of small bommies located off the main reef in max 8 m. Went from one to another. Saw 19 pipefish, striped round tails. Lots of fish, some big ones. Some saw a leaf fish, shark. Went to SE first then N to large bommie and between this and main reef and then back to boat. Really nice dive, should be great tonight as night dive. Visibility fair.

    10 November 2016 - Port Arthur
    Night dive. no pipefish at all, one large white tip reef shark and a  small one. A large turtle which came close. A lionfish, a parrotfish in a hole, plenty of large fish around. Lots of shrimp but too hard to get photos. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    11 November 2016 - Wood Reef, Woodies
    Located on E side of Wood Reef. A finger comes out W at a few metres for about 150 m, shear walls to 100 m or so. Went in on S side and swam along till we saw the tunnel thru the end. This is at 20 m and 20 m long, 5 m wide. Swam thru and then left W to end. Here shear drop with lots of large gorgonias and sea whips. Then back  to main reef and over to S side. Was another cross-over point about half way that we missed. Saw a large grey whaler and white-tip reef shark on N side, 2 more grey whalers in gully. Aa few large fish off the wall and some excellent coral in the shallows. A brilliant dive site. Visibility excellent.

    11 November 2016 - Wood Reef, Lush Spot
    Located about half way down S side of Wood Reef. Anchored  in a sandy gutter that runs from 8 m to 25 m. Shear wall to 70 or more metres. Went SE along wall and then back again a little shallower. Crossed over mouth of gutter and went for quite a way. Lots of large gorgonias all along the wall, some sea whips  and sea fans. Saw a couple of sharks, then 4 humpheaded wrasse. Lots of surgeonfish and parrotfish schooling as one. Some clownfish, Kelly found a leaf scorpionfish in staghorn coral at 5 m. Spent last bit of dive around edges of gutter. Great dive. Visibility very good.

    11 November 2016 - Captain Bloods Wall of Terror
    This time started dive closer to the SE corner of GDR and went NE and then N. Went around corner and finished perhaps 200 m N. Saw lots of sharks, did not count them, but perhaps 15. One was a silver-tipped reef shark. Saw 2 clown triggerfish, a purple dragon, a whie with yellow edges nudibranch. Lots of other fish as well. Nice reef. Visibility varried a lot, very good at start, then onnly good and then back to very good.

    11 November 2016 - The Mad Surgeon
    Decided to do a late afternoon dive instead of night dive. Located on the inside of the N end of the soutern-most W reef of GDR. Sandy bottom with lots of bommies, small and large. Headed N to point where lots of fish, surgeonfish, lots   more. Only a reasonable dive. Visibiity fair.

    12 November 2016 - 6MP
    Located in between top and bottom reefs on W side. Six Metre Pinnacle. Two pinnacles that come almost to surface, this one to 5 m from over 35 m. Lots of overhangs and small caves, huge gorgonias, sea whips, soft and hard corals. Plenty of clownfish, surgeonfish, unicornfish, parrotfish and more. Brilliant fishlife, especially on E side as current from there . An amazing dive site! Visibility excellent.

    12 November 2016 - Da Phat
    Located a few hundred metres to W of last dive. A pinnacle that comes up from 60 m on E and 200 on W to 13 m. Found by Dave Ss and after diving it said that it was Da Phat! Has a split in middle at 20 m and a large cave that goes off and comes out on the side. Lots of gorgonias and sea whips, soft and hard corals. Huge numbers of fish, dog-finned tuna, unicornfish, parrotfish and heaps more. Thousands of long-finned bannerfish, a large firefish, and all the normal tropical fish. Top of the higher peak had heaps of anemones and clownfish. Another brilliant dive. Visibility very good.

    12 November 2016 - Entourage
    Boot shaped reef 1 nm south of last dives. Boat anchored S of reef. Boot heal runs NE-SW. Went around anti-clockwise, current strongish at top of boot. Saw a couple of white-tipped reef sharks and grey reef sharks. Kelly found a huge painted crayfish. Lots of surgeonfish, esp on the surface. Dozens of anemones at 5 m stop near boat. Not a brilliant dive. Visibility varied, but mostly very good.

    13 November 2016 - Raine Island Eastern Apex
    Located off E end of reef. Anchored in 30 m but hanging back over about 10 m. Went in and headed NW at 25 m gradually coming upto 15 m where we turned around. Just back from here saw 2 green turtles and maybe a large (tiger?) shark in the shallows. Lots of white tipped reef sharks, one epilette shark, one clown triggerfsih, a few titan triggerfish. Reef flat 5 m on top then slopes to 30+m, lots of nice coral. Nice dive, but not many turtles and no tiger sharks. Visibility very good.

    13 November 2016 - Raine Island North Wall
    Drifted along the N wall to SE. Wall is a shear drop from 5 m to 60+m, lots of small bays and landslides. Hundreds of small "sleeping bays" for turtles in the wall, all but a couple empty. Saw heaps of turtles, one leopard shark, one epilette shark. Plenty of unicornfish, surgeonfish and parrotfish. Some clownfish, titan triggerfish and more.

    13 November 2016 - Cow Bommie
    Located at the entrance to lagoon between NW and E reefs. No current when we started but picked up a bit as tide came in. Dived on E side of the bommie. Went to right of boat where there are some large bommies and some smaller ones. Lots of gorgonias here, a spindle cowrie, plenty of glass shrimp and other shrimps. Saw a tuna like fish and then a very sleek shark. Back to the main bommie and slowly back to boat. Kelly found a nice grey, black and white nudibranch. Plenty more to see, but not as good as the deeper part. No real shallows so had to do safety stop on the deco line. Very good dive. Visibility good.

    14 November 2016 - OMG Spot
    Located on outside of GDR about 1/3 way from N. Reef runs NW/SE. Anchored in a sandy gully. Went to NW for 10 mins and back to gully then SE a little. Wall slopes very steeply from 10 m to 60+m. Saw a white-tipped reef shark, a couple of nudibranchs, an orangutan crab, some clownfish. Lots of large fish. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    14 November 2016 - Twin Admiralty Drift
    Located on E most part of reef, NW/SE wall. Named because 2 admirality anchors in shallows and chain running over the edge. Dropped in to go SE but current deeper was going NW, so went that way. Very steep slope from 5 m to over 100 m. Quite a few sharks, some white-tipped, silver-tipped and grey reef sharks. Two clown triggerfish, some huge giant trevallies, other species of trevally, parrotfish and unicorn fish. Current was at least one knot, so hard to stop to look at things, saw one large moray eel. Really nice dive. Visibility good.

    14 November 2016 - 6MP
    What a dive! Quite strong a current so huge amount of fishlife, from tiny to large. Hard going on 1/4 of each circuit, but easy for the rest. Lots of feeding going on, blue trevally and unicornfish going after the small fish. Went round and round the bommie, greadually ascending. Saw the rinoporus just outside the cave, beautiful. Also some dancing shrimp, lots of clownfish as before. Spent the last 12 mins on top of the bommie just watching the fish in the current. Amazing! Visibility very good.

    14 November 2016 - 6MP
    Night dive. Still quite a strong current, but okay. Saw quite a few2 sharks at the start of the dive and a couple later. Saw the lacy scorpionfish again, some interesting shrimp on a gorgonia, a Spanish dancer, a very large octopus, some huge trevally and other fish. Probably not as many fish as last dive. Plenty of glass shrimp on gorgonias. Another fantastic dive. Visibility very good.

    15 November 2016 - Jukes Reef
    Well, this was an interesting dive! Jukes is a sand cay 9 nm NW of GDR. Anchored on S side. Strong current which got stronger while we were in. Rubble slop to 30 m, then a wall. We went NW and a couple of coral bommies. Found three nice nudibranchs, not much else. Cut dive short and ascended from 7 m as we figured we would not be able to get back underwater. Once on surface, we attempted to surface swim back to boat. Missed the port side of boatand came down starboard side, grabbed the rope on tender. Then made it across to the 100 m mermaid line. They put out another line to steps and pulled ourselves to steps. Two missed boat altogether, rest came up anchor. Used a huge amount of air. Visibility good.

    20 November 2016 - Bypass Reef - Sydney
    Club dive day and BBQ. First run of the day, very green till we got outside Botany Bay. Blue water here, very little current. Saw a blue devilfish, Kelly found some sea spiders, lots of PJs and plenty of red morwong. Could not find any sea horses. Very nice dive. A great day as well at the BBQ. Visibility very good.

    22 November 2016 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. Wind had not come up when we got out but by the time we were leaving it was over 15 kts NE. Dirty on top but quite clean on the bottom, cold though. Went around the reef, no wobbegongs or blue devils, but lots of yellowtail, seapike, silver sweep and more. A nice easy dive. Visibility good. 

    26 November 2016 - Xanadu
    Club boat dive. Have not dived here for a couple of years I think. Big rolling swell but no surge on bottom. Blue water and over 20C on top. When we got to bottom viz less than a metre! However, anchor was on sand and chain bouncing up and down made it terrible. Dragged anchor 10 m to reef and all okay. Viz 7 m. Went N and then back to anchor and S a little. Rest of time near anchor. Not a huge amount of fishlife, but a nice deep dive. Visibility fair.

    30 November 2016 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. A bit sloppy on top but okay. Very blue and warm water (21C) till 18 m and then darker and only 19C. Went around reef, lots of yellowtail, seapike and one-spot pullers. It looks like a large rock on SE corner has moved right off the reef. There used to be a gap between the main reef and this rock where there were lots of gorgonias. It is not there now, but may be off on the sand, not really sure. Bastard trumpeters N of cave. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    5 December 2016 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Club boat dive. First boat dive for my nephew Pat, he went very good considering depth was 8 m deeper than his previous max. Slit current from N. Went up Split to N and the then N to flat rock. Found a sea dragon on the way and two donut nembrothas. Back to anchor area and another sea dragon, this one with eggs. Saw some large black reef-leatherjackets, one pineapplefish (near S Split). Then to cave and back to anchor, lots of red morwong and bastard trumpeters. Very nice dive. Visibility good.

    14 December 2016 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Club boat dive. Calm but wind came up strong from NW while down. Viz 5 m and only 2 m in a couple of spots. Flooded torch head again!!!! Went N along Split and then N again. Found 3 donut nembrothas, Maxine found 5. Some very large. Back along outside, 2 pineapplefish at S end of Split. Visibility poor.

    22 December 2016 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Club night dive. Small swell but long period, was surgy at 18 m. Had to go in at plaque. Very dirty on IR2, better on IR1. Saw 4 PPH, 2 RIF, 1 dwarf firefish, 2 sea horses, 1 pink okenia. Not the greatest dive despite what we saw. Visibility very poor.

    24 December 2016 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Moderate current on surface from N. Lots cleaner than last few dives, but cold on bottom (17.9C). Went N along Split and then N again. Found 7 donut nembrothas here. Lots of silver sweep here. Back to anchor, 2 pineapplefish in overhang S end of Split. Thousands of yellowtail along the way. Bastard trumpeters in normal spot. Nice dive. Visibility good.

    27 December 2016 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Late organised dive with 8 attending. Went off W point to Deep Wall, then back normal way. No sea horses at all, nor PPH, RIF. However, saw lots of dwarf firefish and many species of nudibranch, including plenty of flabalena. Cold on bottom, only 16.6C, but at least 10 m viz. Bottom was covered with small jellyfish. Nice dive. Visibility good.

    28 December 2016 - Henry Head
    Tried to go outside the bay but wind from NE was 15 knots and likely to increase. Also very sloppy from the strong NE winds yesterday and last night. Pretty calm here. Like yesterday, dirty on top but clean and cold on bottom. Did normal dive to S and then W and N. Found 5 sea dragons, 3 PPH, lots of nudibranchs, including a pink okenia. Kelly also found a sea spider. Had trouble finding anchor at end of dive, so had to surface twice to head in right direction. Very good dive. Visibility good.

    29 December 2016 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Decided to dive here again as conditions are good. Went from W point to SW and then back as per 2 days ago, same conditions. Some small squid out deep, lots of purple dragons, plenty of flabellinas and pink okinias. A large sole, the 2 sea horses that we saw last night dive. One RIF and 2 PPH (we did not see these as someone was cooking them with his video lights forever). Another really good dive. Visibility good. 

    30 December 2016 - Shiprock
    Decided to dive here, I have no idea why when most of my recent dives here have been very average. This was no better. Quite dirty compared to last few days diving, but at least a lot warmer at 19.7C. Four moray eels, three of which were happy to be scratched. Lots of cardinalfish with eggs, only a couple of nudibranchs, one eagle ray that dashed thru at start of dive. No pineapplefish. Morning tea after was almost better. Visibility fair.

    31 December 2016 - The Leap
    A bit more swell than expected but okay. Dirty on top again but clean on bottom. Saw 7 sea dragons, at least one with eggs and another one only 100 mm long. Lots of nudibranchs, especially purple dragons. Kelly found a tiny PPH. A really nice easy dive, but exit a little hairy. 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 November 2016 00:002864 Reads - Print
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