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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 Recent Dives - January & February 2017
    4 January 2017 - Six Fathom Reef
    Club boat dive. Wind and seas worse than forecast, so came back inside to dive here. Blue water outside, incoming tide, so much better on E side of reef. Went deeper to start, visibility here dropped off. Then E back to main wall, S to boat and S and W to other side of reef. Saw a large long-nose boarfish, an eastern blue devilfish, a small school of yellowtail. Also some nice nudibranchs and Kelly found a sea spider. Not a bad dive. Visibility very good.

    5 January 2017 - Henrys Sponge Garden
    Once again wind and seas worse than the forecast, about 15 kts and very sloppy. Dived inside Henry Head where it was protected from both. Dirty on top but clean 10 m on bottom and also warm. Went S for 20 mins and then back to anchor. Saw 4 sea dragons, one with eggs, three PPH, 12 yellow and red sea spiders, all on the one bit of weed, a tiny yellow boxfish, some flatworms and lots of nudibranchs. Also plenty of black reef leatherjackets. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    7 January 2017 - SS Tuggerah
    Very good sea conditions, went down there at 23 kts. No wind, slight current from NE, blue water on top to 20 m, then dirty to 30 m then clean but cold. Fieldsy anchored there when we arrived, so hard to hook in. Anchor hooked into tiny piece of wreck off bridge. Went to stern and then bow and back. Lots of small fish and seapike and yellowtail in spots. At least two dozen bailer shells laying eggs and a few large cuttlefish. Lots of sand missing from in front of boilers, looks like part of wreck here has dropped a little. Great dive. VIsibility excellent.

    8 January 2017 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive, 2 boats and 10 divers. Anchored off E wall on the rocks. Dirty on top but clean on bottom, 20 m. Went to wall and then S to Phil's anchor and back. Not a huge amount of fishlife, but still a nice dive. Dive computer was on 26% but really only had air. Used OSTC 2N for deco. Thought I changed it after yesterday's dive, but obviously didn't. Noticed after 7 mins. Visibility very good.

    9 January 2017 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Low tide and millpond, so went off W point to wall. Then back via RIF Reef. Saw four PPH, two pregnant, one huge! Also lots of different nudibranchs and flatworms, including pink okenia and flabellena. About four dwarf firefish, a RIF on RIF Reef, some tiny, tiny shrimps, a large spindle cowrie, the two sea horses and plenty more. A great dive. Visibility good deep but shallow poor.

    10 January 2017 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    As flat as yesterday! Again, dirty on top but warm, 21.5C but cold 16.5C and clean, 15 m, on bottom. Went to wall and then back. The outgoing tide was relatively strong so we did not go around the rocks as normal. Back via 15 Metre Reef and normal way. Saw a shovel-nosed ray on the way to wall. Found the three PPH near Sea Horse Cave as well as the flabellinas. Found a few more flabellenas before this. Found the sea horses, had to rescue one as it was washed away when the kelp it was on started to go with the tide. Quite a few pink okenias and dwarf firefish, a nice moray eel and a large squid as well. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.
    10 January 2017 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went off W point W and then along shallower wall to Sea Horse Corner to show Phil the PPH. Could not find the tiny one! Then to IR1 on N side and right around. Had the current behind us all the way around. Did not see any more PPH but lots nudibranchs, including some large pink okena, a yellow/black spots one and more. Then back to exit. Showed Phil the sea horses and a RIF was right next to them. Did not see it first dive. Water again cold and clean deep (16.9C) but in the shalows it was over 25C, more than 8C higher!! Amazing! Another great dive. Visibility good.

    11 January 2017 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. No wind and flat seas. Anchored but did not move for ages. Went from SW corner to E and around normal anti-clockwise direction. A couple of large six-spined leatherjackets, a large cuttlefish, a big school of seapike near cave. Only 6 to 10 bastard trumpeters. Found a donut nembrotha out from cave, Kelly later found another two. Really nice dive, not as cold as last few days. Seems there has been a lot of movement of large rocks on S side of the gutter, there used to be a small crack between the main reef and another rock where lots of gorgonias were located. I think it is now out about 10 m. Visibility very good.  

    12 January 2017 - Shiprock
    Very high tide with low lows either side so lots of water movement. Went N instead of S as looking for anglerfish. I found a small black anglerfish on the sand up past where we normally start our ascent to the shallows. On the way Kelly found a pipefish and near the angler Paul found another one. Went S after this around the bommies. Played with the moray eel on the last bommie, it is getting very friendly. Then to plaque bommie and just past here, turned around. The two long-finned bannerfish are still there, found two frogfish and a larger moray. Back up and saw three Eddies gobbies, a tiny pipefish and a tiny cuttlefish in the small overhang. Warm water (20.5C) and clean, nice dive, best for a long time here. Visibility good.

    12 January 2017 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Club night dive. Well, how can the viz change so much in a few days? Despite it being an incoming tide, it was only three or four metres at the most, but at least it was warm, 20.2C. Too rough to go in off W point, so went in before pool. Headed to SH Cave then along S side of IR1. Only did IR1 due to poor viz. Found the two PPH near cave, back normal way. Found the sea horses as well. Saw a few dwarf firefish, quite a few octopus, a large squid, a moray eel, a spiny gurnard, a PJ and a large wobbegong shark. Nice dive, but nowhere as goo as we expected. Visibility poor.

    13 January 2017 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Due to extremely high tide and a bit of swell, had to get in at the exit ramp. Went to SH Corner and then to IR1 on S side. The two PPHs were near corner, but the large pregnant one (which still was last night) is not now. Must have given birth in last 12 hours! Could not find any babies. Went slow along IR1 and found some tiny nudibranchs, black with yellow and a yellow with black spots. Then went over the reef, first time I have ever done this. Very nice sponge life on top and some huge seapike and some bream. Then back normal way. Saw two RIF, another tiny PPH, a few octopus, a tiny moray eel, a tiny yellow boxfish and a PJ. Found only the red sea horse (with RIF next to it) but could not find the yellow one. An excellent dive. Visibility good (go figure after last night). 

    14 January 2017 - Shiprock
    Club shore dive. Was supposed to take boat out but forecast was bad. However, it was good! Damn. Went looking for the anglerfish but could not find it. Kelly found 5 pipefish! Played with the smaller moray on last bommie, it is getting very friendly now. Cleaned the plaque of barnacles. The bannerfish are still in same place. Back to exit, saw two frogfish, 4 Eddie gobies, some nice shrimp. A few nudibranchs but nothing special. Water clean and warm again, did 84 mins. Visibility good.

    15 January 2017 - The Leap
    Went off W point W and then along shallower wall to Sea Horse Corner to show Phil the PPH. Could not find the tiny one! Then to IR1 on N side and right around. Had the current behind us all the way around. Did not see any more PPH but lots nudibranchs, including some large pink okena, a yellow/black spots one and more. Then back to exit. Showed Phil the sea horses and a RIF was right next to them. Did not see it first dive. Water again cold and clean deep (16.9C) but in the shalows it was over 25C, more than 8C higher!! Amazing! Another great dive. Visibility good.

    18 January 2017 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Cancelled boat dive due to strong S change forecast for 9-10 am. Was 38C on way over but once it hit dropped 12C. Went in off W point and then on S side of IR1. Cool water deep (17.4C) and clean. Saw two PPH, two moray eels, the two sea horses (yellow one back), the spindle cowrie is still there, lots of nudibranchs, unusual ones too. Some large seapike over IR1, octopus, a fiddler-ray and more. Very friendly blue groper followed us for ages. Pat ran low on air, looks like he has trouble getting air out of wings when going shallower and has to swim a lot to stay down. He was going real good till at 12 m. Had to put him on my octopus for last 8 mins. Visibility good.

    19 January 2017 - Gravel Loader - Shellharbour
    Decided to take Pat to show him grey nurse sharks. These have been here now for about 7 or 8 weeks. Swam out to the loader from the ramp and then under the loader to end. Saw first sharks right near end. There were at least 7 all up, 3 larger females, 2 smaller females and one smaller male and another small female with a hook in her fin with a small fishing tackle float attached. The sharks swim in and around the pylons, all you do is stay near a pylon and watch them go past. We saw at least 5 at once and worked out at least 7 based on sizes etc. A brilliant dive. Please try to go on a weekday if you can as rumour has it weekends are packed and this will probably stress the sharks like the Magic Point one. Ended up doing 73 mins. Visibility good.

    2 February 2017 - The Leap
    Went in late, high 12:57, so not much current, but nothing against us either. Blue water, very clear, 20 m most of the dive. Saw three PPH, two sea dragons, one pink okena, two large cuttlefish and some small ones, a large octopus and a school of kingfish. Lots of nudibranchs, especially the yellow round ones and purple dragons. A nice, but not great dive. Visibility very good. 

    4 February 2017 - SS Tuggerah
    Club deep dive, 3 boats and 11 divers. No wind, flat seas and went down at 23 knots. Anchored first go, but was off wreck. Put old tank on wreck, let's see who tries to bring it up! Blue water, no current on top but slight from west (!) on bottom. 35+ m viz above 35 m, at least 25 m on bottom. Dragged anchor over to wreck and then after cleaning toilet went to stern, showed Aidan the tools. Then around prop, back to bow and moved tank to in front of boiler and took anchor further forward. Back to boiler and then up. A school of large kingfish went around us on bottom and another of smaller fish on the way up. Could see boat clearly from 33 m. Wind dropped and we go very close to Griffiti, almost hit before we moved back away, weird. A brilliant dive. Visibility excellent.

    5 February 2017 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went in off W point to WNW, then to IR1 on N side and around IR2 and back on S. Almost low tide, but little current. Viz about 12-15 m at depth, but worse shallow. Warm and even warmer shallow. The 2 PPH are stilll at SHC, saw 2 RIF, 2 orange boxfish, a huge school of yellowtail out at end of reef with some kingfish. Also saw some cuttlefish, octopus, pink okena, a striped anglerfish and lots more. An excellent dive. Visibility good overall.

    6 February 2017 - The Leap
    Almost perfect seas, but just after low tide so viz not as good as it would have been a few hours later. Slow drift in, 79 mins. Saw three large red PPH, three small orange boxfish, lots and lots of nudibranchs of many species, one sea dragon, the young one Kelly found 15 Jan, much bigger now. Another great dive. Visibility good.

    7 February 2017 - Gravel Loader - Shellharbour
    Decided to dive here again, even on a weekday a few divers here about five after us and as we got out, Noel and Diane arrived. Saw a definite six grey nurse sharks, probably another two. Hard to count as they were swimming a lot more all over the place. There were two very small ones, two a bit larger, a large one and one with gill damage on right side. I also think I saw at least one more which had more spots than the two larger ones I counted above. The gill damaged one is probably the one that had the hook, line and float three weeks ago. Another great dive, go on the weekend as up to 80 divers on a weekend day. Visibility good.

    10 February 2017 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Club boat dive, later in the week due to bad weather. Very hot weather again from today, hit 42C later. Slight wind from NW but sloppy seas and swell from NE. Slight current from N, viz and water temp down from last weekend (18.3C). Went N along Split and found 5 donut nembrothas and had a small school of small kingfish circle us. On the way back saw a sea dragon, but others saw 2 S of boat. Two pinapplefish at S end of Split, then to Cave. About 10 bastard trumpeters with a blue morwong and a large tarwhine in with them. Lots of nudibranchs around, 6 on one sponge! A very good dive. Visibility good.

    11 February 2017 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Club shore dive and BBQ for Carol's memorial (6 years since she died diving here). Went in off W point, very high tide. Did the usual dive. Kelly found a PPH at start. One also near SHC and another later. Kelly also found a striped anglerfish (orange/brown) near here. Saw lots of moray eels, octopus, a large flathead, a frogfish out in the open. The sea horse was 10 m to S on the rock where the small orange anglerfish was last year. Kelly also found another striped anglerfish (blackish) on the rock near SHR. One more PPH, a RIF (others saw one more) and lots of other things made this a great dive. Visibility fair overall, but a lot better at depth than shallows.

    Next 10 dives North Solitary Island area

    13 February 2017 - Anemone Bay
    Club trip to North Solitary Islands. Very strong S winds overnight but The Kraken handled the swell and slop easily. Went to N and E from shallowest mooring. Saw at least 2 and maybe more bronze whalers out here. Saw numerous times. Strongish current here from E. Came back shallower and saw an eagle ray. A huge crayfish and a nice nudibranch as well as the thousands of anemones and clownfish. A couple of hundred bream in one spot, lots and lots of fish everywhere. Visibility good and water warm.

    13 February 2017 - Anemone Bay
    This time went to the NW point, a large leopard shark there. Then went to the point itself, but strong current. Came back into the head of the bay, saw a turtle and then a small clown triggerfish. Some more nudibranchs, a large bullray, a couple of tiny yellow boxfish and all the normal fish. Another excellent dive. Visibility very good. 

    14 February 2017 - The Canyons
    Seas a bit worse than yesterday and wind stronger than forecast. Went to N along the deeper section and then back. Saw an egg cowrie, huge Spanish dancer, two turtles, a few different nudibranchs, glass shrimp, orangutan crab, porcelein crabs and abig cod. Water temperature varied a lot as did visibility, good overall.

    14 February 2017 - Elbow Cave
    A bit sugry shallower than 14 m, but okay deeper. Saw a small wobbegong, a white leaf fish, a huge crayfish, quite a few different nudibranchs, a small flutemouth, glass shrimp, banded shrimp, another orangutan crab, a porcelein crab and more. Cooler. Visibility fair.

    14 February 2017 - Bubble Cave
    Seas a lot flatter and water warmer and bluer. Went to cave first, a bit surgy here. A large lionfish inside. Then down to S and across to W to sand edge. I found a robust ghost pipefish on a gorgonia. Three dwarf wobbegongs, black coral trees, three cowfish, an orangutan crab, glass shrimp, a couple of long-finned bannerfish as well. Came back to E and then S a little before back to mooring. A great dive. Visibility very good.

    15 February 2017 - Fish Soup (N-W Rock)
    Moored on W side as normal and went thru the split to E side. Huge amount of fishlife over there, including thousands of bream, lots of trevally and more. Quite a few black cod, sweetlips, snapper and in and around the rocks. A small crayfish, maybe three spotted eagle rays (or one three times). Strong current and surge in spots. Back to W side, some nice nudibranchs, small crabs and interesting little fish inside coral. Brilliant dive. Visibility excellent.

    16 February 2017 - Mackerel Run
    Current too strong to do Pimpernel Rock, so had to dive North Solitary. At least 40 m viz when we went in off NW corner of Anemone Bay. Drifted E and then S, but after about 8 mins viz dropped to 25 m. Saw three turtles, an eagle ray, a bullray and a huge flathead. Some saw a leopard shark. Back till we found mooring and then hung around there. Saw a few interesting nudibranchs, small crabs, a couple of orangtan crabs in open, a small flutemouth, yellow boxfish, glass shrimp, Moorish idols and more. A great dive. Visibility very good.

    16 February 2017 - The Boulders
    Dropped in on E side of North Solitary Island and went to the bottom, viz was at least 50 m. No current at all in this spot. Looked around for about 15 mins, huge amount of fishlife. Then headed thru the Slot to W side. Comes up to 6 m, surgy but not too bad. Back on E side it was about 25 m viz. Went right over all the canyons to W and then back to mooring. More orangatran crabs, some moorish idols, an interesting shrimp in coral, an amazing flower petal shaped nudibranch. Visibility very excellent. 

    17 February 2017 - The Boulders
    Dropped in out near The Canyons mooring and drifted to S and SE. Went past the other deeper mooring which is on top of a ridge. Should dive here one day. Then back to N and across to E. Found the robust ghost pipefish we saw the other day. Then back to Bubble Cave mooring, found a smallish Admiralty anchor a couple of gutters W of mooring. Refound the anglerfish. Saw a turtle as well as lots of other fish. Really nice dive. Visibility very good. 

    17 February 2017 - Canyons to Bubble Cave
    Dropped in out near The Canyons mooring and drifted to S and SE. Went past the other deeper mooring which is on top of a ridge. Should dive here one day. Then back to N and across to E. Found the robust ghost pipefish we saw the other day. Then back to Bubble Cave mooring, found a smallish Admiralty anchor a couple of gutters W of mooring. Refound the anglerfish. Saw a turtle as well as lots of other fish. Really nice dive. Visibility very good. 

    18 February 2017 - Fish Rock, Fish and Chips
    Ended up the wind first thing had not come out so we went diving. Still rough as by the time we crossed the bar it was blowing 15 kts NE. Water quite dirty on top but much better on bottom. Was mostly 10 m but out deeper 20+m. However, this water was 17.9C compared to 21C in shallower water. Went to blind gutter where there were probably 12 grey nurse sharks. None in main gutter or deep entrance gutter. Mostly males, some huge and at least one huge female. Dozens of wobbegongs all over the place, some huge. Then out to F&C. Kelly got bitten by a girdled parma out here, very aggressive. Saw lots of red morwong, yellowtail, a few jewfish, bream, sweetlips and silver sweep. Then back same way to near mooring and spent last bit on ridge to SW of mooring. A great dive. Visibility fair overall.

    18 February 2017 - Fish Rock, Fish and Chips
    Did a similar dive to last one, but water not as clear deep and much warmer. Saw as many sharks, came a lot closer to us as there was only three of us here. Then to F&C, similar things seen but no jewfish. Saw a few kingfish, some smaller ones and two huge ones. Back towards shallow entrance but did not make it. Went to ridge near mooring to find an orange anglerfish that others found on first dive but we could not find it (others on our boat did later). Visibilty fair.

    Back in Sydney

    23 February 2017 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. Wind as forecast but very sloppy due to strong NE winds overnight. Anchored on NW corner and went around. Water quite clean above 12 m but dirtier below, perhaps 8 m. Cool at 18.1C. Saw a small fiddler-ray on W side, a large cuttlefish on E side and a wobbegong in NE corner canyon. Lots of yellowtail, silver sweep over reef. A nice dive. Visibility fair.

    23 February 2017 - Shiprock
    Club night dive, 9 attending. Quite dirty but very warm, 22.9C. Went left to find the two anglerfish seen there in last week, but could not find them. Then around the bommies to S of plaque. Then back along wall. A wobbegong, my friend the moray, a very small cowfish, some squid, lots of small snapper and whiting. Also some octopus, lots of decorator crabs and some shrimp. Saw three pineapplefish, a very small one between bubble cave and exit slope, two in 2.5 m off pool, one small and the other a little bit bigger. Smallest ones we have ever seen. Only a reasonable dive. Visibility poor.

    25 February 2017 - Inscription Point
    Cancelled club boat dive due to very strong S winds, good decision. A little swell here, but had easy entry and exit. Viz only 6 m or so, but not too cool (19.6C). Saw two sea dragons, a very colourful nembrotha and a few other species of nudibranch, a small cuttlefish with a small fish in its tentacles, a couple of very large mirror leatherjackets, a small boxfish but not PPH. Nice easy dive, but not overly exciting. Visibility fair.

    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 2017 00:002919 Reads - Print
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