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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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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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    "Inscription Point is a great place to find sea dragons"
    My Recent Dives - April, May & June 2019

    3 April 2019 - Barrens Hut/The Split

    Dive computer faulty. Anchored N of normal spot and on outer slope. Reasonable current from S. Went S to cave. Huge number of bastard trumpeters, red morwong outside cave as well as some large kingfish which took off. A couple of large cuttlefish, one in cave and another outside. Back near normal spot were a couple more trumpeters. Back to anchor. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    Next 5 dives at Nelson Bay.

    5 April 2019 - The Pipeline

    Club Boys Weekend at Nelson Bay. Headed out to 10 m going N or NNE. Then drifted slowly back to Pipeline and down to about 13 m before heading back up pipe and then to exit. Saw 7 sea horses, 3 pipefish, a few large kingfish, lots of small cuttlefish and octopus, 4 spindle cowries, not that many nudibranchs, but a few interesting ones. Also some butterflyfish as well. A really good dive as always. Visibility fair.

    6 April 2019 - North Rock

    Went out to Broughton Island, no wind but a little bit of swell from E which made it surgy. Dived North Rock to see the grey nurse sharks. First time I have done this spot. North Rock is north of Broughton and site is on the north side. A large gutter in 18 metres, top only 4 or so. Went into gutter and to E. Sharks galore, I counted over 40 in one view, so there had to be at least 50 or 60 all up. Mostly females, with some juveniles and at least 2 large males. Quite a few had fish hooks but all looked very healthy. Also saw a small turtle. An excellent dive! Visibility good to very good.

    6 April 2019 - North Rock

    Dived North Rock here again. This time Ron and Aidan and I went around the point to The Amphitheatre. This is on the SE corner of the rock. On the way saw 3 eagle rays, a lot of kingfish and heaps of other fish. The Amphitheatre is an inlet that goes back into the rock a bit, with island on one side and a shallow bommie on the other. On the way back saw more kingfish, some very large bonito, seapike, sweep, bream etc. Not as many sharks seen when back in gutter. Another excellent dive! Visibility good to very good.

    7 April 2019 - Fly Point

    Went via normal route, drifted for about 35 minutes before turning. Two fiddler-rays, lots of bream, small snapper, some tropicals, some moray eels, lots of octopus and small cuttlefish. Back near the exit, huge numbers of stripeys, seapike, silver sweep, bream and more. Lots of divers, but really saw none till near the end. An excellent dive! Visibility fair. 

    8 April 2019 - The Pipeline

    Did same dive as Friday. Saw the same 7 sea horses and I found a tiny sea horse on a gorgonia, was only 15 mm or so. Similar numbers and types of nudibranchs, cuttlefish, octopus etc. Two butterflyfish, a large flathead, a spotted moray eel and a few bubble shells. Yet one more excellent dive! Visibility good to very good.

    12 April 2019 - SS Tuggerah

    Club deep dive on Argonaut. A bit sloppy on the way down as wind SE at about 10-12 kts. This dropped as we got closer to wreck and seas were better on way back. Very slight current from S. Clean all the way to bottom, over 15 m viz. A few kingfish when I got down, anchor in front of boilers. Went to stern and back to bow along hull bottom and then W side. Back to engine room and up. Lots of seapike, yellowtail and big eyes. A few wobbegong sharks and one moray eel. Using old computer still, so could not switch to 73% deco gas so had to stay longer than I should (43 mins all up - 1@12, 2@9, 3@6 and 12@ 4m). A great dive. Visibility very good.

    13 April 2019 - Barrens Hut/The Split

    Millpond seas and only slight NW wind. Anchored right at S end of The Split. Went along Split to end, then back to anchor, almost to Cave and back. One donut nembrotha near wreckage, some other nice nudibranchs. A few yellowtail, some trevally but not a huge amount of life like last dive here. Only one bastard trumpers and that was outside Split. None in normal spot, only some red morwong. Great dive, could see boat from 23 metres. Visibility very good.

    15 April 2019 - Bare Island Isolated Reef

    What a dive!!! Went in off W point and W to sand edge. Then to 15 Metre Reef. Saw first of three spiny gurnards here, this one tiny. Then lots of red-lined flabellinas, more than 15 all up. From here to IR1 and along N side. Plenty of fish, some large seapike, a few almost adult snapper and lots of small ones. As I was off The Cave, a seal swooped down and around me and then went over to Kim who was at Cave. It came back 8 more times, each time staying 30 to 45 seconds. It got very close to us, seemed really inquisitive. First seal I have seen at Bare Island I think. Brilliant! As well as all this, saw some opera house nudis, two upsidedown pipefish, two PPH, a few small cuttlefish, and a few rarer nudibranchs. Could not find anglerfish from the other week. An amazing dive. Visibility fair.  

    17 April 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club weekday dive, 4 boats all up, 3 here and 1 at Tuggerah. Flat seas, little wind,blue water, at least 20 m visibility. Anchored on sand first go due to wind and current been opposing, second time at S end of gap. Went to cave, at least 30 bastard trumpeters at N end of gap, lots of seapike and trevally outside cave. No donut nembrothas at all. Back around reef, more seapike and yellowtail in various spots, some black reef leatherjackets. Could see MakCat from 27 metres! Fantastic dive, looking good for Easter. Visibility excellent.

    19 April 2019 - Middle Ground

    Club boat dive. Wind much stronger during night than forecast, up to 25kts S. Still over 10 this morning and went up to at least 15 while we were out. Very choppy and some large swells. Changed site from UW Wilderness to here as deeper and closer to port. Current from N meant we sat side onto swell making it uncomfortable. Saw a seal as we were anchoring. Anchor on sand about 15 metres off reef, had to drag over. Also moved Vic's as well, used lots of air. Then saw the seal! Not as friendly as last Monday's one. Went to E and then a little bit N and then back. Wasted about 7 mins moving anchors, so a short dive. Also did not go into deco due to the swell. Nice dive but overall not great. Visibility good.

    20 April 2019 - SS Tuggerah

    What a difference to yesterday. Flat seas, no wind, went at 22 kts all the way to the wreck. Anchored in front of boiler again. No current on top but reasonable one on bottom from SW (weird). Went to stern, but cleaned toilet top on way! Around prop and back up bottom of the hull to anchor. Lots and lots of fish, many species. Went to bow area, not much fishlife but a wobbegong shark on way back. Spent the rest of the time near boiler. Great dive. Visibility good. 

    21 April 2019 - The Colours

    Decided to go out of Sydney Harbour as I figured there would be no cars on road and ramp not crowded. This was the case. Very sloppy outside, no wind and less than 7 kts since midnight, so no idea why it was so terrible. No big, just all over the place. Anchored in 26 m. A boarfish right near anchor, first I have seen for years. Went to sand and N then came back to main wall and followed S to anchor. Back to sand and SW and then back along wall. All the normal fish, lots of yellowtail, small trevally and one-spot pullers in spots. At the end a large school of good sized kingfish swam past. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    23 April 2019 - The Leap

    Flat seas and reasonable incoming tide. Visibility varied a bit as did water temperature, some cooler and warmer spots. Saw two Bare Island anglerfish, two sea dragons, one sea horse, three PPH, four pink okenias and a few other interesting nudibranchs. Also one Moorish idol, a few cuttlefish and all the normal fish. Really nice dive. Visibility very good overall.

    24 April 2019 - Marley Point

    Club boat dive, two boats and nine divers. Pretty flat seas, no wind or current. Phil G had his first dive for three years and went with Les and Ida. I took Emiko, new member. Not as many fish as normal, some spots of large numbers of yellowtail, seapike, one-spot pullers and ladder-finned pomfrets. A few nice black reef and moasic leatherjackets, two small butterflyfish and one tiny yellow boxfish. Nice dive anyway. Visibility good.

    25 April 2019 - Bare Island Deep Wall

    Club shore dive and BBQ for Anzac Day. Millpond seas and incoming tide. We went in from W point to SW and over Deep Wall. Dirty water on way out but quite good here, perhaps 10 metres. Then after a little time around this spot, started back. Eddie found a white PPH here and Ron a RIF. Lots of pink-lined flabellina all over the place. Another RIF near first concrete block. Some more interesting nudibranchs, two upsidedown pipefish under Sea Horse Rock, a large flathead, others saw some more PPHs and a brown striped anglerfish near last rocks. Very nice easy dive. Great BBQ afterwards. Visibility good.

    1 May 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club boat dive, two boats. Forecast ended up better than yesterday morning and actual about right, 5 kts NW, but very overcast Reasonable swell though from NE, so very rocky as side-on swell. First go anchoring we dragged as I think anchor was only just touching bottom. Second go right next to cave. A bit of current from N all the way to bottom. Huge number of fish, bastard trumpeters in three places, yellowtail, seapike, trevally and mado mostly. Went only around W section of reef, no donuts at all. A very large cuttlefish along gap and an eastern blue devilifish near the anchor. An excellent dive! Visibility very good.

    4 May 2019 - Bypass Reef

    Cancelled tomorrow's club dive event due to weather, so decided to dive today. Wind about 12 kts SSW but pretty rough as a medium current from north meant waves were standing up. Hard work getting to bottom, but not all that bad. Anchored off wall. Went N into current (not as bad here). Lots of red morwong in overhang, quite a few Port Jackson sharks, a small blue devilfish further N. Did not go a long way as Les took ages to get down. A very large school of silver sweep hanging over reef and then hundreds of kingfish, pretty good size, came around us. Then back to anchor. Surprised by an angelshark which I only noticed because I saw its tail! Buggers, they can bite, I have been bitten by one before. Hung around anchor before ascending, a lot earlier than I would normally. A very good dive despite current. Visibility very good.

    15 May 2019 - Barrens Hut/The Split

    Club boat dive. A bit sloppier than expected considering no wind. A little bit of surge on bottom, appeared to be some long period swells. Blue water but milky. Anchored on top of reef near S end of Split. Went N and then outside N again. Two donut nembrothas here but second group saw 4. On way back saw a large sea dragon, first one here for ages. Then another donut on the large rock near boat wreckage. Could see MakCat from bottom, 26 metres, here. Back to anchor, Les went up. Lynne and I went just S and saw lots of bastard trumpeters in normal spot. Back to anchor and up. An excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    17 May 2019 - SS Tuggerah

    Club boat dive, 2 boats. Today is 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. I did it on 75th as well! Flat seas, little wind, no current, blue water and over 20C! What more can you want? Anchored near bridge, moved to engine area. Went to prop and then forward towards bow. Here I saw large grey nurse shark which swam across wreck and over sand and towards stern. We headed back that way and saw it again as it came around the stern and over engine. Maxine and Phil also saw it, got photos and video. Huge amount of fish on the wreck, most I have seen for perhaps 10 years. Yellowtail, nannygai, seapike and more. Some large cutttlefish and a wobbegong. What a great way to commemorate the anniversary! One of the best dives I have done there. Saw first two humpback whales of the season on way back. Visibility very good. 

    18 May 2019 - Bypass Reef

    Really strange conditions. Wind was only 6-7 kts at Kurnell but the sea was very lumpy. Turned out there was a bit of current from the north which was standing the waves up. We took a bit of water thru the transom as the pool noodle under the door somehow went between yesterday and today. Water drained out okay though. Anchored on top on a sponge, had to move it a little way to a small lip. At the end the anchor moved into a later hole and would not come free, so Simon had to dive again to free it. We were south of normal spot, so spent all the time here. Not sure I have been there before, lots of overhangs. Kelly found 2 small PPHs and some sea spiders. Also a large cuttlefish and some seapike. Nice dive despite the current. At the end we had to fend off another club boat who decided to free their anchor and drift with the current!!! See my rapid ascent from 5 m. Not happy. Visibility very good.

    19 May 2019 - Barrens Hut/The Split

    Club boat dive to Tuggerah but only Kelly and John D wanted to come. Got nephew Scott to drive boat for me so we could still go. Went out but seas again rough like yesterday despite only 8 kts SW. Went about 1/3 of the way and decided there must be a very strong current. Stopped and boat was drifting at 1.7 kts to S into the wind! Turned around and went back to The Split. Anchored in normal location. Took over 3 mins to get to bottom as current strong. Had to move anchor. Still current on bottom but 30 m viz. John decided to stay near anchor and Kelly and I went along Split to N (no current) and drifted back outside reef. One donut nembrotha and Kelly found two tiger pipefish near S end of Split. Lots of bastard trumpeters in normal spot. Shorter bottom time as using 26% instead of normal 32%. Nice dive despite current. Visibility excellent.

    21 May 2019 - Bushrangers Bay - Shellharbour

    Tried to dive The Arch but too much swell. Did the bay instead. Very dirty close to shore. At 6 metres saw the first of the grey nurse sharks. Saw 6 all up, 2 adults or larger juveniles and 4 small juveniles. One had a large hook on right side of mouth. They were moving between 6 and 9 metres. Past here it got cleaner but then as we left the second bay, very dirty again so we turned around. I then lost the others, waiteed, went back, still could not find, so went back to sharks, waited again. Still did not see so when back to exit. Pretty poor dive and not worth the effort despite seeing the sharks. Visibility very poor overall.

    22 May 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club boat dive. Flat seas but long swell from SE. No wind at all and very slight current from S. Totally different to Sunday. Anchored near cave. A donut nembrotha in front of cave, no bastard trumpeters here. Thousands of silver sweep and hundreds of one-spot pullers all over the reef. Some schools of old wives and one school of large seapike. One kingfish swimming around. Went all the way around the reef, sand is now really covering the low rocks at the S end. More sweep and pullers here and on E side. Back around to anchor and just before saw a very large silver drummer and then over 20 bastard trumpeters. Strange that they are here today. An excellent dive, so many fish! Visibility good.

    25 May 2019 - Pizza Reef

    Club boat dive. Millpond seas, very little current, wind about 12 kts from NW. Anchored right on N end of W reef. Bastard trumpeters there, but not as many as Wednesday. Went around reef, no donut nembrothas but saw an eastern blue devilfish at S end. Lots of silver sweep and one-spot pullers, but not as many as Wednesday too. More seapike and yellowtail. Quite a few black reef leatherjackets. Another excellent dive. Visibility very good.

    26 May 2019 - Shelly Beach

    Club shore dive. This dive was specifically to see the dusky (black) whaler sharks that appear at Shelly Beach this time each year. They are juveniles, so not a danger to the hundreds of people who swim here every day. Very crowded in carpark, even at 8:15 am. Had to wait for some people to leave. No free parking on street as I came in. Parking an exorbitant $16 for two hours! Went along S side of bay but only saw one or two sharks at 25 mins. Went across sand towards N side, saw more. Counted 8 at any one time. Probably 20 or more here, but although water was quite clean, the sand was stirred up a bit. Went back to S side and mistakenly out again till I realised we were heading W. Then back to beach. Lots of large bream, some huge flathead, some large juvenile snapper, trevally, seapike and more. Nice dive, although would be better during week with less people swimming and scaring sharks. Visibility good.

    28 May 2019 - Hull Cleaning, PH30

    Cleaned the hull of Marine Rescue Port Hacking 30 at its wharf at Hungry Point, South Cronulla. Lots of small barnacles on both hulls. Not too hard. Visibility good.

    29 May 2019 - The Balcony

    Club boat dive. Wind very strong from NW during the night but only 8 - 10 kts as we went out. Seas very flat close to shore. Ran down to The Balcony, only second time here in five years! Went to The Balcony and huge amount of fishlife along the way and there. Saw kingfish about 4 times, up to 6 at a time. One yellow boxfish. As we neared The Balcony, huge numbers of yellowtail, tens of thousands, plus one-spot pullers, silver sweep, ladder-finned pomfrets, some seapike and more. Saw three small Moorish idols before we turned and went back along the large wall. More yellowtail here. Saw a short-finned bannerfish on the way and later three butterflyfish. Les went up and I hung around till the others came down and took them to where the fish were. Went back and up. A fantastic dive! Visibility very good.

    8 June 2019 - Bypass Reef

    Huge seas during the week and still some swell around today. Very foggy, had to go quite slow across the bay. Even here could not see the shore most of the time. Finally NW wind picked up and blew it away. No current, blue water, no surge. Anchored just off N end of reef. First dive with new software on computer. Heaps of yellowtail, seapike, trevally and one-spot pullers. One blue devilfish in S cave. On the way back I saw a dolphin, well, part of one. Just spotted it going across the top of the reef and saw its tail. Only second one I have ever seen while diving. A huge bullray at anchor. Excellent dive. Visibility good.


    9 June 2019 - SS Tuggerah

    On Argonaut. Calm seas and no wind. Anchored second go as fisher hovering over wreck made it hard. Anchored about half way from boiler to bow. Clean and blue on top but dirtier on bottom, perhaps 7 metres. Went to stern. Sand moved by last week's big storm from under prop and a new bit of metal visible. It is rounded, like a funnel or similar. Perhaps a metre visible. Then along hull bottom, more sand missing, 75 mm. To bow and back to anchor. A few wobbegong sharks, including a large dark coloured one which swooped on us numerous times! Lots of bulleyes, nannygais, yellowtail and more. Good dive despite visibility. Visibility fair. 

    10 June 2019 - The Apartments

    Ran out of Rose Bay up to The Apartments off Long Reef. Millpond seas, no wind and almost ran over two humpack whales that suddenly surfaced 30 metres in front of us while running at 22 kts. Anchored a bit north of the site I used to dive, GPS obviously not right. Went N along the wall, excellent dive site. Saw lots of one-spot pullers, bullseyes and more. Saw juvenile (tiny) clown triggerfish, first one I think I have seen in NSW and certainly first in Sydney!! At least three small Moorish idols too. Had a school of about 50 large kingfish circle us and some more later. Saw a small juvenile grey nurse shark to SW of anchor. Also two large bullrays here. A fantastic dive, as good as the proper dive site. Visibility good.

    15 June 2019 - Big Saigon

    Club boat dive, three boats. Calm seas, slight W wind, no current and blue water. Did not dive on Wednesday as I was sick, still very snotty but okay. Anchored on top of reef in 17 m. Straight above the swim-through (mini-arch) and then N a bit off the main wall. A school of trevally, a medium cuttlefish, all the normal reef fish. Turned at 17 mins and came back to anchor when Les went up. A huge cuttlefish in this area and others saw a smallish blue devilfish too. Went S a bit and Kelly found a tiny PPH. She also found an upsidedown pipefish. Back to anchor and up. Visibility very good.

    26 June 2019 - Middle Ground

    Club boat dive. No diving for 11 days due to rotten weather. Today wind was 16 kts compared to 8 kts S and seas very sloppy. Also raining, quite heavy at times. Wind dropped while I was in water back to what it was supposed to be. Humpback whales 50 m from boat at anchor, underwater heard them singing all dive, very loud at first. More whales seen at the end. Blue water, at least 20 m viz on bottom and perhaps 30 on top. Large schools of yellowtail, seapike and also trevally, old wives and one-spot pullers. One PJ but no wobbies. Excellent dive. Visibility very good. 

    29 June 2019 - Marley North

    Club boat dive, 3 boats and 12 divers. Saw at least 12 humpback whales, some went right under Phil's boat. No singing heard. Did not anchor at right spot, 15 years since I dived here I reckon, but still a nice dive. Was too close in. Wall running N-S with lots of boulders off it then sand. Pretty flat seas and NW wind, but swell picked up from NE. A sea dragon near anchor, went N, lots of one-spot pullers. Large school of reasonable sized kingfish came in and swam around us. I saw two eastern rock blackfish, lots of leatherjackets and comb wrasse. Water a lot cooler today, 17.4C compared to 18.6C on Wednesday and over 20C 2 weeks ago. 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 April 2019 00:001788 Reads - Print
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