My Recent Dives - September & October 2012
Posted by Michael on 01 September 2012 00:00
1 September 2012 - Shiprock
Again had to cancel our deep dive due to winds and seas. 10 members dived here. Water cold, 14.6C, but an enjoyable dive. Again refound the black (striped) anglerfish. Quite a few moray eels, all in the normal spots. Six pineapplefish, two frogfish, a few octopus, a fiddler ray. Visibility fair. 

2 September 2012 - Shiprock
Club dive. Did same dive as yesterday. Water just as cold. Black anglerfish had moved about 10 metres closer to the wall. Found another pineapplefish under The Bubble Cave. Two frogfish, most morays we saw yesterday. Also a big old one near the exit with with head and looks like it might be blind. Another nice dive. Visibility fair.

All dives from 9 to 14 September 2012 located between Bali and Komodo, Indonesia.

9 September 2012 - Angel Reef
First dive of the trip. A small sand cay located off island. Entered water on S side and went E with current. A vertical wall to over 50 m. Lots of gorgonias, barrel sponges and sea whips. Lots of smaller fish. After 20 mins turned to N and wall became a slope. More sandy and rubble here. Saw a small white ornate ghost pipefish, hairy squat lobsters in barrel sponges and a scrawled filefish. Great first dive. Visibility very excellent.

9 September 2012 - Sumbawa Point
Located SE of point, sloping sand with some coral bommies and then sand and then sloping wall and sand. Saw 2 striped pipefish, 2 pygmy sea horses, 2 ribbon eels, 2 octopus and small gorgonias and barrel sponges. Very colourful dive site. Visibility excellent.

9 September 2012 - Satonda Reef
Night dive. Dive from off the E end of the beach where there was some reef. Followed the blacdk sand to the W and back. Repeated this many times. Many firefish, hunting if you put a torch on a fish for too long. Rox found a juvenile clown anglerfish, about 10 mm long. Brilliant. Three stargazers in sand, much smaller than Sydney ones. Heaps of different jellyfish, shrimps, gurnards, spotted-eels, razorfish and flat worm. A stunning night dive. Visibility excellent.

10 September 2012 - Hot Rocks
Located off Sangiong Island which is a volcano. There is hot water and air coming up through the black sand. Start in shallow water and drop deeper to a nice reef. After about 20 minutes there was a huge explosion, dynamite fishing. Was very loud and violently shook us. Scary. Large gorgonias and sea whips on wall, gobies on whips, spindle cowries, sshrimp, 2 leaf scorpionfishand lots of nudibranchs. Visibility excellent.

10 September 2012 - Sangeang Lighthouse Reef
NW of lighthouse, dropped onto black sand then worked down to 25 m.  Some bits of coral on sand. Two ornate ghost pipefish, indian walking fish, many nudibranchs. Crossed sand to S side, two more ghost pipefish, dancing shrimp, 3 pygmy sea horses. Worked our way back up to shallows. Visibility excellent.

10 September 2012 - Tikno Reef
N side of island along beach. Again, sloping black sand to 30 m then a shear drop. Ssome bommies here. Small gorgonias and barrel sponges. Lots of black coral trees. Four leaf fish shallow. Many urangatang crabs, gobies on whips, nudibranchs and hawkfish. Reef sshallow and along side of slope. Visibility excellent.

10 September 2012 - Bonto Reef
Night dive. Black sand sloping bottom and 5 m on top. Went N to S at 16 m. Saw a tiny white/red/orange anglerfish (10 mm) and ornate ghost pipefish, 2 pygmy pipehorses (or similar), 2 bob-tailed cuttlefish (5 mm), red shrimp, firefish. Turned at ridge and went to 5 m and then N. Went under a large boat being repaired and this was where the angler was. Spiders, decorator crabs with anemones. Excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

11 September 2012 - Takat Toko (Castle Rock)
A submerged sea mountain that comes up from 50+ m to 5 m. Lots of dive boats here. Dropped up current and descended to reef. Kelly could not get down due to ear problems and aborted dive. Waited for her and then moved forward to the viewing area. Very strong current, probably 1.25 to 1.5 kts and took 10 mins to get there. Used reef hook to stay in place. Hard work even doing this. Lots of sharks, white-tipped reef and grey reef. Heaps of GTs. Left at 100 bar (17 mins) and drifted back with John Mc to do safety stop. Not a fun dive due to current. Visibility excellent.

11 September 2012 - Crystal Reef
Located closer to Gili Lawa Laut than Castle Rock. This one has three pinnacles, one of which breaks surface. Dropped in E side and drifted to W along N side. Kelly, John and I went around the W pinnacle and back to the gap. Went to S side of E pinnacle but current too strong to go further. Spent rest of time in between the 2 main pinnacles. Saw 2 clown triggerfish, on e firefish, lots of clownfish (1 nemo). Very nice and easy dive. Visibility excellent.

11 September 2012 - Tatawa Besar
Small island north end of Linta Strait. Dropped off S end of beach and drifted S about 0.5 kt to SE corner. Nice and easy. A turtle as we descended. Lots of small barrel sponges, small gorgonias, sea whips and soft corals. Saw 6 titan triggerfish, a few huge red bass, 4 turtles, mantiis shrimp and more. A great dive. Visibility excellent.

11 September 2012 - Wainilu Beach
Night dive. Sloping black sand from beach with algae in 5 m. Some rocks/coral on the sand. Quite a steep slope. Went to 20 m and followed this level E. Found cuttlefish, bob-tailed cuttlefish (tiny), dozens of different nubibranchs, 3 zebra crabs on fire urchins, gurnard, small firefish with orange/black wings, shrimps, Spanish dancer, 3 striped pipefish. A brilliant night dive. Visibility excellent.

12 September 2012 - Manta Alley
Located S end of Komodo Island. A very spectacular location  above water, sheer cliffs and isolated rocks/islands. Dive site is between the isolated rock islands. Entered on SE side and dropped to 20 m and followed this to W. Bottom is sloping rock to 20 m then 25 m then 40+ m. Went to alley and thru to N side and then E to shallows (10 m). Back to alley and up. No mantas seen at all. One hump-headed wrasse and lots of small yellow sea cucumbers. Looked like Fish Rock underwater. Visibility excellent.

12 September 2012 - Takat Makassar
 Alternate manta site in Linta Strait. Dropped in E of a sand cay on ssand sloping to 15-18 m. Went along to the S in current that varied from over 2 kts to under 0.5 kt. Saw a reef manta that came from the shallows. Got good photos and video. We lost dive guide just before this so after a safety stop, we exited the water early and got the boat driver to take us back to do it again. Very good dive. Visibility excellent.

12 September 2012 - Takat Makassar
Got out and went back towards start and did again. Dropped in behind another group and this time went a bit deeper. Saw another manta ray and Kelly got more very good video of it as it went right over her head. Visibility excellent.

12 September 2012 - Batu Bolong
Smallish rock that comes up from 40+ m on steep slope. Dropped on S side. Some small gorgonias and barrel sponges. Very colourful. Saw 4 turtles, one eating. 1 white-tipped reef shark, some huge wrasse, firefish, 2 huge moray eels, 1 the biggest I have ever seen. Lots of fish feeding on sergeant major eggs. Strong currents around the island meant we stayed on the S side. At the end drifted a few hundred metres waiting to be collected. Visibility excellent.

12 September 2012 - Golden Passage
Gap between Gili Lawa Darat and Komodo. Went W along reef and then when reef turned S, kept going W over sand. A few firefish, a shrimno on a sea cucumber, some nudibranchs, not a huge amount of stuff. Lost Kelly on the sand and never found her again. Went back to the boat and waited there. I thought I hit my knee when getting back in boat but perhaps I was stung by something as the next day my knee swelled up and hurt. Visibility excellent.

13 September 2012 - Lighthouse Reef
Located N point of Gili Lawa Laut. Current running S to N. Dropped in a few 100 m S of lighthouse. Reef top 5 m, sloping sand to 30-40 m. Went to about 20 m. Huge gorgonias down deeper, smaller ones on the slope. Lots of sea whips and barrel sponges. Saw 2 lots of nemos, lots of other fish. Small coral bits with sand in between. Closer to point less coral, more hydroids. A corner the current increased and we were pushed down a bit to 28 m. Lots of batfish here. Turned W and saw a shark asleep on bottom. Very good dive. Visibility excellent.

13 September 2012 - Shotgun
This is a drift dive from W side of channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat. Easy drift to the Fish Bowl which is a large amphithreatre with sandy bottom, steep wall on S side and a canyon on SE side. Lots of white tip reef sharks, garden eels and more. You exit via the gully. Saw a clown triggerfish here. As you go up the gully (very beautiful) it gets shallower ands a strong current. You end up shooting over the top of the wall at 3 m and then to a deeper area. Drifted a fair way before ascending. Exciting dive. Visibility excellent.

13 September 2012 - Shotgun
Got out and went back and did it again it was that good. Visibility excellent.

13 September 2012 - Tanduk Rusa (Roller Coaster)

Interesting dive! Entered water S of a point which looks like an elephant. Drifted N in a very strong current that had updrafts and downdrafts. Went from 18 to 12 m and then from 12 m to 28 m! Once around the corner it became more predictable, athough we had to swim into a very slight current. Had another dynamite explosion rock us, not as loud as the previous one. Saw 2 blue ribbon eels and then 1 black one. At the end we had a reef manta ray sweep in and head back W. Hard for first bit but worth it. Visibility excellent.

14 September 2012 - Sumbawa Surprise
Off a beach and lighthouse. Shallows 3 m with sea grass and a slope to 30 m or so. We went to 18 m on the E end on reef and then crossed the sand at 22 m. Zig-zagged back up. Saw 4 pipefish, robust ghost pipefish, 2 tiny anglerfish, one yellow and red and the other black with red and blue. 3 ornate ghost pipefish, dancing shrimp, yellow sea horses and more. A really brilliant dive. Visibility excellent.

14 September 2012 - Little Angel
Located very close (NE) to the first dive of the trip. A sandy pinnacle with coral on S side. Top in 3 m and S side slopes to 40+ m. Entered at E end and had to swim into a slight current for a couple of minutes before it took us. Mostly coral with one sand patch. Once at W end we turned around and came back E shallower and then turned again. Large gorgonias, sea whips and barrel sponges. GTs, glas shrimps, banded sea snake, nemos, lots of schooling fish. Large moray eel and a few nudibranchs. Ended dive on top. Visibility excellent.

16 September 2012 - USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali
Very early dive to beat the crowds. Went from stern to bow on sand and then back to stern. Very broken up. Some masts/kingposts on sand, prop shaft, anchor chain from bow, spare anchor inside wreck. Did not look in detail at the wreck yet. Saw a pygmy sea horse, interesting shrimp, mantis shrimp, nudibranchs. Lots of humpheaded wrasse near stern as we entered. Very easy and interesting dive. Visibility excellent.

16 September 2012 - Drop Off, Tulamben, Bali
Located about 200 m to west of wreck. Enter water and swimn over rocks then black sand. Lost my wide angle lens here when I appear to have missed putting it in my pocket. Bugger! Went across sand at 16 to 20 m and then when we hit the reef followed this to the north. This quickly becomes a shear wall to 65 m. Went to about 28 m and at point turned around and came back shallower. Lots of large gorgonias and some barrel sponges. A few nice moray eels, a large hump headed wrasse that came very close, many interesting shrimp and nudibranch. Visibility excellent.

16 September 2012 - Liberty Muck, Tulamben, Bali
Entered the water at the wreck site but headed straight out. Gradually worked our way to about 24 m and then zig-zagged back shallower. Black sand with some small coral pieces. Lots to see. Saw mimic octopus (brilliant), ornate ghost pipefish, many different shrimp and nudibranch, a mantis shrimp, lots of different crabs, garden eels, clownfish and more. Another great dive. Visibility very good.   

17 September 2012 - USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali

Another very early start, in the water well before 7 am. Did a similar dive to yesterday but did not go to the bow. Lots more divers in the water this morning. Kelly found a robust ghostipefish, saw lots of mantis shrimp (one orange), any different crabs and nudibranch. Also saw the same pygmy sea horse as yesterday but got better photos I think. Visibility excellent.

17 September 2012 - Seraya Secrets (Left), Tulamben, Bali
Located about 3 km E of Tulamben. Small waves again but beach is smaller rocks so much easier. Went out and then down to left towards W. Got to 26 m. Found lots of stuff, including moray eel with cleaner shimp on it and dozens more cleaners around. Also a tiny anglerfish, a few nudibranchs, crabs, other shrimp. There is also a steel dome artifical reef with coral on it in the shallower area. An excellent dive. Visibility very good.  

17 September 2012 - Seraya Secrets (Right), Tulamben, Bali
Entered at same spot as last dive but went right towards E. Went to 23 m. Found another artifical reef with many fiefish, a small bommie with two eels, one a spotted one. Both had cleaner shrimp on it. Another tiny anglerfish, many nudibranchs, crabs (including a tiny soft coral crab) and shrimp. One strange small octopus, maybe a blue ring. Visibility very good.

18 September 2012 - Harlequin Slope, Tulamben, Bali
Entered water to right of wreck and went down to 28 m. Here there are a couple of harlequin shrimp. One is large and the other tiny. It is on a sand ridge that runs down from the shore. Then worked our way shallower, going from one ridge to the next. A few different nudibranchs, a crab on a sea pen, octopus, cuttleifhs, the biggest mantis shrimp I have ever seen. Nice pre-breakfast dive. Visibility very good.

18 September 2012 - Coral Gardens, Tulamben, Bali
Located down lane S of supermarket and the down a track. More black sand ridges and gullies. Went down one to 28 m and here found a cleaner shrimp station. Lots here and a moray eel. I got them to clean my mouth and had photo taken by Steve. Also took his. Then explored as we slowly ascended. Found more shrimp, cuttlefish, octopus, crabs, spindle cowie on sea whip, featherstar crab and more. In shallows there is a artifical reef made to look like a plane and also a collapsed one. Visibility very good.

18 September 2012 - USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali
Not as many divers around as in the middle of the day. Found a white and red/orange anglerfish (25 mm) on stern gun platform. Went to bow and then back through the wreckage. Guide found another pygmy sea horse. Went all the way back to the stern and then up through the gardens. Visibility very good. 

19 September 2012 - USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali
Another pre-7 am diven the wreck. Did similar to previous dives but explored abit more off the wreck. Saw the anglerfish that we saw yesterday as well as the pygmy sea horse. At the bow the anchor chain runs deeper below the bow north and loops back, presumably to the chain coming from the hawser. Back via the boilers. Can see start of the prop shaft, but no engine. Saw a largish shark swim over the bow. Visibility very good.

19 September 2012 - Kubu Reef (Right), Tulamben, Bali
Went to right side along the ridge. A larger yellow anglerfish here. Then the reef becomes more reef like, large corals. It becomes a sort of wall and turns to the south. Lots of gorgonias and barrel sponges. Many more nudis and shrimp, including a nudi like a fine-lined tambja with red rhinos. Visibility excellent.

19 September 2012 - Kubu Reef (Left), Tulamben, Bali
Went left this dive. Across the gully at the start of the other ridge there is a mooring. At the bottom there was a tiny black anglerfish, then in the gorgonia above, a tiny white/red/yellow one and then in a basket star, two ornate ghost pipefish. Cam back along the reef top. Lots more to see as well. I refound Kelly's maccro lens for her GoPro which she lost right at the start of the dive. Visibility excellent.

20 September 2012 - Elam Anand, Tulamben, Bali
Boat dive. Located around the point from Drop Off. Dropped in the shallows and then drifted towards the N. I had a bit of ear problem at start but then okay. Sloping reef at first with finger coral and lots of gorgonias, barrel sponges and some sea whips. Then a more shear wall to perhaps 40+ m. Saw a barracuda, leaf fish, hump-headed wrasse, shrimp and many nudibranchs. Easy drift dive. Visibility excellent.

20 September 2012 - Drop Off, Tulamben, Bali
Another boat dive, entered the water where were left it last dive. Drifted back almost to the beach. Had big problems this dive with my right ear. Took me 6 mins to get to 7 m, then  2 more to get to 11 m and then another 6 to get to 20 m. Saw a white tipped reef shark, two very large tuna, pygmy sea horse, another leaf fish and lots of shrimps and nudibranchs. Visibility excellent.

21 September 2012 - USAT Liberty, Tulamben, Bali
Last dive. Kelly and I both succeeded in getting down even though we had ear problems last 24 hours or so. Went to wreck and then to bow. Saw pygmy sea horse as normal. Back a bit deeper than normal. Anchor chain runs from under bow out deeper and then towards bow and in front. No anglerfish on way back. Finished off in the shallows. Visibility very good.

26 September 2012 - Barrens Hut/The Split (Sydney)
Back to reality! Club boat dive. Used wetsuit as I could not be bothered reattaching extra hose for drysuit and adding more weight to pockets. Not too bad, even with 16 on bottom. Dirty and warmer on top, but okay on bottom. Did the usual route, lots of bastard trumpeters, red morwong and yellowtail. A nice and relaxing dive. Visibility fair.

27 September 2012 - Bare Island Right
Club night dive. A bit of a disaster, one new member's tank kept falling out of his BCD so did not dive. The next one could not get down as he did not know how to dump air. Then used a 10 litre tank in 24 minutes. Another member using drysuit for first time was underweighted. Went in off W point with intention to go to Isolated Reefs but had to turn at corner when diver 2 was under 100 bar! A new anchor and chain here that I hope to salvage on Saturday. Just made it back to shore with about 20 bar (I had 125 bar in an 8 litre tank). Visibility poor.

29 September 2012 - Bypass Reef
Wow, what a great dive site. First time to dive it, at the mouth of Botany Bay. Great wall from 20 m to 26-7 m. Overhangs and caves, swim-throughs. Huge number of red morwong and one-spot pullers. A couple of small blue devilfish as well as a cuttlefish. One we will do many more times. Visibility very good.

29 September 2012 - Bare Island Right
A dive to recover the anchor I found on Thursday night. What a wopper. A 35lb plough anchor with about 25 metres of heavy chain. Used a rope to attach to the end and then sent up my safety sausage. Took two of us to haul it back on board. Visibility poor.

29 September 2012 - The Leap
Club night dive. Forgot computer and also hood! Flat seas meant could do the drift. Went pretty fast for first 20 minutes. Saw one sea horse where we have seen before. A lot of large octopus, many small squid, all the normal fish. Nice easy dive with BBQ afterwards. Visibility good.

30 September 2012 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Went out through the pool. Lost my buddies within 3 mins when they did not turn left when we hit the sand! Waited for them but they never came along as they went over the sand! Went to IR1 (lots of sand between here and main reef) to IR2. Much deeper out here, sand missing. Saw a sea dragon and collected some chain on S side IR2. Back to exit and refound buddies! Visib ility variable, fair.

1 October 2012 - Coolooli
First dive here for a long time and since it collapsed. Anchored near the front of the main cutter. Went to stern and then back again via the internal cutter area. Back to bridge area and then up. Quite a few Port Jackson sharks. Visibility fair.

4 October 2012 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
Club night dive. Relocated here from Shark Point due to seas. Went in off SE corner and went S and W to Deep Wall. Good incomign tide drifted us along. Lots of PJs all over the place and a huge bullray on the deep wall. Found a nudibranch that none of us had seen before. A few octopus, some small flathead, a huge wobbegong in cave at SHC. Water was quite warm, over 18C in shallows. Viz varied but over all: Visibility poor.

6 October 2012 - Bypass Reef
Decided to dive here again after last weekend's great dive. However, despite using the same GPS co-ordinates and being the same distance from them, we did not seem to be in the same spot. Nevertheless, we had a nice dive. Nothing special seen, but was good anyway. Very dark and misty on top, so was dark on the bottom. Visibility fair.

7 October 2012 - Shiprock
Had to cancel club deep dive as almost 6 m seas. Not as many people here as I though there would be. Again, we did not see anything special, a few nudis and all the normal fish. As on other occasions, dive shop people went in probably 30 mins early, why the hell do they do this? Visibility poor.

10 October 2012 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive. Very dirty water and a long rolling swell that at times was large. Also lots of whales and dolphins around. A bit surgy on the bottom but viz was better. A slight current from N all the way to bottom. Bastard trumpetersand and luderick and some yellowtail. Other than that, nothing special. Visibility poor.

11 October 2012 - Shiprock
Club night dive but did as evening dive. Conditions similar to last Sunday. 6 pineapplefish, one moray eel, a couple of frogfish. Reasonable dive. Visibility poor.

13 October 2012 - Lilli Pilli
Once again we had to cancel the Club deep dive. I think this was 8 out of 10! No sea horses, not much seen except a small turtle in about 6 m and a spotted moray eel. Visibility poor deeper but fair shallow.

17 October 2012 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. Tried to dive Middle Ground but current from N and wind from S meant we drifted W and could not anchor despite a number of goes. Moved to BH. Still a current here, moderate all the way to the bottom. Winds came up, moving W to S to SE and getting to over 20 kts. Got very rough while we were down. Very cold on bottom, 14.5C but cleanish. Kelly found a PPH and I found its partner. I also found a donut nembrotha. Rough trip back. Visibility fair.

20 October 2012 - Oak Park
Club shore dive and BBQ. Went in from back of the pool and followed wall. Headed along sand edge to the sword and over to the second reef. Then back along main wall. Saw a moray eel, lots of smooth boxfish and some very friendly gropers. Not much else. Visibility poor.

21 October 2012 - SS Tuggerah
Finally got to dive the Tuggerah after many failed attempts this year. Large rolling swell but smooth. Very slight current from N. Dirty and warm on top but very cold (14.4) on bottom. Lots of nanygais, yellowtail. Did normal circuit of the wreck. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

24 October 2012 - Hungry Jacks
Club boat dive. Moderate swell running from both SE and NE. Cleaner on top, very dirty on bottom but at least it was relatively warm (17.4C). Huge numbers of seapike and yellowtail, some silver sweep and one-spot pullers. A couple of six-spined leatherjackets and one sea dragon. Only an average dive. Visibility poor.

25 October 2012 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Club night dive, 9 members. Went from Larpa Point trying to find the rock piles put over the electricity cables. Some found, there is no rock there, AusGrid lied! Ended up at E end of IR1 and then went right around. At the W end of IR2 there has been a huge amount of rock movement, some as big as a truck. Hard to see in the dark where they have come from. Lots of broken rock. Ended up back at the gap between the reefs and headed back to shore. Found the artificial reef and one of the wrecked boats. Saw 3 RIF and 1 sea dragon with eggs, lots of squid, jellyfish, flathead and spiky oragne nudis. Visibility good.

27 October 2012 - Inscription Point
Cancelled deep dive once again due to 20kt+ winds. Drifted out in current and then back. Found one sea horse and Kelly found a pygmy pipehorse. Lots of large purple dragons and many other species. Big school of tevally, one-spot pullers and ladder-finned pomfrets near entrance. After surfacing, saw a group of divers from Abyss lost hundreds of metres off the shore. How the helll did they get there? Yes Dear Too rescued them by towing back to Monuments. Visibility fair. 

28 October 2012 - TSS Currajong
Went from shore using scooters. Had trouble finding the stakes/markers that Mark put there about 5 years ago. Ended up to E of wreck and came back and hit it 1/3 towards bow on starboard side. Left scooters here and went to bow. Then down port side to stern. Not much seems to have changed since I last dived it, perhaps less mussel shells. Back to scooters along top of deck, then to bow on deck. Followed the stakes back to shore. Did safety stop at 10 m and then rushed to shore. Saw an anglerfish and striped catfish. Visibility fair.

31 October 2012 - Middle Ground
Club boat dive. Yesterday members dived Wattamolla and had 3-5m and raging current. Today, we had 15 m viz and no current! Howevere, very cold at 14.3C. Lots of seapike and yellowtail. A moray eel guarding the sinkers at the octopus home. Very good dive. Visibility very good.

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