My Recent Dives - March & April 2016
Posted by Michael on 01 March 2016 00:00
2 March - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive. Calm seas and no wind and very slight current but this stopped at end of safety stop. Only a few bastard trumpeters and a blue devilfish under anchor (I did not see). Went right around the reef. Some nudibranchs and normal fish. Max said she could hear dolphins during dive. Before and after the dive lots of them were around the boat, some only 5 m away. A good dive. Visibility fair.

3 March - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Went in from W point. Went just N of W and hit sand S of SHC. Went along N side of IR1 refound a creamy colour sea horse from 2 weeks ago. Saw 4 RIF but no PPH. I also found a black striped anglerfish on S side of IR2. Others saw a brown one just before. Four pink okenia, lots of other nudibranchs, a tiny, tiny firefish, a fiddler-ray, blue-ringed octopus, two sea spiders and a few squid. A fantastic dive, even though viz bad. Visibility poor to very poor.

6 March - SS Tuggerah
No wind or current, but a bit of swell from NE. Anchored in front of boiler. Very dirty the top 15 m, could see wreck from 28 m. Went to stern and then bow and back to boiler. Sea horse still on engine conrod. Lots of nannygai, quite a few cuttlefish. Excellent dive. Visibility good. After dive heard that a boat had capsized off Cape Baily. Sped up there and contacted MR to tell them they were looking in the wrong place (Bare Island area) based on what the person reporting told MR on first call. Turns out it was Ken's boat, all okay. Took water over stern.

7 March - Big Saigon
Salvage dive to try and find Ken's boat which sank yesterday. Found the anchor but no boat. Found a set of twins, some weight pockets. lots of fins and masks, Natasha's dry bag (which was wet) but inside was her dry box with phone and keys and which floated to the surface. Also 4 torches, a dead phone, Ken's car keys (which still work) and more. Recovered all this on this dive and others' dives. Visibility fair.

7 March - Big Saigon
Second dive to recover our reels, lift bags, ropes, anchor. Also looked to N and W for boat. Nothing further found. Visibility fair.

10 March - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. Quite good conditions but water a bit dirty and a very slight current from N. Took newish members Geoff and Jill diving. Did the normal route and there were 2 pineapplefish at S end of Split on sand. Quite a few bastard trumpeters in Cave and also in the second split. After dive wind came up from S but was supposed to be NE, got very strong. Visibility poor but fair in some spots.

10 March - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Too rough to go in from W point so went thru pool. Very dirty and lost all but Mark at SHC. Went S side of IR1 and back via N side. Saw 5 RIF, a fiddler-ray, lots of squid, both large and small. We refound 2 divers between IR1 and IR2 and here Ron found abrown found a black striped anglerfish. In fact, Gary advised us after the dive there was another very small one there as well. Four pink okenia, lots of other nudibranchs and one sea spiders. Mike and Roger saw 2 robust ghost pipefish!! A very good dive, even though viz very bad. Visibility poor to very poor.

13 March - Big Saigon
Club boat dive but we decided to search again for Katz. Dave ran around with his 3D sonar but only found a couple of not real good targets. We had 5 boats, 4 diving and 1 surface watch. We anchored in a N-S line about 50 m apart. Bram and I used scooters to search to N and E without success. We found other divers and reel lines, but that was all. Very hard considering it is quite dirty, but at least no current. Dave found a tank in 30 m. Wayne found some other stuff that we left behind on Monday and a few other things. Getting closer we think. Visibility very poor.

23 March - Middle Ground
Club boat dive, 2 boats and 9 divers. Was supposed to be under 2 m sea and W winds, but it was 3-4 m seas and 15 kts S. Very clean water down to 26 m, could see Phil's boat off our anchor line from here, but then very sandy as it was quite surgy. Wave period was supposed to be under 10 secs but must have been about 13 secs. Our anchors were touching, so I moved Phil's W and ours E. Saw a large cuttlefish and a huge wobbegong, but that was about it. Not the most enjoyable dives. Visibility poor.

8 April - Xanadu
Two boats went out to try to find Katz, but was 1.5 knot current from SSW, so did not dive there. Went to Xanadu as water very blue. Used scooter to explore 4 mins to N and then 2 mins to S from anchor. Reef much the same in both directions as near anchor. Nothing real special apart from a blue devilfish. Nice dive here for once. Visibility good.

9 April - Six Fathom Reef
Wind was over 15 kts S when forecast was 10 kt W. Decided to dive Six Fathom which was fairly protected. Anchored on SE corner and went W and then N and NW. Lots of fish in some spots, ladder-finned pomfret, yellowtail and seapike. Kelly found a red PPH out deep. Nice easy dive, first time here for over two years. Visibility very good.

10 April - Barrens Hut/The Split
Last ever dive using Le Scat after 23 years and about 1,300 runs. Flat seas, no wind and blue water. Decided to do Barrens Hut/The Split since this is the site that we have probably done the most. Anchored W of N end of The Split. Went outside to The Tunnel and then back normal way. Saw 3 pineapplefish, lots of mirror leatherjackets, bastard trumpeters and seapike. A huge wobbegong in the other split. A very nice dive, fitting for Le Scat's last dive. Visibility very good.

14 April - Bare Island Deep Wall
Went in off W point to SW as normal. Eddie got bowled over and lost a fin but I found it. No current at all. Saw 3 firefish, one tiny. Also 2 fiddler-rays. Kim showed us two tiny orange anglerfish, one 10 mm long and the other 20 mm. There is one more, black, but she could not find it. No PPH or RIF. Also a black and white spotted fish under SHR, not sure what it is. A very good dive. Visibility good.

16 April - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Went in off W point and headed W to sand. Then to SHC and then IR1, followed N side as outgoing tide. However, current was coming from our right. Went right around IR2 and back. Lots of fish up high out here, yellowtail and seapike and some ladder-finned pomfrets. No sea horses out here or RIF. Back to where we saw tiny anglerfish on Thursday. Could only find the tiniest one. Kelly found a red PPH. Back at SHR we found 2 upsidedown pipefish as well as the black with white spots tiny fish. Quite a few small cuttlefish and a few boxfish and a few firefish, one only 15 mm long. A very good dive. Visibility very good.

20 April - Marys Reef
Club boat dive, went out on Argonaut as new boat still not ready. Bit of swell but water looked okay from top. However, quite dirty bottom 2 metres or so. Went to W and then back to anchor. Saw a nice six-spined leatherjacket, a few black reef leatherjackets, a very large cuttlefish, two very small yellow box fish and three maroon sea spiders. Nice dive despite viz. Visibility poor on bottom but good elsewhere.

21 April - SS Tuggerah
Out on Argonaut again, very calm seas, but slight current from N that went to bottom. Much better viz than we first thought it would be based on yesterday. Could see boat from 20 m, probably 15 m on bottom. Did not go far due to current and also anchor was not all that secure (on first conrod above sea horse). Left watch there, see who mentions it. Four large wobbegongs, two cuttlefish, a huge one under the engine. Lots of seapike and nannygais. An excellent dive. Visibility good.

24 April - Shiprock
Eight members diving. Very little current, did normal dive but did not go past the W buoy. Cleaned the plaque as barnacles over the surrounds. One tiny yellow boxfish, two moray eels, a few octopus and small cuttlefish, lots of juvenile snapper and some nice bream and whiting. Saw two pineapplefish, three Eddie gobies. No nudibranchs at all. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

25 April - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
Club shore dive and BBQ for Anzac Day. Swell and wind dropped dramatically from yesterday. Went in past Carol's Plaque and headed down. Stopped to look for the anglerfish but too many divers around and a wobbegong stirred up the sand. Went to IR1, lost a few divers in our group because of the poor viz there. Found two RIF and Kelly found a black striped anglerfish near one. Saw a fiddler-ray out there and huge school of yellowtail. Came back and Kelly found a PPH and then we found the tiny anglers, the 10 mm one is now about 15 mm and the 20 mm one about 25 mm. Still on same rocks. From here back to exit. Pat was a bit light so Kelly and he surfaced near the plaque. A really great dive. Visibility fair.

30 April - Bare Island RIF Reef
Went in off W point, extremely flat. Headed SW to about 15 m and then followed the sponge garden to NW rather than to Deep Wall. It ends up near where sea horses were, so is really a big short cut. Headed then to RIF Reef and went right around the outside. Saw a couple of firefish, a RIF, then cut across to 15 Metre Reef (could see it) and then SHC. Then over to first part of IR1 and then back. Saw the two orange anglerfish, a baby PPH, some eels, octopus, wobbegong and more. An excellent dive. Visibility very good.

Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.