My Recent Dives - March & April 2017
Posted by Michael on 01 March 2017 00:00
21 March 2017 - Bare Island Red Indianfish Reef
First dive in almost a month due to bad weather and going overseas for 5 days. Huge amount of rain and very large seas the past three weeks, so we were amazed at today's conditions. Only 2 m viz above 2 m, but then opened up to at least 7 m. Went off W point to W and then to RIF Reef. Right around it and then to 15 m Reef and start of IR1. Then back. Saw 2 fiddler-rays, a spiny gurnard, 5 PPH, 4 RIF, the 2 tropical sea horses, a few moray eels, a frogfish, plenty of nudibranchs, including pink okenia and red-lined flabellena. Octopus all over the place as well a Gunther's butterflyfish. A great dive. Visibility fair.

22 March 2017 - Pizza Reef
Flat seas, hardly any wind and no current on surface. Water a little dirty on surface but below it was 10 to 12 m. Could see boat from 16 m. Reasonable current on bottom from NW and also at safety stop, but this disappeared about 3 mins into stop. Anchored on SW corner, went anti-clockwise and on the low rocks off S end, found 2 donut nembrothas. Quite a few silver sweep and seapike here. Back around to N and down split, Kelly found 2 PPH here. Then back to cave, 10 bastard trumpeters at N end of split and 10 more in cave. Also here hundreds of seapike. Back to anchor area and found another donut nembrotha on sand heading off to NW. Going to get very lost going that way! Another surprisingly good dive, too bad weather is going crap again tonight. Visibility good.

25 March 2017 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive, two boats. Large swell but still clean on top. However, once I got to about 16 m the viz dropped to less than a metre. On the bottom could hardly see the anchor chain. Followed it to check anchor was not in a hole, then we all ascended. Kelly and Bob did not even know they were on the bottom. Visibility shithouse.

31 March 2017 - Little Beach, Nelson Bay
Awful weather the past two days as a result of Cyclone Debbie which hit Whitsundays. Rain eased so I dived while Kelly watched Veto. Dived with Kellie Oldfield, ex Abyss and now Bilikki Cruises. No sea horses, but lots of nudibranchs. Saw a couple of species I don't think I have seen before as well as some of the usual Nelson Bay ones. Also a cowrie and a spindle cowrie, three butterflyfish, seven dwarf wobbegongs, lots of small yellowtail. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

1 April 2017 - Fly Point, Nelson Bay
Had ear problem so could not go deeper than 14 m. Drifted SW and S for 28 mins when tide stopped and turned. However, after a minute or two it came back again, no hard, but had to swim into it for another 15 mins. Strange! Saw huge numbers of bream, ladder-finned pomfret, small snapper, red morwong and a few small wobbegongs. A huge blue groper, some other smaller ones, a few small cuttlefish, a Gunthers butterflyfish, a couple of small moray eels, plenty of leatherjackets and some small surgeonfish. Not that many nudibranchs. Another nice dive. Visibility fair.

2 April 2017 - Fly Point, The Pipeline
Went to N and then W till I hit pipe, then followed it deeper. Came to a big sand hill, this was not here last time I dived it. Went a bit further but was coming up shallower and no marine life. Worked my way back along the pipe. Saw a couple of moray eels, a few species of nudibranchs, at least one I had never seen before. Heaps of small cuttlefish, two tiny yellow boxfish, a turretfish, a few octopus, lots of pygmy leatherjackets and a blind shark. Not many fish. Some other people saw a black anglerfish just off the wall. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

6 April 2017 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive. Very dirty water in Port Hacking but once outside got bluish. Swell not too bad but every now and then a large couple came through. Very, very slight current from S. Anchored on sand on W and did not move. A donut nembrotha near anchor and 4 more on S and NW side. Also a huge cuttlefish, very friendly. Another smaller one on E side and also a wobbegong and a firefish. Huge numbers of seapike, especially near cave where 30 bastard trumpeters. Also a lot of small trevally here and also higher up in water with some other species. On safety stop lots of strange jellyfish and other invertebrates. Excellent dive. Visibility very good.

8 April 2017 - The Split
Club boat dive, two boats and 11 divers. Slight current again from S which pushed us a bit N of normal anchor spot. Seas much better than Thursday but green rather than blue, still warm at 20.6 on bottom. Saw a turtle before we went in. Swam to Split at N end and then N to see donut nembrothas. Found 6 here and 1 more further S. Back near Split there was a huge school of catfish, all moving around, looked like a shark or whale shark. A large wobbegong, no pineapplefish though and a large cuttlefish. Split had lots of large seapike, yellowtail and bastard trumpeters in it. Back to anchor and up. Very nice dive. Visibility fair.

9 April 2017 - SS Tuggerah
A bit sloppy as we headed down and 10 kts NW. Anchored first go in front of anchor. Very, very slight current from S. Anchor was not in a good spot as the swell was sometimes large. Moved anchor a few times, one time it was lifting part of wreck, another it was so rope was rubbing on hull. Took 7 mins to set. Then went to stern and back to anchor. Huge amount of fishlife, large seapike everywhere, yellowtail all over the wreck, all the way to the surface. Nannygai everywhere. Probably the most fish I have seen here for 10 years. A seal which we saw before the dive came down and swam around and over us for almost 2 mins. The tank I dropped here on 4 Feb missing. Fantastic!!! Cold on bottom (17C) and dark, but relatively clean. A brilliant dive!. Visibility fair.

14 April 2017 - The Leap Deep
Very large swell from SE, tried Henry Head but too big there and also boat would be too close to breaking waves. This spot is out from The Leap. Went E at first and then W back towards where you normally hit sand at The Leap. Kelly did not dive and shoe followed us in the boat. Saw a few small cuttlefish, a large octopus, a few nudibranchs, some nice black reef leatherjackets. Despite the seas and rain, the visibility was not too bad. Visibility fair.

15 April 2017 - Middle Ground
Last dive in Sydney for at least 6 months. Swell was a lot less than yesterday and the seas also smoother. Anchored first go but once on the bottom we had a problem, the anchor was down a crack and we could not reach it. Pulling on the chain did not free it. Finally Kelly pulled out her reef hook and I was able to slip it into a part of the anchor and then pull it out from the middle. Took almost 10 mins to do all this. We then noticed that there was a huge wobbegong shark only a metre from us! Luckily it did not decide to move towards us while we were doing this. We followed the crack to the S and the reef edge and saw more wobbegongs, at least another 4. Then swam around to E side and saw 2 more. All were very active and when we came back to the anchor, I had to pull Kelly out of the way as a wobbie came at her from behind and under. I have not seen so many here (or anywhere in Sydney) for a long long time. Lots of yellowtail as well, but could not go too far as we were soon out of bottom time and I ended up in deco. A nice dive despite all the problems. Visibility fair.

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