Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
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    "Bare Island has the greatest number of dives of any location in Sydney"
    San Miguel Island West
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - San Miguel Island West

    The prime diving sites in the Ticao Island/Donsol area are around the San Miguel Island and the other islands near it. This island is at the northern end of Ticao Island. This dive site is, obviously, on the western side of the island and is normally done when the currents on the eastern and northern side are too strong.

    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    San Miguel Island is located at the top left of chart. Ticao Island Resort is near bottom right of island. An enlarged section of the chart at left. Dive site is to the right of the I at end of San Miguel name.

    It is about 45 to 50 minutes run from Ticao Island Resort and probably an hour or so from Donsol in a large banca. The reef here starts shallow next to the island and then drops away at about 45 degrees. The bancas anchor in the shallows in about seven metres. You head west and drop over the wall and head down to the depth you want to achieve. We headed north.

    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Banded pipefish in sea urchinBanded sea snake

    As you go along the wall you see some gorgonias, a few are quite huge. There are plenty of sea whips and the coral slope has lots of small overhangs where various fish and creatures can hide. The slope is most coral, but there are some sand sections.

    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Robust ghost pipefishTwo small eels
    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Very colourful stonefishFlutemouth

    We continue north (probably more north-west), reaching a maximum depth of 25 metres. The slope goes much deeper, but we stick mostly to the area between 16 and 22 metres. Along the way we see plenty of very interesting things. As well as numerous species of nudibranch (see photos for some samples), we spot a couple of banded pipefish as well as a banded sea snake.

    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Chromodoris willaniChromodoris elisabethina
    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Halgerda tessellata?Dusky nembrotha -Nembrotha kubaryana/nigerrina

    Another interesting find is a robust ghost pipefish, very hard to see and even harder to take a photograph of as it is in and on a featherstar. Along the way we see some small eels and all the usual reef fish like long and short-finned bannerfish, butterflyfish and puffer fish.

    We also saw quite a few nice, large barrel sponges. There were a few anemones of different species with their associated anemonefish (clownfish).

    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Phyllidia ocellataChromodoris willani
    San Miguel IslandSan Miguel Island
    Carlsons halgerda - Halgerda carlsoniUnknown species

    Some other interesting things seen were a very colourful stonefish and some flutemouths. As mentioned, there were lots of nudibranchs, I took photos of at least a dozen different species.

    After about 50 minutes we turned around and headed back much shallower and eventually on the reef top. It was a much quicker trip back and we exited the water after 75 minutes. A really great dive. Water temperature was 26.1⁰C and visibility good, say 15 metres or so.

    Click here to return to the Ticao Island dive list.

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    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!