Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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    Welcome
    I established this Web Site about scuba diving in Sydney, NSW, Australia and the South Pacific, as well as a few other places, in June 1996.

    Since then it has gone through a few different versions. This latest version is the fourth and was completed in July 2006.

    The site has grown from a few pages to well over 900 separate pages. More than 650 dives are covered, mostly in detail and most with photographs and some with maps.

    I am fairly confident that this is not only the largest diving related web site in the World, it also has more hits than any diving related web site in Australia.

    This site is a non-commercial site and is unrelated to any dive organisation. It is purely here to provide divers with an information source to increase their enjoyment of scuba diving, shipwrecks and marine life in general. I hope that my experiences can help you when you are planning a dive trip, whether it is locally in Sydney, New South Wales, somewhere else in Australia or the Pacific Ocean region.

    Any and all comments are welcome, as is any information to enhance the pages, especially more information about ships or shipwrecks or corrections to pages.

    I have also included some articles on non-diving related interests, especially four wheel driving and camping. Starting 2014 it will have information about our yacht, a Lightwave 38 catamaran.

    NOTE:

    This site is best viewed using a screen sized at 1024 x 768 pixels. If you use a smaller screen, some photographs may force a page that extends off the screen and cause printing problems. I cannot avoid this problem. It may also cause some photos to run over top of text. If you find any of these, please let me know as I should be able to fix.

    In addition, some wide screen monitors (newer laptops especially) may have a screen that is too wide for the page and this may cause photos to appear in strange places. If you find this, let me know and I will see if I can fix.

    I have now added a Search facility to the site. You can access this by clicking on Search on the menu at the top of the page.

    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "The Gullies has a feature called The Marble"
    News
    My Recent Dives October, November & December 2019
    3 October 2020 - The Apartments
    Calm seas and little wind till after the dive when NE blew up as forecast. Anchored to W of Cathredral as fisher over it. Clean top 3 m, then a dirty 4 metres and then cleaner. Went SE and then E to corner, huge number of ladder-finned pomfrets and nannygai. Could not find entry! Went along wall to NW and could not see exit either! A blue devilfish here. Back and then S a bit and back to boat. A few PJs and wobbegongs, a large bullray, but not much else. Okay dive. Visibility fair.

    4 October 2020 - Henry Head
    Club boat dive. Was supposed to dive Red Flag but too rough and windy (NE). Saw whales at entrance to Botany Bay and some dolphins about 10 m from boat as we entered water. Went south, litlle tidal current at first but got bit stronger after 20 mins. Saw four sea dragons, one large, two small and one smaller again. Large had eggs, some hatched. Plenty of nudibranchs, including Okenia harasti and pink okenia. Kelly found a tiny 7 mm long red PPH. A small moray eel, some sea spiders, three large black reef leatherjackets and much more. A great dive. Visibility good.

    5 October 2020 - Henry Head
    So good yesterday, decided to dive here again, despite seas being down and wind low. Same as yesterday. Saw two sea dragons, not the ones we saw yesterday. Lots of Okenia harasti, no sea spiders, plenty of other interesting nudibranchs and a flat worm. Another moray eel, a few PJs, black reef leatherjackets. Wind came up while we were in and anchor came free as we ascended. Rough trip back across the bay. Great dive. Visibility good.

    7 October 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Other engine on port now not working, will take a month to fix due to marine places being so busy. A bit of swell so went in past plaque and then via channel to Shallow Wall. Then to RIF and back normal way. A bit of surge for most of the dive, made it hard to take photos. Viz only 3 m deeper and perhaps 4 shallower. Lots of nudibranchs, one RIF, the small orange painted anglerfish, the big belly sea horse and one Parramatta nudibranch. A really good dive despite visibility. Visibility poor.

    9 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Very strong W wind so too rough to go off point. Went similar way to Wed but stayed at main reef edge and went NW towards 15 M Reef very slowly, 36 mins to reach the start of it. Saw the schooling catfish from Wed that I did not mention. Viz about 3 m but perhaps 4 deeper than 13 m. A lot warmer today, 17.0C min deep and 17.4 for most. Lots of nudibranchs of many species, including rarer ones. Ten mins on 15 M Reef, across to main reef again. Saw a few small cuttlefish, quite a few PJs, no RIF or PPH. Spent a long time looking for the Bare Island anglerfish but again could not find. Also for a baby pineapplefish said to be near the small orange painted anglerfish, again no luck. Parramatta nudi not there but the big belly sea horse was. Another great dive. Visibility poor.

    10 October 2020 - Inscription Point
    Boat out of action for a month due to problem with other engine, so shore diving will have to suffice. Just after low so not the best viz, 3-4 m. The calerpia weed is 2 or 3 times worse than last dive here about a month ago. I found three PPH, two white and one brown. Lots of PJs and plenty of different species of nudibranch. Also plenty of other divers! Saw a shag swimming around, only second time I have seen a bird underwater like this. A very nice dive. Visibility poor.

    11 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    My 100th dive for the year. Went in off W point to W. Ended up at the same spot as 7 & 9 dives. Then along sand edge to 15 M Reef and back normal way. Again, heaps of PJs and nudibranchs, some rarer. One RIF, two PPH, the orange anglerfish, the big belly sea horse, a Parramtta nudibranch (ha ha, Souths beat them last night!) and a few tiny fine-lined tambja. Also two pipefish, one tiny on 15 M Reef. Could not find the pineapplefish despite new directions. A really good dive. Visibility poor.

    20 October 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    A little swell and incoming tide, so went in near plaque. Followed gully and then W to 12 m. At least 7 m viz, 18.2C. Gradually went to 15 Metre Reef, arriving there at 38 minutes. Lots of nudibranch, two dozen PJs, a couple of spiny gurnards, a tiny pipefish, blue groper and a large and small cuttlefish. Then along reef and across to SH Corner and back. More nudibranchs and two flatworms. A red PPH near cave, the tiny painted anglerfish was not in normal spot, about 30 cm away and on low rock. The big belly sea horse looks pregnant. No tamjas at all. An excellent dive, 88 minutes. Visibility fair.

    Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.
    Michael on 01 October 2020 00:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives - July, August and September 2020
    24 July 2020 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    First dive for 5 weeks as away in western NSW. A few problems before the dive, including loosing a wheel from trailer on the way to the ramp (did not know I lost till at RMYC!). Never found it. Anyway, flat seas and blue water, no wind. Was supposed to be rainy till yesterday but the forecast pushed it back to noon (came later at 1600). Les watched boat, we went up Split to outside, a few PJs along the way. Then outside to N and found three donut nembrothas which Natalia wanted to see. Then back to anchor and Cave, bastard trumpeters here and also then at their normal spot. Here I saw a seal and then a minunte later, it came back and the others saw as well. Back up after this. A really good dive, making up for all the problems earlier (and later a flat tyre on trailer!). Visibility very good.

    1 August 2020 - Bypass Reef
    Club boat dive, three boats, 12 divers. Botany Bay very dirty and a bit dirty and cold on top (15.7C) but much better and warmer (17.4C) on bottom. Little current but surgy as large swell on longsih period. Anchored right on corner and went N and then back and S. Lots of silver sweep at N end, quite a few pairs of black reef leatherjackets, plenty of red morwong in a cave and a few PJs. Some on one boat saw a blue devilfish but they were a bit deeper. Whales heard and one surfaced between the boats! Much better than expected considering the rain at the start of the week. Visibility fair.

    2 August 2020 - Middle Ground North 
    Swell dropped a lot since yesterday, no surge at all at 32 m. Water again drity and cold on top but on bottom 17.4C and 7-8 m viz. Fishers on main reef so came over here. Anchored on W side and went to E along a crack. Then NW. Lots of yellowtail and silver sweep up over the reef. Plenty of leatherjackets of different species. A few small octopus. Back across to W side and back to anchor and then S a little. Lots of wandering anemones on sea whips here, some tiger anemones. Another surprisingly good dive. Visibility fair.

    5 August 2020 - Middle Ground 
    Club boat dive. Wind was a bit stronger than forecast, NW at 15 kts, but not too rough. Wind dropped to under 10 kts while we were diving. Viz on bottom 5-7 m but much better above 18 m. Anchored first go on rock off NW corner of reef. Went E and on NE corner saw a large grey nurse shark, the first I have seen here. Brilliant! Then S to SE corner and back again, hoping we could see the shark again. No luck. Thousands of yellowtail and seapike over the reef and plenty of silver sweep too. Also lots of black reef leatherjackets. A great dive. Visibility fair.

    15 August 2020 - Bypass Reef
    First dive for 10 days due to rotten weather. Bay was filthy, but not too bad on surface here. Outgoing tide, but 10 m down cleared up to a cold 16.6C and 7-8 metres viz. Flat seas and W wind. Anchored again on corner cave, went N. Lots of red morwong and some bastard trumpeters in cave. Plenty of silver sweep and one-spot pullers at N end. Back to cave, a Port Jackson shark along way. Kelly found some saw-tooth pipefish near anchor and there were a few swimming anemones S of here. 

    16 August 2020 - The Colours
    Club boat dive, only my boat. Wind W but less than 5 kts but at boat ramp 20 kts. Swell much more than yesterday but okay. Viz really good at surface but dark on bottom as cloudy. Anchored on sand edge at 28 m. Went N along sand edge for 8 mins and then back to anchor. Then S for a few mins and back to anchor. Lots of silver sweep at N end, some black reef leatherjackets. One cuttlefish, lots of nudibranchs. Nice dive despite everything . Visibility fair.

    19 August 2020 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. No wind at all when we got out there but it came up to about 12 kts NNW at the end. A bit of current from N top to bottom, and a bit of surge, warmer again at 17.2C. Anchored on top of cave, hard to work hard to pull anchor forward a bit to put it in a better spot. A few bastard trumpeters in cave with two blue morwong. Hundreds of seapike over the cave. Went S and saw a spiny gurnard and then Lynne found a donut nembrotha in normal spot, on sand. Back around to anchor, a blue devilfish in normal spot near anchor. A few six-spined leatherjackets, lots of silver sweep, old wives and a few small trevally. A very nice dive. Visibility fair.

    22 August 2020 - Fly Point, Port Stephens 
    Club Boys Weekend. Extremely windy, boat dives cancelled, wind 20-30 kts W. Went S just before we went in but came back W. Current did not change whole dive. A few interesting nudibranchs, one small wobbegong, a few Gunther's butterflyfish, huge numbers of bream, snapper, yellowtail and more. Pretty good dive. Visibility good.

    26 August 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Could not get a crew for boat dive, so had to do a shore dive. First dive here for over 10 weeks! A reasonable SE swell running so went it past Carol's plaque. A bit surgy whole dive. Viz was 3 m at most. Only went down to before first cave. Kim showed us a tiny orange anglerfish near SHR. A few tiny firefish, a tiny Vercos tambja, a tiny fine-lined tambja, both on first large rock on way down. A small yellow big belly sea horse that I found here too. One PPH near turn around point. Quite a few other nudibranchs and shells. A large flathead. Hard getting out as high tide and swell coming right in and I had cramps in both legs! Very good dive despite all this. Visibility poor. 

    29 August 2020 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive, two boats. Was supposed to be Underwater Wilderness but seas too big, at least 2 m. Little wind and very slight current from S. Anchored on NW corner. Went clockwise around whole reef. Very, very dirty, top to bottom and cold 15.9C. Like a night dive. Saw lots of fish but all very flighty and disappeared when torch hit them. Mostly yellowtail I think. Saw a PJ, a six-spined leatherjacket, Lachlan saw two spiny gurnards. Not much else of note really. Pretty terrible dive. Visibility very poor.

    30 August 2020 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Club shore dive, organised yesterday, 7 members plus 1. Went off W point, ended up near RIF. Quite a few PJs. Came back normal way. Viz only 2-3 m deep, about 3-4 shallower. One person saw a RIF, I found the anglerfish, PPH, big belly sea horse from Wednesday. Also two small Vercos tambjas, two small fine-lined tambjas. Apparently another big belly on same rock but did not see it. A nice dive despite the visibility. Visibility poor.

    2 September 2020 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive. Slight wind from N and very slight current from N. Port engine did not run at full revs for first few minutes of each time I tried to use. Why? Pretty calm. Anchored near cave. Visibility so much better than Saturday, 8-10 m. No blue devilfish and no bastard trumpeters. Where are they? Only one donut nembrotha, on S reef. Lots of seapike over cave area. All the normal fish elsewhere. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    3 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Club night shore dive, first for five years (?). Went in off W point, went to bottom, swam W for 2.5 mins when a loud bang and my reg free flowed. Swam over to Simon, took his octopus and signalled to surface. We swam back to pool and exited. First stage high pressure seat failure according to Don K. Was going to put in for service on Sunday anyway! Visibility fair.

    5 September 2020 - M & K Reef
    Little wind and small NE swell when we went out. Port engine mucked up again, need to fix before any more diving. Anchored in front of S cave. Looked for Kelly's torch that she lost 13 June, no luck. Went N, Kelly found two PPH. We did not see blue devilfish, but second group saw two to the S. Lots of silver sweep and one-spot pullers to N. Back past anchor to S and then back. A few nudibranchs, but nothing special. When others went up I looked for the torch under where the boat was last time, no luck. Back on boat, wind now over 15 kts W or SSW, rough trip back across bay. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    6 September 2020 - SS Tuggerah
    Went out on Peter F's boat. Very sloppy seas and larger SE swell than yesterday. Little wind from E. Anchored first go in front of boiler. No current. When I rolled in my tank came loose, I went to bottom and Phil fixed. On the way down a small seal came rushing up to me. Also saw it on the bottom a few times. Dirty on top and way down but 8-10 m on bottom, dark though. Went to stern and then to bow. Lots of PJs at bow and at least six large wobbegong sharks. Plenty of fish around, including very large seapike and at least 20 reasonable sized bream, first I have ever seen here. Visibility fair.

    8 September 2020 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Went in from W point. Lot cleaner than last week, at least 12 m at depth and 8 m shallower. Despite forgetting my hood, not cold despite 16.5C. Went to RIF Reef, dozens of PJs on sand before it. Then to 15 Metre Reef and back. Two small RIF, no PPH, lots of nudibranchs, some dotos, one Vercos tampja (grown heaps since last week), one red-lined flabellina and the small orange anglerfish, also much bigger and moved about 200 mm. Could not find the sea horse. Really good dive. Visibility good.

    12 September 2020 - Bushrangers Bay, Shellharbour
    Club shore dive. Buddied Evan, Les's grandson, first dive out of dive course. Pretty good and relaxed, just needs to get weighting right. Went out to open sea, 15 m + viz here, perhaps 7 close to shore. Say 7 m here. Saw two grey nurse sharks on the way out, then three on the way back in, two very close. Perhaps three or four in total. Some yellowtail, bastard trumpeters, lots of Port Jackson sharks and horned sharks. A reasonable dive, but without GNS would have been boring. Evan went well. Visibility good.

    13 September 2020 - Inscription Point
    Was supposed to do club boat dive but my port engine not working and awaiting parts. Went in just before low tide, viz amazing at over 15 m. No current till on way back. One small sea dragon, one moray eel, a large spotted boxfish Zorka found a ting orange painted anglerfish. A few nudibranchs, but nothing special. All the usual other fish. Quite a few divers here towards the end. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    16 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Club shore dive as my engine still not repaired. Went in before Carol's plaque. Found the big belly sea horse on first large rock and I also found a small pot belly sea horse. Two Vercos tambjas here and a PPH. Then towards SHR, found the tiny orange anglerfish, still in same area. Then to first cave. Lots of nudibranchs, especially pink okenias and also one opera house. A few other interesting bugs, two RIF. Had to come back from before SHR when I realised I only had 70 bar. Should have been 120, no idea what happened as started with 230 bar! Still did an hour. Very nice dive. Visibililty fair.

    19 September 2020 - Bare Island Right
    Shore dive as part has still not arrived for my boat's engine. No wind and little swell, but occasional larger ones. had problem with my mask the whole dive, kept fogging up despite cleaning it three times and also kept flooding! Made it an uncomfortable dive. Went in before plaque, similar dive to Wednesday. Found both sea horses, one is a southern big (pot) belly and the other an eastern pot belly. Kelly found a PPH and then I found the tiny anglerfish. Quite a few pipehorses and some upsidedown pipehorses. Also some interesting nudibranchs. Three or four RIF, a small horn shark, some small cuttlefish. Looked for a BI anglerfish near first cave but no luck. Back from here. By end of the dive, swell had come up a lot. Difficult to exit and I lost my strobe, but got it back. A good dive despite my problems. Visibility fair.

    23 September 2020 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Boat still not fixed, Tuggerah dive cancelled due to change in forecast but this never happened till well over 3 hours later. Went off W point to wall. Camera would not fire strobe, cable probably. Kim found a small big belly sea horse on one of the low rocks. Back normal way. Lots of nudibranchs, including red-lined flabellina and opera house. A few RIF, no PPH. Back near first cave, I found the Bare Island anglerfish others had seen a week ago but which we could not find on Saturday. Refound the orange painted anglerfish, Vercos tambjas and a fine-lined tambja and the eastern pot belly sea horse. Could not find the big belly. A large stingray with huge tail past outboard. A really great dive. Visibility fair.

    29 September 2020 - Clifton Gardens
    Big seas and winds last few days and still today. Went inside pool and then outside around wharf, so many holes in net! Then to N to chains and anchors, back to wharf and then to (3 x 3) sea horse houses SE of pool. Camera did not work again, the flash would not fire despite thinking I fixed after last dive. Kim showed me the two small orange painted anglerfishes, one inside and a tiny one outside. Lots of interesting nudibranchs, including doto. Quite a few small cuttlefish, a lot of pygmy and fan-bellied leatherjackets. A large pipefish to N, one small Whites sea horse on house, only one I saw. A reasonable dive. Visibility poor inside pool but fair outside. 
     
    Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

    For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.
    Michael on 01 July 2020 00:00 · Print
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    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!