16 April 2022 - North Neptune Island Great White Sharks
Bottom cage dive. 21 Metres, no great white sharks seen. Lots of trevally and large yellowtail kingfish. One very large bullray. Another worthless dive. Visibility good.
Next 3 dives in Nelson Bay/Port Stephens
30 April 2022 - Fly Point
Still very average in Sydney. Up here for Shelley and John's birthdays. Went NE from entry and then went W more and to 22.7m. First time this deep for ages, little current. Viz was 7-8 m for most of the dive, a bit dirtier once tide changed. Saw dozens of blind sharks and wobbegongs, a fiddler-ray, plenty of moray eels, at least 8 crayfish, one huge. Some red-lined flabbelina and the orange tipped nudibranch. One tiny yellow boxfish, one butterflyfish, plenty of seapike and bream, also a few large snapper just before getting hump head. A really great dive. Visibility fair.
1 May 2022 - The Pipeline
Walkway back open as well as the new one behind the cafe. Went to NE to sea horse hotels, only one there and another before it. Back to Pipeline at 10 to 11 m. A playtpus spindle cowrie, a tiger spindle cowrie and some others. Lots of small cuttlefish, two small moray eels, a butterflyfish, some blind sharks, decorator crabs, one small crab and more. A lot more sand here too, but conditions not too bad. Visibility fair.
2 May 2022 - Fly Point
My 4,500th dive! Another dive here, similar to Saturday. Went NE from sand then W. Return to SW end of main wall is SE. Very slight current again, new moon Saturday. Viz once again about 7-8 m. Saw a few wobbegongs, plenty of moray eels and a speckled moray eel. Only one crayfish out in deeper area but over 6 on wall. Four pineapplefish here too. Two fiddler-rays, lots of bream including some eating a conjevoi or similar. A tiny long-finned bannerfish, a butterflyfish, two yellow boxfish, lots of blind sharks and much more. Another really good dive. Visibility fair.
5 May 2022 - Bare Island Deep Wall
First dive in Sydney since 27 March and only second since 20 February due to the huge rainfall, dirty water and enormous seas. Went in off W point and SSW to the Deep Wall. Water was dirty for first three minutes (to 7 m) but then cleared up to 5 to 6 metres viz. Cold at 17.9C. Did the normal route back. Huge changes over the whole site. At least 300 mm of sand gone in most places exposing tyres, bottles and metal pieces. Almost 100% of kelp is gone as well as most of the weed on the reefs. Also a lot of damage to sponges and hydroids, totally missing. There are lots of dead sections on most sponges and silt everywhere. Looks like it did back in the late 1980s. Some nudibranchs seen as well as two frogfish, some cuttlefish and most of the normal fish species. However, no RIF, PPH, sea horses or sea dragons. A reasonable but sad dive. Visibility poor.
7 May 2022 - M & K Reef
First boat dive for over 7 weeks due to the weather, first real one since 20 Feb as the last one was aborted due to almost nil visibility. A rolling swell, westerly winds, reasonable current from the north and warm 22.0C water top to bottom. Current not on bottom. Viz was up to 15 m, could see the boat from 23 metres. no blue devilfish but second group saw one, they also saw a sea dragon. Some seapike, ladder-finned pomfret, a few nudibranchs. The kelp has been thinned out a bit by huge swells. A nice dive despite lack of usual things to see. Visibility good.
Next 10 dives are at Lord Howe Island, New South Wales
14 May 2022 - The Arch
First dive of Club's Lord Howe Island trip. Strong NE winds but calm here. At least 30 m viz and 21.4C! This spot is just outside lagoon to SE of entrance. Anchored in 15 m. Forward of the anchor was a coral arch, hence the name. Some sweetlips here. Then went in anticlockwise direction around shallower section back to anchor. Some overhangs with crayfish, at least 4 seen as well as a large slipper cray. Also some small slits or canyons. Back to anchor and then SE a bit and up a narrower slit and back over shallower bit to anchor. Some tropical species. Saw two Galapagos sharks as well. Not the greatest dive, would have liked to see some nudibranchs, none at all. Visibility excellent.
14 May 2022 - North Head Bommie
Anchored SW of bommie which is to left of lagoon entrance. Anchored in 12 m, dropped to 18 over the next little bit as we went SE and then NE. Went around bommie. Lots of cracks and slits to swim through. Some overhangs, more crayfish too. Some interesting large holes and some porthole like openings between sections. Again, no nudibranchs, but quite a few tropical species. A similar dive to the last one. Visibility excellent.
15 May 2022 - Five Star
Located outside lagoon via southern entrance. Off the two mountains. A pinnacle that comes up from 40 metres to about 25 metres. Quite large. Descent line placed on the northern side, live drop to it. Computer somehow on 33% rather than air, sure I changed it before I left home. Luckily the other computer was set to air. Here there is a sort of caldera, really good coral with lots of anemones etc. Plenty of anemonefish of different species. Some glass shrimp in the anemones, an eel, lots of tropicals, plenty of fish. Lots of sharks too. Some Galapagos sharks and some whalers. Even on safety stop there were two whalers hanging around. A brilliant dive, pity it was not shallower. Visibility excellent.
15 May 2022 - Erscotts Blind
My first stage was leaking so used a lot of air, coming out the holes. Cleaned it after dive and nowhere as bad. This site located to north of the southern entrance to the lagoon, just inside. Western side is the barrier reef, very shallow. Sand about 7 m here. We went clockwise around the bowl and back to the anchor. Coral not the greatest but a very large white and orange Spanish dancer. Lots of tropical species. About 100 m along there were six sharks, not big, just cruising around. We stopped and watched them for about 10 minutes. They came very close to us. John and I were alone with them for three or four minutes at least. We continued on, Kim's weight pocket fell out, I had to put it back in. Zip was not done up. Further on we saw some more sharks, may have been the first ones. Three large squid here too. Then cut across a sort of channel and found the boat. Two more very small sharks here. Some catfish as well. A very nice dive. Visibility very good.
16 May 2022 - Livs Crack
Located out south of the north-west entrance. A reef that runs from main reef out here to a point. Lots of cracks running east-west and north-south. I had a problem when we rose to about 12 m and could not equalise to go back down. Took 15 mins to be able to get back to the bottom, had to go to 3.3 m to clear right ear. A few sharks, lots of crayfish, six in one overhang. Visibility excellent.
16 May 2022 - Comets Hole
Located inside lagoon towards the southern entrance. Tied to a mooring. Flat sand at 3 m and then east of here a reef the dropped to 6.6 m. Was supposed to be freshwater coming in through sand but did not see it. Lost Kim after a few minutes and did not see again till after the dive. Some eels, small anemones and clownfish, a few shrimp, small crabs etc. A few small sharks too. Some larger fish including trevally. A nice easy dive. Visibility fair as sand very fine and easily stirred up.
17 May 2022 - Noddy Island
Wind changed to southerly overnight so could dive the Admiralty Islands. Northern side of Noddy Island. Went east and then south and back to gap between island and a rocky island. Site consisted of large boulders off the wall, then a very steep wall to the surface. At least 40 m viz! Lots of fish, kingfish, trevally, one-spot pullers and more. A few eels, a couple of nudibranchs, two large firefish, plenty of tropical species. Also plenty of gorgonias. Coral was very healthy too. A brilliant dive site. Visibility very excellent.
17 May 2022 - Shearwater Island
Located off western side of the island. Anchored on some isolated reefs. Very nice. Then swam over to the main reef which is a series of fingers jutting off the island in parts. Even more gorgonias here, visibility again 40 m. Lots of fish, especially trevally. Went SE a little, then N and then back to isolated reefs. A few eels, some firefish, a couple more nudibranchs, a flatworm. All the tropical fish from the other dives. Another brilliant dive site. Visibility very excellent.
18 May 2022 - Balls Pyramid, Ballina Bommie
Located to the NW of Balls Pyramid off some rocks. Strong current from W, 40 m viz, warm water. Went down dropline into a bottom composed of large bommies. Threaded in and around them, protected from current in spots. Lots of fish, some sharks, a few crayfish, a huge nudibranch. Tried to go up the bommies to extend bottom time as 28 m on bottom. However current was strong there. Only 25 mins on bottom. Went back up dropline but after two mins at 5 m, I got bumped off so did rest of my stop hanging behind, was not too hard as all the divers on the line protected me from current. Ended up drifting away with the divemaster, saw some big kingfish on safety stop. Great dive. Visibility excellent.
18 May 2022 - Balls Pyramid, South Eastern Corner
Site located at SE end of Balls Pyramid. We were going to do off the point but current too strong. Here there was none, but a lot of surge. Bottom covered with very healthy plate coral, some gutter with large pebbles, a lot of large boulders. Some of the boulders made overhangs and swim-throughs with lots of crayfish. A few very small sharks, a spider, a small nudibranch, plenty of fish, a very nice range of tropicals. A nice dive site. Visibility excellent.
25 May 2022 - Middle Ground
Club dive. Forecast was rain but none at all while out and even sunny. Port Hacking was totally brown, so went out wide to here. A bit dirty on top, at least 2 metres of dirty freshwater, cold 17.1C. Below this warmer 20.5C but on bottom, only 18.4C. Anchored on the rocks off the SE corner. Very dark due to top layer and also some cloud and thousands of yellowtail. Under them it was dark as night. They were very active and scared easily by our torches. Took me a while to find the main reef as we went on edge of the rocks for a while. Kyle saw two wobbegongs (I was too busy navigating). A nice dive despite the darkness. Visibility poor.¬†
28 May 2022 - Voodoo
Took the boat out again this morning from Port Hacking. Plan was a club dive at Pizza Reef with two other boats but strong current meant onto plan B and dive Barrens Hut. Unfortunately the current was strong there too, so plan C came into being. However, an abusive fisher on Osborne Shoals kybered that plan. Plan D was then hatched to dive Voodoo. This is the reef I named almost 30 years ago and not the one named many years later by a dive shop. Flat seas, no current and pretty good visibility, about 8 to 10 metres. Much better conditions today compared to Wednesday. Lots of one-spot pullers, a large cuttlefish, some nudibranchs. Nice dive with a few whales seen afterwards. Visibility good.
1 June 2022 - Shiprock
Very windy, over 20 knots from the W. Only third shore dive in Sydney in the past three and a half months due to the weather. Sunny today, but cold! Last dive in wetsuit for a while, will use drysuit from Saturday. Went to left first and saw a large flathead, two starfish with shrimp, one had three, a large flounder and a couple of moray eels. Then back normal way around the bommies. Lots of changes in sand, little ridges running E-W and deeper around bommies. The idiot DPI contractor has dropped the railway wheel for the middle buoy right on the bommie to N of the biggest one. It has destroyed virtually all of the marine life on it. Across to plaque, can hardly read it now as the engraving is so faint. Not worth cleaning anymore I think. Then kept going and found a tiger pipefish. Once past the other buoy mooring (which has been moved N about 20 metres), we turned and came back. More moray eels, one with a damaged mouth. I had to ascend as low on air (too much time at 18 metres), Ron and Donna saw two pineapplefish. Some bream, leatherjackets, luderick and more. Nice dive, but freezing afterwards! Visibility poor.
4 June 2022 - The Leap Deep
Frenchmans Bay Club Dive and BBQ. Three boats. Wind okay at start but by the time we went out from beach, it was blowing much more than the forecast. Went to Henry Head but too rough and dirty looking. Then to here. First divers reported good, but not great viz. Much calmer and less wind and bluish looking water. After the first divers back on board, I heard a Mayday off Henry Head. Went over, a boat high up on rocks, 3 on board but safe. Spoke to Marine Rescue and then left as they were almost there. We went back 90 minutes later and I dived. We did a drift from out E of The Leap to about 16 metres. Saw six sea dragons. Kelly on first dive saw a ghost pipefish. I could not find it. Finished dive when Vishal ran low on air. Very rough trip back to Frenchmans. By now blowing 25 knots or more, so we dropped the divers off the beach and headed back to ramp, too strong wind to stay for the BBQ. A pity, first one we have actually held in a year or so I think due to Covid and weather. Great dive. Visibility very good.
20 June 2022 - Anemone Bay, North Solitary Island
Club trip to North Solitary Islands from Wooli. Strong S wind and a bit of swell, so here only place to dive. Warm water 21.1C and viz of about 15 to 20 m but dark due to rain. Went to the outer mooring. Saw 7 grey nurse sharks on the way and there. Also a turtle. Then slowly back to main bay. At least 10 wobbegongs and some more GNS. Saw at least 10 individuals all up. Then went to the W side of bay and to S end and back to mooring. Two Queensland groper or cod, 100 barracuda, 20 nice bream and more. Lots of the normal fish but only one nudibranch. Very nice dive, although my drysuit leaked despite my repairs. Visibility very good.
20 June 2022 - Anemone Bay, North Solitary Island
Even stronger S wind and heavy rain. Warmer water 21.5C and better viz of about 20 m but dark due to rain. Went to the N to an area I don't think I have ever been to before. Only say 4 grey nurse sharks. Then slowly back to the W point. Then to the S end and back to mooring and to E a little. More 10 wobbegongs. Also some more bream. Found a nice yellow and red fringed nudibranch. Very nice dive, although my drysuit leaked even more, wet socks! Visibility very good.
21 June 2022 - Mackeral Run, North Solitary Island
Wind light and from W, but larger swell from SE. Did drift, current quite strong for first 100 m and then little. Saw an eagle ray at start and then a turtle. Then a bullray and then four more together. Some kingfish and a group of over 100 butterflyfish. Another turtle too and a nembrotha. Near Canyons Mooring went to the hole and saw a large wobbegong, a nice yellow eel and a blue fish. Another very nice dive, although my drysuit leaked despite my additional repairs last night. Visibility very good.
21 June 2022 - Elbow Cave, North Solitary Island
Quite surgy above 12 m, but okay deeper. Went S, a painted crayfish and a firefish. Lots of anemones and clownfish. Then went W and around the back. Saw a large male GNS here. Back to mooring area and rest of the time here. Very nice dive, although my drysuit leaked despite my repairs. Visibility good.
22 June 2022 - Anemone Bay, North Solitary Island
From inner mooring went to N and then E to point. Saw a GNS on the way and then two large black cods. Back to S end of bay, another GNS and a turtle seen. Also lots of silver sweep, a very large flutemouth, one larger yellow boxfish and all the normal tropicals. Back to mooring area. Not a bad dive. Visibility good.
22 June 2022 - Anemone Bay, North Solitary Island
S wind and a bit of swell, so here only place to dive. Warm water 20.6C but viz down from 15 or better to 10 m. Moored at the the outer mooring. Went down to the deeper area and saw at least 10 grey nurse sharks there. Then around the large rock to east and back to mooring. More sharks seen. Then to the gutter behind mooring where at least another 10 GNS. Also 1000s of long-finned bannerfish plus kingfish, trevally, silver sweep, bream and mouch, much more. So many fish, one of the best dives in many years. Then back to the mooring. Also saw two smaller turtles. Brilliant dive. My drysuit only leaked a little. Visibility fair.
26 June 2022 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
After yesterday's aborted boat dive (starboard engine cable problem), decided to see if members were interested in a shore dive. Ended up with 14 members. 9 of us went to IR1 and rest did other. Outgoing tide but little current. Warm water above 8 m but cooler 18.2C below. Viz varied from 5 to over 10 m, depending on where you were. Drysuit did not leak! Repairs successful, one was a previous repair. Went via 15 m Reef, then north side of IR1, saw a pineapplefish here. Then around and some saw a blue devilfish on SE side of IR1. Then back to shore. Saw some nudibranchs, as per last dive here, lots of sand moved, at least 500 mm in shallower areas. Very nice dive. Visibility fair.
29 June 2022 - Barrens Hut¬†
Westerly winds and little swell. Moderate current from the north. No whales seen close, but a tail flapper off Marley Point. Anchor came off top of reef to flat section S of Split. Had to move it twice, once with Paul's help. Used a bit of air. Then went to S deeper and on the way we saw hundreds of eagle rays, high up and heading from NW to SE. Fantastic sight. Then saw a donut nembrotha in front of Tunnel, then through Tunnel to the Cave. Back via the normal way, a few bastard trumpeters, red morwongs and old wives in normal spot. Back to anchor and then around there for a while. A really great dive. Visibility excellent.