First dive from MakCat since 3 December 2022 as starboard engine was RS and needed rebuilding, took that long to get fixed. All went well. Very windy day forecast for later, so decided to do a short deep dive to get back before wind came up too much. First dive with new Garmin Descent G1 Solar computer/watch, worked well. Fin came off as I descended!! OSTC died last week. Anchored on rocks off NW side. Went around anti-clockwise, viz 15 m. Not a lot of fish, but plenty of wobbegong sharks. My torch did not work, no batteries in it! At the end of dive went to move the anchor a bit as it had moved, the anchor took off and I had to put it in a spot down wind. Used a lot of air. Visibility very good.
12 July 2023 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Went in off W point, some wave action and had to time it right, got hit by a wave just after I got in but all okay. Headed NW and then along 15M Reef. Then clockwise around the Isolated Reefs. Visibility out here varied, from 7 to 12 m. Back shallow it was over 15 m. Lots of yellowtail on IR, near the end a large boarfish. On the northern side Erick found a blue devilfish. Back normal way. More yellowtail, then to OHR where the Parramatta nudibranch is still there, much bigger. Also heaps of fine-lined tambjas., also bigger. Back to shore, found the red/orange painted anglerfish, still on same rock. A very good dive. Visibility good overall.
15 July 2023 - Marley Point
Club boat dive, only my boat. Little wind and small swell, ran full speed down to site. Saw dolphins and two seals on the way, also whales after the dive, breaching. Anchored normal spot. Had ear problem near bottom and too four minutes to get the last few metres to the bottom. Went E and then back shallower. Then W, thru cave and back past anchor and then back. Not a great deal of fishlife, some moray eels, Port Jackon sharks, a large bullray and one wobbegong. Also a Moorish idol near anchor. Nice easy dive, but not exciting. Visibility very good.
16 July 2023 - Henry Head
Took boat out again as too many divers yesterday. Wind from SE over 10 knots and got stronger. Just after high tide, slight outgoing current. Viz almost 20 m. Anchored in 13 m, much shallower than normal. Went S and then back past anchor and back. Some yellowtail, a few cuttlefish and moray eels (big and tiny). Some nice leatherjackets, mosaic and black reef mostly. A few nudibranchs, no sea dragons or sea spiders. Nice dive. Visibility very good.
18 July 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Went off W point to Deep Wall. Very clear, 15 m at least. Mandy found a big belly sea horse here. Also some nudibranchs. Then back normal way, no pineapplefish and the green nudibranch gone from the northern end of the wall near the wheel. An upsidedown pipefish here and another one at SHC. Back up the Sand Gutter and dozens of small fine-lined tambja (FLT) on the Concrete Block. Also a spiny gurnard, another one later. More nudibranchs, including red-lined flabellinas. Back via OHR and the Parramatta nudi is still there as well as dozens of FLT. I could not find the red painted anglerfish but Mandy found it after I left. No PPH or RIF. A very good dive. Visibility good to very good.
22 July 2023 - Shiprock
Too windy and rough to take boat out or dive anywhere open to the ocean. Went in 10 minutes before high, drifted for 30 minutes and then back. Viz only 4-5 m and cold 16C. Not much out on sand and near bommies. The plaque is unreadable now, no point in cleaning as engraving is not visible really. Went to neat ET's wharf. Back along wall, lots of fish, leatherjackets of many species, plenty of small yellowtail, bream and snapper. I saw 10 pineapplefish, but Donna said 12. Lots of small cuttlefish, very few nudibranchs, I only saw one. Easy but cold dive, but not exciting. Drysuit still leaking, cannot find the leak at all. Visibility fair.
27 July 2023 - Middle Ground
Club boat dive. Yesterday a big swell and long period came up, was worried that today it might still be around. There was still a largish swell, but no surge at all. Think I found the main leak in my drysuit at last. Still a little water, but small amount. Dirty on the way down but bottom was much cleaner than I expected, 7-8 m. Anchored on eastern rocks, took me a while to figure out where we were as I expected to be near NW. Went to main reef, then N a bit, no donut nembrothas. Saw quite a few wobbegong sharks and a spiny gurnard. Then went back along the crack to the SE corner and then back near to where we started and across to anchor. Lots of yellowtail in a few spots. Much better dive than I imagined. Visibility fair.
28 July 2023 - Isolated Reef 1
Went in off W point but a wave caught Mandy and she lost a fin. Could not find it, so she dived with only one. Went down near the Pool and then went to the start of IR2. Did not find the small red painted anglerfish on the way out but Mandy found it on the way back. The Parramatta nudi has disappeared and less fine-lined tambjas than before. No RIF or PPH. Quite a few PJs. A large flounder, a medium kingfish by itself. A nice dive. Visibility varied, mostly fair.
29 July 2023 - Whale Watching Platform
Anchored first go. Calm seas and viz 8-10 m. Mostly 18.0C but one spot of 17.0C. Went S first and then back to anchor. Found two blue devilfish here. Then N. A large green turtle under a ledge but took off quickly. Lots of PJs and horned sharks. Black reef leatherjackets, plenty of one-spot pullers and a few nudibranchs. Came back following the wall but missed anchor and ended up W and then S of it. Back to wall, not where we were at the start of dive, headed N and ended up surfacing to find the boat as running out of time for others to enter water. We were only 15 m or so from the boat. Back down and to anchor line and up. Nice dive. Visibility fair.
1 August 2023 - The Monuments to Inscription Point
Outgoing tide so started next to the whales. Viz 3-4 metres and cold 17C. Went W for about 12 minutes and then with tide, very strong. Saw a big belly sea horse and PPH in the first bit. Then some nudibranchs, six sea dragons and a small black painted anglerfish. Quite a few PJs, plenty of silver sweep and the usual fish. Current stopped near exit. Nice dive. Visibility poor.
5 August 2023 - Bare Island Not So Deep Wall
Went in off W point. Fairly clean deeper (7-8 m) but only 5-7 m shallower. Quite a few PJs and small cuttlefish. Lots of fine-lined tambjas but no Parramatta. The upsidedown pipefish was near SHC as usual. Saw a few small moray eels, a small liofish and some cuttlefish. Found two PPH on rock near First Cave, a small RIF near OHR and the small orange/red painted anglerfish in normal spot. Plenty of other usual fish. Nice dive. Visibility poor.
9 August 2023 - The Split
Club boat dive. What a contrast to last Wednesday, flat seas, no wind, sunny and even better, great visibility. Went to Barrens Hut/The Split, but really only did The Split section. At least 15-18 metres viz for most of the site, warm 17-18C. However, some surge and a little sand in the water. Went N up The Split then back to anchor near S end of The Split. A big change since I was last there in 2022, the purple ascidians have mostly disappeared. These are what the donut nembrothas feed on. We did see two, but they were moving across the sandy topped rock where I have mostly found them. Heard whales all through the dive with a baby very loud towards the end. A few PJs, some seapike, a few other nudibranchs. The stainless steel fuel tank is now almost totally exposed and can easily swim thru above it. A great dive. Visibility very good.
Next four dives at Jervis Bay.
12 August 2023 - The Crossroads
Club trip to Jervis Bay. Dropped in at the northern end and did a drift dive to the south. Water 12-15 metres viz and 17C. Very shear wall, in places over 10 m high. Hit 40 metres, but deeper further east. Many small ledges, some PJs, a lot of yellowtail at one spot. Started back a bit shallower and then headed SW to get to 25 metres which is the top of the reef. Then a bluewater ascent and waited for the boat to collect us. Noting really special, but a nice dive. Drysuit leaked again, despite very little on Wednesday. Visibility good.
12 August 2023 - Cathedral Cave
Anchored in about 30 metres, went down and cut acroos to the reef before bottom. Then east to cave entrance. Went into the cave, very clean, more than 20 metres inside. Went right to the back and then to the left to the end. Some sharks up high. Then back to the entrance, rest of the group passed us here. My camera would not take a photo for some reason (later showed not properly in housing) so used my GoPro. Then back towards anchor and then north near sand edge. Some yellowtail, one-spot pullers. Back to anchor and a nice swim-through here. Then up. Good dive. Visibility good, but very good in cave.
13 August 2023 - The Arch
My 500th dive deeper than 40 metres. Very rough seas but little wind. However, picked up while underwater and stronger and larger, hard to get back on the boat. Water 12 metres viz and 17-8C. Anchored south of The Arch, had to drop over wall and head north to find it. Then back past anchor to south and back again. A few PJs, but not much else. When I got to the anchor, I saw that the start of the rope was caught in a hole and would never come out. Bram pulled on the rope and I used my torch to bash it down, this worked and I got it out. Used a lot of air! Then around anchor and up. Very hard to stay at deco stop. A nice dive, but quite stressful. Visibility good.
13 August 2023 - North Bowen Island Drift
Went over to Bowen Island and after morning tea, did a drift from Little Egypt to The Wall. The water was millpond here. Visibility similar to last dive but cooler at 17C. Saw two large bullrays, one with no tail. Also a sea dragon, many male and female king wrasse. About halfway we saw a huge green turtle under a rock. First I have ever seen this far south. Ended up back at The Wall and safety stop on the top. Really nice dive. Visibility good.
Next dives in Anilao, Philippines.
22 August 2023 - Bubble Point
This spot is a short distance SW from first one. A sandy bottom which slopes to NW and E. Anchored in 5 m. Went NW and then E and SE, gradually got to 24 m after 12 mins. Lots of small rocks. Came across a large rock/coral with two huge anglerfish on it, one with orange spots on it. Also there was a crocodilefish and heaps of nudibranchs on it. Started working way shallower to W and then N. Found a few Shaun the Sheep nudibranchs on the green leaves. A nice eel, small cuttlefish, heaps more different shrimps and shrimps. An anemone with clownfish with very black colour. Guarding eggs on a piece of coral. Some tiny fish with bright pink eyes. Then back to N and safety stop as we went to boat. Another very good dive. Visibility fair.
22 August 2023 - Secret Bay
No camera as battery dead, despite charging it last week. Located around the other side of the peninsula from Buceo Anilao. Anchored in 9 m on sandy bottom. Slopes to shear wall from 22 to 30 m. We went E to the bubbles that give the site its name, from volcanic action. Water also coming out hot. Then to the wall and N, very slight current against us. Some overhangs and small gorgonias and lots sea whips, a nice banded sea snake here. Lots of nudibranchs, a yellow spotted boxfish, many shrimps including new species. Some crabs too. Wall runs N and then sort of ends after maybe 50 m. From here worked out why shallower and then back S on sandy slope/top. Some rocks and rocky/coral outcrops. Back to boat and did safety stop on the sand. Very nice dive, visibility fair.
23 August 2023 - Sun View
Located 6 mins NNW from resort. Sandy slope to W that goes to 30+m. We went W and then S going at 22 m and dropping to 24 m. Lots of small rocks with coral and growth, and a few larger rocks. Sea whips with gobies and shrimp, a few different species. Also soft corals, some with soft coral crabs. Some mantis shrimps, one in the open. At depth a large light pink gorgonia. It had three tiny pygmy sea horses on it. Very hard to see, impossible without a torch. Hard to get a photo of these ones as hiding behind parts of the gorgonia. After this headed N and gradually came back shallowed over the next 25 mins. Last bit under the boat, lots of nudibranchs here. A really good dive. Visibility good, 12-15 m.
23 August 2023 - Twin Rocks
Original plan was to dive a site near the previous one, but too much current. So went closer to resort into a bay. Two bommies coming up from 12 m to near surface. Moored to S of them. Went down and NW fairly quickly to 18 m. Then dropped to 21 m and later 23 m. Bottom again sandy but less rocks, only bits of coral mostly. More nudibranchs, seawhip gobies and shrimp, mantis shrimps, octopus and more. Another large light pink gorgonia, this time with two larger pygmy sea horses, one of which I found. Got good photos of these ones! Also saw some acoel flatworms on a blue sea star. Never seen them before. From gorgonia gradually ascended to 15 m and then eventually to 5 m. Went past the bommies. A juvenile ribbon eel near boat but my camera battery dead. Another very good dive. Visibility good.
24 August 2023 - Kirbys Rock
Located at N end of Caban Island about 20 mins run W across strait. Was 13-15 knots SW when we left but calm here and also after dive. Site is a bommie that comes up from 41 m to above water and another bommie to 18 m. Only 30 or so m off the island. Anchored on the top. Went down SW side and there was a largish white anglerfish. Also there when we came back up. Went down to 24 m and then over to the other bommie. Around it, hit 26 m. Then back to the main bommie and anti-clockwise around it. Stayed mostly under 25 m for 25 mins and then started a gradual ascent as we worked our way up the bommie. Whole area is covered in the small yellow sea cucumbers that we saw in Ticao in 2020. Thousands of featherstars as well, very colourful wall. Lots of nudibranchs, eels of many species, shrimps (anemone, gorgonia, featherstar) and crabs on coral. Around the other side a yellow gorgonia with two very small pygmy sea horses. Came back clockwise and then anti-clockwise again to the safety stop area. A great dive. Visibility very good.
24 August 2023 - Olympic Point
Located on Marikaban Island to the south of the previous dive and E of the Olympic Point Resort. Bottom at anchor is 5 m and then slopes to the N to 9 m and then a steeper slope to 14 m and slight slope to over 20 m. Bottom is sand with small rocks and the occasional larger rock/coral outcrop. Rubble ends at 20 m or so. Went N to deeper water and then W for a while, zig-zagging as we went. Then back to E and then S back to the boat. A juvenile ribbon eel near boat and another a little deeper. More eels, nudis, shrimp and crabs. A small anemone with two tiny white pipefish, fantastic.! Some lionfish, shrimp in anemones and on featherstars. A very small orange hairy anglerfish which kept swimming around, hard to photograph. Another very good dive. Visibility very good.
25 August 2023 - Dari (Daryls) Laut
Located on the W side of Coban Island, went via the small channel between it and Maca Island. Took about 20 mins. Anchored in 4 metres only 20 metres off the island. Bottom drops from 7 m to 14 m quite quickly and then gentle slope to at least 30 m. There is a wreck here, main part is a huge box like structure, only the frame left. Apparently was a floating casino set on fire for insurance. The top is in about 12 metres and the bottom in 25 m. There is also another piece of wreck, looks like a section of hull at a bow, perhaps it was part of the main wreck. We went along the dropoff, two electric clams. Then to 29 m to get photos of the wreck. Then worked our way back. Batfish on deep corner, wreck is very colourful with lots of growth. Many nudibanchs, a small crocodilefish, some anemones and clownfish. Went to shallow part of wreck and then to top and back to the top deeper and back again. Then to reef wall and up. Very good dive. Visibility very good.
25 August 2023 - Agahuta
Located east of Olympic Point Resort and around the corner. Anchored in 5 metres. The sandy top drops in a slope to ? metres. We went to 24. Bottom sandy with old dead coral rocks and boulders and some large bits. Lots of featherstars of all colours. Went N to deeper area then W and then back E and back to boat. Saw two huge anglerfish, about 25 metres apart. Thousands of the small blue triggerfish, finally got a photo. Pufferfish, moray eels, a juvenile ribbon eel, nudibranchs, shrimp, anemones with clownfish, including Nemo. Viz was varied, sand floating and also some small thermoclines. Great dive due to the anglerfish. Overall viz was good.
26 August 2023 - Aphols Point
Very windy, 15-17 kts, so went across strait to S to this spot on Marikaban Island. Possibly due to a typhoon off northern Philippines. A bit more protected here but still windy and bumpy. A couple of bommies and slopes to N to 25+m. Went N and then W into a slight current. Bottom mostly sand with some coral rocks and some larger boulders. Lots of barrel sponges, heaps of featherstars and some small sea whips. Saw a smallish white anglerfish on the way deeper and a few lionfish. Went till we saw s smallish gorgonia. This had a tiny pygmy sea horse on it, but I could not get a decent photo as it kept hiding. Back E getting shallower, saw a banded sea snakke, a few lionfish, a juvenile sweetlips, a spotted stingray, some cowfish and clownfish. Then some starfish shrimps and featherstar shrimps. Ended up near the bommies for safety stop. Another excellent dive. Visibility very good.
26 August 2023 - Mainit Corner
When we surfaced from previous dive it was much windier and rougher, so resort said we had to come back across strait and dive near resort but around the corner. This was to W of second dive of the trip. At least 12 dive boats here, but I only saw one diver underwater. The site is a bommie that breaks the surface and drops to over 30 m. We stayed around 9 metres for 10 mins and then N and dropped to 20 m over the next five mins. Saw lots of nudibranchs, especially nembrothas. More lionfish, two more juvenile sweetlips, a small yellow spotted boxfish, a few cowfish, anemones and clownfish. Starfish and featherstar shrimps. A really good dive. Visibility good.
29 August 2023 - Buceo Anilao
First dive since Saturday due to Super Typhoon Goring off N Philippines causing very strong winds and rough seas. Boats still not allowed out, so shore dive in front of the resort. Slope from 4 m down to 30+ metres, sandy bottom with small rocks all over the place. Also the moorings for the dive boats. Went to 28 m to NW and then S and then back to N shallower. Saw three anglerfish, all small/medium sized. One white, one orange, one tan. Some nudibranchs, a sea moth, a few lionfish, shrimp of various species, gobies, octopus, crabs, orangutan crab. Very good dive. Visibility very good.
29 August 2023 - Buceo Anilao
This time went to 22 m and then to the N into a slight current. Some more nudibranchs, shrimp, mantis shrimp, lionfish and clownfish in anemones. The clownfish were all very aggressive, attacking me as I tried (unsuccessfully) to photograph them. Went back up to 10 m and came back at that depth. Not as good a dive as the first one. Visibility good.
Next dives are at Sabang (Puerto Galera)
1 September 2023 - Shark Cave
First dive at Puerto Galera. Raining but not too windy. Went to the E of Sabang to point and dive off the eastern side. Live drop into the water. Dropped to 18 m and then gradually headed N to the cave. Bottom sandy with coral bits. A few nudibranchs and small gorgonias and some featherstars. At the cave, a few larger gorgonias and a lot of colour. Nothing in the cave really, but colourful. A small overhang really. Then headed NE a bit deeper to a large bommie with a smaller one. Did a clockwise circle around it, very colourful on top and on N side. S side is shear wall. Then back to SE and gradually got shallower just staying out of deco (we were on air). Ended up in 10 m and then did safety stop in blue water with guide sending up SMB. Nice dive. Visibility excellent, but less above 16 m.
1 September 2023 - Hole in the Wall
This dive is off the same headland, but to the NE. We were actually supposed to dive The Canyons, but our guide could not find, although we may have done the end bit. We descended to 7 m and then to 16 m. Here there were thousands of jacks, swirling all around us. There was a reasonable current from the E and we drifted with it. At times I stopped to take a photo and my heart rate went from 60 to 77 bpm. Had the jacks for a long time and then again later. We came across the Hole in the Wall which was supposed to be part of the dive anyway. Some nudibranchs, anemones and clownfish, featherstars and sea whips. Ended up in 6 m just off the point. Visibility good.
2 September 2023 - The Canyons
Tried again to dive here but big problems. Very strong current to 24 metres which was also very dirty. Below that it was 30 m viz, but!!! John had a free flow after hitting the bottom at 15 m. He lost most of his air. I did not see him for 4 mins as all I could see was dive guide. He came to me and showed he had only 50 bar and we were at 25 m or so by then. Started to ascend. Told Jay and he gave John his long reg. We ascended, a bit too quick as there was an updraft. Ended up at 5 m at 8 mins and did 3 min safety stop before ascending. I took over giving John air before Jay sent up SMB. We had travelled a huge distance. A total crap dive with huge air consumption. Visibility very poor.
2 September 2023 - Hole in the Wall
We checked John's reg and found no problems. We think it must have been the current that caused the ocky to free flow. We kept watch on him the whole dive, a tiny dribble from ocky when he took breath. Next dive I turned the ocky mouth piece down and it did not do it. This dive is in the bay opposite all the dive resorts. Dropped in and went NW against slight current. Bottom sandy with lots of small coral bits and a few larger. Also some moorings and where we turned, two aluminium boats, about 7-8m long and upsidedown. Saw quite a few nudibranchs, a few mantis shrimps, a few moray eels and many anemones and clownfish. Also a large school of medium sized silver fish. Went back SE and ended up in 6 m and did safety stop there. Visibility good.
2 September 2023 - Dungon Wall
This dive is the small headland west of the lighthouse headland. Started to the E of it and drifted in slight current to the W. A steep slope to 40 (?) m but we went to 20 and stayed at this level. Bottom sand and larger coral sections. After 10 mins came to the wall, shear from shallow to over 40 m. Dropped to 24 m and stayed that depth for the next 15 mins when the wall ended, then shallow ascent to 15 m and then again to 6 m. Before the wall there was a large gorgonia. I found two tiny pygmy sea horses! Got a few reasonable photographs. Lots of nudibranchs, a large school of fish off wall, a smaller one of small chevron barracuda shallow. Lots of anemones and clownfish, some moray eels, including one with a "companion" fish, never seen this before, it followed the eel wherever it went. One anemone had bright red tips and beautiful clownfish. A really good dive. Visibility very good.
3 September 2023 - Sinandigan Wall
No wind and flat seas! Site is to the south of lighthouse headland and goes around the next headland. Started on the SW side of the headland and went N. Entered the water in 5 m and went ENE to about 24 m and then turned more NE or N and dropped to 30 m. Slight current. Bottom is sand and almost totally covered in small rocks. Some growth on them. After a few mins ascended a little to 26 m and at 15 mins came to the wall, this went for about 50 m. Had some nice small gorgonias and lots of featherstars. Also plenty of the small yellow sea cucumbers. Dropped to 28 m for three mins then started a gradual ascent to safety stop, heading back a little more N or NNE. Some larger coral outcrops here. Saw a few nudibranchs, a moray eel, a porcelain crab, a lot of long-finned bannerfish, many anemones and clownfish, a few pufferfish, one very large. A very nice dive, if somewhat unspectacular. Visibility excellent.
3 September 2023 - MC Alma Jane
This wreck is NW from the dive shop. Sits in 30 m on sand. A small coastal freighter, twin props (removed), lying E-W. Has a mooring on the stern. Dropped to stern and over the back. Dozens of batfish here, some followed us around. Went through the space in front of the rudder to the N. Beautiful colours. Went to bow and then off to get a photo. Back along port side where the ship's hull has collapsed inwards. Then to inside bow and back to stern. Some large sweetlips at stern and a large octopus. Then swam SE above sand till we hit the reef at 27 m. Slow ascent eventually to six m. Some nudibranchs, a few moray eels, Moorish idols, long-finned bannerfish, anemones and clownfish. Nice easy dive. Visibility fair to good.
4 September 2023 - Boulders
My 4700th dive! This is located 4 km from the resort and well south-west from the lighthouse headland. Dropped into 4 m and went S down a steepish slope to 26 and then to 30 m. Some large boulders here and a large gorgonia. I found two pygmy sea horses on it and Jay another one. Not great photos though. Then worked our way back to 24 m where more large boulders. Some nudibranchs, a shrimp on a seastar, gobies on sea whips, featherstars everywhere. A tiny colourful sea cucumber like one we saw yesterday. Plenty of small gorgonias too. A large boulder had an overhang and there was a plaque to someone there with beer bottles. Then back shallow and more boulders. Very nice dive. Visibility excellent.
4 September 2023 - Kilima
This spot is north of Sinandigan Wall and where we ended that dive yesterday. As I went in my GoPro came off and dropped. I saw it and went after it but Ted got there first. This was at 23 m! Then went E to 29-30 m and headed N. Bottom was gravel and we were looking for thresher sharks. Saw two, or one twice. Got a poor photo of the second one. John saw four humpheaded wrasse but I did not. Also some tunas. Then headed shallower after 17 mins to 13 m, then gradually to five m. Only a few nudibranchs, some of the yellow sea cucumbers, some Moorish idols. Near the end a large banded sea snake on the bottom, got good photos. Excellent dive. Visibility good.
5 September 2023 - The Canyons
Tried again for the third time. Less current than the previous two, about 45 mins after low tide. Drifted straight into the first canyon. It is 24 m on top and 26 on the bottom. After a few mins there we went over ridge at 21 m to the next one at 27 m. Spent 8 mins here. Then over ridge at 24 mins into the next one at 29 m. Huge numbers of jacks here, swirling all over the place. Stayed here 6 mins and then around the next ridge to the huge Admiralty anchor. Very old. Spent a few mins here and then drifted off in current to E and ascended to safety stop over 5 mins. Ended up about 600 m away. Excellent dive, excellent visibility.
5 September 2023 - Kilima
A repeat of yesterday's second dive. However, water was one to two degrees warmer, no thresher sharks or humpheaded wrecks. Went N at 30 m for about 10 mins and then shallower for another 5 mins. Then headed SW back into the bay and shallows. Lots of anemones and clownfish, some nudibranchs. All the usual suspects. Ended up in 6 m for safety stop. Visibility good.
5 September 2023 - Monkey Wreck/Ernies Cave
Dropped into 16 m and then headed E into slight current getting deeper to the wreck at 24 m. A small trader about 10-12 m long, no superstructure. Then E again across sandy/coral rubble bottom. Some garden eels here, no photos of course. Then to the reef. Came up to 21 m on the sand and then back to 23-24 m on the reef. Very nice coral, with featherstars, heaps of gorgonias, some large, no pygmies though. A really big white with yellow skirt nudibranch and more other species. Anemones and clownfish, all the usual suspects. At 37 mins we turned around and went up to 16 m and headed back W. Came to Ernies Cave, very low overhangs. Then W getting shallower as we went. Ended up in 6 m on some small coral outcrops. Very nice dive. Visibility very good.
6 September 2023 -
Went in at Sabang Point which is the nearest point to the E. Current was supposed to go W but was going E. I had ear trouble descending and took ages to get down. Then okay. Current reasonably strong so high air usage when staying still and higher heart rate than normal. Went at 22 m over coral rubble/sand bottom. Lots of garden eels. Above there were the fish that feed on the plankton and open their mouths real wide. Came to the Monkey Beach wreck but did not really stop. Came back up a bit before that to 19 m and then back to 23 m till almost 30 mins. A mantis shrimp out hunting, some small eels, a few nudibranchs. Lots of colour and tropical fish. From here ascending to 10 m with one drop to 14 for a few mins. Then up to reef top. Nothing really special. Visibility good.
6 September 2023 - The Atoll
This was at lighthouse head and started off the NE tip. The Atoll was the bommie we went to on second part of the first dive over here. This time we came from the N till we reached it after 9 mins. Went around it clockwise, would have liked to stay longer. So much colour on the bommie, but we didn't see any nudibranchs unlike last dive. At 14 mins headed across to the main reef and stayed at 24 m for next 10 mins and then up in steps to 18 m. Lots of nudibranchs, some very interesting and new. A nice flatworm too. The gradual ascent to 8 m and then safety stop. Also sea whip gobies, two large octopus, lots of colourful fish and reef very nice. Good dive. Visibility very good.
7 September 2023 - MV Alma Jane
Current from E on top and stopped for ages just down for unknown reason, I wanted to get down while my ear was okay. Finally on bottom at 3.5 mins. Went around stern deck, a few sweetlips here and dozen or more large batfish. Went over starboard side and the to bow and back to the break. A nice nudi on top here. At 21 mins we left and went to reef. Before that a small cuttlefish next to wreck. It was a 12 min swim to the reef to SW. An orangutan crab, nudibranchs, some porcelain crabs, a sea spider on an anemone and some nudibranchs. On the way shallow came across more moorings and an upsidedown front end loader scoop or similar. Nice dive. Visibility very good.
7 September 2023 - Sabang Bay
This spot is NNW of dive shop. Strong current from E, dropped to 17 m and then to 23m. After 8 mins back to 20 m and very slowly rise to 16 m over next 35 mins. Lots of coral pieces on the bottom. A white Rhinopios, a small banded sea snake, two orangutan crabs, some porcelain crabs in anemone, mantis shrimp in open, heaps of nudibranchs, a turtle with very scratched shell and a banded sea snake. Lots of moorings and other junk, some coral outcrops. Ended up in 6 m for safety stop. Very good dive. Visibility good.
7 September 2023 - Sabang Bay Wrecks
This is straight out in front of the shop. Dropped down into 16 m and then to 19 m where first a wrecked fibreglass "tinny". Next a 10 m yacht on port side. Can go inside. On the side was a giant black anglerfish. Quite a few fish around it. Saw more orangutan crabs, a few nudibranchs. Also a lionfish, a small darting fish, cannot remember its name. Towards the end a large turtle with three remoras on its shell, very clean! A very good dive. Visibility good.
8 September 2023 - Ernies Cave
Dropped in shallow and headed deeper and W in current. Didn't actually visit the cave this dive. Got to 24 m after 8 mins and current was running the opposite direction, so we turned and headed E. Got deeper to 28 m over next few mins and then back up a little. Bottom is sand with some coral boulders. Lots of featherstars, at least three very large gorgonias but no pygmy sea horses. At the start a large coral rock with seven lionfish under it. A huge number of nudibranchs, many species. A large pufferfish, a large batfish, a moray eel, many anemones and clownfish. Plenty of tropicals, including flutemouths, butterflyfish and more. An excellent dive. Visibility very good but was excellent where we turned.
8 September 2023 - Sabang Point
Dropped in at the point and headed E even though little current till very end in shallows. Went to 25 m and then up to 22 and then 20 till 45 mins. Mostly 30 C except for some small spots near end. Again, heaps of nudibranchs, two egg cowries, very colourful, especially the first one. A tiny white pipefish in an anemone but I could not photograph it. A huge porqupinefish and a huge pufferfish. A really colourful large flatworm, lots of tropicals again and a turtle right at the end. An excellent dive. Visibility very good.
9 September 2023 - West Escarceo
Went in off stairs in bay and dropped from 9 to 18 m and then 24 m. Drifted towards W. Not a great deal of nudibranchs. One featherstar shrimp, one moray eel, orangutan crab (John found it). Bottom sand and coral pieces and the occasional little coral rock. A school of small silver fish like yellowtail. Not the greatest dive. Visibility very good.
9 September 2023 - Lalaguna Point
This is the W most point of Sabang Bay. Went in N of the point and from 9 to 15 m. Headed NW getting to 19 m. Into a slight current over a sand and coral pieces bottom. A few small outcrops. Ended up at a huge memorial for a dead Korean diver, a concrete beer bottle with plaque. Turned around here and went a little shallower to the SE. At 50 mins went S into shallows and a wall that went almost to the surface, this was off the last resort in the bay. Another uninspiriing dive. Visibility good.
9 September 2023 - Sabang Point
Started off the NW side of point this time. Drifted to W at 24 to 27 m. A large turtle with remoras deeper. Turned at 18 mins and went shallower to 22 m and started to E getting gradually shallower. Some nudibranchs between 15 and 18 m, an octopus, a nice lionfish, plenty of tropical species. Up high there were lots of schooling fish, not sure what species. Some were large. Near the end another turtle swam past and then settled on the bottom. Another average dive except for the turtles. Visibility good.
10 September 2023 - Dry Dock
This is a smallish dry dock that has been scuttled off Scandi Dive Resort in the bay to the west. It is a series of box compartments joined in the middle by girders. Dropped down to 30 m and drifted onto the wreck. It sits on a slight slope with the shallowest section 25 m. Worked our way up. Some nice growth, including a large gorgonia. From here at 10 mins we headed S to the shallower area, took ages, 12 mins at least. Then started a gradual ascent to 12 m and stayed there for 25 mins. First it was just sand and coral pieces on bottom but then a few larger bits. Ended up in reef and at the end, a nice wall. Some shrimp, nudibranchs, dancing shrimp. Came across two boxes of beer bottles that were tied into the box and now a reef. Some gobies inside them. At the wall a small cave with four flutemouths and two tiger pipefish. A good dive. Visibility good.
10 September 2023 - Kilima Drift
Went back here again but this time started further south and went shallower. Went to 23 to 26 m and drifted E and then N. We really flew, current was strong. A few nudibranchs, shrimps, moray eel and lots of the silver fish that eat plankton. Also some sea whip gobies, two porcelain crabs on anemone. A good dive. Visibility only fair for most of the dive but good out of the current and shallow.
11 September 2023 - Montani
This is located in the channel to the west of Sabang. We entered towards the south and drifted N under a very slight current. Sandy bottom at first and deeper some coral pieces. A water pipe running parallel to the shore with a few offshoots. Some larger coral rocks and at least one tree stump. Lots of nudibranchs, some flatworms, side-head slugs as well. A large cowfish with long tail, dancing shrimp on anemone, a few clownfish. Other group saw a flamboyant cuttlefish! A very good easy 81 minute dive. Visibility very good.
11 September 2023 - Hole in the Wall Drift
Went in a fair way west of the point and drifted in a reasonable current E. However this died off as we got closer to the point. Drifted at 22 to 24 m for 33 mins and then up to 13 m. Arrived at the HITW at 45 mins. Through it and spent the rest of the dive there. Lots and lots of nudibranchs and flatworms, a few moray eels, an octopus and more. An excellent dive. Visibility good.
Back home in Sydney
16 September 2023 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive. Reasonably flat seas but an 11 second period so a bit of surge even at 27 m. Anchored on W side. Forgot weights at first, so had to get them and try to go down again. Headed anti-clockwise around the reef. Kelly found two upsidedown pipefish on the S wall. There were four fat donut nembrothas on low rocks on S side. Kelly also found a pygmy pipehorse, a sea spider and a spindle cowrie. There were four more donuts in front of the cave. Some yellowtail and a few bastard trumpeters near and in cave. A nice dive. Visibility fair.
17 September 2023 - Henry Head
Flat seas and about high tide. Water temp 18C but very hot day, 26C at start but 30C by the time we finished. Anchored a bit shallower than normal, had to move anchor from top to about 3 m deeper. Then went W to sand and then S. A slight current still coming in. Went this way for 20 mins, then back past anchor and back to anchor. Lots of nudibranchs, no PPH or sea dragons or sea spiders. A large PJ, many yellowtail and Kyle saw some kingfish. A few moray eels, including two large ones out in the open. A good dive. Visibility fair.
27 September 2023 - Bare Island Right
First dive here since 5 August. A bit of surge, especially above 10 m. Went slowly to SHC and then to start of IR1 and back. Lots of nudibranchs. Best ones were opera house, pink okenia and heaps of fine-lined tambja on Sea Tulip Rocks. A small bullray without tail at 44 gallon drum, quite a few seapike near main cave. Viz was strange, probably 10 m but lots of particulates meant really less than that. Temp was 19C till 52 mins when dropped to 18C. No RIF or PPH but a flounder, the normal blue groper and some nice wrasse. A nice, relaxing dive. Visibility fair.
28 September 2023 - Inscription Point
Well, I stuffed up but luckily no lasting problem. Entered the water and descended and checked camera, flooded! Took to shore and washed it in the rainwater, still seems to work. O-ring hanging out big time. Harry was there and he took up to my car. Still appears to work hours later, go to love TG-5s. Went back and then dived normal way. Very surgy and quite dirty near sand, temp mostly 19C but a couple of 18C near the end. About five sea dragons, one BIA, one tiny orange painted anglerfish, three red wide-bodied pipefish, at least 8 PPH and three sea big belly horses. Andrew saw five sea horses, a new one he named Michael!! Not named after me though. Quite uncomfortable due to the surge, but a nice dive anyway. Visibility poor.
30 September 2023 - Bypass Reef
Club boat dive. Was supposed to be to Red Flag and Magic Point but once outside there was a much larger swell running than the forecast showed. Some waves were 3 m and the period was 13 secs compared to the 10 secs it was supposed to be. Decided to do Bypass Reef. Knew there was a current but was a bit stronger than I thought. However, easy to get down. Anchored a bit deeper and to E than normal so went E over the small wall to the sand. Then N and then back S. Then W a little and back to anchor. Very surgy on the bottom, lots of sand being circulated. A PJ, some yellowtail and that's about it. Not a great dive. Visibility poor.
Click here to see details of dives including profiles.