My Recent Dives - January & February 2014
Posted by Michael on 01 January 2014 00:00
5 January 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
First dive for the year. A bit more sea running than I expected. Kelly and I both got bowled over before we could get in the water. No damage though apart from losing 20 bar. Surgy at first and then on Deep Wall the current was running to W rather than NW. Kelly found a RIF and a PPH here. Another PPH further on. Caroline found a Bare Island anglerfish before where anchor used to be. No sea horses where we saw last few dives. More PPH seen later. Really good dive. Visibility fair, but poor in spots.

8 January 2014 - Shiprock
Club boat dive cancelled due to large seas and strong S winds. Found the yellow anglerfish near start straight away. Very cute. Then did normal dive, but as it was low tide, we did not go as far as normal. Could not find the black anglerfish but Kim and Nicolas found another black and a yellow one on sand near a bommie. A small kingfish, all the normal fish, 5 pineapplefish, not many nudibranchs. Very nice easy dive. Visibility poor.

9�January 2014 - Bare Island Left
Club night dive. Seas were very calm but a lot of surge. Went SE off S corner and then S for 10 mins. Back to shore. Nothing real special seen apart from two spiders and a cuttlefish. Nicolas had a UV light which made some shells interesting. Visibility fair.

12 January 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Outgoing tide but not too strong. Water over 20C shallow but 18.5C deeper. Did normal dive. Kelly found 4 PPH, I found a RIF, there were 2 big belly sea horses near where the pregnant one was before Xmas, I think one was this one. A few dwarf firefish, a huge flathead, a tiny red sea start (10mm), a glass shrimp. Visibility good deep, but poor shallow.�

15 January 2014 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. Fixed the leak in both hulls, no water at all in port and tiny bit in starboard. Flat seas, but a little swell from east. Very slight current from N, greenish water. Dozens of dolpins before the dive. Remarkable clean on the bottom, at least 10 m for most of the dive. Colder at 18.2C though. Kelly found another upsidedown pipefish, this time at N end of Split. Lots of bastard trumpeters, some seapike, leatherjackets and more. First boat dive for 4 weeks, so good to be out. Visibility good.

16 January 2014 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Club night dive, 13 attending. Went from W point to NW and then along 15 M Reef. Then to S side of IR1 and then IR2. At the end, some saw a RIF and a sea horse. Then around and bacl on N side. Funnily, the incoming tide was still with us all the way back. Strange. Some saw another RIF shallower as well as a PPH. Some squid, a few large flounder and more. Reasonable dive. Visibility fair deep, poor shallow.

18 January 2014 - Middle Ground
Short little waves from NE but very little wind. A mild current from N but it only went to 10 m or so. Dirty in this warmer water, much cleaner on bottom but only 17.1C there. Did a full circle, lots of yellowtail and some very large seapike up high. Quite a few interesting nudibranchs and one PPH. A very nice and relaxing dive, did 28 mins on the bottom, needed 3 mins deco. Visibility fair to good.

19 January 2014 - Inscription Point
Triathalon on today so had to delay club dive and change from The Leap. 13 members attended. Did the normal dive, Donna refound the Bare Island anglerfish which has moved rocks. Kelly found 2 very tiny PPH, there were 2 sea dragons, lots of nudibranchs, including a species I had never seen before. A PJ, 3 moray eels, cuttlefish, octopus, a lot of squid and more. Water was blue, about 12 m viz at least, but cold again at 17.4C. Really good dive. Visibility good

23 January 2014 - Shiprock
Club night dive, 15 diving. Mask fogged up, esp top half. Took off and cleaned but did it again. Could see SFA most of the dive. At least 10 numbrays swimming around, some almost hitting divers and one hitting the yellow painted anglerfish. Saw this twice. Saw lots of decorator crabs, 5 pineapplefish, a large moray and one frogfish. Not the best dive here despite the above. Visibility poor.

25 January 2014 - Shiprock
More bad weather so no boat diving. We had 13 members diving here, found the yellow painted anglerfish for all to see. Lost Kelly at last bommie, but she thought we were separated at the bottom of the wall. I was behind her following her! Refound her near turn around point, she was with Dave and Glen. Kelly found a tiny blue-ringed octopus that tried to make itself look like a cone shell or a prawn. Amazing. Lots of numbrays swimming around again. Still 5 pineapplefish. A few large whiting, a few small cuttlefish, a horned shark and more. Visibility fair.

26 January 2014 - The Monuments
Club Australia Day Dive and BBQ. Over 40 attending, but only about 25 dived. Outgoing tide, but not too strong. Viz about 5 m on sand mostly but in spots over 10 m. Towards end dropped to about 3 m. Found one big belly sea horse, some saw sea dragons, a few pink okenias, a very large and somewhat agressive moray eel that ended up letting me stroke it and a few cuttlefish and frogfish. A reasonable dive, but great day. Visibility fair.

27 January 2014 - SS Tuggerah
Finally a half decent day where we could get to the Tuggerah. A bit sloppy, with seas from SE and NE making it a slow go. No wind or current on top, very slight current from NW on bottom. Very dirty on the way down but clean on the bottom. Very dark though. Heaps of bailer shell eggs, a large cuttlefish and Phil saw a wobbegong. Quite a few large fish around. Really good dive. Visibility very good.

30 January 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club night dive, 9 attending. Flat as so went off W point to DW. Refound PPH we have been seeing for months. Did usual dive, I could not find the sea horses but Ron did. 3 there. Lots of dwarf firefish, saw 3 PPH, all shallower than 13 m. Also saw a fiddler-ray in 6 m, a flounder and some more interesting things. Others saw more PPH as well. Very cold deep, but clean. 3C warmer shallow but dirty. Visibility good.

1 February 2014 - Bare Island RIF Reef
Club dive, Carol's memorial dive and BBQ - 3 years since she died. Very high tide and a S wind meant a bit too rough to go in off W point. Went in back a bit and swam all the way to Sea Horse Corner. Then to 15 m Reef and then RIF Reef. Found the tiny orange painted anglerfish they found last Thursday, very cute. Then back via normal way. Found one tiny PPH. Lots of divers here, we had at least 30. Great way to remember our diving buddy. Visibility fair.

6 February 2014 - Shiprock
Too rough to take out boat yesterday, so did a shore dive today. Low tide but apparently better viz than they had here at high yesterday. Yellow painted anglerfish is still there, used GoPro to take timelapse. Okay. Had ear problems so spent most of second half up high. A frogfish, a couple of large moray eels, including one with damaged mouth from 4 weeks ago. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

7 February 2014 - Middle Ground
Still large seas running but very smooth. Jibbon Bommie breaking all the way to shore! Very little wind and anchored first go into another anchor rope. Clean water on top but a little dirtier on bottom, probably 10 m. Very cold though, 15.8C! Did the usual circle of the reef. Back at anchor, noticed that there was now very clean water about 5 m above the bottom. When we ascended temperature went up to 20.2C and could see the boat from about 23 m. Now a bit of a current. By the time the other group dived, water was 20C on bottom and a raging current on safety stop. Weird. Good dive though. Visibility fair.

8 February 2014 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive, 5 boats. Was supposed to be Marley Pt but still a bit of swell running. 1 did Marley, 1 Pizza and 3 here. Very cold again on bottom (16.6) but great viz. Kelly found a tiny upsidedown pipefish, a large donut nembrothra and a PPH. Did the usual dive circuit. Also a blue devilfish and the normal bastard trumpeters. Very nice dive. Visibility very good.

9 February 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club dive. What a brilliant dive! Was supposed to be an outgoing tide but no current at all so had no problems. Viz over 15 m for most of the dive. Went off W corner and SW to wall. Then back normal way, but went very slow. Kelly found 3 PPH all up, the 3 sea horses were out near where the old anchor used to be, 2 appear pregnant, including the one that gave birth before Christmas. I refound the tiny yellow painted anglerfish and we saw 3 RIF. Squid, flathead and all the normal fish. A dickhead fisher dropped his anchor 2 m from Kelly near the cave. I hooked it back on itself and then put the loop on a rock under the cave. They had to break the line! Karma. Visibility very good.

12 February 2014 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. A bit sloppy on the surface and light E wind made it uncomfortable. Below the surface it was great, almost 20 m viz, no current and warmer water (17.7C) than recent dives. Found the donut nembrotha and tiny upsidedown pipefish from Saturday. Also saw a few small kingfish, a largish school of small trevally and more. Very nice relaxing dive. Visibility very good.

13 February 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club night dive, 11 attending. Went of W point to SW. Fairly clean out here. Found the PPH we have been seeing for a year here and then 2 of the sea horses on the way back. Two more PPH further along and Ron saw another two back a bit. Could not find the tiny painted anglerfish. A few larger squid, a RIF at about 10 m. The anchor I put under the cave was not there. Back in 5 m lots of tiny squid, some as small as my little fingernail. Good dive. Visibility good.

15 February 2014 - Bypass Reef
Raining but no wind, a slight chop from NE, slight current. Very cold on bottom, 15.9C. Clean though. Went S along wall, dozens of PJ sharks, three big belly sea horses, one red, one yellow and one light brown. Huge schools of one-spot pullers and silver sweeps. A huge cuttlefish. A very good dive. Visibility very good.

16 February 2014 - Osborne Shoals
Club boat dive, three boats. Little wind, flat seas and bluish water. Cold though, 16.7C on bottom and not much more at 5 m. Went to E and S, saw two blue devilfish before cave. Not a great deal more seen. Only a reasonable dive. Visibility good.

19 February 2014 - Middle Ground
Club boat dive. No wind and millpond seas, very slight current on top and bottom. Was overcast so relatively dark on bottom. Kelly found a spindle cowrie on a seawhip and a nice small boxfish. A medium cuttlefish and a reasonable amount of fishflife, but not as much as some other dives. Very enjoyable. Visibility very good.

20 February 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club night dive, only 4 divers. Went off W point and SW to wall. Was just after low, so not great viz like recent weeks. Found a tiny dwarf firefish out on rocks, one big belly sea horse, 3 RIF (all back shallow), some squid and octopus. Reasonable dive, a lot warmer than recent dives at 18.7C. Visibility fair but poor shallow.

22 February 2014 - Shiprock
Dive at low tide, could not take boat out as had to give talk later at dive show. Could not find the yellow painted anglerfish but N of first large bommie saw a small black striped anglerfish. Then at the next bommie, also on N side, saw a small yellow one and then next to it, a large black one. Brilliant! No current at all so did not go very far. Back along wall, lots of small cuttlefish in overhangs, the 5 pineapplefish are still there (including the one Eddie rescued last week from entanglement) and a moray eel with damaged jaw (not the one seen last time). Back to look again for the painted angler but no luck. Nice dive, warm at 21C. Visibility poor.

27 February 2014 - Shiprock
Club night dive, 7 diving. Went in about 12 minutes early but tide was supposed to be only 1.4. It ran in very strong for at least 45 mins. This was strongest I have seen for many years. Could not find anglerfish from Saturday at first, but found the large black striped angler towards end, about 7 m to NW of where it was Sat. Heaps of moray and spotted eels, octopus and even a wobbegong. Some saw a cuttlefish eating a fish. Two saw the yellow painted anglerfish, they reckon near where it was before, but I could not find. Visibility good. 

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