My Recent Dives - January & February 2016
Posted by Michael on 01 January 2016 00:00
9 January - Shiprock
Cancelled club boat dive due to very long period and large waves. Good decision. Even after over 100 mm of rain during the week, the water was very clean, even on the surface. Had about 7 to 10 m viz. Saw 2 moray eels, including the one with deformed lower jaw. Gave it a scratch as normal. A few small cuttlefish, 2 small wobbegongs, a small PJ, lots of leatherjackets, a large flathead, 3 pineapplefish, a large school of seapike and more. Tide turned early, probably because of the rain. Good dive. Visibility good.

10 January - SS Tuggerah
Went out with Phil S. Swell right down, no current, blue water above 25 m. Anchored in front of boiler. Went to prop, back along hull to bow and back. Cleaned the toilet. Three wobbegongs, some cuttlefish, heaps of bailer shells and eggs. Really good dive, one of the best in recent years. Did 20 mins on bottom. Visibility good.

12 January - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. Another nice day, very hot. Water similar to two days ago. Lots of red morwong but not many bastard trumpeters. Where have they gone? Heaps of purple dragons. Could not find the upsidedown pipefish I saw last time. A few small cuttlefish as well. A very nice, relaxed dive. Visibility good.

14 January - Shiprock
What a hot day, over 38C. Water also very warm, over 22C. Lost everyone within a minute of descending, very strong current so I think they went with it. Went very slowly along around bommies and did not even get to the last buoy. Three moray eels, including the deformed jaw one, a PJ, a small wobbegong, only one pineapplefish, a lot of sea pike. Four very large kingfish came in and scared all the small fish. A few white nudibranchs, an octopus but that is about it. Again, reasonable visibility considering the rain last week. Visibility fair.

17 January - Shiprock
Another weekend where we cancelled boat dives due to weather. Low tide but visibility not too bad. Only went as far as last dive. Saw a few moray eels (but not Jaws), some octopus, a wobbegong (same as Thursday), one pineapplefish, a lot of seapike, heaps of Sydney cardinalfish with eggs in mouth, gobies and more. Good dive considering low tide. Visibility poor. 

20 January - Marley Point
Club boat dive. Seas not too bad but a bit too surgy to go really shallow. Water warm on top but only 18.2C on bottom. Went E and saw a medium sized kingfish. Found a nice stainless steel reef pick. Took it. Lots of old wives along here. Back past anchor went W. Found a tiny yellow boxfish and then a huge bullray. Back to anchor, saw ray again. Found Judy's knife which pulled out of her scabbard earlier and was on the sand under stern. Visibility good.

28 January - Bare Island Deep Wall
Could not go in from W point as too many waves coming over the platform. Viz at least 15 m and no current at all. Went thru pool and then SW to wall. Came back slowly via outer edge of RIF Reef and then N back to main reef. Saw 2 RIF, 8 PPH and two fantastic striped anglerfish, one yellow and one brown on the same rock. A great dive. Visibility good.

29 January - Bare Island Deep Wall
Calmer today so went in from W point. Viz again at least 15 m and no current at all. SW to wall and came back slowly via outer edge of RIF Reef and then N back to main reef. Saw one fiddler-ray, 3 RIF, but no PPH and could not find the two striped anglerfish from yesterday. Searched everywhere but they have moved. Kim found another striped anglerfish, this was black. Another great dive. Visibility good.

30 January - SS Undola
Dive with Abyss on their new boat. Large 3 m swell well above forecast. Had trouble finding wreck as mist covering N mark and buildings changed at Era Beach. Hooked in but as we went down, anchor came off wreck. Saw sand only. After this they tried to find wreck again but no luck. I could not have dived again anyway. Oh well, it happens. Visibility poor.

1 February - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Calm again today so went in from W point. Went NNW and hit sand near SH Rock. Black anglerfish was about a metre from where it was Friday. Could not find the other ones again. Went to S side of IR1 and followed to end and back N side. Saw 5 RIF, 2 PPH, a wobbegong, lots of yellowtail out on IR2, many flathead last 15 mins. No sea horses on IR2. Another great dive. Visibility fair but good shallow.

11 February - SS Undola
Fairly calm seas, dived off Phil's boat. My GPS mark was accurate, no idea why we had so much trouble on Abyss boat 2 weeks ago, must be there sounder. Anchored in front of boiler, went to bow. Cold on bottom, 16.4C but later may have went to 15C. 23C on deco! Cleaned toilet to show maker's name. Bow winch has dropped a little into deck. Back to stern. Not much else has changed. Lots of moray eels, plenty of fish and 2 conger eels in boiler pipes. Very easy dive. Visibility fair.

12 February - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
Went in off SE corner and around island. Excellent viz here. Slight current on wall but it stopped after a while and viz went to about 12-15 m. Saw 2 anglerfish here, 1 brown 1 black. Also a RIF a bit further along and then 1 more later. Also 1 fiddler-ray out here and 1 in 7 m. Two spiny gurnards as well but only 1 upsidedown pipefish. A very nice dive. Visibility good. 

13 February - SS Tuggerah
Club boat dive, three boats but one did Undola. Peter F also did Tuggerah. Slight current from N and took three goes to anchor. Ended up in front of boiler and hooked into hull fallen outwards. Quite clean on bottom but only 16.0C. Went to engine room, saw yellow big belly sea horse behind boiler for the first time. Then to tools, prop and back along bottom to bow. Then back to boiler and up. A very good dive. After I surfaced, an idiot charter boat had dropped its divers down current from my boat and told them to swim to my anchor and go down that. I told them we would not be anchored on wreck in 2 mins, so they would be on sand. They then went down Dave's deco line and cross-over line which was disconnected and ended on sand. The boat did not even realise they were 100 m behind Dave's boat. Visibility very good.

14 February - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. Quite an adventurous day. First had to pull a boat off a sand bank, then our anchor line was cut by my prop when it got caught on it (it was not turning) . Then, when we got to the bottom the anchor was on sand and we had to drag it to a bommie, used a lot of air doing this. After this all went well. Two pineapplefish under the ledge S end of Split, some honey okenia, lots of fish. A big belly sea horse on main reef between it and the large bommie E of Split. Did not do normal dive due to the location of anchor. Visibility very good.

22 February - Shiprock
Five members diving and five others here as well. We did normal dive but current turned well before it should have. Went right out on sand to railway tracks and pole. Quite a few moray eels, a large flounder, three wobbegongs, one pineapplefish but only one nudibranch. The schooling catfish were not schooling, in small numbers all over the place. Water over 24C the whole dive and over 15 m viz. Visibility very good.

23 February - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Went in from W point. Went W and hit sand S of 15 m Reef. Saw Mike S near SHC. Went along N side of IR1 and Kim found a black anglerfish near gap. I found a creamy colour sea horse just past here. Saw 3 RIF but no PPH. A very large cuttlefish, lots of small fish, three kingfish. Another great dive, 23C water all the way. Visibility good.

24 February - Shiprock
Four members diving and five others here as well. We did normal dive, current acted normally today. Did not see the pineapplefish. Lots of octopus, a couple of moray eels, a few white with black trim nudibranchs. Some bonito chasing small fish. Lots of leatherjackets of many species, a tiny yellow boxfish, plenty of Eddie's yellow gobies. Water almost 24C the whole dive and over 15 m viz. Visibility very good.

25 February - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club night dive, 6 attending, my first this year. Went off W point to wall, then back via outside of RIF Reef. Saw 4 PPH, one tiny, 3 RIF, a fiddler-ray, a small horned shark, dozens of octopus of many species, a blue spider, a spider crab, a dwarf firefish and a few squid. Also hundreds of small hermit crabs. Water 3C cooler than Tuesday. A very good dive. Visibility good.

27 February - Lilli Pilli
Too windy and big seas to take boat out. Dived along pool net, 15 Whites sea horses, some small. Then out deeper where it got dirtier, a kingfish, a large wobbegong shark seen and then went back along shore to net. John P saw a brown striped anglerfish as well. Nice dive, very warm, over 25C for most of the dive. Visibility fair.

Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.