Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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About Me
My Diving
Web Links - Dive Clubs
St George Scuba Club
Some of my Best Photos
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Dive Sites
Sydney Reef Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwrecks
Kelly Talking on ABC Sydney about Shipwrecks
NSW Dive Sites
Sydney Shipwreck Summary
NSW Shipwreck GPS/Marks
Australian Dive Sites
Overseas Dive Sites
Aircraft I have Dived
Old Bottles
Free Shipwreck Books

Dive Related Equipment
Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
Uwatec Aladin Dive Computers
Apollo AV1 Underwater Scooter
Bauer Compressor
DIY Oxygen Stick - Nitrox
GoPro HD Hero Video Camera
My Camera Setup
Purchase of New Dive Boat
My Dive Boat - Mak Cat
My Old Dive Boat - Le Scat
My Dive Gear
GPS and Diving
Make Your Own Car Tank Rack

Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
Bare Island Sea Horses
Bare Island Nudibranchs
Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

Other Dive Info
How Weather Affects Diving in Sydney
Visibility and Wave Averages in Sydney
Waves and Diving
Diving Weather and Sea Conditions
Tide Tables
Dive Accidents and Incidents
Dive Book Reviews
Site Map
Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
Lloyd Bridges - Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt
My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
  • Details about Catlypso
  • Cleaning/Repairing Catlypso
  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    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.


    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 SS Undola has great fishlife"
    25th Anniversary of Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Website
    June 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of when I started this website. Back in June 1996 the internet was in its infancy, with no-one except big business having anything but dial-up access via a modem and a phone line. I do not think think there were any dive shops in Australia at that time using the internet to publicise their business and there were certainly no other information dive websites in Australia and probably not even in the world.

    In early June 1996 I had an operation and while I was recovering, I decided to build a website that contained all the articles I had written to date about my diving experience and the sites and shipwrecks I had dived. As many people would know, from 1990 to about 2015 I wrote for DIVE Log and Sportdiving Australia. All this was to help other divers gain from my experiences.

    The first articles I ever wrote were about Sydney shore dive sites, especially ones that people did not seem to dive nor were documented. I also included boat dives as we explored the coast of Sydney, especially the southern side where I have always lived. I included maps of sites and photos of the typical fish and terrain seen at these sites. This was all a first.

    Over the years I dived the whole coastline from Wedding Cake Island south to Wattamolla in Royal National Park. Along the way we discovered many sites that previously were not dived and which today are regularly visited by private dive boats and charter boats. Many of the sites that people now dived were named by me or my friends.

    I then decided to undertake more research on the shipwrecks of Sydney, then NSW and Australia and finally the Pacific. In many cases, by placing the information on my website I was able to be contacted by many people who had previously unknown information about the ships and their sinking. I added all this to the wreck pages.

    As I mentioned, my sole aim in creating the website was to assist other divers. I make no money from the website, I have nothing to promote other than how great diving is in Sydney and NSW. Over the past 25 years I have spent at least $10,000 on the website software, hosting etc. Despite this, some dive shops have ripped off my articles and photographs to promote their own businesses despite my explicit prohibition under copyright law. 

    Not once has anyone in the dive industry ever offered to assist in my costs, despite the fact that they all use it and refer their customers to it. In fact, the dive industry lobby group once attempted to sue DIVE Log and myself for defamation over some articles I wrote (back then you could not defame a company or organisation, so they had to back down).

    Today I am confident that my website is the longest running scuba diving website in Australia and perhaps even in the world. It is certainly one of the largest sites of its type in the world, with well over 1,000 separate web site pages with probably 5,000 A4 pages of information and many thousands of photographs, mostly taken by me.

    Anyway, I hope that you have gained some benefit from my website over the years and I intend to keep it going as long as I am physically and mentally able to. I doubt however that it will reach its 50th anniversary under my direction! 

    As I have always said, there is no such thing as a bad dive, only some that are better than others. Enjoy!
    Michael on 01 June 2021 01:00 · 0 Comments · 157 Reads · Print
    I have now added three Adobe Acrobat (PDF) books to my web site. These collate some of my shipwreck articles into books. See the link at left, the last one under the Dive Site heading. 

    Hope you enjoy them.
    Michael on 09 May 2021 00:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives - April, May and June 2021
    2 April 2021 - Middle Ground
    First dive for over two weeks because of flooding and brown water coming out of all the bays and rivers. First dive with my boat since 27 Feb because of bad weather too. Flat seas and little wind. Water a bit green on top but below 18 m it went cleaner, about 10 m but a cold 16C. Very dark though as sunrise only 0709 and dirty water. Anchored on NE corner, went W first then back and then S to SE corner. Huge amount of yellowtail, most I have ever seen anywhere I reckon. A few seapike mixed in with them. One donut nembrotha and a siny gurnard. Really enjoyable dive, far better than I expected it to be. Saw a seal a few times when back on the boat. Visibility fair.

    3 April 2021 - M & K Reef
    Similar conditions to yesterday above water, slight current from N which increased while we were down. Anchored off cave, dragged anchor to rock. Viz was between 10 and 15 m, could see surface from 22 m, a bit of surge at times. Then N and to back of the reef. Saw two blue devilfish, two wobbegong sharks, five pygmy pipefish, one yellow boxfish, four enormous cuttlefish, lots of seapike, yellowtail, silver sweep and more. A really nice dive. Visibility good. 

    4 April 2021 - M & K Reef
    Club boat dive, only my boat. All female crew! Similar conditions to yesterday above water but no current at all. Anchored off cave. Viz was between less than 10 m and much colder at 18C No surge at times. Then N and to back of the reef and a bit further N and then E over second wall. Saw one blue devilfish, the same two wobbegong sharks, one pygmy pipefish, only two enormous cuttlefish, lots of yellowtail and some silver sweep. Not as good as yesterday, but still a nice dive. Visibility fair.

    5 April 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Stronger S wind today meant no boat diving. Water much cleaner on top now, not even brown at low tide. Went thru Pool, then via Short Cut to sand, then to 15 Metre Reef and back normal way. Water a cooler 19C at depth of 15 m, also much cleaner here. Got a bit dirtier on way back but then again clean less than 6 m. Lots of red-lined flabellinas, three upsidedown pipefish, five tiger pipefish (2 of each near SHC), one RIF, octopus guarding eggs and many other nudibranchs. Also one pinkish yellow boxfish. I rescued a small moray eel with a hook in its side, used knife to pull the hook out. Was damaged a bit here and elsewhere, but seemed in good health. Only one sea horse near Sea Tulip Rocks. A very good dive. Visibility fair to good.

    6 April 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Bigger seas today so had to go in near Carol's Plaque. Water much dirtier on top than yesterday. Went via Short Cut to sand, then along 7 m level to near SHC. Water warmer than yesterday, mostly 21C. Clean water in some spots, dirty elsewhere and reasonable other places, weird. Again lots of red-lined flabellinas, three upsidedown pipefish, four tiger pipefish (2 of each near SHC), saw the octopus guarding eggs better today. Many other nudibranchs. No sea horses near Sea Tulip Rocks. Another very good dive. Visibility poor to fair.

    8 April 2021 - Middle Ground
    Tried to do Tuggerah but no go. There was a very strong current, at least 2.5 kts. This also made it rough out there with wind against current and a lightning storm. Came back here and calm but later rained. Anchor was off reef and we had to drag it about 10 m against a slight current from N. Was on SE corner so went to NE corner and around a little and then back. Huge numbers of yellowtail over NE corner and W and S of there. Some medium sized kingfish too. Two donut nembrothas. Back to anchor and then over to the rocks off there for a bit. Had to move anchor as it was now hanging to E and under a rock. Dirty on top and boat hanging very strangely, point N but wind from S and current not really that strong. Visibility very good.

    9 April 2021 - Inscription Point
    Went in a few hours after high tide. Water fairly clean (7 m) till 42 mins when it got dirtier (4 m). A bit of ENE swell every few minutes so had to time entry and exit. Saw one sea dragon, four big belly sea horses, four PPH, two yellow boxfish, one black painted anglerfish. Some yellowtail, a few black reef leatherjackets. A nice dive. Visibility fair then poor.

    10 April 2021 - The Monuments
    Huge seas from S, Bare Island Bommie was raging. Even here a bit of wave action at entry/exit, so decided part way thru dive to go all the way into the outgoing tide and exit on beach. Not too hard. Visibility 2 or 3 m at most, far worse than yesterday. Also surgy. No sea dragons seen, two big belly sea horses and a few different nudbranchs. One small moray eel, some small mirror leatherjackets and that is about all. No a great dive, but at least it was a warm 21/22C. Visibility very poor.

    15 April 2021 - Bare Island Deep Wall 
    Flat seas although a few small waves coming over the platform due to high tide. Went in from W point and out to Deep Wall. Very dirty on top but a little better below 4 m. Then around rocks and back normal way. No sea horses out here or at Sea Tulip Rocks. No RIF, only one PPH. Three tiger pipefish, one with eggs. One upsidedown pipefish. A few nudibranchs, including some opera house. Lots of red-lined flabellina. Some yellowtail schools. An average dive. Visibility very poor. 

    17 April 2021 - Henry Head
    Club dive day, four boats, two runs each. About 38 attending all up. I dived second run. Sloppy swell from S and long 12 second period. Dirty on top and bottom, only 2-3 m viz at best. Pretty terrible dive. Went NW from anchor then S and then back to anchor and NW and N again. One PPH, bright red, one sea spider, some black reef leatherjackets. Not much else seen due to conditions. Visibility very poor.

    22 April 2021 - The Split
    Club boat dive. Wind well over the 10kts W forecast and from SW and swell much bigger than the 1.2 m. Anchored just E of S end of The Split. Viz very good, 15 m in spots, 12 m mostly. Warm 20C. Went N up Split to end, here I had ear problems and could not go to sand. Tried to clear by going up five times, cleared eventually after four minutes. Swam along the reef top rather than sand, found one donut nembrotha on reef, never seen one here. Then to N end of the Barrens gutter, no bastard trumpeters, but lots of red morwong. Back to anchor and up. Large school of yellowtail came around me on safety stop. Would have been a very good dive except for the ear problem. Visibility good.

    24 April 2021 - The Leap Deep
    Club boat dive, two boats. Was supposed to be Whale Watching Platform but large swell with long period. Protected here. Anchored in 16 m, at least 10 m viz here. Went E to just past Phil's boat with slight current following. Shear wall for most of this with excellent sponge life. Then back to anchor and W for five minutes. This is the normal Leap start section. Then back to anchor. Some very active bream, a few yellowtail, four large porcupinefish. Other saw some PPH and an upsidedown pipefish. My mask was foggy for some reason, so could not see little stuff. Viz dropped off last 10 mins. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    28 April 2021 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Club boat dive. Calm seas but a bit sloppy. No wind or current on top, but slight current from N on bottom, a little surge at times. Visibility at least 15 metres. Anchored normal spot. Went N along Split and then to Donut Heaven. Saw 9 donut nembrothas here. John said he saw a dozen under boat as he dropped to sand. Back S to anchor. Lots of bastard trumpeters and red morwong in normal spot and also in Cave. Back towards anchor and up. Could see boat from 22 m. Great dive. Visibility very good.

    29 April 2021 - Marley Point
    Another club boat dive for weekdays. Much calmer than yesterday, full speed to Marley Point. Anchored in normal spot. Visibility 20 m, could see the boat from 22 m from anchor. A seal on surface and when I jumped in it came close, got some video. Had to move anchor as it and all chain went into a hole. Went NE for 15 mins, thru the large cave, not much fishlife here. Then back shallower at 10 to 15 m. Then past anchor and back to sand line. Lots more fish shallower, yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfrets, but not as many as normal. Back to anchor and near there and then up. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    Next three dives at Port Stephens

    30 April 2021 - The Pipeline
    Weekend away for a few birthdays. Track allegedly closed because of landslide next to cafe. Went around fence. Pretty clean, perhaps 7 m. Could not find sea horse hotels, probably did not go far enough. The area shallower than 7 m is missing all vegetation caused by flood. Saw two sea horses, three pipefish (girdle 2, tiger 1), one platypus spindle cowrie, dozens pygmy leatherjackets, a large school of large drummer, one blue-lined octopus. A few moray eels, John found the robust ghost pipefish we saw in March at 9.1 m. Back to exit. Really nice dive. Visibililty fair.

    1 May 2021 - Fly Point
    Went in right on high, drifted in as normal, turned at 32 mins. Viz from 10 to 15 m, varied a bit. Lots of red-lined flabellina, a few orange-tipped ones, one opera house, a few others. Hundreds of bream, thousands of yellowtail, three large kingfish, plenty of ladder-finned pomfret, some sea pike. Three pineapplefish, a dozen large crayfish, five pipefish in the one hole, lots of small wobbegong sharks and blind sharks. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    2 May 2021 - Little Beach
    Really dirty on top near beach, leftover water from flood. Much better out past wharf. Went at 8-10 m to barge. One sea horse on the way, two spindle cowries, one flatworm, lots of opera house nudibranchs, a few small wobbegongs and a large one, some small moray eels, some small cuttlefish. Back under the wharf huge amount of yellowtail, seapike, ladder-finned pomfret and more. The biggest flathead I have ever seen too! Amazing. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    4 May 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Eight members. Went in from Carol's plaque, via Shortcut to sand. Then across from reef edge to 15 Metre. Back normal way. Rain and heavy cloud so dark. Hundreds of red-lined flabellina, a few other interesting ones. Two or three upsidedown pipefish near SHC, also two pipefish. Another upsidedown and two pipefish on 15MR. A large wobbegong shark, some small cuttlefish and more. Torch died after 45 mins, so did not see much last bit of dive. Very good dive. Visibility fair.

    13 May 2021 - Middle Ground
    First dive for over week due to rotten weather. Club boat dive. Large swell with longer period than forecast, surgy on bottom. Very dirty on the way down but perhaps 5 m viz on bottom. However, very dark, like a night dive. Anchored on N side near donuts, saw two. Went clockwise to S side and then backtracked. Two large wobbegong sharks. Huge numbers of yellowtail, especially on N and NE sides. One nice six-spined leatherjackets. Not the best dive but not too bad. Visibility poor.

    16 May 2021 - Clifton Gardens
    Forecast for very big seas so cancelled club boat dive. First dive with new strobe, but wrong settings. Need magnet in. Went to net and saw a brown painted anglerfish. Then through the hole in net (one of dozens) to old swimming enclosure remains and the 9 sea horse hotels. Not a single sea horse there or even on the nets. Plenty of pipefish, two species. Jason later found a black painted anglerfish near the huge tyre. Then across to net again and then out to the end of wharf. Another black anglerfish there. Wharf has some broken pylons, bottom no longer connected to the top section. A huge bullray swam past here. Back to main pool net area, then I left as I only started with 140 bar in my small tank. Still dive 82 minutes. Nice dive. Visibility poor. 

    18 May 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Large SE swell which meant a bit of surge. Supposed to get to be a 16 second period tonight! Went in at Carol's Plaque and slowly went down main reef. Only got to The Cave. Has ear problems at 50 mins and had to ascend to 5 m to clear. Saw 2 RIF between Sea Tulip Rocks and Sea Horse Rock. On SHR Carole found a grey Bare Island anglerfish. Some interesting nudibranchs, a larger yellow boxfish, a large school of yellowtail, no sea horses or pipefish though. A huge bullray went past just before cave. Used new Inon S2000 strobe, worked well with magnet in and on manual. Got great photos of the anglerfish. Pretty good dive, although a bit cooler at 17.9C. Visibility poor.

    22 May 2021 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive, two boats and 9 divers. A bit sloppy even though little wind and slight current from S. Anchored on N side. Went to Cave and then around. Did not see any donut nembrothas but second group did. Huge numbers of yellowtail and silver sweep all over the reef. Some black reef leatherjackets and also one six-spined leatherjacket. Extremely nice dive. Visibility good.

    23 May 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Cancelled dive to Tuggerah as had a person pull out sick and could not get a replacement. Six of us dived, but I had a leak so got low on air (still did 69 mins). Went in at Carol's Plaque as some waves going right over W point. Went via Shortcut, then back normal way. Lots of red-lined flabellinas, one pipefish near SHC, one RIF, I could not find the Bare Island anglerfish, has moved, but was on the second rock past SHR. Some other interesting nudibranchs, lots of silver sweep near the Cave. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

    26 May 2021 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. First dive this year with drysuit. Large swell but period decreased from last night. No wind when we arrived but by the time we finished it was over 20 kts W. Anchor was on sand and could not see reef at all, even when I swam 5 m away. Dragged it (easily) NW and found the reef after about 15 m. Viz only 5 m at most, lots of sand floating. Was near SE corner, went around reef anti-clockwise as normal. No donuts seen, but plenty of yellowtail on NE corner as usual. Back to anchor and a large wobbegong shark near anchor. Hung around here for a while then up. Could see boat from 20 m, pity it was not like that on the bottom. Visibility poor.

    2 June 2021 - Middle Ground
    Club boat dive. Huge swell again over the weekend, still some big ones today. Really the only place we could dive. Little wind and large rolling swell from NNE and SE, very mily on bottom but clean above 28 metres, Anchored on N side. Went clockwise around reef. Huge number of yellowtail and lots of mado too. The large wobbegong we saw last Wednesday was still in same spot on S side. Back to anchor and then up. As I ascended towards ladder, 4 or 5 dolphins swam past and buddies saw them. I did not! Bummer. Nice dive. Visibility poor.

    Next six dives at North Solitary Island

    7 June 2021 - The Boulders to Bubble Cave Drift
    Club dive trip. Dropped in on E side of North Solitary Island and after swimming south, went thru the gap in the island to the W side. Saw a stack of barracuda as we went down, then four or five small turtles in gap and a few more once thru. Then two eagle rays. Went to Bubble Cave mooring and then W and back to mooring. Some egg cowries, a few nudibranchs, one peacock mantis shrimp. Lots of fish as well. A great dive. Visibility excellent.

    7 June 2021 - Anemone Bay
    Moored on inner mooring, went out to the E one. Saw a few GNS as we went along and then plenty N of mooring. Saw at least 10 here, all males. Also a firefish. Then to SE of mooring and back to E in gutter, another GNS here. Then to blowhole gutter and back to mooring. Another GNS here. Plenty of other fish as well. A great dive. Visibility excellent.

    8 June 2021 - Fish Soup
    Wind less than forecast, NW about 12 kts. Sloppy here but okay. Went thru gap to Fish Soup as normal. Lots of fish, hundreds of bream especially. Many species seen, some Queensland groper, a few wobbegong sharks, all swimming around. One large firefish, plenty of flutemouth, different colours. Some egg cowries too. Nothing extra special seen. Very good dive. Visibility excellent.

    8 June 2021 - Anemone Bay
    Dropped in at Shark Mooring, then swam back via gullies to inner mooring. Heaps of grey nurse sharks, at least 16 different ones. Very active to N of mooring. All males. Then back via the gullies, no GNS seen till near the blowhole gutter. Went a far way up the gutter, then to mooring and on flatter bottom. Very good dive. Visibility excellent.

    9 June 2021 - The Canyons
    Saw more humpback whales today on the way over. Lots around. Swam N from mooring into a slight current, viz got awful so turned around. Back past mooring and via gullies to one large hole. Nothing in there. Then over to back of the mooring where I found the leaf fish, same spot as March 21 and November 20. A large wobbegong in the cave too. Then to mooring and up. Good dive. Visibility very good.

    9 June 2021 - Bubble Cave
    Went from mooring over to W and then to the Bubble Cave. Bit surgy. Back down the gutter and back to mooring and then S. Then to mooring. Nothing special seen really, a few nudibranchs. A reasonable dive. Visibility excellent.

    12 June 2021 - Shark Point
    NW wind and flattish seas, so ran north to Shark Point. Anchored in 21 m to the N of the crack. Then mostly dived to the N. Similar to the main dive site, saw a small grey nurse shark and a large wobbegong. Stayed mostly near the sand edge. A huge boulder just on reef edge, lots of ladder-finned pomfrets and yellowtail here. Went a bit past it and then back to anchor. Then to E to a bit deeper reef edge. Then back to anchor. Saw a huge bullray. Second dive saw a large seal on the bottom, we saw it above water. A great dive. Drysuit dry! Fixed after last dive by removing inflator and reinstalling. Was wet last 6 dives. Visibility good.

    13 June 2021 - The Leap
    Flat seas and W winds. Not much of an incoming tide, so very slow. Blue water at entry but once on bottom bot as blue. Viz was 12 to 15 metres, mostly 12. Some surge at the start. Lots of things seen, at least 10 sea dragons, including 2 juveniles. Also 6 big belly sea horses, some nice nudibranchs, a few yellow boxfish and all the normal fish. A really great dive, pity our air got low so we had to end dive after 81 minutes. A great dive. Visibility good.

    17 June 2021 - The Split
    Flat seas and little wind, although just before we pulled up anchor it blew at over 20 kts W. Lots of whales about, one surfaced 30 m away. Whales heard thru the whole dive, very loud at start. Very clean, blue water, 20-25 m viz and 18.0C. Anchored on flat reef top and dragged anchor to near Split. Went N and then to Donut Rock. Saw five donut nembrothas here. Then one on sand, one near Split end and one near the fuel tank. This was more uncovered than anytime in past 20 years. A large bullray with short tail seen. A lot of yellowtail and silver sweep seen. Great dive. Visibility excellent.

    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 April 2021 00:00 · Print
    My Recent Dives - January, February and March 2021
    2 January 2021 - The Leap
    Large number of divers here and at Inscrirption Point. Also more fishers here than I have ever seen. Blue water, 30 m viz for first 25 mins, then gradually dropped to about 15 m at exit, 20.8C. Quite a string current for first 40 mins. Saw 5 sea dragons, 5 big belly sea horses, 3 PPH (Paul saw 4 more), a black painted anglerfish, a purple-lined nembrotha and much more. A fantastic dive!. Visibility excellent.
    3 January 2021 - Henry Head
    Too rough outside, wind from NE stronger than the forecast and also some rain around. Over 2 degrees colder than yesterday but almost as good viz, 25 m. Strongish incoming tide. Went S, two sea dragons, one with eggs (second group saw two more). Some small kingfish, lots of black reef-leatherjackets, some nice nudibranchs, a few small crab like species in sponges. Another great dive. Visibility very good.

    4 January 2021 - M & K Reef
    Tried to dive Bypass Reef but there was current there. Even here there was some on the surface. Blue water, 20.4C, about 20 m viz. Dropped to bottom rather than fight the current and went to anchor. Could see boat from here. Straight off S cave, a blue devilfish in there (second group again saw two). Went N and around end, a large wobbegong shark in the cave there. Probably 20 to 30 medium sized kingfish circling this spot as thousands of yellowtail here. Back to main reef and S. Could not find the sea dragon from last week, but Ian found it out wider later. Back to anchor and up. Another great dive. Visibility very good.

    5 January 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went in off W point, slipped and hit my left thigh, hurt a lot but no bruise after the dive. Went WNW to near SHC, then on S side of IR1. Viz out here about 10 m, but in spots on N side, less than 4 m, 19.2C here but warmer 20.4C shallower. Lots of yellowtail on IR2, some large kingfish as well. All up 6 RIF seen, no PPH, a few moray eels, the pineapplefish and small painted anglerfish on way back but no sea horses. A dozen medium sized squid too. Quite a few interesting nudibranchs, including pink okenia and red-lined flabellina. A nice, relaxed dive. Visibility good.

    6 January 2021 - The Monuments
    Calm seas, bluish milky water, about 10 m at best, 20.4C. Went NE to edge then E and then W and back to exit. Saw two PPH (others saw two more), four sea dragons, one with eggs. One Bare Island anglerfish, quite a few rarer nudibranchs, a spindle cowrie. A really nice relaxing 78 mins. Visibility fair.

    10 January 2021 - The Split
    Cancelled yesterday's Tuggerah dive due to wind. Today no wind, smooth seas. Anchored in normal spot, went up Split to N end, then N along wall to the Donut Rock. Saw 10 donut nembrothas here, plus another 4 seen on way back to boat. A PPH, two pipefish and an upsidedown pipefish, a dozen large squid, black reef and a very friendly six-spined leatherjacket and lots more. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    12 January 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    A total of 11 members on dive, most went this way. Quite good viz below 12m, over 10 m. However, very cold at 16.8C. Off W point to reef edge, then to SHC and over to N side of IR1. Reasonable outgoing tide before SHC, but then little on IR1 except when coming back on S side. No PPH, one RIF, one small wobbegong, no sea hroses or the small pineapplefish and painted anglerfish. They seem to have moved away. Some interesting nudibranchs, especially Trinchesia (orange, black and white) and Elyssia species. Lots of yellowtail on IR1, a large sole and a tiny flathead on way back. One person saw a leopard shark. Much warmer back shallower. Another very good dive. Visibility good.

    13 January 2021 - Yellow Rock
    Tried to dive Bypass again but current from N. Went to Yellow Rock and anchored and discovered there was a reasonable current here too. Dived anyway, not too hard to get down, slight current on bottom too. Went N a bit off wall and then came back along wall. Not much on the way N, but on the way back lots of yellowtail, luderick, some large blackfish, a large wobbegong shark, a few squid, leatherjackets and one-spot pullers. Some interesting nudibranchs too. There are a few large overhangs, some swim-throughs and bays along the rock platform. Back past anchor and then back to anchor. Then E a bit deeper to 23 m, a large cuttlefish here, but much colder, dropped at least a degree to 17.2C or even lower. Not the best dive I have had here. Visibility good.

    14 January 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Club night dive, 13 divers. First one I have really done for perhaps 5 years. Big S change came hours early, so had to go in past Carol's plaque. Went to Cave and back. Dirty above 8 m but warm, cold (18.1C) and cleaner below, perhaps 7 m. Lots seen, including two mating octopus plus others, a small fiddler-ray, two RIF, a wobbegong shark, some flathead and sole, two squid, one of which had caught a king prawn, nudibranchs, a tiny boxfish and a larger one. Some also saw two PPH. BBQ afterwards. A great night out. Visibility fair.

    17 January 2021 - The Colours
    Chaos at the boat ramp before and after, so many people have no idea about protocol or how to launch or retrieve their boat. Packed parking area, but I got a spot when a boat came back in. Large swell from SE, surgy even on bottom. Quite cold but some warm patches. A boarfish, 8 frogfish, one PPH, two sawtooth pipefish, lots of yellowtail, one-spot pullers and small trevallies. A cuttlefish too. A nice dive, but not the best we have had here. Visibility fair.

    23 January 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Club shore dive, too windy to do a boat dive. Forgot to put camera in housing, but noticed before diving! Huge seas all week, amazing that conditions today were so good. Visibility 10 m outward bound and about 7 m on way back. In from past plaque. Went to SHC and then to 15 Metre Reef and to end and back. Saw a small wobbegong, lots of red-lined flabellina, a few pink okenia, two razor pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, one big belly seahorse on last rocks (Ron saw the other one), a RIF and more. Chantelle joined us from another club group as we returned as low on air. A very good dive. Visibility good then fair.

    24 January 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
    Seas a bit bigger than yesterday and more surge, even at 15 metres. Visibility also worse, perhaps 7 m at the best. In from past plaque. Went to SHC and then to halfway of 15 Metre Reef via main reef and then back. Saw another small wobbegong, lots of red-lined flabellina, a few pink okenia, three razor pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish (different to yesterday), two big belly seahorse at Sea Tulip Rocks, same RIF. Lots of ladder-finned pomfrets, small seapike, small squid and plenty of leatherjackets. Saw Marco Bordieri underwater doing his mapping, met him after the dive. Finally found the turtle again in the shallows. A very good dive. Visibility fair.

    26 January 2021 - The Monuments
    Club Australia Day Dive and BBQ, 13 divers. Was a bit rough when I arrived at 7:20 am, but eased off and was no problem getting in or out. Went NE to reef then back into the outgoing tide which was not too strong. At least 10 m viz for first 20 mins then 7 m. No sea dragons but two who dived last saw five! No anglerfish either. Lots of nudibranchs, hermit crabs, a large school of medium sized kingfish, four yellow boxfish and more. A really good dive. Visibility good then fair.

    27 January 2021 - Shiprock
    Very windy and big seas means only spot for next three days. Went N and then back to start and normal dive. not many nudibranchs, a few octopus, one large friendly moray on last bommie, two smaller spotted ones, a frogfish to N, two pineapplefish in normal spot, lots of small whiting and bream, normal leatherjackets. Very relaxing, if uninspiring, dive. Visibility fair.

    30 January 2021 - Henry Head
    Too windy to go anywhere else and also a large rolling NE swell. Dirty water on top but clean 15 m on bottom but cold 18.3C. Reasonable current too as incoming tide. Wetsuit zip broke again, I think it is time to get it replaced. Went S as normal but not as far as most times. One sea dragon near anchor, lots of nudibranchs, heaps of yellow sea spiders. All the normal fish, especially leatherjackets. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    4 February 2021 - Pizza Reef
    Club boat dive, a day late due to better conditions today. First time out of Yowie Bay since at least September 2020. Virtually no wind when we anchored but came up a little when leaving. Had to use old wetsuit as current one put in to replace zipper. Anchored in front of cave. A donut nembrotha here and two others to south. Huge numbers of fish over cave, ladder-finned pomfret and seapike, thousands of them. Also here and at S end, large numbers of silver sweep and yellowtail. Bastard trumpeters were mostly N of cave towards KFC, but some near cave. Went right around. A really great dive. Visibility good to very good.

    5 February 2021 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    Went in off W point, flat seas and no wind. Warm 22.0C, viz at least 10 m deeper. Went to RIF then 15 Metre Reef and back normal way. Aim was to show Leon and Carole the deeper concrete block and Donna the one near SHC. All said they have never seen before. Found a fiddler-ray on RIF Reef with hook in mouth, Leon and I removed it. Lots of interesting nudibranchs, a few rare. Saw two wobbegong sharks, a small moray eel, four pipefish, one big belly sea horse near Sea Tulip Rocks, yellowtail over Cave, lots more. A really great dive, two in a row, see if we can get four! Visibility good.

    6 February 2021 - Bare Island RIF Reef
    This was the 10th anniversary of Carol Martin's death here (well 3/2). Ten divers, lost Kelly as she could not descend but she refound us later at Cave. Went in off W point again and down to sand and then to RIF and back normal way. Wow, what a difference to yesterday! Water 22C up high but a thermocline at about 13 metres dropped temperature to 18.4C. Not too bad considering my holey wetsuit. Viz was better at more than 10 metres. I found a large brown striated anglerfish near SHR. Saw more interesting nudibranchs, four pipefish, one tiny upsidedown pipefish. A few octopus, lots of yellowtail and shallower, small snapper and other fish. Could not find the turtle again and the big belly sea horse was missing. A very good dive. Visibility good.

    7 February 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Huge crowd here at 7:20! Must have been a couple of hundred divers while we were there. Went in thru Pool then up Channel to top of ridge and followed this roughly W. Water temperature dropped from 22C to about 16C below 10 m, but very clear, in spots almost 20 m. Then past SHC to IR1 N side. A reasonable current here (outgoing), so decided to not go to IR2. Went along W side of the gap, saw the big basin for the first time (my new name for it is Super Bowl since it is on tomorrow). It is a large sandy bowl with reef on all sides, bigger on N and W. Then back normal way. Saw lots of yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfret, a couple of large snapper near SHC (first time), 3 RIF (all on IR2 E side), many nudibranchs again. Found the big belly sea horse near Sea Tulip Rocks, could not find the anglerfish from yesterday. Got a better photo of the tiny crab on the swimming anemone at SHR. Three pipefish, one PPH (same as yesterday). Very cold but great dive. Visibility very good.

    10 February 2021 - Fly Point
    Short trip to Nelson Bay with some members of the club. Went in 5 mins before high, drifted for about 35 mins, then back. Not much current at all. A few interesting nudibranchs, a small wobbegong shark and a small fiddler-ray. One pineapplefish, plenty of bream, yellowtail etc. Quite a few butterfly fish, some octopus and rays. A really nice easy dive. Visibility fair. 

    11 February 2021 - The Pipeline
    Went in right on high Fort Denison. Tide did not turn till 65 mins later, current mild anyway. Went NE first to sea horse houses. None on them, but saw three Whites near there. I found a black striated anglerfish near there too. Also some spindle cowries and a few nudibranchs. A couple of dozen huge silver drummer there as well. Then to W. A Couple more sea horses and spindles. Dozens of small cuttlefish and pygmy leatherjackets all over. Past Pipeline for at least 50 metres. Donna found a small ornate ghost pipefish and a nice nudibranch and I found a yellow and black spindle cowrie. Back to exit. Great dive. Visibility good. 

    12 February 2021 - The Pipeline
    Went in 10 minutes before high Fort Denison. Tide did not turn till 60 mins later, current mild anyway. A little cooler at 20.7C today and viz down to 7 m or so. Went N then W at 9-10 m. Three small Whites sea horses. Lots of interesting nudibranchs, a few spindle cowries. Went past Pipeline looking for the small ornate ghost pipefish. I found the marker Donna left and we found it again. Got much better photos today as it was above the weed. Slowly back to exit, found 4 pineapplefish under a block next to pipe, at about 10 m (apparently 5 there). Another great dive. Visibility fair.

    19 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Rotten weather past week so no diving. Went in at Carol's plaque as swell over point. Clean down to 11 m then a bit dirtier. Still okay. Went slowly down to SHC and then back. No PPH, one new baby pineapplefish before First Cave. A couple of pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, two wobbegong sharks, one fiddler-ray. A few interesting nudibranchs, a skeleton shrimp. A good dive, my longest ever at 103 minutes. Visibility fair. 

    20 February 2021 - Xanadu
    Club boat dive, only my boat. Decided to take scooter to explore how far the site goes. Large swell but no wind, surge or current. Warm and dirty on top and cold 16.3C on bottom with 5-7 m viz. Went north for 5 minutes, reef much the same as GPS spot. Goes N then E for a short bit then N again. Back to anchor and south for 2 minutes. Have been this way before. Not so many fish this dive, but a school of bream and seapike at N end. A good dive, only because I explored. Visibility fair.

    21 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Impromptu shore dive arranged via email, 15 members attending, dived in four groups. Probably 200 divers here, and police and 4 ambulances arrived after when a group panicked and called 000 when three divers did not ascend when they became separated. Seas down from Friday but not good enough to go off W point. Went in at Carol's Plaque and did same dive as Friday, down to SHC. Viz much worse, perhaps 5 m above 10 m and then only 3 m. Saw two pipefish, one upsidedown pipefish, no RIF or PPH, the small pineapplefish near cave, quite a few octopus, a small sole, two big belly sea horses at Sea Tulip Rocks, a small moray eel, a dozen large squid and a large flathead. A few interesting nudibranchs, including the largest red-lined flabbelina I have ever seen. A good dive. Visibility poor.

    26 February 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Terrible weather again the past few days, but today sunny and no wind, little swell. High tide 0800 and all over rock platform, so went in well before Carol's plaque. Kim and Steve also on dive. Went very slowly down, did not even get to Cave. Saw the 2 PPH I could not find the other day, near first Orange Sponge. Lots of nudibranchs including some pink okenia, 2 pipefish and 2 upsidedown pipefish near SHR. The new pineapplefish is still there, lots of octopus, a wobbegong shark from the other day, flathead, a large founder, the 2 big belly sea horses and much more. A really good dive considering what people had yesterday. Visibility fair.

    27 February 2021 - Middle Ground
    First dive here since August 2020. A bit of swell, bluish water, no wind, very slight current from west. Heaps of schooling fish on surface. Anchored off eastern wall on rocks. Hard work dragging anchor over nearer to wall. Went around reef, lots of seapike, yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfrets. Also two lots of kingfish. One wobbegong shark, a small tiger pipefish, leatherjackets and more. A really good dive. Visibility good.

    28 February 2021 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
    Wind much stronger than forecast, over 15 kts SE. There were a few waves coming over the rock platform but when we went it, none. Went S and then SW to start of Deep Wall. Viz here was 15 m and then along wall 10 to 12 m minimum. Current for first bit but then little or none along wall. A large fiddler-ray in gully, a huge ball of catfish, some yellowtail and seapike. At normal Deep Wall dropoff (now called Deep Sea Horse Rocks), there were three big belly sea horses. One was free swimming. Shown to us by Vicki S. Then back normal way, although we cut some corners as we had went a lot slower deeper. Back near Cave the viz dropped to 3 to 5 m. Lots of divers here including Carole, Leon and Kim. Back to exit, two more sea horses at Sea Tulip Rocks. No pipefish at all, the pineapplefish seen. Very high tide at exit, water totally under bridge and near steps. Visibility good overall.

    4 March 2021 - The Monuments
    A few waves at entry and blue water, 22.7C. John is up from Melbourne before our club trip to Wooli. He was using his brand new Seatec wetsuit, ended up underweighted. I gave him a weight and I ended up too light too. Okay deeper than 6 m but shallower a problem. John used a lot of air in first five minutes till we got deeper and I gave him the weight. We went alone as we knew we would have a shorter dive. Saw one sea dragon, two big belly sea horses (same ones we have seen before), a wobbegong shark, some octopus, a few nudibranchs and a small firefish lots of normal fish too. Had to surface at end and swim back on surface as too hard to stay down. Nice dive despite all this. Visibility good.

    Next 8 dives at North Solitary Island
    8 March 2021 - The Canyons
    Largish SE swell and also swells from N and E. Very sloppy even here. Viz 12 to 15 m at least here and well over 20 N. Went N into slight current towards Mackeral Run, saw an eagle rayt and then a large leopard shark swimming and then on sand. Back to mooring. Here I saw a small manta ray high up. Lots of fish, only a few nudibranchs, all the usual fish for here. Very nice dive. Visibility excellent.

    8 March 2021 - Elbow Cave
    Went S and then E but not into the sinkholes as way too surgy. Then back to mooring, then SW and behind the reef and back. A few turtles, lots of fish, a huge crayfish, some small crabs, again, all the usual fish. A good dive. Visibility very good.

    9 March 2021 - Bubble Cave
    Went E over past the gullies and then N up one and back to mooring. Saw two turtles, lots of wrasse eating eggs, a huge ball of tiny silver fish, some porcelain crabs, a couple of nudibranchs. Another very nice dive. Visibility very good.

    9 March 2021 - Mackeral Run
    Dropped in near W point of Anemone Bay. Swam east to sand and then roughly S till we hit the rocks. Saw a leopard shark swim past and then another leopard shark on sand, different one. Then back along wall to mooring and then around mooring. A few large firefish, a small spotted eel, more crabs, all the usual fish. Saw a small manta ray up high, got some photos. Another good dive. Visibility very good.

    10 March 2021 - Anemone Bay
    Wind over 15 kts, supposed to be 10-12. Rough trip. Calm here. Went from inner mooring to outer mooring. Viz at least 30 m. Saw one leopard shark many times or many separate ones. At least half a dozen eagle rays, three turtles. Back along slope and saw another leopard shark. Back to mooring and then over to the sand gutter to east. Nice gorgonias here. Back to mooring. Excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

    10 March 2021 - Anemone Bay
    This time went to W point, at least six leopard sharks, a few eagle rays, one huge shovelnosed ray, a few turtles. Went back around the edge of the bay and over to the sand gutter again. This time went a fair way up it. Back to mooring. Another excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

    11 March 2021 - Fish Soup
    Too windy to go to Pimpernel Rock. Little surge so went thru gap easily. Lots of fish on E side, large bream, tarwhine, some medium snapper, two huge GTs, some trevallies, pretty good. Also a leopard shark and some saw eagle rays. Hung around there till about 25 mins then back to W side. Another excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

    11 March 2021 - Mackeral Run
    Went in off N end of W point of Anemone Bay. A leopard shark as we went down. Followed reef edge, say a large turtle. Some nice gorgonias, lots of fish. Ended up at Canyons Mooring. In the hole to N, found two white leaf fish! Another leopard shark here and others saw more halfway along. A great dive to end the trip. Visibility excellent.

    17 March 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Strong winds forecast for next week or so and rain and big seas, so probably only dive we will do for a while. Went in at Carol's plaque, easy entry but by end of dive, higher tide and much bigger swell made it harder to get out at ramp. Quite surgy. Slowly down, over 30 mins to get to Sea Horse Rock. One PPH before first orange sponge, a big belly sea horse near where small anglerfish was, upsidedown pipefish to N of SHR, two RIF, some nice nudibranchs, including orange flat ones on the flat orange sponges. The two big belly sea horses were at Sea Tulip Rocks, one very skinny. Quite a few large flathead too. Nice dive despite visibility. Poor to fair visibility.

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    Michael on 02 January 2021 12:00 · Print
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