First dive of the year. Incoming tide but little current, warm 21.5C, viz 5-7 m. Saw four big belly sea horses, missed one. Only four sea dragons, one with eggs and another with white patch. No PPH or BIA. One tiny yellow boxfish, a few nudibranchs, not a great deal else. Very nice easy dive. Visibility fair.
11 January 2023 - Old Mooring - Bass Point
Dive on Tammalee's boat. Went from Shelll Cove boat ramp, good ramp. Located north of Bass Point Island. Sandy gutter running NW-SE and reef coming up from about 30 m to 28 m. Lots of sandy gutters and some small walls to the E of the anchor spot. Apparently there is an old mooring here, but we did not see it. Went SE for 10 minutes and then came back on top of the reef and then explored the gutters. Back to anchor. Saw a couple of horn sharks, one small wobbegong, one small fiddler-ray and lots of small leatherjackets. Beautiful sponge garden, heaps of sea squirts everywhere. A very interesting dive site. Visibility excellent, could see boat from 30 metres.
11 January 2023 - Coral Rock - Bass Point
Second dive. Located north of The Gutter at Bass Point. Sandy bottom and to the S of this mark a small bommie (Coral Rock) that comes up from 23 to 20 metres. Lots of sponges and sea squirts on it and also a few small gorgonias. Around this there are lower reefs and some sand patches with a bit of kelp. Near the anchor there was an extremely friendly eastern blue devilfish which came right up to the camera. Apparently people may feed it. not as good as the last dive. Visibility excellent.
12 January 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
My 3,000th dive in Sydney! Just after low tide and flat seas. Went off W point and to Deep Wall. Very dirty across here but 3-4 metres on bottom of wall. Warm 21.9C. Hit it a bit S of normal spot. Then back, two big belly sea horses on the large rock off wall. Back normal way, still no RIF seen since February, even on RIF Reef. Saw two fiddler-rays there and a spiny gurnard nearby. Back via 15 Metre Reef to SHC. Some small moray eels, lots of nudibranchs. A pineapplefish on the Deep Wall and the normal one under SHR. Another BBSH near cable, a small yellow one in a large yellow finger sponge. Then back. A very good dive. Visibility poor.
13 January 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Similar dive to yesterday. Went off W point and to Deep Wall. Very dirty across here, worse than yesterday. However, once over the Wall was about 10 metres but some surge till back a bit. Warm but 1.3C less than yesterday at 20.6C. Saw the two big belly sea horses on the large rock off wall and the pineapplefish on the next smaller wall near where old Admiralty Anchor was (forgot to put in yesterday's post). Back normal way, again no RIF. Saw one fiddler-ray too. Back via 15 Metre Reef to SHC. Some small moray eels, lots of nudibranchs. Saw the other BBSH near cable, a small yellow one in a large yellow finger sponge. The normal pineapplefish under SHR and four PPH above. More interesting nudibranchs here too. Then back. A very good dive. Visibility good.
15 January 2023 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
Absolutely millpond. Outgoing tide but no current felt. Went off W point to Not So Deep Wall, then 15 Metre Reef and back. Clean again down the bottom, a bit less than Friday. Dirtier on the way back. Two PPH on 15MR holding tails, could not find the grey BIA but Carole did. Saw some interesting nudibranchs and a yellow barnacle, the yellow BBSH, 4 more PPH, the pineapplefish, a spiny gurnard, a huge wobbie near Cave (seen last two dives too) and a smaller wobbie. Another very good dive. Visibility fair.
17 January 2023 - Bare Island Right
A bit rougher than Sunday with some surge out deeper and also a current running to the W before SHC. Temperature cooler at 18.5C deeper than 10 m but 21 above and very dirty. Only 3-4 m viz deeper. Went in past Carol's Plaque and down to near SHC. I lost the others when I stopped to take a photo and must have passed them as I came back after finding the grey BIA and they were near yellow BBSH. Then went again to grey BIA and looked around for the rumoured red painted anglerfish. No luck. Saw some very interesting nudibranchs, a firefish, three of the five PPH on SHR, the pineapplefish, a tiny flathead, some moray eels and cuttlefish and more. Another very good dive despite viz. Visibility poor.
18 January 2023 - Bare Island Right
Calmer seas than yesterday, Did similar dive to yesterday but slower going down to SHC. Quite clean shallow at start but very dirty by the end. Visibility also worse deeper and cold 18.8C. Some more interesting nudibranchs, the grey anglerfish was gone, could not find it anywhere. There were a few moray eels, all small, octopus, a medium sized wobbegong shark, the yellow BBSH, only two PPH, one is hiding under some weed and hard to find. The pineapplefish is still there. A few other divers around, most of whom we knew. Last dive for a few days as weather going bad tonight. Another nice dive, but not as good as the past four here. Visibility poor.
24 January 2023 - Bushrangers Bay, Bass Point
Late day trip to Shellharbour. Ten divers from club, dived in two groups. A little surge but not too bad, shallows viz only 3-4 m but at 17 m it was 20 m or so, warm 22.5C. Lots and lots of grey nurse sharks, all female or juvenile males. I think there were at least 30, we saw 12 at one time and 11 later, plus more deeper. Most were very small, one had a hook. Went very slowly to 17 m and then back. A really good dive, so many sharks and very close. Some cuttlefish, a lot of squid and plenty of one-spot pullers. Great dive. Visibility very good deep, poor shallow.
24 January 2023 - The Gravel Loader, Bass Point
Went from the boat ramp, NW for about 7 minutes. Then to the end of the loader and hung around there for a while, E and W. Blue water but milky, visibility about 7-8 m. 22.9C. Saw a nice crocodile fish, a leaf fish, a short-finned conger eel and a few nudibranchs. Also some cuttlefish, large and small. A nice easy dive. Visibility fair.
25 January 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Calm seas but high tide coming in, needed to time correctly to get in. Went to Deep Wall, dirty on the way but visibility 5-7 m there. Also nice 21.3C. Was a little S than normal, then to the two big belly sea horses. A large school of kingfish her too. Then normal way, slow. Pineapplefish on wall to the N, then via RIF Reef to 15MR. Quite a few interesting nudibranchs. One PPH at the end of 15MR. Then to SHC and back normal way. No grey BIA still. The yellow BBSH is still there, but no PPH at SHC. Another pineapplefish there though. Back quickly as all getting low on air, did 83 minutes. Great dive. Visibility general fair.
26 January 2023 - The Monuments
Club Australia Day Dive. A total of 17 diving in four groups. Went in and out next to Whale. Temperature 22.3C shallower but 21.4 deeper with cleaner water. Went E first, incoming tide but current easy at first but by the time we turned at 30 mins it was strong. Eased off as we came back a bit. Surgy most of the dive. Saw three sea dragons, two eating shrimp. Some saw a lot of squid but I did not. A few nudibranchs, some small bailer shells, a few interesting small clingfish. Then had a great BBQ brunch. Very good day. Visibility varied, fair at 30 min area, but poor elsewhere.
28 January 2023 - Bare Island Right
Went in at Carole's Plaque and swam straight to just past The Cave without really stopping. About 2 m viz at first then 3-4 m. Warm 22.4C. Some surge on the way back. Then slowly to SHC and looked all over for the grey BIA, but still cannot refind it. Came back very slow. No PPH at all, some moray eels, octopus, a small lionfish, plenty of nudibranchs, some tiny 1 mm isopod bugs on jewel anemones and the yellow BBSH. Also saw an upsidedown pipefish near SHC. Despite very poor visibility shallow, poor deeper, a very good dive.
29 January 2023 - Bare Island Right
Similar dive to yesterday. Water a lot cleaner above 5 m, similar to 14 m and past there over 10 m viz. Went straight to area near First Cave. Looked for the orange/red anlgerfish but no luck. Then to SHC and S a bit on reef wall and then on top. Then across to 15MR. Found the PPH here, very clean water. Then back to main reef and back normal way. Some nice nudibranchs, including pink okenias. Also another lionfish, some moray eels, a few wobbegong sharks, the yellow BBSH, some skeleton shrimp and more. Saw a huge flathead with three females near exit. Another good dive. Visibility poor overall.
2 February 2023 - Bushrangers BayClub shore dive. 10 divers and 2 non-divers, very dirty shallow but got better below 5 metres, 22.4C. Not as clean as last time deeper, but better between 5 and 10 metres. Saw lots of sharks, I reckon about 25. Two with hooks, only one or two large females, all the rest smaller juveniles. They come so close to you, much better than Magic Point or even SWR. A butterflyfish, a lot of squid. Another really good dive. Visibility fair.
4 February 2023 - Bare Island Right
Club Carol Martin Memorial Dive. About 16 divers and lots of non-divers. Very strong W wind that was not forecast, quite choppy and very high tide, not so easy getting in and out. Went in at Boat Ramp. Viz poor at first but then okay. Went to Cave and then slow to corner (lots of yellowtail) and then to 15MR to show new members a PPH. Maxine found the grey BIA here! Then back to SHC, an upsidedown pipefish there but very timid. Then back. A few small moray eels, the yellow BBSH, a velvetfish, lots of nudibranchs, a wobbegong, a fiddler-ray and a few large sole. A really great dive with a great brunch afterwards. Visibility fair.
6 February 2023 - Fly Point
Week camping trip to Nelson Bay. Blue water and 23.3C with 8-10 m viz. Very little current, so did not travel all that far. Headed N out to 22 metres and then back. Lots of bream, silver sweep, yellowtail, luderick, especially on the wall. A few nice nudibrachs, some small moray eels, four pineapplefish, a few blind sharks, pufferfish, a spindle cowrie and more. A very nice relaxed dive. Visibility good.
7 February 2023 - The Pipeline
Forgot my weights at car, had to go back so behind the others. Found them after a few minutes. Very slight current, viz 8-10 metres and warm 23.3C again. Went to Sea Horse Hotels, but none there. Then slowly back, zig-zagging. Ended up at Pipeline in the valley. Not so much the eastern side as lots of damage from algae and sand over things. Saw a blue-ringed octopus, some nudbranchs. On western side lots more things, including a large eagle ray on the sand which took off as we neared, a lot of large silver drummer, more nudibranchs, including armina, short-tailed ceretasoma, a red-line bubble, a yellow sea horse (near Leanne's Sea Horse) and more. A very nice relaxing dive. Visibility good.
8 February 2023 - Fly Point
Visibility a bit less than the last two days buts still very acceptable. Perhaps 7-8 m. Went very slow and not as deep as Monday. huge number of different species of nudibranch, a lots of rarer ones too. Lots of yellowtail, bream, old wives plus some whiting. A few moray eels, some octopus, blind sharks and the four (not three) pineapplefish. Donna found a small White's sea horse in the shallows at safety stop, we did not see it. A great dive. Visibility fair.
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