My Recent Dives - September & October 2013
Posted by Michael on 01 September 2013 00:00
12 September 2013 - Shiprock
Club night dive.  My first dive in Sydney for about 7 weeks. Low tide but current was with us for first bit and then against us. Strange. Saw a tiny dwarf firefish, a squid with a part eaten stripey, a spotted moray eel, decorator crabs, opera house nudis and more. Nice dive. Visibility fair.

14 September 2013 - Shiprock
Cancelled club boat dive as seas over 2 to 4 m with 5 second interval! Did normal dive. Lots of opera house nudis. At turn around I could not descend due to ear problem so had to come back at top of reef for about 5 minutes. Then okay. Two pineapplefish, one each S of bubble cave and at N end. Some frogfish, a few small cuttlefish. Visibility fair.

15 September 2013 - Shiprock
Went looking for the pipefish Nancy and Gary have been seeing just past last bommie but could not find. Stayed on sand all the way to mooring chain. Then up to reef top and back along the edge. Huge amount of fishlife, including bream, snapper, luderick and seapike. Also a few moray eels and frogfish. Back to near exit and looked for a weight pocket someone dropped Thursday night, could not find it. At the ramp up from bottom near exit, Deb found a tiny anglerfish, orange. Bugger, did not see it. Visibility fair.

19 September 2013 - Bare Island Deep Wall Drift
Club night dive. Went off back left, very high tide and a little swell meant had to get in 75 metres back. Surgy and a slight incoming tide at first, then on Deep Wall if anything we had to swim when the tide should have been pushing us. Others saw a RIF here. No PPH at all, lots of PJs and horned sharks. A dwarf firefish, two more RIF back before SHR. Caroline saw two more at 8 m. A wobbegong, some opera house nudibranchs and more. A very nice dive. Visibility fair (but good deeper).

21 September 2013 - Shiprock
Club dive, 20 attending. Cancelled club deep dive due to forecast of strong winds so did the shore dive. Janine's first dive since shoulder surgery 6 months ago. Did normal dive. Quite strong current for 32 mins as big difference in tides. Saw 5 pineapplefish, a tiny dwarf firefish, lots of opera house nudis. Nice dive. Visibility good.

22 September 2013 - Pizza Reef 
Large 3 m swell running but smooth and not much surge at bottom. Dirty shallow but much cleaner below 9 m. Not as many bastard trumpeters as normal, only a dozen or so at cave. One blue devilfish seen. Nice dive. Visibility good.

25 September 2013 - Marys Reef
My 3,500th dive and 100th this year. Got to 16 m first go to find anchor had come free and was skating across the sand. Strong NW wind and slight current from N. This is a new spot found by Phil Short and named after his wife. Great wall that runs E-W with lots of sponges and gorgonias. A few bastard trumpeters, morworg, PJs, a white flat worm and a school of catfish. Water 17C on bottom and an amazing 19.2C at 5 m. Excellent site. Visibility very good.

26 September 2013 - Shiprock
Club night dive. Low tide but virtually no current. Four conger eels out in open, a couple of moray eels, one striped drumpling squid, only one pineapplefish, a few sea spiders, normal decorator and hermit crabs, lots of opera house nudibranchs, some orange nudis and more. Quite a nice dive. Temperature an amazing 18.2C. Visibility varied, but mostly fair.

28 September 2013 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive, 4 boats and about 20 divers. A bit of wind from NW but no current. A lot more SE swell than Wednesday, bottom had a lot of sand floating around. Split had dozens of PJs and more on sand. One donut nembrotha outside N end of Split. Lots of bastard trumpeters in normal spot as well as a few blue morwong. Very nice easy dive. Visibility fair.

29 September 2013 - Middle Ground
Another attempt to dive the SS Tuggerah, this time the seas were much bigger than yesterday and the wind last night had made a lot of chop. Probably could have made it down there but would not have been fun. A slight current at MG made it hard to get down. We were not sure the anchor was hooked in as the wind and current were a bit against each other. Anchor was okay. A few wobbegongs, lots of seapike, yellowtail and silver sweep. Very surgy on bottom, but not too bad. Visibility fair.

3 October 2013 - Shiprock
Club night dive. Lots of opera house nudis, a few sea spiders, octopus, one conger eel in open, a horned shark, three pineapplefish, some numbrays, all the normal fish. Reasonable dive. Visibility poor, but fair in a few spots.

5 October 2013 - Bypass Reef
Warm blue water, very slight current from N, W wind and a medium but smooth swell. It does not get much better than this in Sydney. Could see the bottom at 24 m as soon as we jumped in, viz was at least 30 m and temp over 20C on surface and 19.6 on bottom. Lots of red morwong, a couple of blue devilfish, PJ, sea spider and more. A great dive. Visibility excellent.

6 October 2013 - SS Tuggerah
Finally made it to the Tuggerah afte rmany failed attempts this year. Flat seas, warm, clear blue water and very slight current on top. Bottom a lot colder, only 15.4C compared to over 20C on surface. Anchored first go on bridge. Went to stern where a moray eel was resting on the rudder. A great view of prop and rudder from behind on the sand. Followed hull bottom to bow, a lot more sand here than last time. Then back to boilers and thru between top boiler and hull to engine room. Cleaned the toilet! Ascended from the stern, did 21 mins which is longest I have done on single tank. A brilliant dive. Visibility very good.

7 October 2013 - The Leap
Very strong S winds and 4 m seas, but quite calm at entry and exit. Clean water like last two dives, no current at all even though should have been an incoming tide. Found two big belly sea horses, two sea dragons, some pink okenias, lots of ladder-finned pomfrets and normal fish. An excellent dive. Sad to learn that a diver died only a few hundred metres away at The Monuments at the same time we were diving. Visibility very good.

10 October 2013 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Club night dive. Forgot to take computer and compass! Low tide but no current at all. The predicted very strong NW were not there, but it was still 31C air temp. Went SW to wall and then back normal way. One RIF on the rocks near large tyre/bubbles. Three more back at about 13 m in kelp. Some medium flathead, lots of nudis, one tiny dwarf firefish. Good dive. Very warm at 19.3C. Visibility fair.

12 October 2013 - Barrens Hut/The Split
The large seas of yesterday dropped dramatically and the forecast strongish N winds very slight. A bit of surge, but very good. Water still warm. At the N end of The Split there was a donut nembrotha, probably the same one as two weeks ago. Lots of PJs around. Went to Tunnel, Phil's anchor down the exit hole! Moved it a bit to a better spot. Lots of bastard trumpeters and red morwongs near Ampitheatre. Excellent dive. Visibility good.

13 October 2013 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Very hot day and strong NW winds. Went in off W point and headed SW to Deep Wall. Could not find the anglerfish Rox found yesterday at 10 m just before wall. Went S and then back normal way. I could not find the RIF near truck tyre but Ron found it on a different rock. He also found PPH here. Found a RIF on rock near wall and someone found some PPH there. A dwarf firefish a bit further on. Back near where we found 3 RIF on Thursday, I found a small one. Back to shore, now very hot (33C) and windy. Visibility good deep but a bit less at 12 m.

16 October 2013 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive. Reasonable swell but smooth, surgy on bottom though. No wind to speak of and very slight current from N. Saw two small humpback whales near bommie as we went past, could hear them underwater. Anchored on rock off W side but could see main reef. A school of blackfish in the gap, lots of small silver sweep and yellowtail. Bastard trumpeter near cave as normal. A few purple ascidians near cave and on W side, but no donut nembrotha. Very nice dive. Visibility good.

19 October 2013 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Large swell and very high tide made it impossible to get in on W point. Went from SE point but even then had to be careful. Very surgy till we got to the Deep Wall. Saw one RIF and 2 PPH. All the usual fish. Nice easy dive. Visibility fair.

20 October 2013 - Henry Head
Club dive day and BBQ. Five boats, 50 members, about 45 divers. Much better seas than yesterday. Dirty and warm on top and clean and very cold (15.4C) on bottom. Of course I changed from drysuit to wetsuit yesterday after weeks of warm water Followed sand edge to W and N and then back at about 18 m to anchor. Ended up finishing early due to cold. Saw one small sea dragon, lots of leatherjackets, including some very large moasic ones. Very nice dive as usual. Visibility good.

24 October 2013 - Shiprock
Club night dive, worse attendance in 13 years, 3 of us. Low tide and very dirty (3m) but few spots were better. Lots of opera house nudis, moray eels, including two huge ones. Many frogfish, lots of whiting in shallows. Only a reasonable dive. Visibility very poor.

26 October 2013 - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive, 5 boats. Was supposed to be Osborne Shoals but due to very large seas yesterday and potentially strong SW winds this morning, I decided to dive Pizza, rest did OS. Anchor dropped near cave but moved NE and ended up caught on one of the isolated rocks. When we got down visibility was awful, about 3 m. This meant it was impossible to swim over to either Pizza or KFC and ensure we got back. Did a few explorations and kept returning to anchor. A lot of seapike in one spot, that is about it. Very poor dive, Very poor visibility. Should have stayed in bed.

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