My Recent Dives - July & August 2018
Posted by Michael on 01 July 2018 00:00

1 July 2018 - Henry Head

Club boat dive, two boats. Took new member and new diver Paul diving. For only 18 dives, very good. Incoming tide and visibility 15 m, 17.0C. Drifted in on tide, saw 2 sea dragons, 2 PPH (1 tiny), a few nice nudibranchs, a butterflyfish. Lots of yellowtail in spots. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

4 July 2018 - Barrens Hut/The Split

Club boat dive, two boats. Very large swell, average 2.4 m with 4.2 m highest. Had to go right around bommie as breaking right between there and mainland. Westerly wind and some surge on bottom but not too bad. Anchored at S end of Split. Went to Tunnel and then Cave. Back to anchor and Paul and I went up Split and back. Lots of bastard trumpeters, some red and blue morwong, lots of black reef leatherjackets. Also some PJs. Pretty good dive considering the swell. Saw a few humpback whales, one surfaced only 50 m from us. Visibility good.

7 July 2018 - Bare Island Deep Wall

Cancelled club boat dive due to forecast very strong W winds but they came late and we could have dived. Went in off W point to wall and back normal way. Lots of PJs, Kelly found two very small PPH. We saw 5 RIF, all over the place. Some pink okenias and pink flabellinas. Plenty of bream and some small snapper. A small wobbegong, a very friendly blue groper and more. Despite it being low tide, visibility was good.

11 July 2018 - Pizza Reef

Club boat dive, 2 boats, 9 divers. Huge seas two days ago (9+m) but average today less than 2. Little wind and no current. Stacks of whales seen and could hear them all through the dive, very loudly at times. First dive with drysuit since 2014, new neoprene seals. No leaks! A bit surgy on bottom, but better than expected as was visibility (8 m). Went right around, lots of bastard trumpeters outside cave, hundreds of seapike, one-spot pullers and silver sweep at southern end. Quite a few yellow-finned leatherjackets and the usual black reef leatherjackets. Half expected to see a whale! A really nice dive. Visibility fair.

14 July 2018 - Shiprock

Club shore dive. Seas too big to take boat out. Quite dirty considering how clean the water in Port Hacking has been. Did not see a single nudibranch! Saw one pineapplefish and also a frogfish. Lots of leatherjackets, one small butterflyfish, some small surgeonfish (and big ones) and many bream. At the north end dozens of large sand whiting. Only a reasonable dive, no water in suit so looks like it is all okay. Visibility poor.

25 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Fish and Chips

No wind, flat seas and only a slight current. Went out to F&C, saw at least 10 GNS on the way there and back, mostly in the main gutter. Two were very large pregnant females, one with a white mark on right side of body. Also a shovel-nose ray. Plenty of yellowtail, silver sweep and bream near F&C. Then went towards the shallow entrance to cave. Saw about another 8 GNS. Back to mooring area before ascending. Great dive. Visibility very good.

25 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Shallow Entrance

Saw more humpback whales in surface interval and after the dive. This time went to the shallow entrance to cave. Saw at least 30 GNS on the way and in the gutter and cave. Found two teeth as well. Spent a little time in mouth of cave before heading deeper again and then drifting back with current to mooring. Used a bit more air as had to fight current a few times. Back around mooring area before ascending. Fantastic dive. Visibility very good.

26 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Fish and Chips

First part of dive similar to yesterday, then cut across towards Black Forest and then towards Shallow Entrance and back to mooring. Less sharks than yesterday in main gutter, but a couple in blind gutter and on the outside. Also some long-finned bannerfish, Moorish idols and one small clownfish. Not as many fish out at F&C. A few very inquisitive blue gropers as well. Water a bit colder (16.2 v 16.9) and also cleaner in spots. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

26 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Western Drift

Very little current. Started at The Pinnacle and went S into Colorado Passage. No sharks there but a few kingfish and other fish. Came back to The Pinnacle and then went around it on the south and east side then south along the western slope. So many fish. Baitfish and lots of other species, all being harassed by hundreds of large kingfish and a seal. Seal came down past us twice. Back towards Shallow Entrance a huge school of bannerfish and then plenty of GNS (some along the way as well). Also quite a few bullrays, including one huge one. Two eagle rays early on and then another three near cave. Then back to mooring and more GNS. Brilliant dive. Visibility good to very good and excellent near mooring.

27 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Western Drift

Calm as last two days. We went in again at The Pinnacle and after swimming around it, headed S. Not as many fish or kingfish today, no seal, but five Queensland gropers, altogether. One was huge. Quite a few GNS and over a hundred wobbegong sharks. A medium sized bullray and heaps of long-finned bannerfish like yesterday. In the Shallow Entrance Gutter, heaps of sharks, at least 30. Then back to S mooring. Another fantastic dive. Visibility very good, but darker as a bit cloudy.

27 July 2018 - Fish Rock Cave - Black Forest

Went from mooring to SW to wall, then followed this SE to near Black Forest. Lots of black coral trees, far more than the last time I went out here. Then went over the ridge to NE and into the Blind Gutter, amazed that we were only at the end of it! Saw the loggerhead turtle again. Then to Main Gutter and over to Fish & Chips. Little fish action here at all. Came back via the Deep Entrance Gutter and Main Gutter. No GNS seen at all. Then towards Shallow Entrance, some GNS seen, batfish and more. Very good dive. Visibility very good.

8 August 2018 - Bare Island Deep Wall

Boat out of action due to longer than expected repairs to steering so did a shore dive with Jason. Millpond seas and little wind at start, but stronger W later. Forgot my weight pockets first go, so had to get out and go and get them, idiot! Went from W point to wall and then back normal way. No RIF, PPH and hardly any nudibranchs. Lots of PJ and horned sharks, a few small cuttlefish, some cowfish but that is about all. If not for the visibility, would have been a rotten dive. No idea where everything has gone, but much colder than last ocean or near ocean dive in Sydney 3 weeks ago, 14.8C v 16.6C. Visibility very good.

14 August 2018 - Inscription Point

Flat seas and little wind. Went in a bit after high tide, very clean and warmer than last week (15.4C). Not a lot seen really, one sea dragon, one purple-lined nembrotha, a few other species of nudibranch. Did not seen any of the grey nurse sharks that have been seen here over the past month. Despite this, better than staying at home! Visibility very good.

15 August 2018 - The Balcony

Club boat dive. Strong NW wind but flat here. First dive here for over 4 years. Went along sand edge to NE and then across to main wall and into The Cutting area. Back to the main part of dive. Thousands of yellowtail, one spot pullers and lots of ladder-finned pomfrets. A few horned and Port Jackson sharks as well. A few blackfish up high near breaking water. Back to anchor and still lots of fish, including a large school of old wives. Water cold (14.6C) but still a great dive. Visibility very good.

15 August 2018 - Barrens Hut/The Split

Flat seas, very little wind, no current, warmer water (16.0C) and over 25 m viz! Went N along Split where there were 2 large rays. Then N again once on outside wall. Found 4 donut nembrothas here. Also a couple of blue morwongs. Back S (Kelly dived with second group and found 2 PPH). Two more nembrothas on the way. There is also a reef section visible above the sand, obviously a bit of movement here recently. Back near S end of Split could see MakCat from 26 metres and at an angle! Wow!. Went to the small gully near here, lots of bastard trumpeters and red morwongs there. After Les went up I hung around under the boat for a while till Kelly, Nancy and Lynne came down and then I ascended. An excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

25 August 2018 - The Crossroads, Jervis Bay 

Quite windy, at least 15 kts NE and seas very sloppy with some big swells. This site is north of The Arch. A wall that starts in 26 m then a drop to 30 m and then to about 37. We hit 39.1 m but you can get much deeper, over 40. We did a drift to south from entry point. At the start I lost my torch, went back to find it but not there. Was picked up by other divers on the dive luckily. We spent 19 mins on bottom then another 5 up on the top of the wall before ascending. Lots of Port Jackson sharks, an eastern blue devilfish, lots of nice sea whips with tiger anemones, sea squirts and plenty of smaller fish. A really nice dive site. Excellent dive. Visibility excellent.

25 August 2018 - Lighthouse Reef, Jervis Bay

Below lighthouse at Point Perpendicular. Went in and drifted to west. Viz nowhere as good as first dive, lots of whale snot in water. Lots of yellowtail in shallows. Some overhangs. Very good sponge life as expected. A few PJs. Have had better dives here. Visibility fair.

26 August 2018 - Stoney Creek, Jervis Bay

Much flatter seas than yesterday, virtually no wind. Live drop onto buoy, strong current, perhaps 0.5 kt from north, so drifted south. Went to 37 m and then to 40+. Hit 42.6 m and stayed below 40 for about 15 mins. Then worked our way west to shallower and then top of wall at 33 m. Ascended after 21.5 mins. Saw a few wobbegongs, sponge and sea whips on deeper parts so good, including tiger anemones. A really nice dive apart from the blue water ascent. Visibility good. 

26 August 2018 - Alyssas Playground, Jervis Bay 

This site is near Steamers Beach and the sea colony. Started near the bommie SE of beach. Headed S and then E along reef edge. About 25 m deep here. Lots of boulders, some as big as a garage. Some wobbegongs, lots of fish and beautiful sponge life. Ended up near the seal colony and had one (I think) seal play with us for about 10 mins while we ended dive and did safety stop. Fantastic!. One person saw a sunfish, apparently they see them here a lot. Visibility very good.

29 August 2018 - Shiprock

Too windy and large seas to take boat out. Very cold, 14.1C on bottom and 13.6C above 5 m. Hands were frozen when I got out and hard to get drysuit off and put clothes on! Not much life out on sand and bommies, did not see one nudibranch whole dive. Saw quite a few small cuttlefish, at least 15. Two moray eels, one on the last bommie in usual spot. Much better along the wall on way back, two pineapplefish, one at Bubble Cave and another near the far marker chain and one parrotfish. Also lots of silver sweep, yellowtail, seapike and other species and a few frogfish. Also quite a few medium sized bream and snapper. Back at northern end, at least 200 medium sized sand whiting. Only a reasonable dive though. Visibility good.

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