Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
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    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Welcome
    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.

    NOTE:

    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 Monuments is a great place to find sea dragons"
    News
    My Recent Dives October, November & December 2021
    9 October 2021 - The Leap
    First dive since 17 June as I went to Birdsville and due to Covid lockdown in Sydney, stayed 13.5 weeks in Queensland and South Australia. Glad to be back diving again. Tide was not particularly high but the current was perhaps the strongest I have had on this dive. Never needed to kick till near the end. Viz pretty good, 8-10 m. I saw 3 sea dragons and 2 big belly sea horses, but Ron saw 2 and 3 more respectively. He also saw a Bare Island anglerfish. He dropped a bit behind us so we did not see. Some PJs, lots of nudibranchs too. A very nice dive. Visibility fair.

    14 October 2021 - Henry Head
    Club boat dive. Forecast of strong NE winds and large NE swell. However, wind from N or NW and not so strong. Seas not too bad here. Anchored a bit shallow in 13 m. Blue water below about 10 m but cold 16.5C. Went S and then back past anchor area and back to anchor. Vishal low on air so dive a little shorter than planned. Saw 4 sea dragons, 3 sea spiders, a very small thin red pipefish. A few large black reef leatherjackets as well as normal fish. A really nice dive. Boat went perfectly. Visibility very good.

    15 October 2021 - Bare Island Right
    First dive at Bare Island since May. Very strong W winds when we went in but dropped a lot. Cool 17.7C, visibility 5 m or so. Went to just past first cave. Saw three PPH, one of which disappeared after I took first photo and we could not refind. Two upsidedown pipefish, one RIF, lots of nudibranchs and a very hidden Bare Island anglerfish. A really nice 95 minute dive. Visibility poor.

    16 October 2021 - M & K Reef
    Little wind and flat seas when we went out. Blue water and little current too. Anchored a bit to E of normal spot. Went to wall and then S. Around to the back caves. Came back past both main caves. Two blue devilfish, one in each cave. Kelly also found a pipefish and tiny yellow boxfish. Went to S end and then back to anchor as Andrew low on air. We stayed on the smaller deeper wall for another 7 mins. Very nice dive. After we ascended, the wind really picked up and when second group left bottom, the anchor dragged a few times under the W wind. Got it up okay though. Very rough trip back across Botany Bay to Sans Souci. Visibility good.

    19 October 2021 - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
    Swell not as bad as Sunday when we decided not to dive, but still some water coming over the rock platform, not easy to get out. Quite surgy, even at 15 m. Made it hard to look for small stuff. Went down to SHR and then I went alone to start of IR1 to try to find a grey Bare Island anglerfish on a rock off the reef. However, could not find despite spending 10 mins in the area. Back normal way. Saw one PPH, one RIF, the orange BI anglerfish we saw last Friday. No pipefish. Still a nice dive. Visibility poor.

    20 October 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Last minute decision to dive when weather was much better than the forecast. As such, I forgot to take my computers! Anyway, Kim loaned me one. Swell down a lot from yesterday, less surge, sun out and slight SE wind. High tide so lots of water over platform still. Went down to near Cave. Found one PPH, the one that disappears while photographing it. Got some photos, may have been giving birth. One RIF, the orange BI anglerfish, no pipefish. Lots of interesting nudibranchs. Good dive. Visibility fair.

    22 October 2021 - Middle Ground
    Only suitable day this week for a boat dive. Wind was stronger and swell bigger than forecast, so this was best site to dive. Current from N, was stronger than 12-15 kt S! Not too bad going down, little current on bottom. Blue water, 15 m viz. Anchored first go on S side but ended up on sand so moved to N side. Went around reef. No wobbegongs, some silver seep and seapike, but not the numbers we normally see here. Still amazed everytime how many great gorgonias there are on this site. Nice dive. Wind dropped after dive. Visibility good.

    23 October 2021 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    Tomorrow's club dive day and BBQ cancelled due to high winds and seas. Today was calm and little wind. However, strong current from N. Anchored in normal spot, but was on a tiny lip and moved it to a large rock. Went up The Split to end and back outside to Cave and then back to anchor. Bastard trumpeters in normal spot with silver sweep and red morwong. No donut nembrothas. Lots of black reef leatherjackets. Lots of sand has been removed on reef edge. After dive had to rescue two divers from Abyss boat who had not made it to the anchor line or bottom and who drifted off. Found them 550 m south. Took them back to the boat one at a time. Nice dive. Visibility very good.

    26 October 2021 - Clifton Garden
    Large swell so most places out of the question. Took well over an hour to get here. Dirty 2-3 m viz, but warm at 19.2C. Went to net and then followed it to the hole and then outside. At first corner Carole found the tiniest White's sea horse, perhaps 3 mm long. Got two poor photos. Also saw a frogfish. Had ear problems, so had to keep going up and down. Finally cleared at 55 mins so went out to middle of the bay and followed the huge chain in all directions. Not much seen. Back to wharf, a White's sea horse, the only adult I saw. Earlier some different nudibranchs, a reasonable sized flathead, two very small rays. Not the greatest dive. Visibility very poor.

    28 October 2021 - Pizza Reef
    Really different conditions to Saturday. No wind, flat seas and only a very slight current from the south. Viz way down too, only 5-7 m. Anchored north of crack. Went around reef, heaps of yellowtail, seapike, silver sweep, one-spot pullers and old wives. One blue devilfish but no donut nembrothas. Quite a few bastard trumpeters to NE of cave. Nice dive. Visibility poor.

    29 October 2021 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Flat seas, no wind, although it blew up very strong W as we got out. Four other members diving here separate to us. Viz 7-8 m deeper and 5 less than 14 m. Went off W point to Deep Wall, then back via RIF Reef and 15 Metre Reef. No sea horses, only PPH (Ugly as Kim calls him), one RIF, lots and lots of nudibranchs, some rarer ones too. NIce, relaxed dive. Visibility fair.

    2 November 2021 - Barrens Hut/The Split
    No wind or current. Slight swell but seemed to pick up in the 90 minutes we were diving. Anchored in normal spot, but boat hung to W. Had leak from neck, ended up totally soaked down to my socks! I think I had undergarment collar up in neck seal. Cold too! Was about 5-6 m here and up The Split, at least 3 dozen PJs. Outside, viz got worse and on way to look for donuts was only 1-2 m. Back along reef edge, got better to 2-3 m. To Cave and back. Some silver sweep at N end, bastard trumpters and red morwong in Cave and normal spot S of anchor. Back up. Not a great dive. Visibility very poor to shithouse.

    3 November 2021 - Inscription Point
    Much stronger NE winds than forecast but not too bad. Reasonably strong outgoing tide too. Viz a lot better than I thought it would be, 7-10 m. Did the normal dive but not as far as knew we would use a fair bit of air on return to exit. Saw two sea dragons, one big belly sea horse (others saw two more), three PPH, a large bullray. Plenty of nudibranchs. Visibility fair.

    4 November 2021 - Maccas Reef
    No wind, calm seas, very slight current from N. Anchored on wall. Cold clear water, much better than Tuesday's dive. Went N for 5 mins without Kevin, he later caught up with us, he was underweighted and had to get more lead from boat. Heaps of seapike and yellowtail up here. Back to anchor and S a bit. Then back and around anchor. Lots of purple ascidians but no donut nembrothas. No sea dragons either. Enjoyable dive. Started raining as we went to leave. Visibility good.

    6 November 2021 - Henry Head
    Supposed to do Bypass Reef as a club dive, but current was at least 1.5 kts from N. Also very sloppy, swell from NE instead of SE. Back to Henry Head. Very cold 15.7C. Went S to the corner, strong incoming tide current. I saw three sea dragons but others saw two more at least. A few red/yellow sea spiders too. Lots of nudibranchs, black reef leatherjackets and more. Very nice dive. Visibility good.

    7 November 2021 - Henry Head
    Trouble with starboard engine, problems starting and also later. Turned out to be bad isolator screw on battery. Similar to yesterday. No wind, smaller seas and less surge but similar current. Very cold again, 15.6C. Anchored a little N from yesterday. Went S, saw 7 sea dragons, three with eggs or remains. Lots of sea spiders, red and yellow and yellow and grey. Plenty of ladder-finned pomfrets at N end. A really nice dive. Visibility good.

    9 November 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Could not get a crew for a boat dive, lucky, as wind much stronger S than forecast. Went in at Carol's plaque. Water much warmer at 18.1C. Down to almost SHC. The ugly PPH was home, then a tiny orange painted anglerfish before SHR. Also a PPH here too. Then further on some interesting nudibranchs, including a pink okenia and an opera house out in open. The Bare Island anglerfish was not on rock near Cave. However, I found a tiny yellow painted anglerfish to W of this rock. It had red circles on back and grey spots. So cute. Another much larger BIA was on top of rock near SHC. This turned out to be one I saw on 23 Sept 2020 in front of Cave, but now is more orange than yellow. Another PPH, and one more BIA back on same rock as the first painted anglerfish. A great dive. Visibility fair.   

    13 November 2021 - Bare Island Right
    Very strong W wind, hit 37 knots at Kurnell. Glad we were not out boat diving as forecast was only 12 kts. Six club members. Went in past plaque and also exited there as ramp was too rough. Water much dirtier than Tuesday, only 5 m at most. Lots of divers in the water, including a whole bunch inexpicably with twin 12 litre tanks! Also a very selfish photographer spending over 5 mins taking photos of the tiny yellow painted anglerfish. Anyway, we all got separated at first BIA and I spent the rest of the dive with Paul. Went down to find the yellow painted anglerfish (YPA) and then to SHC. Could not find the BIA we saw on Tuesday. Back to YPA. Found three PPH, including Ugly which had moved to next bunch of weed. Also a large wobbegong, two sole, lots of nudibranchs including some red-lined flabellina and a wandering pink okena. A nice dive despite the divers. Visibility poor.

    14 November 2021 - The Monuments
    Windy again, not as bad as yesterday. Flat seas and easy entry/exit. Went E at first and then W and back to exit. Viz ranged from 4-5 down to 2-3 metres. Very little current, outgoing tide. Two sea dragons, a lot of nudibranchs. No PPH or sea horses. An average dive. Visibility very poor.

    17 November 2021 - Inscription Point
    Had to cancel boat dive due to illness of one crew and unable to get a replacement. Lucky as wind was up to 18 kts S rather than the 7-8 kts forecast. Blue water but a lot of whale snot. Saw three big belly sea horses and two sea dragons. No PPH or BIA. Lots of nudibranchs. Nice relaxing dive. Visibility fair.

    18 November 2021 - SS Tuggerah
    Two boats and 8 divers. Little wind and no current but a bit of slop from many directions. Anchored first go about half way to bow on E side. Lots of bailer shells, especially near anchor. Went to stern after securing anchor. Large wobbegong shark under prop and two moray eels in steering gear. Then to anchor. Maxine went up and I went to bow where Peter T showed me a large crayfish. Back to anchor which had just come free. Had to drag it back to near where I had it and reset. Did almost 22 mins on bottom, 2 more than I planned. Easy deco. Great to dive the Tuggerah again, first time this year. Visibility fair.

    20 November 2021 - Shiprock
    Club shore dive. Original forecast bad so did not take my boat out. Went in a few minutes late and slight incoming tide. However, at 25 mins it turned dramatically, no slack, and ran out very strongly. Hard to swim against. Don't think I ever had it do this. Water warm 18.3C and viz about 7 m. Went normal route, the middle buoy has been moved too close to a large bommie and the chain has destroyed 75% of the growth on it. Fisheries really are idiots, a marine reserve and they are killing so much of it. Only got to just past the last buoy before the tide changed. Very quick trip back. A few moray eels, octopus. a large bullray, many numbrays, only one nudibranch, no pineapplefish. A disappointing dive once again, I really do not know why I dive here now. Visibility fair.

    30 November 2021 - Bare Island Right
    First dive for 10 days as weather has been rubbish. John up from Melbourne, so decided to organise a dive here. Not much swell but a little surge. Nine members all up. Went in at Carol's Plaque. Water dirty after the rain and big seas, but got better at SHC. I did not see any anglerfish, but second group did. Three RIF, an upsidedown pipefish, a bright red PPH, many different nudibranchs. Ron saw some fine-lined tamjas. A large flathead, many friendly blue gropers, lots more. Nice dive. Visibility very poor.

    1 December 2021 - The Split
    Sloppy seas but better after, no wind, reasonable current from N, blue water, 18.1C. John didn't make it to deco line first go. I set anchor and then went looking for him and up. He was back on boat, Ron added extra line to mermaid. Second go all okay. Went up Split to look for donut nembrothas, found one. Back to anchor on outside. Lots of one-spot pullers and a few bastard trumpeters near anchor. Nice dive. Visibility good.

    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 October 2021 00:00 · Print
    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 · 994 Reads · Print
    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2021
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for over 25 years by Michael McFadyen
    without any help from the Australian Dive Industry since 1996!