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.
2 December 2021 - Bare Island 15 Metre Reef
Went in off W point, others went in at Carol's Plaque. Very dirty top 4 m here and above 7 metres near exit. Much warmer there too. We went to sand edge, then to 15 Metre Reef and back. Slight outgoing current. Saw the others near first cave. Lots of nudibranchs, one PPH, no RIF, could not find the anglerfish others saw on Tuesday. Lots of other things too. Very nice dive. Visibility good.
3 December 2021 - Bushrangers Bay, Shellharbour
Impromptu dive organised to dive with GNS and have lunch afterwards. Millpond seas and no wind but wind picked up to over 30 kts while we were underwater, no effect here. Went slowly out of bay, saw first grey nurse shark as soon as underwater. Saw most at about 12 m or so. I think there were about 6. All small apart from one medium. Some came quite close and got good photos. Went out to sand but none there, only a large bullray. Back slowly, saw more GNS (same ones) and then back to shore. Really nice dive. Visibility good.
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