Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Shearwater Predator and Heinrichs Weikamp OSTC 2N
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Marine Life
Rarer Sydney Marine Life
Bare Island Pygmy Pipe Horses
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Bare Island Marine Life
Encounter with Southern Right Whale and Calf

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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
  • Details about 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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    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Osborne Shoals has a cave called Meditation Cave"
    My Recent Dives - January, February and March 2023
    10 January 2023 - Inscription Point

    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, a long-fin bannerfish, 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.

    9 February 2023 - Little Beach
    Went in a bit before high but the current was going out, must be an eddy. Fairly strong at first, but easily handled. Cooler at 22.8C and viz only 5-7 metres. Kim, Carole and Leon also dived here and near us. Stayed 10 to 12 metres but did not get to the barge. Saw over 30 spindle cowries, only one platypus though, but others saw more. A few interesting nudibranchs, Kim found a tiny 10 mm long White's sea horse. I found a blue-ringed octopus. Two very small wobbegong sharks, lots of whiting, bream and flathead in the shallow sea grasses. An excellent dive. Visibility fair.

    10 February 2023 - Fly Point
    Very little current at all, but water colder at 21.8C and viz back up to 10 m. Did same dive as two days ago. Lots of nudibranchs, one blind shark, plenty of bream, whiting, etc. Four pineapplefish again, a few tropicals, a sea spider, a few octopus and small cuttlefish. Another very good dive. Visibility good.

    11 February 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    Went out through The Pool as a series of larger waves on W point more often than not. Then SW to Deep Wall. Viz in top four metres less than a metre but then opened up (huge rainfall on Thursday). At bottom of the Wall was 5-7 m but dark. We ended up missing the sea horses as I did not realise we were so far N. The pineapplefish on the N smaller wall is still there. Went right over RIF Reef but no RIF at all. Then to 15M Reef. Nice, three PPHs at the NW end. The grey BIA not there. Then to SHC, the upsidedown pipefish not seen. Back normal way. The yellow BBSH is gone, not seen anywhere near where it was. A few inertesting nudibranchs, a few moray eels, lionfish, and another three PPH. Back to exit, filthy and could not even find the way to the exit from the sand. Good dive. Visibility fair.

    11 February 2023 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
    Went out through The Pool and W and then to IR1. Similar visibility and temperature to first dive. Followed S side to Marco's Basin on IR2. A large school of fish here, many species. When we left and headed back on N side of IR1, a large school of kingfish and eastern Australian salmon circled us for a few minutes. Saw at least three moray eels, lots of nudibranchs, octopus and more. Back near the E end of IR1, I found a large black painted anglerfish. Fantastic! Back normal way, saw three lionfish, one with yellow colour. Similar to the second part of the first dive. A very nice dive. Visibility fair.

    17 February 2023 - Bare Island Isolated 1
    Two days ago reports of 1-2 m viz after the rain from a week ago. Quite clean when we got in, then 2-3 m viz till STR, then opened to 8-10 m but back to 3-4 m or worse. From there it varied every few minutes, going from over 10 m deeper to 2-3 m then back to 8-10 etc. Weird! Went from near Carol's Plaque. Started off with SOB but left them to go to IR1 as they were going too slow. Went looking for the black anglerfish from last dive. Could not find it. Back to main reef and back normal way. A couple of large wobbegong sharks, two huge octopus, some moray eels, lots of yellowtail on IR1 and silver sweep back shallower. No PPH, a few species of nudibranch, some interesting tiny bugs. Very nice, 100 minute dive. Visibility varied, mostly poor.
    19 February 2023 - Inscription Point
    Just after high tide, strong outgoing current, strongest for years. Calm when we got in but a bit sloppy when we got out. Cold 17.9C but clear 8-10 m. At 40 mins it got dirty but warmer at 20C. Two BBSH, one was Donna. Two sea dragons, one with damaged head. No PPH. Two small yellow boxfish and a butterflyfish. On the way back thousands of yellowtail passed us for three minutes or so. Hard swim back. nice dive. Visibility fair then poor.

    21 February 2023 - Bare Island Deep Wall
    High tide and water very high over the rock platform. Went in S of normal spot, dropped a glove before getting in and had to go after it, then dropped a fin. All good! Went SSW and ended up S of normal spot as planned. Found the two big belly sea horses. Then back normal way. A large wobbegong off the wall further on and one more later. Two PPH on end of 15MR and two more past where the yellow sea horse was. An upsidedown pipefish, a few moray eels, more nudibranchs. No pineapplefish anymore. Had to go back quick as low on air. Stopped in 5 m to photograph the stiliger nudibranchs. Also my other computer which was on air went into deco, but my main one was on 25% Nitrox and never went close. A good dive. Visibility poor with some fair.  

    25 February 2023 - Bare Island Right
    50th Anniversary of St George Scuba Club dive, 11 divers in three groups! Went in before Carols Plaque, quite dirty shallow and only a bit better below 8 m, perhaps 2-3 m, but warm 22.3C. However, at SHC it was around 10 m. Newish divers so only a 62 min dive. Saw some wobbegongs, two PPH, a few octopus, a few species of nudibranch. On the way back a huge flathead with two smaller ones. Did not see all that much as I was supervising the other divers. Still a nice dive. Visibility very poor overall.

    1 March 2023 - Inscription Point
    Just after high tide but no current at all. Warm 22.2C and viz of 5-7 m. Went E for 60 mins. Saw three sea dragons, three big belly sea horses (Cam, Emily, Donna), six PPH, a fiddler-ray, a red pipefish in red weed, three pipefish under a small ledge, two yellow box fish, a few species of nudibranch, dozens of large jellyfish and a school of large unidentified fish. A really good dive. Visibility fair.

    2 March 2023 - Inscription Point
    Right at high tide, also no current at all. Warmer at 22.9C and better viz of 8-10 m. Went E for 46 mins but went faster and further. I only saw one sea dragon but four big belly sea horses (Cam, Emily, Donna and ?) Seven PPH, a fiddler-ray, a red wide-body pipefish in red weed, three pipefish under a small ledge, one yellow box fish, a few species of nudibranch, only one large jellyfish unlike yesterday. A really good dive. Visibility fair.

    4 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    My 600th dive at Bare Island! Very overcast and a much larger swell than predicted, coming right under bridge and up onto rock platform. Water not too bad shallow but the deeper we went, the worse the visibility, only 2 metres in spots, but mostly 2-3 m. Dived with three new or newer members while others in three groups. Total of 13 divers I think. Found a large brown striped anglerfish before Cave. Donna found a tiny black one and a tiny orange one, but she could not refind this last one to show me. Vikki also told me after the dive the grey BIA is back in same spot as last year. Some pipefish seen, a few interesting nudibranchs, a blue groper that followed us for half the dive (with apparent spear damage!), a huge flathead and more. Despite surge and visibility, a good dive. Visibility very poor.
    6 March 2023 - Fly Point
    Club camping and dive trip at Nelson Bay, next six dives here. Went in just before high tide, slight current for 10-15 mins then nothing. Did normal dive. Viz not great, 3-4 m but warm 23.2C. Six divers all up. Lots of nudibranchs and some flat worms. A few moray eels, a blind shark, fiddler-ray, large flathead. A few tropicals, butterflyfish, Moorish idol, four pineapplefish, lots of bream and some whiting. Good dive. Visibility fair.

    7 March 2023 - The Pipeline
    Went in four minutes after high but tide ran in for at least 60 mins. Much cooler at 21.0C today. Went to Sea Horse Hotels, 13 new ones about 10 m to SE of existing 3. Were not there four weeks ago. Then drifted W. huge amount of dead algae floating and caught on stuff. Went way to W of Pipeline. Saw two small yellow Whites sea horses, one spindle cowrie, a few decorator crabs, some moray eels and another mosaic eel (I think). Also quite a few small cuttlefish. David Atkinson put a new plaque on Leanne's sea horse. A reasonable dive. Visibility poor. 

    8 March 2023 - Halifax Park
    First dive here for almost 10 years, maybe longer, due to the damage from the sand. Sand has now moved away from the shore at the starting point, but plenty of sand down further. However, all did not go to plan. Got to 22 m and discovered one buddy missing, turned out he had ear problems. Went back to shore but could not find him, only 15 min dive. A woman on a SUP found the bubbles and we went over. Ended up one buddy went with him and the other with me for second dive. Visibility fair.

    8 March 2023 - Halifax Park
    As per previous dive, a woman on a SUP found the bubbles and we went over. Ended up one buddy went with him as he was closer and the other with me for second dive. Went W for a bit, got to 24 m. Viz was probably 7-8 m, cooler 21.4C, only 26 mins. Didn't really see much as we did not really know where we were due to strange starting point. Saw a few butterflyfish, moray eels, flathead, some large silver drummer and plenty of small bream etc. Little current. Ended up finding the old exit guides of the two pyramids with pipe through them. Might have to do again some time. Visibility fair.

    9 March 2023 - Little Beach
    Went in about 5 mins after high, still had to swim into current most of the dive. All up there were 8 divers, one was a ring-in. Not sure what happened to him, must have done a short dive and left. Only saw four spindle cowries compared to over 20 last month. Also a fiddler-ray, a large kingfish, many small cuttlefish and some large octopus. Four pineapplefish in the A-frame. Some nice nudbranchs near the barge, including three large purple nembrothas. Back near the wharf, saw two tiny yellow boxfish. Under the wharf huge numbers of fish, many species. Also some very large flathead, including one with a fishing line hanging back. Plenty of flutemouths too, one large one with a crooked back. Very good dive. Visibility good.

    10 March 2023 - Fly Point
    Lots of divers here today. Went in just after high, current ran very slight for about 20 mins, then nothing. Did similar dive to Monday. Lots of nudibranchs, one very nice flatworm, some large moray eels, many small cuttlefish, blind shark, four pineapplefish. Huge number of bream, a lot of whiting, luderick, silver sweep and other species. Very good dive. Visibility fair. 

    11 March 2023 - Henry Head
    Club Frenchmans Bay day, only two boats as mine is stilled stuffed. Went on Craig's boat. Fairly clean on bottom, around 10 m, but cold 19.6C. Went S and then back to anchor and N and back. Found one sea spider, a few different nudibranchs, lots of black reef leatherjackets, but not a great deal else. No sea dragons. A good day. Visibility fair. 

    16 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    Millpond seas, warm 23.2C, clean then dirty to 9 m then 5-7 m viz. Went to Opera House Rocks and looked for the tiny orange anglerfish, I found it. Some interesting nudibranchs here too. Then around the outside rocks to the large rock before Cave. Two very large brown striped anglerfish, one on top of the rock and another on the side of the adjacent rock. The two PPH are still on the next rock back. Then to the top of the Cave. Donna found an even smaller orange anglerfish, perhaps 5 mm. Then spent a lot of time up here near the sponges and cauliflower soft corals. Two cowries, one a spindle, the other one on the CSC. Then went looking for grey anglerfish but could not find, back to top. Later we dropped down again and Ron found the grey BIA, no idea how I missed it. No black anglerfish seen. Some more interesting nudibranchs and I found a couple of starfish with shrimp. Back via the other anglers. Saw a large snapper on the way back, first one for 10 years or more anywhere. A fantastic 104 minute dive. Visibility generally fair.

    17 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    Did the same dive as yesterday, similar conditions but a little cooler in spots. Forgot my camera! Millpond seas, warm 22.4C, dirty to 10 m then 5-7 m viz. Went to Opera House Rocks, fiddler-ray on the way. Then looked for the tiny orange anglerfish, I found it again. Then around the outside rocks to the large rock before Cave. Two very large brown striped anglerfish, one on top of the rock and another on the side of the rock, not on the adjacent rock like yesterday. Also a smaller black striped anglerfish here. The two PPH are still on the next rock back. Then to the top of the Cave. I refound the smaller orange anglerfish. Then spent a lot of time up here near the sponges and cauliflower soft corals. One spindle cowrie. Then went looking for grey anglerfish but could not find it as it was not wherre it was yesterday nor nearby. I also found the upsidedown pipefish at SHC and two lionfish. Back to top. Later we dropped down again and Carole found the grey BIA, now about 15 m to E outside the main cave. On the way back, Kim found another tiny orange anglerfish and then another black striped anglerfish. A total of 8 anglerfish seen, by far the most I have seen here. There are at least two or three more around at the moment, one on IR1. Some more interesting nudibranchs and again I found a couple of starfish with shrimp. A fantastic 104 minute dive. Visibility generally fair.

    18 March 2023 - Inscription Point
    Organised by Eric. Flat seas and variable viz, started at 5-7 m but by the time we turned to come back it was well over 12 m. Thousands of large jelly fish like 2 weeks ago. Saw 2 sea dragons, but other saw 2 more. Also four sea horses, two PPH, one a very cute small red one. Also two yellow boxfish, two moray eels and a huge octopus. Also saw the 2 saw-tooth pipefish again. Lots of other things as well. I noticed last time that there are nowhere as many giant jelly ascidians as there was before all the rain last year. The only ones around are quite small. Freshwater/silt must have killed them. A very good dive. Visibility good.

    19 March 2023 - Bare Island Not So Deep Wall
    Huge numbers of divers here, arrived at 7:15 am and had to park a fair way along the Loop. High tide so went to W point. Headed W to NSDW. Some other divers arrived here just after us. Cool 19.8C compared to over 22C last few days, but at least 12 m viz. Went back via 15MR. A few cuttlefish, some moray eels, octopus but few nudibranchs. Back via SHC and could not find the grey BIA but others did. Looked for the tiny orange anglerfish above Cave but it was not there. Back via the three striped anglerfish, the PPH (only one seen) and then the other tiny anglerfish on OHR. It was there. Had to come back from there, only 54 minute dive as one buddy was low on air, the other two stayed longer. A nice dive. Visibility good.

    22 March 2023 - Shiprock
    Decided to dive Shiprock as swell up a bit. Slight current and reasonable 7-8 m viz. Dredge went by about 5 minutes into the dive and again at 30 something minutes, only transiting. Did usual route, some amenia nudibranchs on sand near large bommie, a speckled eel here too. Some more interesting nudibranchs further along. The moorings for the reserve buoys have been moved further away from the reef, good. A frogfish and a small wobbegong near the end as well as a solitary kingfish. On the way back 10 pineapplefish, 3 in crack, 3 below, 2 in normal spot and 2 at Bubble Cave. Found a saw-toothed pipefish in a hole on the wall towards the normal spot where we come back up the wall. A nice dive. Visibility fair.

    23 March 2023 - Shiprock
    Decided to dive Shiprock again. No other divers here, two yesterday. Again only a slight current and reasonable 7-8 m viz. Dredge went by about 35 minutes into the dive. Today we went a little quicker to try to get further to the SW. Ended up just before ET's wharf. Ron found a tiger pipefish S of plaque, no other pineapplefish at the end. Lots of leatherjackets as normal, including some eating jellyfish. Saw the 10 pineapplefish as yesterday, Two small yellow boxfish, some moray eels, a few larger octopus, a nice cowrie, some whiting and lots of bream and some small snapper. Found the saw-toothed pipefish again. A nice dive. Visibility fair.

    28 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    Millpond seas but overcast, quite dark. Viz only 4-5 m at most and colder at 19.5C. Went very slowly to SHR, 27 minutes. There was a brown striped anglerfish just past Sharks Fin but I did not see, was not there on way back. Found a tiny PPH on SHR. Then to tiny orange anglerfish on Opera House Rocks, then around the outside rocks. No PPH at the spot they have been lately and only one dark brown/black striped anglerfish rather than the three seen lately. Then to Cave, huge number of yellowtail circling for ages and many striped seapike in Cave. Then back following wall, another PPH, some nice nudibranchs, a tiny tiny umbrella shell and many moray eels and octopus. A very nice dive. Visibility poor.

    30 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    A lot different to Tuesday, a bit of swell coming around corner as well as SW wind making slight chop. At least sunny today. Water dirty above 12 m and a bit cleaner below, but cold 18.9C. Went normal way, and I found a tiny 3-4 mm orange anglerfish just before SHR. The red PPH is still on SGR and the tiny orange anglerfish on OHR as well as a frogfish under W end. Continued on and refound the two PPH before yellow finger sponges and I also found a tiny 10 mm long PPH there. The blackish striped anglerfis was still in same spot and a large brown one E of First Cave. Below the cave Carole found another orange anglerfish, a bit bigger than the others. Went to top of Cave and then SHC and I found the upsidedown pipefish and even got photos for once. Nothing interesting up there. Back normal way. Quite a few moray eels and octopus, two fiddler-rays, one medium wobbegong shark and one PJ. A really good dive. Visibility poor, but some better bits.

    31 March 2023 - Bare Island Right
    Similar dive to the last two, only did not go past the First Cave. Same water conditions, although not as rough, more surge and a tad warmer at 19.5C but felt colder as we did not swim as far. Refound all three tiny orange painted anglerfish and also found a yellow striped anglerfish out past OHR. Five PPH as well, including new one before SHR. A frogfish, some nudibranchs and all the usual fish. Another great dive here. Visibility poor.

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    Written by Michael McFadyenMichael on 10 January 2023 13:00475 Reads - Print
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