Westerly wind of 15-17 kts, very slight sea from S and water temp 20C. Slight current from N. Great viz, 20+ m, could see the boat clearly from 26 m. Went down Split and on way back at least 40 large squid off bommies. They were mating and laying eggs. Over a metre of sand missing in spots some , lots of rocks showing as well as a fish trap and an engine cable (weird). Also hundreds of tiny purple ascidians on the newly visible rocks. Some bastard trumpeters, but not as many as normal. Went thru Cave, lots of sand missing. A really nice dive. Visibility very good.
4 July - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
Went thru pool as a bit rough on corner. I found one tiny orange anglerfish near first cave. Saw a seadragon but no sea horses, RIF or PPH. Went along N side of IR1 and then back. Lots of silver sweep and small cuttlefish, a few small squid as well. A very nice relaxed dive, 18-19C depending on depth. Visibility very good.
17 July - Middle Ground
After awful conditons the past few weeks, it was good to get out. A bit sloppy on the way out but okay once anchored. A longish period so a bit surgy on the bottom, but not too bad. Did not go around, just stayed on the east and north-east side of reef. A lot of yellowtail, especially at the start, maybe a few kingfish. Nothing special, but it was a far better dive than I expected. Visibility fair.
10 August - Marley Point
Club boat dive. After a lot of rain over the past 2 weeks, it was amazing how clean the water was, at least 15 m viz. The wind was a lot less than forecast too. Saw a school of large dolphins pass the back of the boat and heard about 4 or 5 whales thru the whole dive. Huge numbers of yellowtail and ladder-finned pomfret in the 10 to 15 m level. Lots of leatherjackets and one PJ. Excellent dive. Visibility good.
11 August - Bare Island Right
Very strong W but still okay to get in off W point. I had ear problems and could not descend below 4 m. After the others went off, I could go a bit deeper so headed off to the main reef and followed it to 15 Metre Reef. Saw a strange sea horse and tiny 10 mm orange anglerfish outside the first cave. Did not see others come back so turned around. Caught up with them at 13 m. Kim showed us 3 more anglerfish, 5 mm, 10 mm and 30 mm. Lots of nudibranchs, including an orange one I have never seen before. A spiny gurnard as well as dozens of PJs, most very pale colour. Very good dive. Visibility good.
14 August - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
Cancelled boat dive today after yesterday's failed dive due to rough seas and very strong current. Went in from Carol's plaque. Found the 4 orange anglerfish, the new sea horse. Went across to IR1, one RIF. Also saw a large yellow boxfish, 3 firefish and Kelly found a pipefish. A really nice dive. Visibility fair.
16 August - Bare Island Isolated Reef 1
Went in from W point and W to 15 Metre Reef. Then to IR1 and back. Kim found another small orange anglerfish just as we hit the sand. One PPH, 3 more anglerfish (Trevor saw the other one), sea horse, lots of nudibranchs, one RIF, 3 firefish, a largish yellow boxfish and more. Another great dive. Visibility fair.
16 August - Hungry Jacks
Club boat dive. Flat seas and minimal current and wind, but that picked up a little from NW while we were out. Quite dirty with whale snot, especially on safety stop. Went N and then back S past boat and back. Quite a few silver sweep and one-spot pullers, a blue devilfish near anchor, a couple of smallish cuttlefish, lots of starfish. Visibility fair.
18 August - Bare Island Right
Club night dive, first for ages due to weather. Very high tide, full moon, so had to go in near plaque. Found all 4 anglerfish, 6 firefish, dozens of PJs, the strange sea horse and more. Quite a few nudibranchs, more than 10 Opera House. Plenty of small crab like things, a sea spider, a few cuttlefish and octopus and one RIF. Another great dive. Visibility fair.
20 August - Shiprock
Club shore dive. Was supposed to be at Oak Park but too rough there. Did normal drift dive, water quite clean and warm at 17.4C. Nothing special seen, no pineapplefish, lots of octopus, a few cuttlefish, hardly any nudibranchs. Saw two moray eels, one with two shrimp "guarding" him. A large flathead, one frogfish and lots of seapike and yellowtail. Visibility good.
21 August - The Split
Calm seas and little wind when we went out. Anchored on S end of Split, very slight current from S. Went N along Split and then N on outside of the reef. Found 5 donut nembrothas, the most we have ever seen. Three pineapplefish at S end of Split, lots of yellowtail, a few octopus. Really nice dive despite viz of about 10 m. Visibility fair.
22 August - SS Undola
Very flat seas and no wind so ran to Undola rather than Tuggerah. Took a while to pick up wreck well on sounder and when we anchored, we in fact were not anchored. Very dirty layer on the way down, black as on the bottom. Anchor was sitting on sand about 10 m N of bow. A slight current from S meant it was very hard work to get the anchor to wreck, took me 7 minutes as no help from buddy who was narked. Used lots of air! Then went to boiler and back and up. Not a great dive! Visibility poor.
27 August - Pizza Reef
Club boat dive, 2 boats and 10 divers. Was supposed to be wreck of Hilda but yesterday's strong S made it very lumpy for the long trip back from there. Anchored on the S most bit of reef as quite a current from N on bottom. Viz much better than expected, but a bit of surge every now and then. Lots of purple ascidians but no donut nembrothas. Two small boxfish on SE corner. Lots of yellowtail and seapike on N and NW side. No bastard trumpeters at all. A nice dive considering yesterday's weather and all the rain since last Monday. Visibility good.
30 August - SS Tuggerah
Good weather forecast so decided to do a deep dive. Flat seas, little wind, ran down at 23 kts which is very rare. Anchored first go forward of boiler. Slight current from N and blue water, at least 25 m viz. Went to stern, cleaned toilet on the way. Sea horse still behind boiler as is my old watch. Then around prop and back to the bow. A couple of large wobbegong sharks along the way. Heaps of moray eels as well. A brilliant dive, pity the sun was not out. Visibility excellent.
31 August - Middle Ground
Club boat dive. Quite windy when we got outside, stronger than forecast. Went to this spot as second closest without going into the wind too much. Anchored on E side. Almost on the bottom and something black rushed past me, scared the shit out of me. It was a seal. It came around us three times, for at least the first five minutes of the dive. Very friendly, came within inches, it even brushed its whiskers against my hand. I have never seen one as friendly in Sydney. Paul found a donut nembrotha, we saw a large wobbegong shark and a couple of PJs. A fantastic dive in the end. Visibility good.
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