My Recent Dives - November & December 2014
Posted by Michael on 01 November 2014 00:00

7 November 2014 - SS Hilda
Went out on Phil's boat, could not get a crew earlier in the week. Despite others having 1 m viz on Tuesday, we had at least 12 m. Anchored right on boiler which has finally totally fallen apart, with the pipes standing upright now. Went out to bow and back to prop, then up to the engine and huge winch. Back around over most of the wreck again. Very nice dive. Visibility good.

8 November 2014 - Honeymoon Bay South
Club dive and camping weekend. Went out of bay and turned south. Followed sand edge with occasional swims onto the reef. The reef is like a streetscape, with canyons at right angles. They run NE-SW and NW-SE. Saw a dead fiddler-ray, two wobbegongs and lots of reef fish. Plenty of small blue gropers and a few large ones. Not a great dive site but okay. Visibility fair. 

12 November 2014 - Middle Ground
Club boat dive. A reasonable rolling swell, but not rough. Blue water on top and no wind. However, very dirty once we hit 10 m but a little better on the bottom, say 5 m. Quite surgy at 30+ m, so would have been worse elsewhere. Anchor was jammed in a small crack on SE corner of the reef. Took me 7 mins to release it, had to tie of chain on a rock and get Les to wiggle the top while I pulled from below. Only went along E side and then back to anchor area. Not a great dive, but better than nothing. Visibility poor. 

17 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, SS Yongala
Club trip away. A reasonable current from the bow. Went down bow and then to about mid section. Lots of large giant trevally, 2 large bullrays, huge numbers of other fish. Checked out the mast area where Tina Watson was found, confirmed my theory that police claims about how far off the wreck she was was rubbish. Came back to bow and saw a turtle. Did not see the Qld groper that others saw. Did  25 mins on bottom. Water almost 27C on bottom. Visibility fair.

17 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, SS Yongala
Current almost gone, water warmer and viz much better at 12 m. Went all the way to stern and around to rudder and prop shaft. Back along centreline, into holds and saw engine (5 cylinder) and donkey boiler. Back to bow  and then up. More giant trevally, some enormous. Fishlife is amazing, just as anyone says. Great dive. Visibility good.

17 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, SS Yongala
What a dive! Current at start similar to first dive but by end stronger. Lots more fish, big and small. Saw a leopard shark right next to descent line. Went down to rear mast where a huge turtle on it near sand. Under were lots of small Qld gropers. Back on wreck two eagle rays swam overhead and followed us to bow. Saw a few barracuda, two huge Qld gropers and the eagle rays came very close at bow.  One of my best dives for years. Visibility fair.

18 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Staghorn Corner, Shell Reef
Located on SW corner of Shell Reef. Went S around a larger bommie where wall dropped from 2 m to 15 m and then slope to over 30 m. Went around some smaller boomies which had staghorn coral and small fans. Some saw a few white-tips. At S end of the main bommie came back shallower thru a gap between 2 bommies. Then deepened a bit. Along here I saw a small opening which turned out to be a swim-thru that dropped in steps to the outside of the reef. It was about 20 m long. Came back along wall to under boat and then back around to main wall. Saw a few interesting fish, but not brilliant. Visibility excellent.

18 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Staghorn Corner, Shell Reef
This dive headed N from boat at 22 m and around a bommie. Sand slopes to 20 m and then gradually a bit deeper. Came back along the outer wall (made up of bommies) and then between two into a sort of very small lagoon. From here back out towards the boat. Spent the end of the dive on the bommie to E of boat. Saw a small black-tipped reef shark, lots of largish clams, one nudibranch, aand many large sea whips with clinger fish. Heaos more staghorn coral on the sand. Visibility excellent.

18 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, No Name Reef
This reef is about 11000 x 300 m in size. Site is SW corner where there is a small lagoon/large bay. We are anchored inside. Dived to N outside lagoon and then NE around a bommie. Back into lagoon and around a larger bommie. Sandy bottom is 10 m inside and outside about 18 m. Came back S of boat and to W where there are more bommies and a series of ridges running E-W. Saw one or two small white-tipped reef sharks, some interesting nudibranchs and a small hump-headed wrasse as well as all the normal fish. Visibility very good.

18 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, No Name Reef
Night dive. Dropped to sand below boat and headed E. Saw a white-tipped reef shark at least 4 times, probably the same one. Went over to the small coral outcrops and then S to the walls from larger bommies. Around the small bay and back to NW and W. Saw a flat worm which then started swimming away. Videoed it. Shortly after this the camera housing flooded. I surfaced and took camera to boat. Hopefully it might survive as housing was only 1/4 full. Went back down and then headed W again along the coral ridges. Jumped from one to another as we headed back E. Spent rest of dive to E and S of boat. Aa few parrotfish asleep, some fusiliers and schools of baitfish under the boat in flood lights. Visibility excellent.

19 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Castor Reef Bommie
A series of 4 bommies at S end of reef. Dropped to 15 m and went clockwise around the largest one. Saw a white-tipped reef shark at start. Main bommie drops vertically from 2 to 15 m and then slopes to 30+ m. Went over a ridge on E side and around back. Here we had a slight current that helped us through a gap between main and another bommie. Went around a third one back to start. Mostly at 22 to 25 m. Then went around again at 12 to 15 m. Finished with 20 mins at 5-6m. Lots of small parrotfish, a few anemones and clownfish, all the normal reef fish. Visibility excellent.

19 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Lion Reef Bommie
What a dive! Site is pretty destroyed from cyclone 5 years ago but lots of gorgonias and sea whips. Anchored off N end and went down W side to S. Lots of large gullies running E-W. Saw a few white-tipped reef sharks and grey sharks. Also a huge Qld groper. On the way and at S end hundreds of unicornfish, surgeonfish and more. A few barracuda, some tuna and lots  of other pelagic fish. On way back cut across the top but went wrong way when we hit edge. Ended up back at N end. Fantastic dive. Visibility excellent.

19 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Lion Reef Bommie
Located of S end of reef in a sort of bay. Reef top is about 12 to 15 m running E-W. Drops from this to about 25 m and then sand slopes to 35 m. Went E along the reef top. An old rope ran from top down to bottom but I could not see what it was connected to. Came back along the reef top and past the anchor (which was on sand at 15 m on steepish slope). Then back to the shallower area and spent rest of time there. A white-tipped reef shark under the boat, some anemones and clownfish, a few small parrotfish and other normal reef fish.  Not a great dive, so decided to opt out of the night dive. Visibility excellent but not as good as this morning.

20 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Europa Bommie, Jupiter Reef
Bommie on SW end of reef. Dropped to reef and followed outside wall which drops to 35 m. Lots of indents. Saw heaps of sharks, white-tipped reef, grey reef. Saw at least 8 on the wall. Grey reef was large. At S end Mat saw a turtle. Came back thru pass. Did not see the sweetlips that live here. A bit further on we saw 2 tawny sharks, bboth large, the second one at least 3 m. More WTRS back near boat. Spent the rest of the dive around the smaller bommies. Also saw barracuda, clownfish, mackeral, parrotfish, triggerfish and mmore. A brilliant dive with 35 m viz. Visibility excellent.

20 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Europa Bommie, Jupiter Reef
Another dive here, started off the same heading S on deep wall. When we got to W point of bommie, there was a slight current coming towards us. Rather than fight it, we turned around and came back. From here went around the smaller bommie and up the pass between the main reef and the larger bommie. Where we saw the tawny sharks last dive was the place where the diagonal banded sweetlips were this dive. no wonder we did not see last time, sharks scared them away. Back to smaller bommie to end off. Lots of sharks, all WTRS this time, at least 9, one which was tiny. Another great dive. Visibility excellent.

20 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Viper Reef Lagoon Bommie
Located at entrance to lagoon on W side of reef. Went over to the bommie and W and S around the deeper section. Saw about 5 WTRS, 2 hump-headed wrasse, 3 Maori wrasse along this wall. Went right around the main bommie and then over to a smaller section to W. This comes up to 5 m and was nice. Back to main bommie and down to W end and turned around. Came back and did safety stop around bommies. Visibility excellent.

20 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Viper Reef Lagoon Bommie
Night dive. Went W from boat into shallows. Lots of staghorn coral, a few small coral outcrops, a huge brian coral bommie. Saw an epaulet shark, a slipper cray, some prawns. Lots of normal fish as well. Came back early as I had to go over to the main bommie and release the rope to the reef used to find way back. Not a brilliant dive. Visibility very good.

21 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Martys Maqic Mile, Viper Reef
Reef is 450 m from last night's dive. Anchored off N end of a large bommie which drops to 35 m. Quite strong current from N. Dropped straight to bottom and went to the N end and sat off this in pressure wave. A few barracuda and one white-tipped reef shark. Drifted back from here to halfway point and then came back onto the reef top. Lots of gullies and higher peaks. Worked our way back forward to near the boat. Stayed here for a while in two spots. Some unicornfish, spanish mackerals and a large grey reef shark. Safety stop on shallowest point. Exciting dive. Visibility excellent.

21 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Martys Maqic Mile, Viper Reef
Current from first dive was gone and replaced by veyr slight current from S. Went straight to bottom and followed W side to S and W point. Here the current was stronger, so we ascended to the top of the reef. Came back thru all the cracks and canyons. Some small overhangs snd swim-thrus with gorgonias. Went over to E side towards N end. Lots of fish spawning. Saw 2 WTRS, quite a few barracura, some large. Back to N end and safety stop. Long swim back to boat as it had changed orientation due to current. Visibility excellent but less than morning. 

21 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Blue Water Bommie, Saville-Kent Reef
Dropped to bottom under boat and then worked shallower to E. A huge reef below and many smaller coral outcrops shallower. A few GTRS and GRS, a hump-headed wrasse, 2 Maori wrasse and all the normal reef fish. Some glass shrimp in an anemone, a small juvenile many-spotted sweetlips and lots of clownfish. A very colourful dive site. Visibility very good (lots of fine sand around).

21 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, Blue Water Bommie, Saville-Kent Reef
Night dive. Went to reef below  boat at 20 m and worked way to E to 15 m. Then S at this depth for 15 mins. Up to 12 m and back N. Then to 10 m and safety stop. Saw lots of things, especially shrimp, crabs and squat lobsters. Saw a tiny black dumpling squid and a crab wth eggs ? on nippers. Also saw the juvenile many-spotted sweetlips from the previous dive. Very colourful dive. Saw a large feather star eating worms attracted by lights. Very good dive. Visibility excellent.

22 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, SS Yongala
Moored on stern this time. Medium current from NE on wreck. Went to bow. Saw two Qld gropers, one huge and the other just large! Lots of bullrays and smaller rays. As normal, heaps of giant trevallies all over the wreck. A turtle and a few sea snakes, including one on the surface near line. Hung at bow for a while before drifting back to stern. Stayed there till we ascended. A brilliant dive again. Visibility good.

22 November 2014 - Queensland, Townsville, SS Yongala
Current stronger than last dive but on bottom had changed direction to come from NW so protected on deck. Went to bow again. Amidships saw 11 eagle rays. Also saw the Qld gropers again, this time at the bow. Giant trevallies all over the place, about 5 sea snakes and 2 turtles. Came back to stern and stayed a short time before ascending. Very strong current when doing safety stops. Hard pull back to boat as line was not secured at first and I pulled more out. Visibility good.

28 November 2014 - South West Arm
Did a dive from our RIB running from the yacht. Kelly took me to just inside the point and I drifted back to Catlypso. I actually went too far and then came back. Viz above 11 m was about 7 m, but only 3 m deeper. Saw a few chairs. not as many bottles as I thought there would be. There were some small blue gropers, lots of leatherjackets and mado. Some catfish, reasonable size bream and more. The site had a slope down to 8 m and then a shear wall to 11 m. Bottom mostly sand with some silt. Not a bad dive. Visibility fair.

29 November 2014 - South West Arm
Jumped off the back of Catlypso at mooring and headed S. Went to the bottom of the wall and followed this. There was a large cave, at least 25 m long and almost 10 deep in spots. Similar dive to last one, some small sponges, weed etc on rocks. Saw the same fishlife. Also two fish traps, one a small bait trap and the other larger. Ripped this one apart as no line to the surface. A lot less rubbish on the bottom again, even under the moorings. At the end I used a paint scrapper to remove barnacles from the port prop and also from under the starboard keel where I stripped the new antifoul in Tweed River in June. Another nice easy dive. Visibility fair.

1 December 2014 - Shiprock
Low tide. Did the normal circuit. Water very warm at 22C and even 23.6 in shallows. Lots of octopus, some very large. Quite a few nudibranchs, most I have seen for a couple of years. Also plenty of hermit crabs. There were 7 pineapplefish in the normal cave. Nothing special seen, but a nice dive. Visibility poor.

3 December 2014 - Barrens Hut/The Split
Club boat dive. A bit of swell and chop from NE, left over from strong NE winds yesterday. Hardly any wind and very slight current from N. Dirty on top, but a bit warmer than below. Bottom viz at least 20 m but very cold at 16.5C. Greg had ear problems so went off without him. He eventually got down. Went along Split to N and then back to Tunnel and Cave. Then back to anchor. Not as many bastard trumpeters as normal, a few blue morwong. Lots of nudibranchs, but no donut nembrothas. Great dive. Visibility very good.

4 December 2014 - Shiprock
Club night dive. Very dirty, worse than Monday which was low tide (tonight was high). Current was also funny, had to swim against it the whole dive. Lots of decorator crabs, a moray, a couple of large octopus. Plenty of Sydney cardinalfish, all in pairs with one having a mouth full of eggs. However, did not see any with their mouth open. A few small PJs, a frogfish and some nudibranchs. Not a great dive. Visibility very poor.

6 December 2014 - Bypass Reef
High tide so decided to dive this site at the entrance to Botany Bay. No current when we anchored by a little had picked up by the time we got back on board. Very dirty on top (and 20C) but at least 20 m and 16.1C on the bottom. Lots of PJs, red morwong and a few bastard trumpeters and blue morwong. Also one blue devilfish. Plenty of purple dragons, but no sea horses or sea dragons. A great dive. Visibility very good. 

7 December 2014 - The Monuments
Club Xmas Party. Three separate dives on, we decided to do here. A bit of swell so went in further west than normal. Headed N to sand and then E till 9 mins and then W. Viz pretty good at 10 m but very cold again at 17.1C. After 25 mins the viz went down to 5-7 m and then later 3 m. Saw an interesting nembrotha nudibranch and a dark pipefish. Lots of Sydney cardinalfish with eggs, but like Thursday, none would open their mouths so we could see the eggs. A much better dive than I thought it would be. Great Xmas lunch afterwards. Visibility fair.

10 December 2014 - Marys Reef
Club boat dive. Little wind and good seas. Warm and dirty on top still but cold (16.1C) and reasonable viz on bottom. Went E along wall and around boulders. Found two red pygmy pipehorses. Lots of black reef leatherjackets and a large school of silver sweep. Came back a little shallower, found an upsidedown pipefish in a small overhanging crack. Lots of fish in some cracks and the W overhang. Very nice dive. Visibility good.

11 December 2014 - Bare Island Deep Wall
Wind came up early but still okay. Went thru pool as Kim wanted to show me an anglerfish, but we could not find it. Went via canyon over to Deep Wall, ended up at normal spot. Found 2 out of 3 sea horses, no RIF on RIF Reef but Kim found a small one later. Lots of nudibranchs, including pink okenias, other okenias and more I have not seen for ages. Also one PPH E of Sea Horse Rock. Viz a lot better than we expected, but cold at 17.1C. Visibility good.

18 December 2014 - Bare Island Isolated Reefs
Club night dive, 10 attending, just after high tide. Went in off W point, but MW who was leading took us N (my compass must still be on Le Scat) so we had to go down reef. Lost most of the divers along way but found 2 near SHC. Saw 1 RIF towards SHC. Went along N side of IR1 and at start of IR2 3 sea horses, one very pregnant. Then 2 RIF. Further around IR2 another RIF. Came back normal way. Saw a shovel-nosed ray. Very nice dive. Visibility fair.

20 December 2014 - Whale Watching Platform
Club boat dive, 4 boats and 19 divers. My last dive for the year. Due to rough seas, we did not end up at the planned location, and all 4 boats dived different sites. Water much clearer on top and pretty good on the bottom. Temperature up a degree overall. Did not see anything special, but the first group in say fiddler-rays, blind sharks and more. Was a nice dive anyway. Visibility fair to good.

Click here to see details of dives including profiles.

For more details about these dives and other dives this year, click here.