Mar

28

Date: 28th March 2016

Conditions: Swell in the ocean forced me to look at more sheltered sites, and Lilli Pilli sounded like a good muck dive. The vis wasnt great but easy conditions.

Visibilty: 5m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 18m

Details: A very productive dive at Lilli Pilli in Port Hacking, with lots of Whites Seahorses on the nets as promised. A Lance Blenny poked its head out of a can it called home, to see what all the flashing lights were about. In the depths at about 18metres a Gurnard skulked up the sand wall, flaunting its peacock like blue wings. More Wobbegongs under the small overhangs in the shallows, together with an Eastern Frogfish…much bigger than i expected. A nice muck dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

26

Date: 26th March 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 18m

Details: On a trip up to the Blue Mountains, we stopped in Sydney for the first couple of days to do some diving. Weather wasn’t very conducive to diving though, and although i’d planned to dive Bare Island, ship Rock was my fall back dive. I wasn’t disappointed though, this was a fantastic dive, with so much going on. Big schools of Stripies, old wives, leatherjackets, and yellow tailed scad. Pineapple fish under the ledges with Gloomy Octopus, catfish, and moray eels. Plus scorpionfish sitting up on the spoage covered rocks trying to blend in. A dive i hope to do again if i’m ever in Sydney.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

6

Dive Number: 568 06/03/2014 Hyams Beach – Jervis Bay

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: This was destined to be the last dive of the trip, and i had a number shore dives to select from along the shores of Jervis Bay. Hyams Beach was the choice and it was a pretty good dive. A number of legdes ran parallel to the shore getting progressively deeper. I decided on the macro lens for this dive, but after spotting about 8 wobbegongs, decided that this was probably not the best choice. It was good to get some fish portraits though. A nice easy dive to finish off a great trip along the Southern coast of NSW.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

6

Dive Number: 567 06/03/2014 The Nursery, Bowen Island, Jervis Bay

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: We were promised Grey-Nurse Sharks on this dive, and weren’t let down spotting about 5-6 all up. The conditions weren’t the best and the sharks kept their distance, but one fairly tattered looking individual gave my dome port a good eye-balling.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

6

Dive Number: 566 06/03/2014 The Wall, Bowen Island, Jervis Bay

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: We headed up to Jervis Bay, and Grey Nurse Sharks were the target species. We took a charter out of Huskisson with Dive Jervis Bay a nice little shop within walking distance of the harbour and a great bakery over the road. I think this is the first dive boat i’ve been on with an all female crew, skipper included….not that there’s anything wrong with that. :)

We headed out to Bowen Island over a fairly choppy bay, but the island offered protection from the wind, and conditions were really good. The dive on “The Wall” of the island was pretty good with cuttlefish, Weedy Seadragon, and wobbegong (i think i even saw an Eastern Blue Devil deep under the ledge). This trip was all about the grey nurse though, so not seeing any left me a little underwhelmed, but i was promised the next dive at “The Nursery” would provide the goods.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

5

Dive Number: 565 05/03/2014 Jones Beach, Bannister Heads, Ulladulla

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: The ANU website mentioned a couple of shore dives around Ulladulla, one of them being Jones Beach near Mollymook.

The dive is located in a nice little cove with relatively easy entry down a gently sloping staircase from the carpark. There is no beach though, just large round rocks that could get a bit dicey of if your not well balanced with your rig on your back. You decend over lush kelp beds in the shallower water and then i headed north east along a series of ledges that form the drop off from the cliffs along the headlands. The ledges were fairly barren and fishlife was fairly scarce but had the usual accompaniment of Blue Groper. Not a bad little dive with octopus, scropionfish, sargeant baker etc, but nothing world class.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

5

Dive Number: 564 05/03/2014 Bawley Point

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 12m

Details: We stayed the night in Ulladulla, and i was considering the Lighthouse Reef for today’s dive. The conditions did look great, but the big stair climb and swim wasn’t all that appealing. Ended up driving back down south to Bawley Point and wasn’t disappointed with the decision. This was a great critter dive! The terrain is fairly uninteresting with a generally sandy bottom along the edge of the sloping rocky point that descends gradually into the water, however there are all sorts of critters to keep you occupied. Cuttlefish, Crested Horn Sharks, scorpion-fish, octopus, schools of trevally, Bat Rays and Smooth Rays, and right at the end of the dive…an Estuary Catfish(Cnidoglanis macrocephalus)! This seemed so out of place in the ocean..it was a surreal encounter. Great dive!

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

4

Dive Number: 563 04/03/2014 Guerilla Bay

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Details: Guerilla Bay looked like an awesome spot to dive, however i didn’t really know where the best entry and exit points are. Luckily we ran into some divers who offered some advice on how to enter. The sheltered bay is shallow, and with the swell rolling in between the small gully of the island and mainland, it can create some difficult conditions. We found the small entrance to the gully which was deep enough not to be too affected by the swell, and followed in out the gap between the island – over the sunken rowing boat. We then decided it wasn’t a good idea to circumnavigate the whole island, because it was advised that missing the entry back into the bay, we might encounter some strong-ish currents. So we headed left after leaving the gully and along the cliff walls. The vis was murky and the walls where fairly bleak and barren. I’m not sure if it was previous dive experiences, but the area felt very sharky…it was probably just the lack of local knowledge, but a brief encounter with a seal didn’t help the nerves much. We turned around after 100m or so, and headed back past the gap and around the back of the island. Large barren boulders turned into a maze of gullies, and after turning back, things started to feel very unfamiliar. Eventually we found the gap back into the bay, but it was getting to the point where we were feeling very lost and surfacing against the swell exposed wall wasn’t an option. I think i’d love this site if i did it again, but this was a dive towards the scary end of the spectrum.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

3

Dive Number: 562 03/03/2014 Dalmeny Boat Ramp

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 13m

Details: This second dive we went out through the gully and then headed right(east) towards the southern point. As the water got deeper, the colours and vegetation got more prolific and there were some really beautiful little gullies and crevices covered in gorgonians, sponges and ascidians. We spotted a couple Port Jackson sharks, a few different species of rays and a Boarfish was a bit of a surprise. Towards the end of the dive, literally thousands of mados and sweep hovered above a bommie. The water column was thick with fish and it was truly incredible to swim through so many fish. This was a really great dive. On the way in i finally managed a decent pick of the elusive Eagle Rays in the area. My dive buddy ended up diving the northern point later in the day and said that was really good too.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

3

Dive Number: 561 03/03/2014 Dalmeny Boat Ramp

Conditions: Perfect

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: After discussing some of the shore diving options with some divers on the Montague Island Charter, we arranged to meet up at Dalmeny the following day. The entry point was at the boat ramp, which is a reasonably protected little cove.

Dalmeny Boat Ramp

A gully runs in between the reef and large rays come up to the boatramp to get a free feed. As well as large Smooth Rays, the area has a fair few Eagle rays and smaller stingarees. On the journey out through the gully the idea was to head out to the left to a deeper section where grey-nurse sharks can turn up. Plans changed quickly with a loud bang and a thump on the back of my head. My eyes went wide and i anxiously looked around..i thought i’d just been the target of a white shark. After settling down i quickly realised that my high pressure hose had blown out up at the first stage. Wow it packed a punch. We surfaced and my dive buddy turned off my air and i went back to shore, him continuing on. I’m glad this happened on a shore dive and not at 20m! I changed my hose (luckily i had a spare) and headed back out. I stayed closer to the shallower reef, and the surge was pretty annoying. Some nice purple growth on the rocks and lush kelp towards the point out to the left. But dive two at Dalmeny was much better…

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

2

Dive Number: 560 02/03/2014 Montague Island

Conditions: Perfect

Visibilty: 25m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: The second dive at Montague Island was just as good as the first. We went a bit deeper this time to look for the Grey Nurse sharks but had no luck. We can across a big group of Port Jackson Sharks though all huddled together. On the safety stop it was great to watch the seals dart in from the rocks above through the swell zone…appearing like missiles from the white breaking water.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

2

Dive Number: 559 02/03/2014 Montague Island

Conditions: Perfect

Visibilty: 25m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: We struck it lucky with the weather and headed out to Montague Island. The infamous Narooma Bar just wasn’t living up to its name today and it was smooth sailing out to the island. We geared up and into the water and into about 18m. Immediately a number of big smooth rays came to check us out, together with a few Port Jackson Sharks that were equally inquisitive. As we worked up to shallower water the seals began to join in the show coming in for close looks and a bit of a play, (if they could get much out of the tank-laden scuba divers.) The diving was action packed! So much big animal encounters, and some others saw Grey-nurse sharks in a deeper gully. Great dive! (starting to get sick of Blue-groupers now ;)

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

1

Snorkel at Blue Pools, Bermagui, NSW 01/03/2014

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 2m

Details: We continued north and up past Tathra. Tathra wharf looked like an amazing dive, but the swell was straight onshore and the entry/exits looked really dangerous. I almost gave it a shot, but decided to put it on the todo list for another trip. So we headed to Bermagui and i snorkelled the tidal pool that was suppose to be good for nudi’s. It had a bit of a hincksia bloom in the shallower end, but still a few nudis about feeding on it. All up i think there were about 8 different species. The highlight though was a Gloomy Octopus that tried hard not to be photographed.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Mar

1

Dive Number: 557 01/03/2014 Merimbula Wharf, NSW

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Details: The second dive at Merimbula Wharf had a different feel to it than the first…much less sharky. It also turned up lots more critters. Big Smooth rays, scorpionfish, Port Jackson Sharks, and Banjo Rays. A really nice site…

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

28

Dive Number: 557 28/02/2014 Merimbula Wharf, NSW

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Details: This was the first dive of a trip up the South Coast of NSW. After looking at Cape Green (and concluding that NSW divers are absolutely nuts to be shore diving some of the sites there – despite how awesome they looked), we got to Merimbula and i couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a early evening dive here. The vis wasn’t great and it was nearly dark but it was a great dive. Very friendly Blue Groupers and schools of Mado and small Trevally. Exiting the site was a little difficult but compared to the entries/exits at Cape Green this was childs-play. The next day i met the owner of Merimbula Divers and he informed me an Great White was hanging around over the last couple of days and that i was a game man diving on dusk. : S

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

12

Dive Number: 82 12/09/2010 13.47 Byron Bay – Julians Rocks – Cod Hole

Wind: ????

Tide: 1hr after 2.26 high tide at Ballina

Conditions: Another fine day for diving…10-15knot winds but generally a nice day.

Bottom Type: Julians rocks is a large volcanic bommie rising out of the ocean about 2km from byron bay. As it drops off into the ocean theres a number of caves and and gullies formed. The cod hole is a cave teaming with fish, and the gullies deeper down are patrolled by Grey Nurse Sharks.

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: 19c

Bottom Time: 53minutes

Max Depth: 20.4m

Air usage: 170bar/2500psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: This second dive made me realise how a good guide/group/buddy can really make or break a dive. The guide on this dive seemed to have control issues and wanted everything done his way. To make matters worse we seemed to be swimming mid-water everywhere and into the current, which was making me very tired and not enjoy the dive as much as i should of. We still had some good Grey Nurse encounters, but it all seemed a bit rushed.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , single SS200 strobe

Dive Report:

Oct

12

Dive Number: 81 12/09/2010 11.36 Byron Bay – Julians Rocks – Cod Hole

Wind: ????

Tide: 1hr before 2.26 high tide at Ballina

Conditions: Another fine day for diving…10-15knot winds but generally a nice day.

Bottom Type: Julians rocks is a large volcanic bommie rising out of the ocean about 2km from byron bay. As it drops off into the ocean theres a number of caves and and gullies formed. The cod hole is a cave teaming with fish, and the gullies deeper down are patrolled by Grey Nurse Sharks.

Visibilty: 12m

Water Temp: 19c

Bottom Time: 47minutes

Max Depth: 22.1m

Air usage: 170bar/2500psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: What an absolutely fantastic dive this was! Mark Gray was the instructor/guide on this dive, and coincidently i’d only been looking at his photography the night before. He promised me a good dive with some close grey nurse encounters if i stuck close to him and i wasn’t dissappointed. His best tip was to stay low on the sand so as not to spook them by drifting mid-water. Not only did this work, but it made for exciting diving. I’ve always thought that to be a good photographer you need to be a good hunter, and this felt like we were on safari. We were shark hunting, crawling on our bellies along confined gullies while grey nurses swam overhead. At one stage ther were 4 grey nurses all within 5 metres just exerting thier prowess in the water. This was all in about the first 10 minutes of the dive and that was enough to make it my favorite dive to date. But it didn’t end there, Mark then led us into the Cod Hole which teemed with fish and provided some fantastic photo opportunities. After leaving the codhole we started a gradual asecent up a shear wall where schools of batfish and some other massive fish cruised by. The path through this dive site just made it a magical experience, and i couldn’t help but shout out a few expletives as soon as i had the regulator out of my mouth. Local knowlegde and a patient passage through this site made it a dive to remember..so thanks a million mark!

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , single SS200 strobe

Dive Report:


Sep

15

13/09/2010 12.45 Tweed Heads Seaway

Wind: ????

Tide: 2.19 high tide at Tweed Heads

Conditions: Light winds but overcast and a touches of rain.

Bottom Type: Rock wall breakwater with little growth

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: 19c

Snorkel Time: 60minutes

Details: On the way back from Byron the plan was to get a sneaky dive in before i flew out at 7pm that night. I still had 7 hr desat time on my computer from the diving the day before, so decided not to risk diving and just snorkelled instead. I hired a weight belt from Kirra Dive just up the road..they charged me $15…big thumbs down to Kirra dive for that! I ended up running into some crew i met on the Cod Hole dive in Byron who said they had a spare belt…oh well. Ended up just snorkelling along the wall trying to photogrpah some of the smaller fish around. I hoped for some nudi’s but despite seeing a couple of egg spirals didn’t spot any. Best find for the day was a fully inflated Soccer ball in near mint position. Not the kid of thing you expect to find 1 metre underwater! It somehow got jammed into the rocks..probably from a fierce incoming tide..good find though..looks like its in the vicinity of $200! My nephew scored it to kick around.

Camera Details: Canon 100mm , single SS200 strobe

Dive Report: