First dive of 2015. Stunning Sydney summer day. Clear sky and hot. The water at Ship Rock was dead calm and we dived on the top of high tide. As we descended over the ledge and down the wall the viability was terrible, down to just a metre or two, but it quickly cleared as we got to the bottom and got progressively better as we went. The current was very strong, even though we dived on the slack tide, the current pushed us south at a very quick pace which made holding still for photos very difficult. Plenty of Leatherjackets, Stripeys and Bannerfish plus a large Estuary Catfish.
Shiprock is a much renowned dive site in Sydney and a designated marine park. The diversity of marine life in such a small space is astounding. Even more amazing that the site is deep inside Port Hacking bay - it is essentially a saltwater river inlet, quite a distance from the open sea, and yet it is covered in coral and sea life. The dive is essentially a wall dive heading south. And that rock wall is teeming with life and densely covered in corals and sponges. At first the visibility was a touch murky but the further we went along the clearer the vis became. The wall became less vertical and rose at an angle and the corals become even more prolific.
We dove slowly taking photos all the way. Leatherjackets were everywhere, especially Fanbelly’s. The current was almost not existent so the dive time was long, almost an hour. Highlights included a Moray Eel, Pinapple fish and a 3-bar porcupine fish.
The swell was reasonably strong out of the south and pushed into botany bay making the east side of Bare Island a bit washy. But the West side was calm and smooth and the it was perfect sunny day with low wind. Set out as a group of four from the rock shelf heading west and following the reef on our left and the small rock outcrops on our right. These rock bombes are usually where the best sightings are. The dive was a little bereft of fish with less diversity than usual, but a Seahorse and a rare Red Indian Fish made it worthwhile. Numerous Port Jackson sharks and rays were spotted as well. In the past I have become completely turned around and lost at this site but this time was no problem, likely because we didnt venture as far out due to a lower capacity tank.
A beautiful clear sunny day after what seemed like months of rain. A simple dive at The Steps where we entered at the rock pool at high tide and dropped in 5m and then followed the boulders down the kelp-sand line. Swam right heading east over the coral/sponge gardens and kelp fringe. There was remarkably scant amount of sea life on display. Usually the Steps is alive with variety but today the dive was a bit lame. A few sea perch, mado and the occasional leatherjacket but that was about it. No cuttlefish, eels or even rays. Just before turning around, we found a weedy sea dragon with a tail covered in eggs which was the highlight.
An absolutely stunning autumn day. Not a breath of wind, the ocean as flat as a lake and the visibility very good. The full moon had created high tides and we set out from the right hand beach side just after high tide. Sea life not as abundant as it often is but some interesting sightings including a Painted Anglerfish, Gloomy Octopus and Stars and Stripes Toadfish.
Wind and swell were both southerly which made the north-facing Leap to Steps site at Kurnell a good choice. Entered from the jump-off ledge at The Leap on an incoming tide and swam NE over the kelp and boulders to the ledge that juts out over the sand line. From there we turned left heading West along the sand line as a one-way drift-dive to The Steps. Vis was rather good at 10m but dropped a bit the further into the bay we got. The sea life was diverse with 3 types of cuttlefish, seahorses & weedy sea dragons being the stand out sightings - several of each including a pair of sea horses clinging to coral together.
Overcast skies but without any rain and virtually no wind, conditions were great. From the boat at Long Reef there was almost none of the usually strong surface current and the water had good solid 10m visibility. Having dropped down the anchor line we were immediately approached by a Grey Nurse Shark that literally swam through the group of divers and between my buddy and I. Soon after we spotted a second Nurse shark that passed by several times and then a third. There had been a number of reports of Grey Nurse sharks at Long Reef of late and it’s not their usual location so this may indicate the colony from Magic Point are migrating out. We circled out and back over the boulders and reef edge. A good diversity of sea life and a massive school of Pomfrets in a cloud at mid-water.
Skies remained overcast for this second dive but the wind was still very low and the water smooth. However the visibility down the anchor line was much reduced from the first dive; particles in the water and 5m vis. Still, Old Mans Hat is always an interesting dive with coral gardens, boulders and kelp beds. Wobegongs seemed to be everywhere, perched on top of the large rocks. We circled out and back to the boat finding a weedy sea dragon in the kelp on the return swim.
A perfect Sydney diving day. No wind, no swell, clear water and a rich diversity of marine spread over gardens of soft corals and sponges. Entered at The Leap and went with the incoming tide as a one-way drift along the boulders, kelp gardens and sand line toward The Steps exit point. Numerous weedy sea dragons along with seahorses, cuttlefish and nudibranchs were the highlights.
A dark and rainy day coupled with a southerly wind pushing a solid swell into the heads; not the best day to get underwater. But still, we braved the elements and found a sheltered and calm spot near the old quarantine station at North Head. Lack of light from the surface and murk in the water made visibility rather poor, starting at 4m and dropping to less than 2m by the time we turned. But even the low vis didn't turn away a good diversity of sea life with a Green Turtle being the highlight.