December 18th 2011
So firstly before the perfect VIS goes away get your arse down to Julian Rocks in Byron Bay NSW because this is the best VIS I’ve seen here ever! 25m to 40m in some places! Absolutely brilliant for photography so I had a ball! Sundive as usual was fine with me taking my twins and I dived the two later dives with Nick K. I wish we had down the morning one too! Even if it meant getting up at 4am!
The first dive I made the mistake of giving Nick K my camera to get a photo of me (sorry Nick lol) and he must’ve bumped some of my settings because then it would only take black images so I spent 8 MINUTES going through them all working it out and missed out on some great shots of Green turtles. We moored at the Anchor mooring and went around to the Cod hole and back. The Cod Hole was going off! I saw a family of Morays, cleaner shrimp and Hawkbeak shrimp, schools and schools of fish, a giant lobster, and two lionfish; one which was HUGE!
I was doing pretty well on my air and still had 150 bar left for the safety stop at 54 minutes. However, Nick diving his single cylinder; obviously forgetting I had the equivalent of a person on my back and a heavy camera, thought we would do a blue safety stop in a current. Hmmm not advisable on twins for future reference, and despite my obviously bad attempts to motion that my heart was racing and to stop so I could hold onto another mooring chain…Nick seemed persistent to go on to the next mooring. Bless him, he thought I actually had the wrong mooring…don’t you wish they sold dive sign language books I think there would be a market for them! So when I did ascend I only had 100 bar left in the end and felt like I had really earned my Steak and Cheese pie I got at the local bakery later today.
On the second dive we decided to brave the NEEDLES despite statements there was some surge. We entered on the Anchor mooring and checked out the NURSERY where I found a beautiful Common Octopus hanging out and changing all myriads of colours before me. When we got to the NEEDLES there was a surge but still totally worth the reward of the VIS, in some places 40m! You could spot a tiny nudibranch on a rock 15m away! No usually ocean floaties either. I thought I would play a bit with wide angle shots and schools of fish…having to take advantage of the perfect photography conditions. Still would have been better with another strobe perhaps and longer strobe arms.
The Grey nurse sharks seem to have now left for summer, but the locals are spotting the Leopards coming in with Manta rays and on the first dive of the day the divers actually saw a Dusky Whaler Shark!! out at Cray Cave. Some of the divers in our second dive also saw a school of Eagle Rays which would’ve been magic!
As we were only at 10-12m depth on the second dive I opted not to do a safety stop, I didn’t want to miss ONE minute of taking as many happy snaps as I could in these conditions. Highlight of the day; it’s a hard one…the Octopus was up there, the morays with cleaner shrimps, the huge Lionfish, also the many schools of Jew fish and Spotted Sawtail looked amazing.
Two great one hour dives, thanks to Nick for being a star on air consumption on a single tank and for leading the dive as our usual choice of TomTom. One things for sure, I’m happy to dive in a current or surge again if it means VIS this good! Can’t wait to get back down there. And now, the shower is calling so Adios.