My first Manta up close

Saturday 4th February

Nick R and I headed to Julian Rocks. I was excited to get in the water and try out my new camera longer camera arms and the two Sea and Sea YS02 strobes for the first time. I was slightly anxious about it, because I had not had time to practice in the pool and with the new arms and strobe it looked monstrous compared to the compact it was before!

Despite the beautiful weather there was quite some surge and only about 8m Vis and in parts 5m at the site. We hung around the Nursery and headed to the Needles to check out the Leopard sharks. Once we got there the white sand was everywhere in the surge so being lazy we decided to head back around into the more sheltered waters! and away from the washing machine.

Not the best for photography that’s for sure but that was OK because I wasn’t out to snap any perfect shots I was really just mucking around getting a feel for the different size of the camera and playing with the strobe positions. Nick and I had fun joking through sign language about the surge and writing wet notes about how a scooter would be nice right about now! Just when we thought the dive was almost non-eventful (although we had seen an Octopus, a million Wobbies and a Moray Eel) a Leopard shark starting circling us by the Anchor mooring whilst it got cleaned.

And then to top it off, and as if Julian Rocks was saying “here you go, don’t want to disappoint”! a majestic Manta Ray glided out from the murky shadows directly towards me. It was beautiful and spectacular! It was the first time I’d seen a Manta up close and they really look stunning. After that we also saw an Eagle Ray playing and darting quickly up and down through the rock crevasses.

A dive Master and her group managed to see 5 Manta Rays up close on that dive! Which was pretty special, and she got some great video footage of the group. Very lucky!

Unfortunately the second dive was cancelled due to the ocean swells and safety hazard of launching the boat again. So Nick and I headed back to Brisbane. Looking forward to seeing the Rays and Leopard sharks next time. We had fun though, and it was just great diving again and getting wet, as ALWAYS!

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