In between seasons at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay

Sunday 8th April

So happy I’m diving in my twins again today, and Nick K in his side mount gear. We dropped into Julian Rocks in the Nursery and finned our arses off until we got wide into the Needles. There was a current, but what we saw when we got there was truly worth the effort…

We floated through the rocky valleys in the Needles, sheltered here from the current, whilst dozens of friendly Leopard sharks circled us. We had our first Grey Nurse shark siting of the year! She was a pregnant Grey Nurse swimming in between the Needles and the Mo Hole with a school of Trevally trailing her, reaching as far as 40m behind her. It was great to see Summer meets Winter, with the Leopard sharks (a summer resident) and a Grey nurse shark (a winter resident) together at the same site.

We didn’t see any Mantas, but we did see a sting ray, a Giant Bull ray, three spotted Eagle rays, a turtle cuddling a Wobbegong shark under a ledge, two Green turtles swimming…and just when we thought the dive was over at our safety stop, with camera clipped off, we saw something truly spectacular. A school of about 50 Cow nose rays gliding harmoniously together just 5m below us. Well we weren’t going to miss this! So we dropped down a few metres to get some footage.

Whilst the VIS was 20m there was a lot of rubbish in the water being stirred up from the bottom surge and current, so it didn’t make for the best photos unfortunately. But watching it was truly breathtaking, and one of the best things I have seen to date diving.

We were buzzing after our first dive of 57 minutes maximum depth 18m and I did a little dance when I got back on the boat because I was so excited about what we had seen, and all in one dive!

The second dive we had planned to do the Nursery, a more shallow dive averaging about 12-16m. However, Nick was leading the dive and ended up leading us back into Needles. Here we played again with the Leopard sharks but I was also wondering why we were going this way because a group of about 6 divers were also swimming through, and it’s always nice to avoid crowds underwater. I asked to turn the dive and head back to the Nursery, but unfortunately a strong undercurrent and developed in the opposite direction so we had to flag this idea and keep going SSE. This was a bit of a shame as we had already done this dive, but when you dive you can’t control things like current and surge and it’s best to be flexible.

On this dive I saw some Moray eels, a black Lionfish, Leopard sharks, some nudibranches, black coral, Kingfish, a Green turtle and plenty of schools of fish. We completed an hour dive here with a maximum depth of 18m. I was diving EAN33 and Nick was on AIR.

Aside from being cold. I am really looking forward to winter diving again this year at Julian Rocks with all the Grey Nurse sharks!

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