30+ Grey Nurse sharks at Julian Rocks NSW

Saturday 20th July

Today the ocean was curly, I was thankful when glancing at fellow divers who were sick, that I had taken two doses of Travelcalm before leaving.

It was the roughest conditions I had experienced at Julian Rocks, with swell and a strong surface current I was debating whether to take my camera in at all. I could hear my fellow camera friends saying “I wouldn’t” in my head. But I decided if I do want to ever excel in underwater videography, I have to be competent with the camera in all sorts of conditions, not just easy ones!

The swell was pretty crazy and you had to have the reg in your mouth on the surface as it was too wild. We descended and there was about 5m VIS and a current. We made our way to the trenches to find the resident Grey Nurse sharks. I have to say I had never seen so many there before it was amazing! We found an intersection of trenches where we hovered beside a dozen or more sharks, all male aside from one large female. It was like a shark aquarium down there, no matter which way you turned there was another one, and trying not to be swept into them and vice versa was an interesting dilemma! In fact I turned around to find Nick K after filming a group of them, only to be swept right into a shark coming my way. I gave it a fright and it snapped it’s tail and jolted off right above Nick’s head.

It wasn’t as easy to get good close up footage of them with my video lights on. I think it would’ve been easier with them off, as the sharks get frightened. There’s nothing better than seeing them come towards you, with their beautiful white teeth and clear eyes. I got so close to them in the trenches, hovering right beside them I had to claw my way from side to side so they wouldn’t be swept by the surge into me and then get frightened. The hardest part aside from the current today, was the littered Wobbegong Shark “bombs” all over the trenches. Trying not to hover a few centimeters over ones head and piss it off was high on my list of priorities.

We did the same dive for the second dive, as it was too good to pass up. I also saw the resident large Loggerhead turtle, and a green turtle hanging out with 5 Grey Nurse sharks in a trench. I noticed a new phenomena which I hadn’t seen before, where a male shark would be hovering right over the top of another, almost like they were going to mate. They all seemed in healthy condition, I think only one had a fish hook hanging out of it’s mouth. We also saw one in the Cod hole which got pretty close to me. Lots and lots of fish life down there, with schools of large Jews and sweet lips, and also Kingfish and huge Snapper. Despite the conditions it was a great day of diving.

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