Boat Rock and Manta Bommie, Stradbroke Island, QLD
This morning our first dive was at Boat Rock Stradbroke Island, where I had never dived before, so I was excited to try a new site. I decided to solo dive and ventured down to about 26m where I saw a school of Large Sweet lip fish, Tropical fish, Flute fish, and a cool cave which I managed to hover inside in my Side mount whilst shooting a vibrant fluoro blue Tropical fish.
I met with two very friendly and very large Bull Rays. The larger of the two seemed intrigued with me and circled me as well as swimming closely under me several times. This made for some nice video footage.
I also saw two Eagle Rays, some large Jew fish, and after venturing off into the current a bit, I not only saw a school of Barracuda, but they actually started circling me and I was literally inside the school which was awesome. Of course only downside to solo diving is that there’s no-one else to see and reinforce just how cool the experience was!
I had a large Wobbegong shark swim up to me and nearly hit my camera dome. It stopped just in front of me as if to say hi. Then after a few polite seconds swam under me touching myself and the camera and off onto the next rock.
I really enjoyed this site and would love to get back there. Did a 53 minute dive and average depth about 22m.
Our second dive was the infamous Manta Bommie. I have tried over the years to get out to this site so many times, and due to weather, current this that and the rest was never able to. I was pumped to see some Manta’s having never really gotten close to one, and hoping to have that ‘manta experience’.
I geared up first and hopped in to do another solo dive, it was apparent that I was now the only person in the water despite there being 4 dive boats here and I knew I had to take advantage of the rare opportunity to spend some alone time with these Mantas.
As I’d never been there before I scoped out the site and assumed the Manta’s would be near the tropical fish given it was a cleaning station so hung around in one particular spot. Within minutes my first Manta came over to say hello! It seemed quite surreal, all the photos I had seen and stories I had heard, and now finally after all this time I managed to be with one alone in the ocean up close!
I spent another 30 minutes with this particular Manta Ray who circled me, and eyed me up. It came very close to me almost touching me, and I was so glad that Kevin had advised me to use my Wide Angle lens today! After capturing quite a bit of video footage of 3 different Mantas I decided to take a few photos for fun.
A bunch of divers came over and then the Mantas stopped coming around. Once I left to head back to the boat one appeared circling me again. I guess it was my lucky day, as no-one else saw all 3 Mantas and some of the other divers didn’t even see one. I also had a beautiful shovel Nose Ray swim directly towards me, I went to push record on my camera only to find my battery had died, what a letdown! I also then proceeded to see a friendly Leopard Shark on the sand beside a large grey bull ray.
It was great conditions, slight surge at 6m which was the average depth here but VIS was about 15m and very calm on the water. I did a 55 minute dive.
Despite the storm last night today turned out to be another beautiful day. We headed out again to Boat Rock where I did another solo dive. As soon as I descended I saw a Grey Nurse shark, I ventured out wider today and saw Flute fish, schools of Sweet lip and found a very cool swim through that looked like a valley. Here I met up with some of the other divers who had two curious Giant Groupers hanging around them. Usually the Groupers are fairly timid but these two seemed unphased by us and we got some good video footage of them.
I saw a Green turtle and a few small clusters of bright tropical fish. I completed a 55 minute dive here with an average depth of 24m.
Second dive we headed to Manta Ray Bommie, which I was excited about due to yesterday’s great encounters with the Mantas. As no-one else was diving this dive aside from one other diver they came along with me.
It turned out to me the most amazing dive. We saw a stunning huge Black Manta with a school of Kobia following, which circled us for ages and was very curious. I captured two very animated Octopus mating and putting on quite a display, three Shovel Nose Rays made up for missing a video opportunity yesterday when my battery died. We saw a few cute Leopard sharks sleeping in the sandy gutters, and a Grey Bull Ray. I spotted a large barracuda hanging by us, a few other Manta Rays. It was an action packed dive. Average of 6m for a dive time of 45 minutes.
I’m so happy I got that Manta experience, and right in my back yard…tick that box off! Am looking forward to going back soon.