Saturday 5th April 2013
Today was a stark comparison to the last several weeks of amazing conditions at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay.
For the first dive we dropped in at the Nursery and headed to the Cod hole. VIS was 6m at best and dropped away to 3m in parts. It was one of those days where the VIS isn’t just bad but it seems like it’s snowing floaties in the water. Definitely not good for Photography, even Macro was a stretch for some.
We were eager to see some fish life with the VIS down and the floaties up, but were disappointed to find not much around that side of the rocks. There was a mild current but the biggest surprise of all was the water temperature. With reports of it being 25 degrees just the day before, water temperature got down to a chilly 19!
There was a giant Grouper outside the Cod Hole, we dived through it and then went through the Cray cave on the other side. A few Leopard sharks in the murky shadows but apparently they were all basking in the sun on the surface in the Nursery. For the entire dive I felt cold in my 6-7mm wetsuit and all I could think about was my snuggly drysuit sitting in the wardrobe at home and counting down the minutes for the dive to end. I was happy when it was time to come up and thought I might sit out the next dive.
However after a delicious hot chocolate, a bit of sun on me and about four pies! Thanks to Christina’s delicious morning tea, I felt much warmer to the idea of getting in the chilly water again. So I dropped in at the Nursery first to sort out my white balance on my camera whilst I waited for Mark, Nick R, Nick K and Shannon. Well that was a pretty stupid idea because it took me about one minute to sort that out and then I waited another six minutes in the bloody cold water for the others to get down! Doh!
We swam around to the Needles where I found the Manta circling in the shallows. Much smarter than us as it seems, as it was nice and warm up there. I signalled the others and we hung out with it for about ten minutes. It had eleven Kobia following it and was very friendly. It didn’t seem to mind sharing the warm spot.
Nick then lead us around into Hugo’s trench where all the fish life seemed to be sheltering from the chilly thermaclines. There were schools of Sweet lips in there; usually found in the Cod hole around the other side, schools of Tropical fish and a Huge Bull ray. We then ran into a school of Barracuda, or I should say they ran into us, and swarmed around us which was cool!
Heading back to the boat we came across the Manta again but so had another twenty odd divers so we decided to bail.
I only got one shot of footage I was mildly pleased with which I have posted here. It was still nice to get wet and be with my besties and it was a beautiful sunny day. Besides you have to have days like this in the water so you truly appreciate it when you do have spectacular conditions. Off to the pub afterwards for the Sea Shepherd fundraiser!