Julian Rocks goes off with schools of hundreds….


Friday 25th and Saturday 26th April 2014

On Friday we went to the Needles for our first dive.

There were hundreds of Tropical fish and schools of baby Snapper hanging out in what we now call The Aquarium, along with Green turtles, and Leopard sharks. I had just filmed a large Green turtle for ten minutes when a diver from another boat came up to me in huge excitement to tell me there was a turtle ahead. I was trying to tell her that I knew that, and had already filmed it but she carried on doing her signals and jumping out of her pants so I just let her go on then we headed off in another direction.

We entered Hugo’s trench which was jam packed full of fish! Wobbegong sharks littered the sandy floor, and rocky walls. At the end of the trench as if they were having a meeting; several Wobbegong sharks lay in a perfect circle facing one another. Unfortunately avoiding the other boats backfired on us and I think we had nearly every boat of divers around at the Needles with us who were swimming a million miles an hour around the site. We did a 63 minute dive here with a maximum depth 16m.

For our second dive we went to the Cod Hole as the VIS was about 15m and there was no current we enjoyed having a swim around. I spotted a few Eagle rays and swam off after them to try to get close to them. I ended up sneaking up right behind them without them even knowing that I was there. Their tails were touching my camera. I saw five Eagle Rays in total. Then I navigated my way back to the Cod hole to find Nick K and Nick R.

There were dozens of Leopard sharks swimming and some chilling out on the sand.

Leopard shark hangs out with four Remoras up close from Anita Ong on Vimeo.

Nick K saw a giant Spanish Mackerel that was bigger than a Leopard Shark and actually gave him a fright. The Cod hole was packed full of fish and there were more schools of Trevally, Jacks, Kingfish and baby Snapper both above the Cod hole and out wide North of the Cod hole.

We completed a 50 minute dive with a maximum depth of 22m. Nick R surfaced apart from us due to us losing one another but everyone had a fantastic dive nonetheless.

Saturday we were pumped to get back to the Cod hole again and opted for both dives here.

There was nice VIS again about 15m and no current. The site was absolutely going off with a huge school of Big Eye Jacks circling above the Cod hole, along with baby Snapper, Trevally and Kingfish, we also saw Barracuda and Spanish Mackerel.

As we are all solo diver certified we had agreed to do our own thing on the dives today and regroup at 45 minutes by the lower end of the Cod hole to surface together. I swam out wide North East and found a school of a few hundred Kingfish which was very cool. I also hung out with a large Green turtle above the Cod hole for ten minutes who wasn’t phased in the least about me and kept bumping into my dome. I tried to keep up with a Pygmy Manta Ray but it was too fast.

Our first dive was 57 minutes with a maximum depth of 23m.

For our second dive I really wanted to explore as it is pretty rare not having a current outside the Cod Hole. I spotted a few Pygmy Mantas again and took off after them, I was finning as fast as I could but those things can move, and the closest I got was only got about 2m away from them. They had also taken me on a crazy path out into the blue but fortunately I navigated my way back to the Cod hole. There I found a huge beautiful white Cod hiding in a school of baby Pelagics. It let me get quite close to it and I got some nice footage.

Getting close to a great big Cod from Anita Ong on Vimeo.

I swam off North again and found the school of Kingfish. Knowing how much Nick K loves Kingfish and Pelagics in general I decided to swim back to the Cod hole and find the boys to show them. I swam back and signalled to the boys to follow me out. This was fine until Nick K got side tracked by a Barracuda and decided to go East and Nick R went with him. Never mind I thought, I’ll go back there and see how close I can get to them. By now they had swam out quite far, I could see them in the distance as a big shadow and hoofed it out there to catch up to them. I finally caught them a few hundred metres from the Cod hole North East. Once I had caught up to them they changed their behaviour and started to surround me and then started to school around me. It was awesome as I was right in the middle of a few hundred Kingfish and got it all on film! Sorry boys you missed out!

In the middle of a school of Kingfish from Anita Ong on Vimeo.

Nick R saw some Cuttlefish, we also saw Moray Eels, a school of Flute fish, Green turtles feeding, and large Barracuda.

We regrouped as planned and completed our safety stop with a school of Dartfish. A 57 minute dive with a maximum depth of 23m.

Awesome diving, and I’d say my last dive of the day was one of the best I’ve had at this site. Water temperature was 24-25 degrees and I felt reasonably toasty. Some of the other divers on our boat spent some time with two Manta Rays at the Needles. Everyone had an amazing day.

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