Julian Rocks, New South Wales, Australia

Sunday 20th March 2016

Finally we got superb conditions for diving. Reasonably flat seas with no surge, fifteen to twenty metres visibility and the nicest current. A current strong enough to attract some fantastic marine life but mild enough to not be annoying to swim against and film. At Twenty seven degrees it was like taking a warm bath.

Upon descending I saw a large Guitar Shark within seconds cruise by. I waited for Mark and Nick K. and we headed to the Cod Hole. On the way over we were distracted by Eagle Rays putting on a show, and a dozen lively Leopard Sharks. It seemed the common theme today where the larger animals were trying to get the Remoras off them and many of them were rubbing themselves against the sand, rocks and even divers!

Schools of Sweetlips, Barracuda, and Jacks hung outside the Cod Hole. I looked for the Queensland Grouper but he wasn’t in his usual spot. I decided to go out a bit wider and saw more Eagle Rays. As I was exploring I stumbled across Mr. Grouper and got some nice close footage of him. I could hear Nick yelling out ‘Neets!’ and when I looked up I saw some Pygmy Mantas just below the surface.

A022_C026_0320FK

But I’d choose a Grouper over a pygmy Manta any day as I’ve spent many a time trying to get close to Pygmy Mantas and spending half an hour swimming all over the place and chewing through gas.

Sixty minutes went fast and we ascended around the rock, absolutely delighted with the diving conditions.

Maximum depth: twenty six metres

After eating way too many pies and biscuits on the surface interval I felt like I might spew them up through my regulators as we headed back down to the Needles for the second dive. I didn’t end up spewing, thankfully they found a happy place in my stomach.

We headed over to the Mo Hole and Line of Smiles which I can’t remember ever going to before. Usually we bypass this area but it was beautiful here and there were dozens of Leopard Sharks swimming through thousands of colourful fish and they were just stunning to watch and film.

I thought a saw a Leopard Shark with mating behaviour moving its claspers to the side and followed it whilst filming it for a while. We also saw a pregnant Leopard shark.

Lots of Wobbegongs, Sting rays, a huge variety of Tropical fish, a Bull Ray and school of Flute fish, and an Octopus being harassed by Goatfish. Nick came to get me just as my camera batteries died. Like usual great timing as I saw him point out an amazing huge white Jellyfish being eaten by the cutest wee Green Turtle you’ve ever seen. The Turtle whom we have named ‘Stenny’ sat there biting pieces out of it like it was a peanut butter  (and Jelly) sandwich and taking its sweet time to munch it down whilst the poor Jellyfish just blobbed around foolishly.

God I would hate to be a Jellyfish!

As my batteries died I thought I would help Mark get some shots and so gently guided it off the floor with my glove. I noticed inside there were a few tropical fish hiding out and not too amused by the recent buffet from Stenny. By now the Jelly was looking fairly demented. Luckily for Jelly, Stenny decided he needed a rest after stuffing his face on buffet course one and he departed.

Other divers saw three or four Manta Rays but unfortunately we missed them.

We headed back to check out all the Leopard sharks as I saw the other divers come by. I wanted to show Neil and Steve the Jellyfish as they both had DSLR cameras so I signalled to come over and went about trying to find it again.

Fifteen minutes later and lots of swimming around and I couldn’t find where it had gone. I told the guys to keep an eye out for it and headed back to the boat with Mark to finish a sixty two minute dive.

Maximum depth fourteen metres.

Today I felt amazing after a great day of diving, there really is nothing else quite like it!!