Sunday 21st August 2012
I had another brilliant diving experience down at Julian Rocks in Byron Bay NSW. I would have to say hands down best dive to date. Weather was sunny and I was hot in my hood and 5mm wetsuit. A first for winter at Byron but it must be warming up!
On the first dive our plan was to descend off the Anchor mooring and do our deepest twenty metre dive in the sand trenches to see the Grey Nurse sharks before returning back to the mooring.
We saw twenty or more Grey Nurse sharks, mostly male. When we made it back to the boat we had heard that some other divers had seen three spanish dancers along the wall! I’d always wanted to see Spanish dancers so that was our mission for the next dive.
Dive two: which was THE dive to date! Absolutely incredible! Our plan consisted of spending twenty minutes at the trenches at eighteen metres then the remainder of the dive heading back to the Anchor mooring to find those Spanish dancers! We were planning on boosting it fast out to the wide trenches but were distracted at the Sand trench as we stumbled across a perfect haven for the Grey Nurse sharks.
I lowered myself and crawled on the sand to place myself perfectly in the go zone for the sharks. One after another they glided towards me and past me, often coming directly towards my face. I could see the rows of their teeth glistening white and the markings on their skin.
On our way back from the trenches a two metre long Bull Ray glided past in front of me, thank god I had my camera on the right settings and managed to get a fantastic video of it. We didn’t manage to see the Spanish dancers but we saw so much on the wall heading back to the mooring…beautiful, crazy, colorful, nudibranchs, the longest one I had seen measuring about ten centimetres. Two cute little black moray eels playing hide and seek, a Lion fish, schools of Jew and Kingfish, a huge Moray eel at the chain under the Anchor mooring and the largest school of Batfish I have ever seen surrounded us at the safety stop…Absolutely magic!!! I just wanted to stay down there forever!
There are only fifteen hundred Grey Nurse sharks left in Australia. They are critically endangered. It can take up to two years for a female to give birth so we need to make sure we do everything in our power through strong anti fishing regulations in aggregation regions to save this species.
Grey Nurse sharks open their mouths every few seconds to control their buoyancy underwater and gulp in more air. In the female womb there are several shark babies born but they eat one another until the strongest one survives. Sadly I keep seeing photos of fishing hooks and line entanglement on Grey Nurse sharks down in Fish Rock Cave due to the loosening up of fishing regulations there. If you care like me then sign all the petitions you can to help us make a difference and save this amazing species.