Rays at Julian Rocks, New South Wales, Australia

Sunday 2nd February 2014

Today we had booked out Blue Bay divers boat in Brunswick to dive Julian Rocks. We were lucky to get out there due to the weather being curly and despite records of the poor visibility most of us were keen to get wet.

There were two ripping currents around the rock today, and I was glad I had had plenty of practice diving with my camera in the Galapagos currents, as that certainly came in handy. Nick K, Nick R, Mark S, Peter and I formed a group of five for the two dives. I thought it might be messy with a large group in such a strong current but it was really good, the bonus of diving with experienced divers I guess.

The visibility was about six metres but there was a lot of crap in the water. However, this meant for interesting dives with plenty of action. We headed to the Code hole on dive one and hung out with a few dozen Blue spotted Mask Rays which were very animated on the sand. The Cod hole was alive with the largest Jew fish I’ve ever seen and huge Kingies, the Sweet lips were there of course, and there was a ripping current running through from top to bottom which was unusual for the Cod hole.

We saw some Leopard sharks, Nick saw a large murky shadow go right over Peter’s head and thought it may have been a shark of some kind, perhaps a Bronze Whaler, but the visibility wasn’t good enough to tell. Unfortunately my computer decided to die with no warning of low battery so I ended the dive a bit shorter then normal at fifty one minutes with a maximum depth of twenty two metres.

For the second dive we took the other current from the Nursery around into the Needles and Trenches. The current was ripping and our idea of spending a bit of time looking around the Nursery soon went out the window. We did see an Eagle Ray here. Into the Needles there was plenty of fish, friendly Leopard sharks, more Rays, including a huge Eagle Ray getting cleaned which I managed to get very close to. It was beautiful and unusually had a very black back with white spots on it.

We found a Manta Ray that we then proceeded to spend forty minutes of the dive with on top of a bommie. It was a stunning Manta and circled us for ages whilst we watched it getting cleaned. The five of us hovered with it, in this nice gentle surge, and it was Peter’s first Manta Ray which made it even more special.

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