Julian Rocks, New South Wales, Australia

Sunday 21st February 2016

Finally the bout of bad diving weather has lifted!

Today we headed out to Julian Rocks where there was rumour of seven Manta Rays and thirty odd Leopard Sharks a day earlier. It was pretty lumpy on the way out but when we got there we could see blue water and minimal current.

Diving CCR today we decided to do one long dive with a promise the others would still leave us some pies. After we descended I had time to get my exposure and focus correct on my camera before minutes later seeing my video monitor having a spaz attack. It’s not the first time this has happened, and the HDMI cable seems to be very sensitive to the monitor especially when turning the unit on and off so I’ll have to look into that issue.

We had a sneak peak over at the Cod Hole to see if there was anything interesting out that way.  I saw a Numbray which moved like a cumbersome Elephant whilst I filmed it from  behind. The usual suspects in the Cod hole such as Sweetlips, Cod, and a lone Mackeral, Nick also saw a huge Eagle Ray.

We turned around and headed back through the Nursery and out to the Needles, there was a very slight surge but nothing too annoying. The water was a toasty twenty five degrees and blue, which made for just stunning scenery as the sunbeams glistened through the water and bounced off tiny blue Chromis fish like glitter.

The bright orange and yellow soft Corals also looked amazing in the light, and I started noticing all the smaller stuff on the rocks which usually I would overlook in search of bigger animals. The area was just popping with life and it was like being in an Aquarium.

I don’t know what it is about this particular area, but the Leopard Sharks put on quite a display swimming and circling divers in the Summer here. I’m yet to see this behaviour in such unison at other dive sites where usually the Leopard Sharks are resting on the sand, or very rarely swimming together.

I even saw a very young Leopard Shark which was quite small, probably a metre in length and you could see how the spots were still developing. Very cute.

There were dozens of cleaning stations so we just hovered around and saw Blue Eastern Groper being cleaned, Goatfish, Fusiliers, Wrasse, Blue Tang, and Green Turtles. Lots of baby Snappers, hundreds of Bullseye fish, Butterfly fish, Bannerfish, Angelfish, Morwongs and one huge pregnant Clown Triggerfish about to pop.

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We enjoyed having the entire dive site to ourselves for about an hour and a half when we entered the water and the fact we missed the surface interval whilst everyone else (about four boat loads) were out of the water. Something that is brilliant about diving in CCR or having two tanks.

We met an ultra friendly Green Turtle that was so curious and hugged us, spending quite a bit of time with us and showing off in front of the camera. Nick scratched its back which it seemed to like.

We didn’t see the Manta Rays, nor did the other divers so they must have been hiding. Visibility was fifteen metres in parts but near the end of the dive it did drop away and become quite milky at eight metres.

Really lovely diving today and so fantastic being out on the water, what a magnificent sunny day too! It really was great Summer diving.

Dive time one hour fifty two minutes. Maximum depth twenty two metres.