Saturday 18th July 2015
Today Nick R and I headed down to Julian Rocks off Brunswick Heads in New South Wales, Australia. Weather had been crap lately with diving trips being cancelled and weather reports told a similar story for this weekend. But despite the weather reports it was seamlessly flat getting across the bar when we left and the wind hadn’t picked up yet.
Nick and I decided to do one long dive instead of being cold waiting on the surface and doing two. With a nice rich gas of nitrox thirty seven we waited until all the divers had gotten in and popped in about thirty minutes after them. Strategically knowing that this would mean we would get the majority of our long dive with the site all to ourselves.
I was glad to be in a drysuit as it was bloody cold! Twenty degrees in the water although it felt much colder. Visibility was about ten metres and it was green with some milkiness to the water but I was just glad to be diving. It felt like ages between trips being canned.
Our first Grey Nurse sharks were right under the boat in the Nursery, we continued onto the trenches seeing quite a few very fat pregnant Wobbegong Sharks which actually looked quite fascinating and were interesting to film.
We spent the majority of the dive out at one of the wider trenches where there were several Grey Nurse sharks lulling about. I slowly edged my way into the trench at the side and crept up behind one of them. I was behind him for sometime without him knowing, and at times his tail was hitting the camera.
Fifty minutes passed in a flash and we continued on to explore some other trenches. There was a mild current that had picked up which was kind of annoying as it was pushing us sideways and pushing us up into trenches. I had a great encounter with a beautiful Shark that I wasn’t expecting when it just came straight at me, I managed to hit record quickly and get a beautiful shot of its face.
Out wide of the Cod hole we saw a school of huge Kingfish. They were amazing and circled us both for about fifteen minutes. We saw the usual suspects, Cod, some really big Snapper, Lots of tropical fish, Blue Gropers, and we could hear Humpback Whales singing. We didn’t even make it to the Cod hole, it was really all about the Sharks. Apparently the Code hole was packed with pelagic fish and the other divers saw some turtles also.
After about eighty minutes I could tell Nick was getting cold, braving it in his wetsuit. He signaled he was going to go back to the boat and I said I’d continue diving for a bit. After about twenty minutes of needing to go to the toilet and holding on for as long as I could I decided to go up. One hundred minutes total dive time and twenty one metres maximum depth. A very cold but very nice dive and some lovely close encounters with the Sharks.
Disclaimer: As a solo certified diver I often arrange to separate from my buddies (also solo certified) underwater on non-decompression dives, I don’t recommend doing this unless you are experienced and/or qualified.