Stunning conditions at Julian Rocks and Cape Pin, New South Wales, Australia

Saturday 14th May – Julian Rocks

Wow today Julian Rocks had the best visibility I have ever seen! At least thirty to forty metres visibility, flat seas, no current, no swell and a beautiful sunny day.

I was solo diving today and first in, so I made my way to the Cod hole filming some Trumpet fish changing its patterns, a Green turtle and a school of about a hundred small Barracuda on the way. It appears my hdmi cable or connector on my camera is dodgy as yet again the monitor was not syncing so I was filming blind once more. More cables on the way though. But frustrating.

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When I got to the Cod hole I crept in to see if the Grouper were hiding to the side but there were no pelagics in there. Instead the Tropical fish were making the most of prime real estate whilst they could.

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I went out wide to see if the Cod were in their usual posy and I found a Black Cod with a beautiful marbled face hanging out. I hovered with it and it allowed me to get quite close.

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I noticed the other divers had approached the Cod hole now and I swam out wider to see if I could spot some schools of Pelagics.

The water was so blue and I was toasty in my drysuit, first day back in it for the season.

Approaching sixty minutes I headed around the corner to do my safety stop. I spotted a line up of Leopard sharks with huge Remoras sitting next to a Cod on the sand. Usually there is absolutely nothing to see upon ascent around there but this time I was pleasantly surprised to see the school of large Jewfish on the sand.

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Then in the distance a school of meaty Eagle Rays floated right over to me hovering just about the sand. As I was approaching them head on I figured they would flitter off pretty quickly but they didn’t.

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Simultaneously I saw the school of small Barracuda again and ten seconds later the mummy and daddys Barracudas showed up! On top of that I saw a couple of Tuna passing through and some very shiny Mackeral as well as some Kingfish. Apparently Randall saw a large Loggerhead following me on the safety stop, but I missed that one.

Action packed around the corner today, absolutely magnificent conditions. Below is a video sample of four different scenes during the dive.

Maximum depth 27 metres Maximum time 63 minutes.

Dive two Ben buddied with me as Chris had an issue with his CCR, and we went around to the Needles, line of smiles and Mo hole. It was jammed packed with thousands of baby snapper and other pelagics.

It was milkier on this side so it was a good idea to go out wide where it was clearer. We came back into the sandy area where the visibility dropped down to about fifteen metres. We had a pretty good explore but I was surprised we didn’t see many Pelagics, Rays or Turtles here.

I did notice a lot of macro critters on the rocks like Blennys feeding and we saw a couple of Leopard Sharks swimming around. Another dive spotted a Sea Snake which I’ve never seen at Julian Rocks before so that was cool.

Maximum depth 20 metres Maximum time 55 minutes.

Sunday 15th May 2016

Today we headed out to dive Cape Pin. The conditions were stunning with bright blue water, flat seas, and sunny skies.

As I descended I noticed my Mangrove video light had come loose and was falling through the water column. Luckily for me there was insanely good visibility around forty metres and the seabed floor was a depth of forty two metres, so not only could I see where it went but I could easily retrieve it! Phew!

After flying to the bottom I refitted the video light and ascended upwards to meet up with Nick and Ryan.

The visibility was so good we had a great view over the rocky terrain and valleys. There were thousands of soft corals over the pinnacle which popped out in vibrant colours when I shone my lights on them. Hundreds of fish darted over the Coral beds.

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Above my head huge Kingfish were hunting. There was a mild current. We saw the first Grey Nurse shark of the season.

As we circumnavigated the pinnacle I noticed a large shadow out on the sand. It was a huge Cod so I went over and filmed it. There were many other Malabar Cod, some small some big in the area on the sand.

Another Grey Nurse shark, skinnier than the first came over and swam straight towards me. I had to tilt my legs up so air would flow to my feet in my drysuit and pull me up out of its way.

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About half an hour had gone by and I was looking at my computer wondering why I still had quite a bit of deco allowed. It said I still had twenty two minutes until I went into deco. After filming the shark I swam towards the line where I thought Ryan and Nick had headed. Then I felt a tug at my fin and Nick was behind me signalling up.

I followed Nick and realised the line with everyone on it was behind me. I started to wonder if I was really narked thinking it was in the other direction. Later I found out that the anchor had come off the pinnacle and moved quite away.

Coming up the line the current picked up and I clipped off my camera housing. As I went to switch my gas to fifty percent oxygen at twenty metres I realised my computer was only giving me an option to switch to twenty seven which was what I was already on. I started to wonder if my computer had thought I was on fifty percent all along and hence the long NDL. In any case no alarms or signals had gone off so I did a quick sum in my head and did a conservative and slow decompression ascent.

Maximum time 60 minutes Maximum depth 40 metres.

For the second dive at Spot X I decided to sit it out reluctantly. I had squeezed myself too tightly in my drysuit yesterday and today the drysuit pressing against me again when I shot down quickly to retrieve my video light, had made me feel bruised all over and the thought of vac pac’ng myself in it again didn’t appeal.

It was the first time of the season wearing my drysuit again and I will have to wear more weight and thinner undergarments that don’t bunch up and trap air next time if I’m to prevent this happening again.  I had worn these thick woolly socks that were trapping lots of air in my boots. I also think with Sidemount and not having tanks on my back, even with a lot of air in the drysuit it all went to the top of my back which means there is still pressure on my front. Not ideal comfortable when you’re a woman! I will play around with this and report back any findings.

I was gutted as the conditions were amazing, but I rested on the top of the boat in the sun and that was pretty nice up there.

Last time we had dived at Spot X we saw a Great White Shark. Today was no different with half of the divers coming back elated that they had seen one! Epic! Unfortunately no-one got any photos or video of it. Damn.

Stills are screen shots from 4K video.

Disclaimer: I am solo diving certified and don’t recommend solo diving without appropriate qualifications or experience.