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Halifax, Broughton Island and Cabbage Tree Island, Nelson Bay

Friday, 27 January 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
An amazing days diving. In only three dives we'd cranked up a large list of animals, one of which is found only at Cabbage Tree island - the Donut Nudibranch. We saw eagle rays, wobbegong, grey nurse sharks, at least 8 different varieties of nuidbranch, pinapple fish, feather stars, a blue groper and a brief encounter with the creature from the black lagoon...

First dive was at Halifax point, an aquatic reserve just around the point from the boat ramp and jetty o the east of the Nelson Bay township. A nice leasurely stroll into the water on a sandy bottom and a very easy dive, especially since we had timed our entry to coincide with the high slack tide.

Nudibranch's abounded, and colourful spongues and weedbeds were the backdrop for the dive. I counted 7 varieties of Nudi's in a little over half and hour. Truly fantastic.

2nd dive, Looking Glass at Broughton Island, is simply breathtaking. A balloon shapped tunnel right through the island, the Lookingglass is a gloomy lurking ground for grey nurse sharks and huge schools of bullseyes and stripey.

There was a bit of surge, which surved to hurl you flying along the dark corridors of the tunnel, and then leave you weightless in the back-surge. Once such surge brought me up over a large boulder and face to face with the first grey nurse shark of the day. I'm not entirely sure who was more supprised, but I give the prize for best reaction to the shark: a quick turn, a snap of the tail and he was gone. All I did was drop my camera :)


The final dive was at Cabbage Tree Island, on the swell leeward side, amongst two smaller wrecks. Instructed to watch for a rare 'Donut' Nudibranch, James and I had it spotted and dazzled with strobe light in under 5 minutes flat. THe rest of dive didn't fail to disapoint, an Eagle ray took a bit of a chase to get within camera range, and a dozing wobbegong had made the old wreck his home.

After all this, the group still had enough energy to front up for a winery tour and some wine tasting. That finished us off though I think, the rest of the evening ends sort of, well, blurrily.