Cape Solander, Kurnell NP
We came across a very accomodating baby giant cuttlefish. He didn't mind posing for a few photographs at all, just the occasional bright colour change to indicate he knew we were there.
There are a few whales passing Botany Bay already - they seem early this year.
Kurnell, The Steps, Botany Bay National Park
Because the tide was going out, the water visability wasn't tremendous (all that dioxin in the harbour probably) but there were pockets of clear water, and I had the macro lens on anyway, so getting close to things was required.
It was weedy sea-dragon day. We must have spotted about 10 altogether, and none were very shy, dispite the 50 divers or so that had already visited them. After thoroughly blinding a couple with flashes (poor things - I try to keep it to 3 max, or it stresses them out) we headed on to the swim-throughs towards monument and enjoyed nudibranchs and spongue life.
The second dive people were going to repeat the first dive (boring !?!?!) so Racheal and I tried our luck with going with the current for the second dive, towards the steps, with the knowledge that it might be a harder swim back on the return leg. As luck would have it, by the time we started the second dive, the current had dropped off and it really needed have mattered which way we went. That was great though, because we had the whole section from The Steps to the Leap to ourselves, and saw catfish, rays, more weedy's, pigmy leather-jackets, brightly colour weed cale's and lots of schools of bigger fish that tend to vanish after a few divers have been through already.
Kurnell, The Steps
The water felt SOOO good after the hot climb down the stairs. It felt even better after passing the thermocline at 5m.
Not great vis, but classic Kurnell, lots of fish, lots of nuidbranchs, weedy seadragons, etc.
I need to do some gear maintenance, my tanks are out of test, and my new computer, inexplicably, has a flat battery.
Kurnell, The Steps.
The mission was to test my new underwater enclosure out, which was a success and a lot of fun. I think once I get the hang of it, it will be amazing, the improvement I can already see - with the old Sony Cybershot I'd have to throw away about 50% of the images because they were out of focus or something else was wrong with them. With the 300D, that ratio drops to a about 10%.
There wasn't a great deal to see on the dive really, a coupe of weedy's and a few nudi's were out, but thats about it. It was just good to be diving again.
Kurnell - Steps, Leap to Steps
There were plenty of fishermen about, but the only fish they nearly caught was an Andrew... damn fool fishermen. Don't they know there are no fish about?
Kurnell, The Leap to Steps
I enjoyed my first dive back in a long time - it was good to be in the water, and watching the bubbles.
We only saw one very pregnant female PJ, not very ig, only 1 metre long. The season appears to be coming to an end.
There were a few other creatures of interest, but on the whole, generally very quite. Great conditions, just nothing around.
The Steps and The Leap, Kurnell
Lots of baby cuttlefish on this dive, 15cm's max. Paola passing his hand over one and it changing every colour in the rainbox made for some great video clips as well.Paolo was content to drift along slowly and didn't mind that I was taking pictures. I also new the dive site a bit, so he was happy to let me lead (which is rare at the moment, and a bit of a thrill).
Lots of baby cuttlefish on this dive, 15cm's max. Paola passing his hand over one and it changing every colour in the rainbox made for some great video clips as well.
The Leap and The Steps
Buoyed by this knowledge, I started the dive very enthusiastically. I had not been to Monument since my open water dive course and was keen to actually see it this time – mask on, no salt in my eyes.
We snorkelled out a little way before dropping down to about 5 metres onto a bed of sea-grass and weed. Continuing straight out from the shore, there are two drops, the first to 8 metres, the second to 12 metres or so. This marks the beginning of the reef wall and we headed off to the right with the current to gently move us along.
Almost immediately we came to the spot where Kellie had spotted a nice blue and yellow nudibranch the previous day, and pointed it out to us. Never one to miss the opportunity to photograph one of these cute creatures, I tried to get a little closer. This was a complete mistake. I ended up putting a fin into the sand and caused a cloud of particles to spoil not only my chances of taking a shot, but also everyone else’s chance to see it properly – bugger.
Almost straight away things got better though. The group had spotted a seahorse and were all grouped nearby watching – what they were missing made me and my buddy’s day – a hefty moray eel was busy trying to, and succeeded in taking a chunk out of a large and angry octopus. There was a big cartoon like scuffle, complete with whirling sandstorm effect and the odd tentacle and tail sticking out of the mallee.
I’d wish I’d got a photo off it. I had tried changing my camera to video mode instead to get the action, but failed and got neither – it was all over and done with in a few seconds.
Further on along the wall we started to get into a sponge garden. Each rock was host to numerous colourful species. Diversity tends to be a bit rare in Sydney – usually a rock will be covered in only one or two sponges. Among the sponges here and there were a few nudibranches. Quite a few of the reliable old black and white margined nudibranch, and this time a few new ones I’d not seen yet.
Also among the sponges were found a large number of sizable jellyfish floating about. They tended to ball up when you got close, so mostly we saw while spherical blobs bouncing near the bottom.
Towards the end of the dive, I spotted a big nudibranch sitting on a little tree of sponge on an otherwise completely bare rock. I managed to get an excellent close up photo of this one, without disturbing the view for my buddy. This nudibranch, which I think is a Hypselodoris bullocki (or a close relative), was vividly coloured. It had a brown to black body, edged with purple and blue. Bright red fans attached to the middle of its back with a blue base, and to top it all off, two blue and red horns.
We popped to the surface shortly after, not far from the exit point which is identified by the fishing warning sign just a bit round the point. A near perfect dive, packed with new things and I still had 110 bar left – even my air had improved. My previous buddy had gone home, so I ended up with Micheal who had just arrived. We decided to join Sam, forming a smaller group this time.
Again, easy entry for this dive. The end of the previous dive had become a bit choppy with the change of the tide and it had now headed out some, so the entry was a bit less comfortable than the hotel-like conditions of the previous dive. Still, it was a snack to get in.
The surge had stirred it up quite a bit, and visibility had dropped a far bit. The surge had gone however, and all the animals that enjoy the feeding frenzy stirring up the bottom had come out.
A small group of weedy sea dragons was busy herding a cloud of brine shrimp into a ball and where picking them off one by one – this was outstanding, all I normally see weedy ’s do is float about like corks (delightfully coloured corks). There were also pineapple and puffer fish in the general vicinity hiding among the weeds.
I had another swim through the colourful sponge gardens this time around – this time all of the anemone’s had come out to feed, adding again to the diversity of colours and shapes on rocks at Kurnell.
A small blue groper was about, and followed us for a little way, but loss interest when we stopped to look at another new nudibranch. Sam also spotted a baby moray eel poking it head out of its hiding hole – I managed to get the cutest shot of it.
I largely stopped taking photo’s at this point, the visibility just got to bad. However, there was still plenty to see. Further along this time, well past the previous exit point, we saw the odd crested horn shark, some squid and cuttlefish, and some baby old wives and a few large red morwong.
Down this end, almost to the steps, are a few good rock swim throughs. I found a large quantity of large soft sponges covering on big rock. The detail and pattern of the markings on these was fantastic.
We had been drifting for ages, and our air was down to about 120 bar. We surfaced to have a look how far we’d got around the point, and found we’d even gone past the steps. We decided to drop down and head back. We made it all the way back to the original entry point, but missed it a little. We ended up coming out over a field of sea urchins, and I think I got just about all of them stuck into me.
Apart from a little bit of first aid and a bit of painful spine extraction involving grimaces and cries and anguish, I had a spectacular days diving. This last dive was just over an hour long – the first time I’ve broken the 1 hour mark in a dive.