Category Archives: SCUBA Diving

Nature SCUBA Diving Sydney Sights and Streets

Oak Park Shore Dive

With a holiday coming up for some Northern hemisphere winter fun it was time to get out in the water again before leaving the warmth.

I booked in with team at Abyss once again, having noticed a slightly different shore dive listed for this weekend. Most of their weekly free shore dives are open to all qualified divers (PADI Open Water), but this one was limited to Advanced Divers with an objective to go a little further out on one of their regular dive sites.

I’ve dived Oak Park with them on a few occasions, so recognised their description of the Fish Soup objective would be a good challenge. After picking up some hire gear at the shop, we met around 9am at the site for our briefing prior to gearing up for the dive. I found a buddy for my first dive in Chris and we were told this dive had a very clear objective – to get us all to the Fish Soup part of the dive site. We were given a turnaround mark of 120bar with clear instruction that if any buddy pair got to this pressure we were to signal the instructors but then head back under our own devices. With all of us having dived the site before, we were given a couple of navigation reminders before heading off for the dive.

We entered the site next to the ocean pool which is the norm at this site, and then surface swam about 30m off the back of the pool before starting the dive. With our objective in mind we didn’t mess around once we were under and made a pretty good pace in some mixed visibility. Not the worst, but this site offers better on most occasions. With this pace there wasn’t much time to look around on the way, but a few of us paused briefly to look at a cuttlefish hiding under a ledge.

This photo of the cuttlefish is from our second dive, it was hiding a bit further under the ledge by that time.

 

Oak Park Shore Dive

 

After quite a lot of finning we came over the edge of the ‘bowl’ that is Fish Soup and started looking around. Unfortunately there wasn’t a great deal of life around on the day and with my buddy and I needed to leave after about a minute of looking around. We spun around, signalled to the DM and off we went. The return fin was a nice challenge with quite some ground to cover, testing our navigation skills and our dive fitness. Fortunately both of these passed muster on the day and we surfaced very close to where we commenced our dive, then had a short surface swim back to shore.

 

The dive group met back on the grass of the park and enjoyed a standard Abyss surface interval including tomato soup with tabasco sauce, cold cordial and bread rolls with Peanut Butter or Vegemite. The usual chat about the first dive and plans for the second dive ensued and a couple of divers who needed to leave bid farewell.

 

With everyone agreeing that there wasn’t enough life to warrant the rushed dive to get back to fish soup, we split into smaller groups and setup for our second dive. Heather joined Chris and I and we set off. We decided to do a more relaxed dive and get to ‘the cave’ that’s well known at the site if we had enough air, and then turnaround at this point. We took the same entry and then relaxed into a much slower pace, with both Heather and I looking for life to photograph.

 

We potted along, spotting plenty of life including many nudibranchs on the way out, as well as finding the cuttlefish again.

Oak Park Shore Dive

This small starfish was looking quite lonley

Oak Park Shore Dive

Along the way the classic Blue Groper joined our group

Oak Park Shore Dive

We reached the cave and had a quick look, though my strobe isn’t strong enough to penetrate the darkness for a decent photo of the 4 metre deep cave. Then it was time to start heading back. Some more nudibranchs along the way, and a few fish.

Some fish are hard to spot (this might be an Eastern Red Scorpionfish)

Oak Park Shore Dive

Others put on more of a show (this might be a Sergeant Baker)

Oak Park Shore Dive

And jellyfish come in all shapes and colours. This blue jellyfish was quite cool

Oak Park Shore Dive

A couple more Nudibranchs to finish

Oak Park Shore Dive

This one was TINY!

Oak Park Shore Dive

 

The rest of the gallery can be seen below.

Oak Park Shore Dive

Oak Park Shore Dive

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Oak Park Shore Dive Site

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Oak Park Shore Dive Site -34.070231, 151.156125
Nature SCUBA Diving Sports & Adventure

Grey Nurse Shark Dive!

I’ve been diving for quite a few years now and have been eyeing this dive off for most of that time, but always seem to be busy or find it already booked out when I try. Well this time I was lucky enough to get on! What better way to end a 4-day long weekend.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Magic Point is located off the south of Maroubra beach in Sydney. You can get on a boat dive with some of the major dive operators in Sydney leaving from Manly, Rose Bay or as we did, the beach at Long Bay. I’ve been doing most of my Sydney diving with Abyss(.com.au) for the last few years. They always have great crew and today we had Klaus as our DM with 6 of us along for the dive. We tag teamed with another group who had done their first dive before us, then we did our first dive while they had a surface interval. When we returned, they went for their second dive while we stopped for our SI, before it was our turn for the second dive.

From the beach landing at Long Bay, it’s a 5-10 minute boat trip around some of the iconic Sydney cliffs. We’re able to pull up to a buoy attached to the anchor dropped on the first dive and a few minutes later we’re in the water. We descend to about 12m along the anchor line and take a short 10m dive along rock face and we are at the shark cave. A few key rules to stick by such as not blocking or getting too close to the cave entrance and not trying to follow the sharks have been explained before the dive. Our group is a calm, switched on bunch and we’re spread around the cave about 5m out and settled on the sea floor calmly.

Almost immediately one shark does a weird acrobatic move and I wonder what else we’ll be treated to.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

After later surfacing the DM is as amused as I am. As we sit and watch about half a dozen sharks move around calmly it’s quite amazing how comfortable I feel. The sharks are quite majestic with the larger, older sharks keeping a greater distance and the smaller, younger sharks more inquisitive. It’s on 2 of these younger sharks that we can see large fishing hooks, a disappointing sight for all of us. Unfortunately I don’t think they’d understand if we tried to help by removing them.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

At times the sharks are close enough for us to reach out and touch, but we stay still and let them be – wanting to impose on them in the least way possible. I focus on trying to get the best shots I can with my new underwater strobe (the term for an underwater flash unit).

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Our first dive is quite long, with our whole group conservative with their air consumption and after a short dive around the area we ascend after 50 minutes. We return to the beach for a surface interval and the traditional Abyss snacks including tomato soup with Tabasco sauce and peanut butter rolls. A second dive follows, much the same as the first although visibility is a little poorer with particles stirred up. Another 45 minute dive and we are done for the day. This would have to be the best combination of easy diving and amazing scenes that I’ve done. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has any interest in these majestic creatures, even if you’re a little nervous.

You can view more photos HERE
Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Nature SCUBA Diving Sports & Adventure Sydney Sights and Streets

SCUBA – Oak Park, Cronulla

With a day off following ANZAC Day, I took my new underwater camera setup for a dip, with my long-time friend and dive buddy Flic. On the surface it was a stunning mid-20s Autumn day. In the water it was around 19 with vis up to around 10m. All in all, perfect conditions.

We’d only done a short surface swim and came across this large ray. In about 5m of water and about 1.5m wide, and close to 3m to the tail tip!
We'd only done a short surface swim and came across this large ray. In about 5m of water and about 1.5m wide, and close to 3m to the tail tip!

Nudis are a great little creature that are a pleasant site on many Sydney dives. This little guy was wriggling along at quite a pace.
A cool little Nudi wriggling its way along

Another common site for divers was a big Grouper. This one was displaying the usual curiosity and swimming around and underneath us. Whatever I tried, I couldn’t get a good straight-on shot!
Nearly got him!

I eventually got this one just as I’d given up. It highlights what I think is their true grumpy spirit.
The only straight on shot I managed

I’m led to believe that the white things around this ‘Sea Tulip’ are Cuttle-fish eggs. I’d love it if someone could confirm or correct this for me.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another large ray, only managed a couple of shots as it took off. It was completely hidden in the sand. I saw it but as I manouvered for a shot it got shy and started moving then it was off in an instant.
Another large ray, only managed a couple of shots as it took off. It was completely hidden in the sand. I saw it but as I manouvered for a shot it got shy and started moving then it was off in an instant.

And just one of many shots of the large schools of fish that were with us all morning. A wall of fish!
At times we were completely blanketed by schools of fish

These photos and more can be viewed in the


SCUBA Diving

Busselton Jetty Dive – Dec’ 2010

liveitseeit updated gallery ‘Busselton Jetty Dive – Dec’ 2010

Busselton Jetty Dive - Dec' 2010

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