16 Mar, 2016 Back to blog

Dive 2000 Sth West Rocks long weekend dive holiday - October 2015

Jenny "Puddles" Silman      PUDDLES POST: [caption id="attachment_2232" align="aligncenter" width="532"] The Happy Bunch[/caption] Dive 2000 Travel and Photo Centre  Click Here Evidently diving conditions follow the law of averages. You have to dive the good, the bad and the just plain ugly in order to dive the exceptional and rumour has it that I dived enough of the good, the bad and the ugly so I was due a dive (or 6) in exceptional conditions ! The D2K crew journey north for the October long weekend to dive Fish Rock and, you guessed it, exceptional conditions were on offer all weekend. Saturday 20m+ vis with a 1.5 swell, Sunday 30m+vis with a 1m swell and Monday glorious Monday with 40m+ vis and less than 1m swell. Absolutely brilliant! Fish Rock was alive with fishy action and in between sojourns into the cave for a wee bit of cave exploration we ventured forth to cruise the Aquarium, Fish and Chips, Colorado Ridge (where we took on the current) the Shark Gutters numerous times. All this diving to the occasional accompaniment of a Humpback whale tune. Magic, magic, magic!!! [caption id="attachment_2112" align="alignleft" width="261"]Fish Rock Cave - I "Heart" Sharks Fish Rock Cave - I "Heart" Sharks[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2108" align="alignright" width="300"]Fish Rock Cave - I love sharks Fish Rock Cave - I love sharks[/caption] Highlights of the underwater fishy action included the magnificent cruising Grey Nurse Sharks, appearing seemingly unperturbed by our presence, cool as cucumbers they moved effortless through the water. Looking mighty fine with a couple of big gals thrown into the mix. The D2K crew couldn’t get enough of these guys and gals. Venturing into Fish Rock Cave schooling Ladder-fin Pomfret part as we fin through, just at the foot of the 2nd Chimney we are greeted by a lounging Wobbegong whilst a good sized Bull Ray stands sentinel from an underwater cul-de-sac close by. Pushing up through the Chimney, single file and nose to fin, its pitch black and we are following our torch beams all the way. Small black Sea Cucumbers pave the way. [gallery ids="2110,2116,2104"] Now in the main cave and we head towards the faint glow of light. Painted Crayfish peer out from nooks and crannies, Squirrel fish congregate in the dark along the cave walls, clouds of Bullseyes shimmer and shine in our torch beams. Monster crabs squat in the dark, some appear like mushrooms wearing large sponge disguises. Black Cod and Queensland Grouper cruise up high in the rooftop darkness of the cave. As we approach the shallow entry/exit to the cave it’s filled with more clouds of Ladder-fin Pomfret, a slumbering Turtle, some frisky and very amorous Octopus make out and the occasional Grey Nurse Sharks hangs, silhouetted in the stunning blue. [gallery ids="2102,2101"] Outside the cave now and a school of Round-faced Batfish mill about in amongst more clouds of Ladder-fin Pomfret and Yellowtail Scad. White-eyed Moray Eels peek out from their rock rubble homes. Across the white shell grit sand Grey Nurse Sharks cruise in, possibly hoping to enter the cave now that we’ve exited. With the conditions just right we were lucky enough to experience the wonder that is the Fish Rock cave dive each day. Cruising off to the Aquarium for a bit of a squiz and it’s soon very clear why this dive site is called the Aquarium. The sheer volume of fish life is amazing. With massive schools of Ladder-fin Pomfret, Yellowtail Scad, Mado and Silver Sweep as far as the eye can see. Blue Groupers cruise in. Stripeys congregate in crevices. Lionfish, in miniature, take shelter. Wobbegongs, both Ornate and Spotted, snooze underfoot (and underfin). Wrasse busily dart here, there and everywhere. Bull Rays dance in narrow boulder lined sandy alley ways. A lone Eagle Ray glides by out in the blue. Schooling Kingfish cruise into the mix. Yet more Grey Nurse Shark cruise in. Cowry and Bubble Shells are dotted about. More White Eyed Moray Eels are spotted and a Hawksbill Turtle calmly accepts a back rub whilst slumbering on. Reaper Cuttlefish, Angelfish, Butterfly fish, Wideband Anemone Fish and so, so much more. It really is like diving in an Aquarium! [gallery ids="2114,2107,2105"] Onto the Shark Gutters and we sit back and enjoy the show. A continuous passing parade of Grey Nurse Sharks cruise on by. Now these guys and gals appear way, way, way relaxed. Accepting our presence (bubbles and all) whilst we busily snap away with our cameras or just sit back and gaze on in awe. The relaxed sweep of tail, a short hover for a gill clean or maybe a quick shell grit rub. It’s an amazing sight to behold. 10’s of sharks cruising by. Some youngsters with their spots still bold. Some round belly ladies with pregnant bellies a bulging. Looking up on high and the occasional shark can be seen silhouetted in the “sky”. Maybe these sharks are so relaxed because of the soothing lullaby of a passing Humpback that we can just hear play out as a humpback or two or three make their way back home southward bound? [gallery ids="2117,2113"] Off to Fish and Chips in search of more Grey Nurse Shark action we fin past schools of Bullseyes sheltering in the numerous rock crevices. White shell grit sand below and we watch as a majestic sized Sting Ray, either a Smooth Stingray or Black Stingray I’m not too sure which, lifts off like a huge flying magic carpet leaving a cloud of sand and shell grit in its wake. This Sting Ray was huge! Silver Drummer school about, more Kingfish cruise by, possibly in search of a feed. Whilst down below Grey Nurse Sharks cruise up into the gutters from the 35m depths below. Cruising back to the boat and a cheeky little Hawksbill Turtle entertains another group of divers with its antics. Now this guy was confident and appeared to be the least bit camera or go-pro shy! Last dive for the trip and we head out to the Colorado Pass, to hopefully gaze out into the blue and spot some big fish or Pelagic action. Now we got to dive this site because the current evidently wasn’t too strong. Even so it took a bit of hand over hand action to pull our way over the ridge and down to Colorado Pass where we perch in amongst the rock wall and gaze out into a vista of blue searching the water, ever hopeful for maybe a Hammerhead or two. Alas no Hammerhead, but we sure had one excellent work out getting out to the Colorado Pass and peering out into the peaceful blue, ears peeled for maybe another Humpback Whale tune. [gallery ids="2118,2115"] Now not all the action happened whilst we were underwater. Surface Interval and the Fish Rock Marine and Bird life kept us well entertained. Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles surfaced for air much to our enjoyment, a quick glimpse of a Dolphin as it fished in amongst the moored boats, Humpback Whales out to sea and into shore motored on by and one Petrel with attitude spent the better part of an hour entertaining us all with its antics and on water shenanigans escorting a number of divers on their way before they descended into the blue. [caption id="attachment_2103" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Man in Black - Dive Leader Andrew bringing up the rear. Man in Black - Dive Leader Andrew bringing up the rear.[/caption] A big thank you to Andrew for the leading the D2K crew. I’m sure you’ve seen more divers' rears than you ever dreamed possible in 3 days. And to all who journeyed north – Troy, Liz, Alexandra, Sharon, Phillip, Maria and Xavier – thanks for being such good sports (through noisy night-time sleeping beauties to sea sickness on a calm, calm sea). We dived, we ate, we napped, we tossed back the occasional liquid refreshment, we slept and got up and did it all again! [caption id="attachment_2099" align="alignnone" width="239"]Focused (and oblivious to the other photo being taken). Me hiding behind the ever present camera, yet again. Photo by Andrew. Focused (and oblivious to the other photo being taken). Me hiding behind the ever present camera, yet again. Photo by Andrew "Skip" Hodson.[/caption] By Jenny "Puddles" Silman Dive 2000 Travel and Photo Centre  Click Here