Recent Trip Reports

Jervis Bay

A photo from Jervis Bay

The eastern seaboard may be having the wettest summer in three decades, but the weather gods took a shine to this trip...possible to make up for the absolute lashing we got last time. Not only did I get a fun afternoon paddleboarding on the Friday, while others worked from 'home' or battled the Sydney traffic, but we got two days of diving!

On the Saturday we had a double dive with Dive Jervis Bay. Both dives were on the North side of Bowen Island. The first dive heading round to the Nurseries, and the second dive (in which I left my camera on the boat due to the murky conditions on the first dive) slightly further out to the ocean side and delivered in spades on the 'possibility' of grey nurse sharks.

On Sunday condit...

Bare Island

A photo from Bare Island

With Sydney producing perfect diving conditions Ben and Steve met at Bare Island at 7.30am to come up with a plan of attack, however, with no wind and minimal swell they were also joined by a good chunk of Sydney’s recreational dive community. To find some space underwater Ben suggested they have a crack at a drift style dive entering off Congwong Beach (thanks google maps) tracking along with the coast on their right and exiting at the usual spot under the Bare Island bridge.

After setting up a car shuffle to cart the heavy gear pre and post dive they kitted up and headed down the beach where Ben got his flash new dry suit gloves sorted and ready to go. Entering off the beach and dropping down over the ledge they headed towards the North side of the island for a look before passing under the bridge and pottering around for a while. As usual there was plenty to see with a few schools of fish, a decent sized octopus, a mean looking stone fish, and the hordes of rays that are alwa...

Bare Island

A photo from Bare Island

Alas, even though the winds were light, the moderate (~1m) NE swell, it wrapped around the headland and into Gordon's Bay just enough that we decided a nicer dive would be had at Bare Island, a 20 min drive south.

It was already busy when we got there at 7:50am, but we were able to park not too far from the walk down. By the time we were kitted up, there was a steady stream of divers heading in. Steve & I headed along the NW side of the Island while Al buzzed around on his scooter. The water went from 'nice and refreshing' when getting in, to straight 'refreshing' at 5m and them 'almost chilly' for those in wetsuits by deeper (~14m) parts of the dive.

We made it a good way around the island and the sponges were looking fabulous. We came across one good-sized wobbie and there were more rays than you could shake a fin at in the shallows.

Post dive, we had a good coffee from Driftwood on the Bay before giving up our parking spots to the hoards wanting to bake themsel...

Shelly Beach

A photo from Shelly Beach

The car park was oddly quiet at Shelly. Was everyone on holiday? Or maybe they were stuck in the queue waiting for a COVID test or possible it was the fact it was 7:30am and raining.

Not to be put off by a passing shower, Paul, Al & Ben started kitting up. While Paul's dodgy o-ring was quickly fixed, Ben's blow (wrist) seal was more of a drama. Amazingly, Al did have spares with him but after a quick tutorial on You Tube, it was clear we were missing the right widget to get the old seal out so it was an early bath for Ben.

Paul said it was a great dive. Buzzed by Al (on his scooter) a few times and plenty of critters. The water was a barmy 22 degrees!

HMAS Adelaide aka Clifton Gardens Reserve (Halloween)

A photo from HMAS Adelaide aka Clifton Gardens Reserve (Halloween)

Divers

Jonathan Pearson* Sam Warwick Ben Crossett Mark Bonnar MIA: Paul Furnis (reckoned it was too cold….) +1 random -1 Stanley (finless)

After agonising over the weather forecast for several days, DSS finally decided on Saturday afternoon that the boat dive to the Adelaide was binned due to the 2-3m swell. After briefly considering a dash to Mount Gambier as a suitable inland Plan B, Jon convinced us that Clifton Gardens was a better option and he was going to lead us all to The Wreck located just off the jetty…..

Somewhere between parking (being robbed of $15 for the pleasure) and entering the water we collected a random dive buddy and lost another due to lack of fins (long story). 5 intrepid divers entered the water around 8am well behind the PADI & GUI convention who had apparently been there at sunrise as is required under Hogarthian principles. Us BSAC divers start the day with Bacon Sandwiches And Coffee before diving (and you thought BSAC stood for Bett...

Cann Park Shore Dive

A photo from Cann Park Shore Dive

Well, I say Cann Park, but you'll probably think of it as Bare Island Beach or Congwong beach as it is called. Cann Park is the snake pit and grass area where you park, kit up and then do the short walk down to the beach.

Paul had certainly booked the weather, clear blue sky, and barely a ripple on the water. The perfect spot to get the dust off the dive gear or in Paul's case, have a try-dive on Ross' side mount set up. I was expecting some quality entertainment, but alas with Ross' expert guidance while kitting up he took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

Even though we both had only had partial fills we still got a 50 min dive (water temp 18'C , vis ~5-10m, max depth 9m!) and explored much of the rocky reef leading from the beach to Bare Island. There wasn't much in the way of big sea life, but plenty of sponges, nudibranch and of course kelp. On the way back we came across an octopus that had decided that broken bits of beer bottle were the perfect armour whe...

Long Reef Cathedral Rock

A photo from Long Reef Cathedral Rock

Long Reef 16 October 2021

Double boat dive

First diving after lock down. The anticipation high. The westerly was forecast to come in strong which it did later, but did not cause too much of an issue diving. The boat ride out was 50 mins and relatively flat. There were two other divers with Sam, Mark and I from SSAC on the boat which normally takes up to 10 divers. Plenty of space to kit up and get in.

It's a scenic site with swim through and many fish, no larger critters though. Water was a chilly 16 degrees with the soup welcome after dive one.

2nd dive was to find sharks in Shark Alley. Borders are obviously no issue for them as they were away somewhere else. Vis was between 5-10m maybe a little more at times. It was dark at times also due to the numbers of schooling fish.

The boat ride back to Bay View was bumpy but once back in Pittwater eased.

Overall it was good to be back in the water.

The Road to Freedom

A photo from The Road to Freedom

Some might say all roads lead to Rome, but for SSAC they more often lead to the Lord Nelson. In a repeat of June 2020, the ending of the (106-day!) lockdown meant, for the doubly vaccinated at least, a return of the time honours tradition of a few beers down the Nelson. Aside from signing in, it was just like a normal night at the pub but (a) you know you get a table and (b) it's not a too noisy, so a win-win.

Getting to the pub meant we were finally able to welcome new member Steve, who had been all set to come down the pub 4 months ago. Steve recently learnt to dive on the mid-North coast and he has all his own gear, bar tanks and lead. The members were quickly able to help him outsourcing them. Steve is keen to build up his experience with any local shore diving or boat diving and ultimately wants to get into wreck diving.

The lifting of the restrictions also meant that we bid farewell to Ross and Michelle as they can finally resume their nomadic aspirations and hit ...