This was our last dives of the year. We thought we'd get to the boat ramp at 7am and beat all the pleasure craft. There is limited parking in the street. Well, everyone else had the same idea. We got the boat in OK and headed out across a millpond Port Hacking on a very warm day. Thankfully it was to remain calm and overcast for us. We anchored at Barrens Hut and put out the deco bar (see pictures below). Our fist dive was on 37% Nitrox and the second on air (as we had not organised ourselves to get more Nitrox). These 2 dives were my 186th and 187th.
First dive we headed down the front anchor and secured both anchors. From the sand we ascended to the top of the reef to find thousands of fish milling around. This area is at the exit from the tunnel which is described later. After spending some time with these we headed North West to a large gutter which ran into the reef. It was several meters wide and as much as 4-5 metres deep. We followed it until it petered out at the sand line and then headed back along the reef past our anchors and along to the tunnel. We had nearly used our available air at that time so returned to the anchors and ascended, doing a 3 minute safety stop at the deco bar. This dive was to a max depth of 26.2m and 45 mins on 37% Nitrox.
We had planned a relatively short surface interval - coffee, water and cylinder swap. While enjoying our coffee the boat suddenly started to swing from bow to the current. We then saw the bow anchor rope floating at the surface. At first we thought that the anchor had let go. We swapped the back anchor onto the bow so that the boat again faced into the current. Recovering the rope we found that it had rubbed against the reef, frayed and broke. We put a weight onto the rope, put a loop around the other anchor rope and let it go back down to the bottom. We dived back down a few minutes later. I recovered the broken rope and started to tie it back onto the anchor. Wayne had drifted a bit NW and was about 4m shallower than me. when I was him he was gesturing madly. I looked up to where he was pointing and there was a sunfish. These had been reported at Shark Point over the past few weeks but this is the first time that we had seen one. It was huge. Sadly, I only got one pic of it. Wayne got a few more. Click here for his photos from these dives. (the diver in his pics is me). After the sun fish had swum away we headed towards the tunnel. We entered the tunnel, followed it around to the right and then up to the reef area where we had seen the many fish on our first dive. We went back down the tunnel exit and back out onto the sand. It is an easy entry and exit to the tunnel. We then continued roughly east following the snad line before turning and coming back to the anchors. More dilemma here. We move the anchors over to the sand to ensure that they would come up easily. Of course when you do this the boat starts to drift. I had the anchor with the broken rope and my knot had come undone. I attempted to retie it with the anchor trying to fall to the bottom, by torch around my left wrist and my camera around my right and the loose end of the rope not staying put while I tried to tie a bowline. In the end I got it but used a lot air and deco time. As I ascended the rope kept coming down so it did not control my ascent, hence a too rapid ascent (according to my Vyper). Back on the deco bar I had a 34 minute penalty, during which I breathed off the deco regs. Wayne also spent some time on the deco regs (we have 3 second stages on our deco). It was interesting to see that the alloy cylinder on the deco started to become positively buoyant at 120 bar pressure (a bit less than half full). Back at the boat we could not get the anchors up so Wayne had to do a bounce dive to free them. This dive was for 66 minutes (34 mins on the deco bar) with a max depth of 26.5m.
All in all, a wonderful end to a great diving year.
In 2005 I did 110 dives.
This site was last updated 05/02/12