Scuba Diving in Manly

Anemones at Shelly Beach in Manly

Anemones at Shelly Beach in Manly

I didn’t get a chance to go scuba diving in Tasmania, so I wanted to make sure I went in Sydney before leaving Australia to get one last day in. I was referred to Dive Centre Manly, who do regular shore dives from Shelly Beach. The dive site is well sheltered with good visibility, and rather shallow at a max depth of about 10 meters.

The site has several friendly blue gropers as well as cuttlefish, octopuses, wobbegong sharks, sweepers, cockatoo fish, and huge schools of barracuda and others. Unfortunately the rare weedy seadragon is no longer at the site, as the colony that had been there died off a few years ago and they never repopulated.

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Scuba Diving Ningaloo Reef: Asho’s Gap

Reef sharks at the Asho's Gap cleaning station, Ningaloo Reef

Reef sharks at the Asho’s Gap cleaning station, Ningaloo Reef

The second dive of the day was Asho’s Gap, which is famous for a giant shark cleaning station. It didn’t disappoint, as we saw about a dozen reef sharks swimming around. Again, visibility wasn’t amazing so the pictures didn’t turn out, but you can get a good idea. In addition, I saw more turtles, a very cool razorfish and a gigantic school of bannerfish.

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Scuba Diving Ningaloo Reef: The Canyon

A turtle at The Canyon, Ningaloo Reef

A turtle at The Canyon, Ningaloo Reef

I did a one day dive trip with Ningaloo Reef Dive and got a bit closer to the spectacular west coast corals and sea creatures. The highlight was definitely the hard coral structures, but I also saw two turtles, a gorgeous trumpet fish and a nudibranch. Unfortunately the visibility was uncharacteristically low, at about 7 meters, so I didn’t get so many amazing shots. Here’s a sampling.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: The Final Post

A pair of anemone fish in a bright red anemone

A pair of anemone fish in a bright red anemone at Steve’s Bommie on the Great Barrier Reef

Finally, here is my last batch of diving photos from the Great Barrier Reef. These photos come from Christmas Tree Bommie, a relatively deep, small bommie that is visited less frequently than a lot of the other sites up in the Ribbon Reefs. There’s also a final group from Steve’s Bommie, whose photogenic qualities never cease to amaze.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef – Take Two on Taka!

A cute spotted sweetlips at Clam Gardens on the Great Barrier Reef

A cute spotted sweetlips at Clam Gardens on the Great Barrier Reef

I loved my Great Barrier Reef diving trip on Taka a couple of months ago so much I wanted to do it all over again, but alas, it’s obviously not cheap! In Cairns it’s relatively common for dive companies to offer “hostie” gigs – room, board, and a handful of dives in exchange for washing dishes and doing other odd jobs on the boat. I jumped at the chance to do it with Taka this past weekend so I could go back to the Ribbon Reefs.

It was much, much harder work than I’d expected and honestly I’m not quite sure it was worth it. If I’d taught English for the 25 hours I spent working on the boat, I would have made enough to pay for the trip outright and then enjoyed it a lot more  (and spared my hands a couple of burns and cuts – those industrial dishwashing machines aren’t messing around!). However, it was definitely a different experience than anything I’ve done before and I’m glad I did it, if only so that I’ve gained a new appreciation for people who do that kind of work full time.

Now, on to the diving. I did 8 wonderful dives this time around but only brought my camera on half of them as I wanted to really focus on breathing and maximizing air efficiency. Of course, the dives where I saw sharks, a Maori wrasse, awesome eels, and stingrays I didn’t have the camera. Murphy’s law, I suppose. This batch of pictures comes from Steve’s Bommie and Clam Gardens.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

I’ve had these photos ready to post for weeks and have been so busy working I haven’t had a chance! These were taken at the Taka Range dive site on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It had only been scouted a few weeks before my trip and visited by a handful of dive groups. The corals – both hard and soft – at this site are abundant and pristine. The colors are mostly soft pastels unlike what I’ve seen at other sites. There are also loads of nudibranchs and other small critters.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Pixie’s Pinnacle

A giant clam and some vibrant yellow coral at Pixie's Pinnacle

A giant clam and some vibrant yellow coral at Pixie’s Pinnacle

Pixie’s Pinnacle is a massive cone-shaped dive site covered with hard and soft corals. There are loads of giant clams that express a variety of colors and patterns. There are also tons of hawkfish and cod!

I got the settings on my camera more or less working for me at this dive site, so the colors of the fish and the corals really came through. The photo of the freckled hawkfish in particular is a pretty nice one, as well as the coral cod.

 

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