Saturday, February 20, 2010

Random pictures

It has been some time since my last my post and this is mainly due to my lack of underwater snorkeling adventures. The weather has been less than mediocre and when there's hope of improvement, it's only clear on weekdays and turns for the worst over the weekend. I know that tomorrow will be a beautiful day for a snorkel in Sydney with the weather to hit 34C, but I have prior committments which prohibits me from going anywhere. Maybe next time..

Instead I will post some pictures from past trips and reminisce about the good ol' times :P Most of the pics are of the friendly blue groper at Clovelly. Enjoy!


Blue Groper generous enough to share its sea urchin

*Pat* *Pat*

It's getting close to the end of summer with not much time left for a good snorkel. Better get out there soon! 

Signing off


Friday, February 12, 2010

Wobbegong Attacks

Strange things do happen. What is known to be a docile species, the culpurit of a 'shark' attack that occured at Basin Bay (Mona Vale) on Feb 11th 2010 turned out to be a wobbegong. 
This was (and still is) a species I hope to encounter on my trip to Shelley Beach. I don't feel any deterred knowing this news and I look forward to seeing one. Fingers crossed!

Read more at:

Signing off


Monday, February 8, 2010

Australia Day at Fairlight Jan 26th 2010

On Australia day, we decided to head to Shelley Beach at Manly for a snorkel. I've read so many positive comments on Shelley Beach that I thought I was missing out on one of Sydney's best snorkeling sites. That is when I decided to visit the place that everyone raves about. Unfortunately, it was a beautiful day (had rained during the weekend) and everyone else had the same marvellous idea to head to the beach. It was hectic! I believe we arrived around 1pm which I would suggest is smack bang in the middle of peak traffic at Shelley Beach. 

We drove around through the car park (few times), waited around, drove through the small streets, and after 20 minutes of targeting pedestrians thinking that they were returning to their vehicle, we eventually gave up. I decided instead to head to the less known destination of Little Manly Point as I have fished there hundreds of times and believed it would also be a fanstastic site to snorkel. Again, we were met with endless lines of cars and swarming human traffic. Almost giving up, I remembered Fairlight!

Now, parking was expectedly easy to find although we had to battle the heat for approximately 10 minutes. Better than nothing. Choosers cannot be beggars. This precious beach was also swarming with people having bbq's, picnics, etc. We also noticed a fair few people by the rock edge with snorkeling gear. We prepared in lightning speed and dived right in.

I recall the fluffy sand and the concrete floors were as hot as lit-up coal however, the water temperature was to die for! Fantastic! Below are some of the memorable pictures taken at Fairlight.

Red Morwong swimming through the crevice

I decided that Fairlight is/was the safest snorkeling destination so far from my snorkeling adventures. When I express safe, I suppose it defines how secure I felt. Even though we were 100m from the shore, it was not particularly deep (3-4 metres) with rock formations scattered where we could just rest on it. The abundance of marine life was amazing here. So many different species of fish and the sheer numbers gave me double vision. I could not keep up taking all the pics I wanted and I eventually got tired of taking pics and enjoyed the snorkel instead.

Crested Morwong giving me the silent treatment

The crested morwong seems like a regular here at Fairlight as I have seen dozens of pics in many forums/websites.

 School of Luderick

I could confidently state that luderick was the largest population here at Fairlight. Attack of the ludericks! Would have loved to catch them on floats :)

A groper joining the fun with ludericks

Amongst the luderick were also a few brown gropers. Their bodies show patches of blue where I think they are undergoing their sex-change transition. 

Leatherjacket attempting to hide.. poor attempt

Thought the leatherjacket above was pretty cute. Maybe because of its swollen belly and it attempted to take cover but failed miserably. 

Stripeys (Thanks to Chai, I now know the name)

Fairlight has countless rock ledges with millions (ok I exaggerate) of marine life seeking shelter underneath them. We saw a school of the yellow and black fish above. I got to find out their names!
Biggest octopus I have seen

Underneath another rock was the largest octopus I have ever seen. I managed to catch a glimpse of its tentacles and realised that an octopus was hiding underneath the ledge.This picture does not do the octopus any justice but boy was it enormous!

Brown/Blue Groper

I thought I'd add the picture above as it reminded me of an aquarium.

Another school of luderick

As I said earlier, ludericks are plentiful here at Flourishing Fairlight.

School of squid

At this stage, we stayed in the water for about an hour and a half. Time flew right past us without us knowing it. Heading towards the shore, we found a patch of white sand that was occupied by a school of squid. Got hungry just by looking at them :) One was obviously the boss and them led them away from my hungry staring eyes. 

Although we failed to snorkel our intended destination, Fairlight was my best snorkel as yet. Would return within a heartbeat. The marine life was astonishing according to my beginner's point of view and I felt the most secure. Now that I had some time to reflect about Fairlight, the first word/phrase that comes to mind is 'Flourishing' Fairlight. This is because of the flourishing marine and plant life here at Fairlight. It might also be because of the alliteration 'Flourishing Fairlight' :)

The weather forecast does not seem positive for the whole month of Feb so my next trip is dependent on how the weather holds up. As I said on my previous post, Bushrangers Bay is definitely on my list and hopefully I will visit it soon! 

Signing off


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Camp Cove Experience 21st Jan 2010

January 21st, 2010 was the day I underwent the Camp Cove experience. I have been here several times in the past but it was either for fishing (12 years ago) or conducting a tour guide for my family and friends to boast our magnificent harbour. Parking this day was appalling as the weather was beautiful and it was still the school holidays. I have read from Chai's blog that the east side was occupied by large masses of cuttlefish so I decided to drop my gear on that side of the beach.

View of the city from the water (taken from the east side of Camp Cove)

The water was beautifully calm that day as you can see from the above picture. Underwater visibility was also very good. I think I have yet to learn about the definitions describing the clarity of the water and the methods to measure visibility distance underwater. Would this also be relative depending on the person's perception of clear water? For example, someone who is accustomed to the waters off the GBR may have a 180 degree definition of water clarity to someone like me?

Anyhow, sea urchins were abundant in this area but I did not see much fish life. One of the highlights of this trip were the cuttlefish. See pics below:

Who's on top?

  How many cuttlefish (hint:2)? Peek-a-boo, I see you!

This was my first encounter with so many cuttlefish and they were not timid and let me get extremely close. I believe I saw four at the one time but there could have been more. Oh, I forgot to mention that a few diving schools were also present here at that day. I believe they were exploring the reef just off Camp Cove.

Little blue fish x 2 (name?)

I also saw a school of garfish which was almost indistinguishable from the top as they just looked like extra long pencils. They were hovering over the sea grass just by the cuttlefish. The other fish that I found intriguing are the ones in the picture above. I do not know what species they are but it felt like they did not belong in Camp Cove as they looked like tropical fish. Call me dumb if these types of species are common within the Sydney region but they just looked too pretty :) That day I experienced my first small case of hyperthermia (I think) as I stayed in the water for quite a while and my pinkies were numb even an hour after the dive. My lips were also blue. I suppose you always have to drag me out of the water.

We ended our trip at Watsons Bay with the famous Doyles fish and chips. I hope you do not get hungry looking at the pictures below as it certainly is making me hungry.

Fish 'n' Chips from Doyles

Calamari and Chips from Doyles

If you ever get the chance to snorkel around Camp Cove, I suggest you finish off the day with one of the best fish 'n' chips store in Sydney. We also had a gorgeous view of Watsons Bay from the seats/tables offered by Doyles's fish 'n' chips to its customers. 

View of Watsons Bay from Doyles fish 'n' chips

If you fancy a more formal occasion for dinner, I suggest the Doyles restaurant at Watsons Bay. It is the white building at the back. 

Picture of Watsons Bay from the beach

I enjoyed my trip to Camp Cove even though the crowds were horrendous. Maybe that was what contributed to my liking of the place. I will definitely come back and explore the western side of the beach next time as I missed it this time. One of the best reasons to come back is also for the food! Come and enjoy!

Signing off