Report courtesy of Rob Jones:
Anne had mentioned the possibility of diving with seals around the heads at Jervis Bay and arranged a trip down over the weekend around the 28-29th August to have a swim, take pictures, and generally have a fun if relaxed weekend of diving.
The party ended up in two houses in Vincentia, and after an early night by some, and a late arrival from Stuart we were up early(ish) the next morning to get down to the boat. Owen had helpfully delegated himself as chef and provided a fine selection of bacon rolls and scrambled eggs to get everyone going.
The convoy headed down to Huskisson where we met our skipper for the day, John, on the boat Genesis from Jervis Bay Dive Center. As much as it was a nice day with some warm sun, the wind was blowing, and there was a good 2-3m swell out on the north head. The wind was coming from the South, so getting out might not have been so bad, but getting back might have been a bit too much of a bumpy ride!
Instead, we headed over to Bowen Island where we could get a bit of shelter. It was a bit choppy but all 10 of us on the boat got in the water, 8 from SSAC and 2 other British ex-pat divers that had also come along on the boat. The dive site was nothing special, but quite nice for a first dive, putting us in 25-15m of water. There were plenty of Port Jackson sharks around. The choppy water was too much for the author and he lost his breakfast whilst swimming back to the boat. Not a nice way to start the morning!
Fortunately John and his lovely assistant were on hand with soup and bread. For the second dive we found another site nearby which while shallower had a large wall with a much greater diversity of marine life, with at least one large cuttlefish being spotted, and a number of large rocks, crevices and swim-throughs to take a look at.
After a day's diving the party headed back to one of the houses where Anne had stocked up with a fridge full of divers favourite things, namely meat and beer. The meat was grilled and the beer was drunk thanks to Ben's fine barbequeing skills.
The next day was supposed to be calmer, and it looked like there might be an opportunity to get out to the north head to see the seal colony. The word from the skipper was that though the wind had dropped, and was continuing to do so, it was still quite choppy around the headland. Down to 6 brave souls, or at least the ones who could be bothered to get into wet gear, we headed out again, this time to the north head to check the site out. On the way, we caught our first and only glance of the seals for the weekend.
It was still looking very lumpy (though less so than the day before) so we headed over to an area called 'torpedo tubes' (near an area where the military tested/had torpedo sites stationed many years previously). With towering cliffs and a number of inlets that were almost cave like, this site did not disappoint, with a large variety of marine-life on show, including some weedy sea-dragons, puffer fish and a large ray. There were a number interesting areas to swim into, through and around. The current did have a tendency to pick up in places which lead to some interesting high speed maneuvers.
Although calmer, the weather was not to be out-done and cursed another member of the party with a technicolour yawn, fortunately for him, this time over the side of the boat.
For the last dive of the day, although the sea-state continued to calm, we headed over to Bowen Island again to dive an area called 'The Nursery'. This dive had a large number of Port Jackson sharks doing, not very much, and one of the party returning with loot in the form of a cut anchor.
All in all, even without the advertised seals putting in an appearance, a weekend of good diving and good company was had by all. Thanks to Anne for organising and to everyone for showing up.