Thu 10th August 2017 – Mon 14th August 2017
When the word WOW is used on several occasions by several divers to describe a dive site and they ask to stay and do a night dive who could argue and say no. So we started our Coral Sea trip with three dives at Google Gardens with some of the healthiest corals in the Ribbon Reef nine area. Plate corals, Soft Corals and branching corals are scattered all over this dive site using all of this habitat we have cuttlefish hanging around the area as well.
We stayed and did our night dive for this part of the week as the tides for Osprey were looking like we might end up having currents at Admiralty during our usual night dive. It worked out as a real treat doing the night dive here as the marine life was completely on show with cuttlefish and sharks been seen by all. The currents we were trying to avoid at Osprey did kick in by the end of the dive really justifying our decision to change it around.
Overnight steam to Osprey wasn’t too bad. We arrived at Around the Bend for our first dive. We used the Tenders to drop down the wall a ways and then swam back to the boat checking out the exceptionally large and colorful soft corals as we went. With visibility like a clear glass of water it wasn’t too hard to see the sharks as they glided through the water. A Dog Tooth Tuna that was 6 feet long also made an appearance with 8 smaller “Doggies” following it. Kind of looked like a school excursion.
For dive two we went to the Gap where we were treated to a couple of small Grey Reef sharks coming close and a Mantis shrimp in the shallows. It is always interesting to hear the comments when people get out of the water at Osprey as there is no shortage of raised eyebrows and sparkling eyes as they describe the dramatic topography. The Gap is one of the most dramatic of the sites.
Silver City was a good chance for everyone to build their confidence and start buddying up and doing their own thing. There was a little current starting to move here and a couple of people came up telling tales of fantastic blue water all around them when they got a little far from the wall. The advice at osprey is to always use the line to the reef, something that everyone was very good at doing after this dive.
Admiralty Anchor was the last dive of the day and it is always a hit with plenty to see. Caves and swim throughs as wells as some great opportunities for some posing photo’s with sleeping white tips.
A lovely night at anchor with no travelling so plenty of sleep for all, except the odd party animals who stayed up playing cards until 9pm!
North horn for a triple header started with schools of Parrot Fish waking up and gliding along the walls like herds of Bison on a plane. As we got further down Blue Marlin was the Parrot Fish gave way to sharks and by the time we surfaced we were only talking about one thing, A DOLPHIN!!!
Cookie the dolphin as we have named it was at north horn a couple of months ago and this time we had the perfect conditions to get in for a breakfast snorkel to have a closer look. Cookie is curious but not overly so, coming close enough to look at us but keeping distance as well. Even poking it’s head out of the water and spy hopping the boat to see what was going on. Very rare and very cool.
Shark feed for dive two and entertainment plus for all with the sharks getting a little over excited and deciding that trip directors are food. After a quick negotiation and re education for the sharks they left the TD alone and went back to eating fish. No TD’s were harmed during the shark feed however Mick Fanning would be proud to know that he has influenced shark handling at osprey reef.
Dive three and a drift along the colorful beauty that is soft coral wall. So many corals that have started growing along here in the past twelve months and just more and more coming all the time. It has become a favorite dive of every trip with all the colors of the rainbow and then some.
For our final dive at Osprey we explored the cracks and canyons of castles. With the navigation here been a little interesting everyone headed out with a crew member to look over this fantastic site. Everyone says it is like diving in a set of back ally’s in a city and this week we had three people describe it as just that.
Crack A Jack on Ribbon 5 has become one our top spots for finding the un findable of late. 2 dives here on Sunday Morning and we found ourselves in aw as our Hostie put her eye for boat detailing to great use by finding a Ghost Pipe Fish. Only the third time we have seen one in the past year. An epic find that everyone appreciated.
Steve’s Bommie for an afternoon of Nudi hunting with the odd stone fish thrown in for good measure. Steve’s has always been a dive site that puts the Great in Great Barrier Reef and we are very privileged to be able to visit here every week. So many great photo’s come from here but right now the hunt is on for the clown fish egg photo’s and Matty sure knocked this task out of the water this week with one of the best egg photo’s I have ever seen.
We have had an incredible week, with Captain Tony even saying “That’s what I do this job for” in reference to cookie at North Horn and so many incredible marine life sightings with everyone having had a great smile and laugh along the way.
The sun is setting, the beer is cold, the friendships are blossoming and the stories are loud and filled with laughter. Great week, Great people, Great crew.