Forster Report

On the last weekend in July, 6 divers headed to Forster, NSW for a weekend of diving.  Our main aim as to see grey nurse sharks but would be happy with some good diving.  The trip was organised through the club and we were diving with Action Divers, Tuncurry.

We each drove up to Forster in our own cars with our arrivals spread between 5 and 10pm on Friday night.  We stayed in cabins at Lana’s Caravan Park in Forster.  The cabins were very good, each with a lounge area, bathroom with shower and two bedrooms with bunks.

Graeme reading while waiting for Tim to arrive.

John reading his Kindle while waiting for Tim to arrive.

 

On Saturday morning, we met John from Action Divers at his boat in the Forster channel.  After stowing our gear we headed off to The Pinnacle, so named because it is a pinnacle of rock that rises from around 50 metres to just above 30 metres.  We headed down the anchor line to be greeted by a raging current and visibility of only around 3 metres.  Once we got to the bottom of the anchor line at around 35 metres it was very dark and murky making it difficult to see anything.  Evy managed to run into a grey nurse shark – or perhaps more accurately – it ran into her.  I guess it was having just as much trouble with the viz. as we were.  We did manage to see some large bull rays and truncate coralfish.

Truncate coralfish, Chelmonops truncatus 29.3 m.

Truncate coralfish, Chelmonops truncatus. 29.3 m.

 

The second dive was at Latitude Rock, named after the rock that sticks out of the water with an East-West orientation.  The site is a series of gutters and we split up into our buddy pairs and swam up and down the gutters.  The visibility here wasn’t much better than The Pinnacle, if at all, and so again we didn’t see much.  Some of us saw an eagle ray and others saw some Port Jackson sharks.

We arrived back in Forster just after noon and had the rest of the day to ourselves.  After rinsing our gear back at the cabins we spent most of the afternoon vegging out: reading, computing and watching TV.  Evy and Trish went to see the local oyster farm only to find out it was closed – I guess not much happens in Forster in Winter.

On Saturday night, John (Action Divers) put on  barbecue for us at the caravan park and we whiled away the night chatting about very varied topics.

Graeme, Trish, Evy, Tim and John (Standing) at the barbecue.

 

Sunday morning we headed back to the boat to stow our gear.  This time instead of boarding the boat, we drove to Seal Rocks to board the boat at the beach.  This was so we could leave from there rather than having to head all the way back to Forster after the dives.

Getting the boat ready.

 

The first dive was at Little Seal Rock.  Conditions has improved slightly since the previous day and visibility was up to 5 metres.  Little Seal Rock was an interesting site with lots to see, including quite a few large wobbegongs.  We managed to see one (perhaps two) grey nurse shark but it didn’t hang around for long.  After the dive while sitting on the boat, a whale swam very close to the boat and surfaced a number of times.

Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus. 14.4 m.

Graeme during the safety stop. 5.5 m.

 

The second dive was at Big Seal Rock.  This was the site most likely to have grey nurse sharks.  While descending the anchor line we came across a large jellyfish in the water.  I made the mistake of following it to take photos and drifted from the anchor line.  Tim and Graeme followed me and we weren’t able to find the anchor line again.  We did manage to find a great drop off with wobbegongs and Port Jackson sharks.  Unfortunately, we missed the 11 grey nurse sharks that John and Trish saw right near the anchor line. We also surfaced some 100 metres from the boat and had to be picked up.

Jellyfish, Catostylus mosaicus. 10.2 m.

Tim. 15.3 m.

 

John dropped us back at the beach at Seal Rocks and we all headed for home, meeting up at Buladelah for some lunch.

Overall it was an enjoyable trip with great company.  It would have been a lot more enjoyable if the visibility had been better but there’s not much we could have done about it.  I’d go on the next trip to Forster if I’m available.

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