On the 14th September 2019 I went diving at Shark Point with five of my regular diving buddies.
What started out as a normal day and what could have been a beautiful dive soon changed into a tragic event. As soon as Simon hit the water he seemed panicked and short of breath. We gathered to his side immediately and tried to help him. We thought it was a panic attack but within a few minutes it escalated to a full on resuscitation effort and rescue attempt out at sea, where ultimately Simon lost his life.
The people who helped us that day were lifesavers and a beautiful couple out on their boat. We will be eternally grateful for their assistance and support that day. The strangers that risked everything to try and help us and Simon were called Murray, Carl, Tanya, Joel and Will. They were absolute heroes that day, along with my dive team Sean, Thierry, Im and Adam. However, despite our best efforts Simon slipped away in front of us.
The reasons why Simon struggled to breathe that day, and why he died with us, will remain a mystery. As I struggle through the grief and trauma of the day I take comfort that one of my best friends died without pain, surrounded by people that loved him and were comforting him, in a place he loved, doing what he loved.
Simon, you are an absolute legend, we love you and will never forget you.
More information is available in the link attached,
This unusual funny looking guy is very rare and luckily we came across it on a dive in the harbour last week. It got a bit camera shy though and soon went into hiding. When we first saw this eel there was about 30-40cm of his body showing from his hidey hole. I can imagine it would have been a full adult length if it had become fully exposed.
A successful beach clean up at Camp Cove, Sydney with nearly 40 bottles, 30 straws and almost 40kg of plastics and other material collected for rubbish from the ocean seabed. It was a sad reminder of how fragile the environment is and how huge our impact is on this planet. The best bit was seeing how many children on the beach wanted to join in - there is hope!
When collecting rubbish from the ocean, always check what might be inside, in case that rubbish is a creature's home. We found this little blue ring octopus inside one of the glass bottles collected, and safely released it back to the ocean.
This Moon Wrasse is usually seen in the Great Barrier Reef, not usually here in Sydney. But the recent warm sea temperatures must have lured this gorgeous fella closer to Sydney. Sighted end of May 2019.
Have you noticed recently that whenever you see an Octopus there is often another Octopus close by and they are "holding hands"? That is what it looks like anyway. But in reality, the male is using his specialised arm (known as the hectocotylus) to pass packets of sperm to the female so that she can lay eggs. We have been seeing lots of this recently around Sydney which is great news and we hope that next season we are inundated with baby octopus everywhere! They are afterall some of the most entertaining sea creatures for snorkellers and divers.
This time of year is also when you may notice more giant cuttlefish hanging around, and it is for the same reason.
It is with this rise of cephalopod activity that makes Autumn diving in Sydney fantastic and a constant adventure.
The Eastern Blue Groper is the friendliest fish in Sydney and probably the most charismatic fish in the world. They always approach, lean in, and seek out your company. If you are taking photos they want to get in the way and make sure you photograph them instead! Today this particular individual (who is probably as old as we) wanted serious fun and attention which we were more than happy to provide. After hundreds of dives these guys still make me smile every time!
How wonderful is Sydney? A simple shallow shore dive in Sydney Harbour and we saw eight different individuals of Anglerfish. This is not to say that they are common in the slightest, but perhaps the perfect sea conditions and temperature increased their presence at this little spot on this day. At some sites it is normal to see one, maybe two, but eight?! Wow what a dive!
These alien-like fish are incredible and look more like something that should appear in a story book than in reality.
Let us hope we start to see these ambush predators across more sites in Sydney!
A cheeky dive at North Bondi to celebrate the new year of 2019 was fantastic as we came face to face with a Grey Nurse Shark. It has been a few months since they have been sighted, so it was good news. I just hope we didn't scare him off!
Dolphins were playing at the surface before and after the dive - I wonder if they encountered one another?!
This species of fish (Eastern Blue Groper) is known as being very friendly with divers and snorkellers, but today I found this guy to be more friendly than normal. He was trying to rub me on our dive at Bare Island. Then of course I noticed why. The poor guy was covered in sea lice - they were scurrying all around his face and there were a couple of marks that looked suspiciously like burrows. It must have been causing the fish some discomfort, if only itchiness which explains why he wanted to rub me.
Weedy Seadragons eat sea lice. In Bare Island there are a couple of weedy seadragons so I am hoping he soon makes friends with one of them so that the pipefish has a good meal and the groper is relieved of his discomfort.