Diving Komodo on Cajoma III

NOVEMBER 2016 The Magnificent Seven (with five URG members) left Sydney early Tuesday with a heavy load of luggage. Overnighting in Kuta, Bali, we flew to Labuan Bajo, in Western Flores, and transferred directly to the boat by 10:00 am. Wednesday 9th After unpacking and sorting gear, we set a course WNW and picked up […]

Dive Sites at North Head

So in reference to the previous description of the conditions at North head, this description is in fact anywhere between North Heads most seaward point and just before Old Man’s Hat. You can dive anywhere along this cliff from a small boat. To find Old Man’s Hat you travel in from the sea along North […]

Dobroyd Head

Where to dive when a strong westerly starts a’blowin? Dobroyd Head that’s where; situated in Sydney Harbour north of Middle Head & west of North Head. It is a pleasant reef dive with max depth approx 14m, so it’s good as a second dive after diving outside the heads. You can choose to stay at […]

Ocean Temperatures

Springtime – so we’re in for warming waters! As our air temperatures begin to climb, so will the ocean temperatures, but ocean temperatures move much less and lag behind. In Sydney, our average water surface temperature range is just 5.2 degrees, from a minimum of 18.5 in September to a maximum of 23.7 in February. […]

Featured Dive: Botany Bay (Heads)

This article was originally published in Nature NSW Botany Bay was originally named Stingray Harbour by Captain Cook when he first landed here in 1770. Cook later renamed it based on “the great quantity of plants Mr Banks and Dr Solander found in this place”. Had Cook been able to strap on a SCUBA tank and mask, he might have remarked that the […]

Walking on the Edge – Rock Platforms

As far as rocks go, you have to love sandstone. Our beautiful sandstone bedrock in NSW gives us our majestic historic buildings, our stunning red-yellow cliffs and our sandy beaches. At the interface where land meets sea, it also gives us a fascinating and sometimes dangerous formation – the rock platform. Rock platforms are formed […]

GPS Kelp Surveys

Kelp is in trouble. Warming oceans, storms, increasing flows of nutrient-poor tropical water from the north and phase shifts thanks to the rise of black urchins are conspiring to put our beautiful kelp beds under pressure. Whilst we have little data from NSW, in Tasmania scientists have estimated that giant kelp cover has fallen by […]

Searching for Macleay’s Spurilla

I am trying to solve a 152 year old ‘cold case’ in the world of nudibranchs. In 1864, the pioneering Australian marine biologist George Angas published a scientific paper naming as new species 30 nudibranchs (both dorids and aeolids) that he collected from Sydney Harbour between 1858 and 1860. Some of Angas’s species, like the […]

URG 60th Anniversary

A celebration of 60 years, and showing no sign of slowing down! The URG will officially turn 60 in July 2016 and the club feted the milestone on 22 May at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science in Mosman. Early members in attendance were Clarrie Lawler, Harry Tracy, Sylvia Adam, Joan Harper, and Bob Ellis with noted photographer […]

Rewilding the Ocean

Rewilding is a relatively new concept in conservation. It involves re-introducing previously lost species to an area, for example bringing bison back to the forests of Europe, wolves back to North America and Tasmanian devils back to mainland Australia. Large herbivores and apex predators play important roles in maintaining the wilderness, so re-introducing them can […]

Early Australian Ichthyology

Can you remember what it was like trying to identify fish from a dive before digital cameras and the internet? If you were like me, you probably took underwater photos on a film camera with a maximum of 36 shots, waited days for them to be developed (only a few ever turned out), then went […]

Adopt A Dive Site – Camp Cove

Garbage. Rubbish. Trash. Dross. Whichever word you choose, it often ends up in our waterways. It doesn’t “go away.” Especially plastic. Marine life ranging from plankton to whales ingest plastic. Plastic is found in 90% of sea birds. Animals get trapped and die in our refuse. There is no “away.” On Sunday 15 May the […]

RLS Jervis Bay – The Docks

The trip across Jervis Bay had been a bit choppy with all divers donning suits and staying under cover but with the wind from the NW pushing on toward the other side was a great option. Finally, there I was sitting on the URG boat back at one of my favourite NSW south coast dive […]

Sydney Marine Park Update

The NSW Government’s process to address the gap in marine protection in the Hawkesbury bioregion continues with the recent release of the Threat and Risk Assessment and Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper outlines eight initiatives for addressing the threats and risks in the region, including tackling water quality and pollution, user conflicts and “spatial management”. […]

Scientific Names Do Change

One of the arguments for learning scientific names is that they are stable and reliable compared to common names. Many marine animals have one scientific name, and multiple common names, often depending on the location. For example a Jewfish (NSW) is called a Mulloway in Vic, Butterfish in SA and Kingfish in WA. But scientifically […]

Blue Morwong

Common in NSW inshore and off shore. Silver green not blue but commonly known as Silver Morwong or old rubber lips. Nemadactylus douglasi. Grows to 5.9 kgs and 810 mm but only seen much smaller these day and not as common unless you’re at Shelly or in a marine reserve. Not great eating due to black stomach lining but […]


A short history of URG tow vehicles. This was before my time but my understanding is that the current club boat was purchased in the mid/late 80s and was originally towed by members own cars. This was after the 1979 (or second) oil crisis or oil shock occurred in the United States due to decreased oil output in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. […]