By Erik Schlögl
Not having written this quickly enough, this dive report didn't make it into the last bulletin, though Duncan did mention the dive in the President's Slate. He wasn't exaggerating; the two dives we did at Magic Point back on the 2nd of May ranked with the best to be had in Sydney. The first dive especially I'd say was the best dive I've ever done around here. The photo which accompanied the Slate last month gives an inkling why: Grey Nurse Sharks, huge schools of Yellowtail Scad and good viz. Though the viz was somewhat impaired at times by the Yellowtail - John Swift and I were diving together, and on the first dive we lost sight of each other quite a few times because the fish were so dense, even though we were only three or four meters away from each other. And then there was a bit of a "sardine run moment" (I've never been to see that off South Africa, but we've all seen pictures at some stage, I guess) swimming through a dense school of fish and almost running head first into a Grey Nurse Shark.
The Yellowtail were a bit less dense on the second dive, so I counted more sharks on that one: 7 Grey Nurse Sharks, 8 Banded Wobbegongs (Orectolobus halei) and 3 Spotted Wobbegongs (Orectolobus maculatus). I definitely regretted not putting the wide-angle lens on my camera that day, but Duncan and Charlie were kind enough to point out an interesting pipefish to me, a Bentstick Pipefish (Trachyrhamphus bicoarctatus), just the thing for the macro lens. This species has been observed around Sydney a few times, but I'd only seen it before in Malaysia, twenty years ago. Of course, there were also plenty of the usual Sydney marine life species around - you can see the species recorded at Magic Point on iNaturalist here: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=152800&subview=map&taxon_id=48460&view=species
Many thanks to Michael and Janet for convening. It would have been a pity to miss out on these dives, and Michael managed to get us to Magic Point and safely back on a pair of boat engines that weren't being 100% cooperative.