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Low vis but still fun at Byron Bay 

  August 16, 2010

This is what I love about Byron: even on a windy, choppy day with three metres visibility you can still have a great dive.

The boat ride out to Julian Rocks this morning was a bit rough and John and I decided to leave the cameras on the boat.

The water was green and the surface was really choppy. We back rolled off the side of the boat and down the mooring line we went. The vis was shocking, possibly the worst I've ever had at Byron, but all of the life was still there.

We stopped by the Turtle Trench on the way to the nursery and found some huge jewfish (Argyrosomus japonicus), a small school of brown sweetlips (Plectorhinchus gibbosus), a few snapper (Chrysophrys auratus)and yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) and a large female grey nurse shark (Carcharias Taurus) that looked like she might be pregnant.

Then we went for a quick look through the Cod Hole, which had a small school of glassies, three smallish common lionfish (Pterois volitans) and a huge, two-metre-long black cod (Epinephelus daemelii). I think it actually might have been a Queensland groper (Epinephelus lanceolatus).

We continued around the rock to get out of the current and stopped by the Gorgonian Hollow on the way to Hugo's.

We found the massive resident loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) taking a nap underneath a gorgonian (Alcyonacea) and I spotted quite a few nudis, several of which I've never photographed.

There was a school of black tipped bullseyes (Pempheris affinis) staying low and close to the rocks and a single white spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari)passed over us. It was clearly as surprised to come upon us in the low vis as we were of how close it got to us.

We finished at the mooring line at False Trench, thanks to John's fabulous navigation skills in the low vis, and were treated to spectacular show by a breaching humpback as we waited to pick up the other divers.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

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