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 Sir John Young Banks

20-21 May 2006 

Coordinator: Jeremy Weinman 

The pre-trip notice is still available, but you're probably after photos from Ron, who writes:

Overall, the weather was reasonable, and so was the vis. There were lots of grey nurses out at SJYB at around 35 metres, more at 25 metres, and others cruising around at 40-45 metres.

On Saturday when our boats arrived at SJYB we had to wait for a fishing boat which was doing very well line fishing at exactly he spot we wanted to dive. They were burlying the water and catching a fish a second, expertly flicking them up over their shoulders into their boat. On the first attempt the Tigger's anchor dragged into rather deep water, which was fine for the divers with twin sets, but not so good for the couple of divers with single tanks who bothered to make an attempt. On the second attempt the anchor stuck where it was supposed to, however there was fair current running at the surface, reminding us what the mermaid line was for. Luckily no one drifted too far away before it was put out, as a couple of us found it very handy indeed. Below 18 metres there was a lot less current. Every one got down this time, and some people even got to see sharks. The trip back was a bit bumpy.

Despite the personalised southerly front warning from the Jervis Bay coastal patrol 5 divers decided to do the next dive on the wreck of the Wandra at Drum & Drumsticks, and saw a Sea Dragon and a large cuttlefish amongst the rocks, kelp, engines, propellers and boiler. Drum and Drum Sticks was totally protected from that southerly front which passed over us, although the water temperature was noticeably lower than out at SJYB.

On Sunday the weather was better, the sea calmer, and the current less. We all got to see plenty of grey nurses which were at various levels on the wall with vis at 15-20 metres in the 20C water. Mat counted 16 GN at one time in 30-35 metres near the NW end of the wall. He saw 2 large (> 2 metres) GN, others ranging from 1.2-1.7 metres, and some quite small ones. He saw a 1.5 metre individual with a hook jammed into the right corner of its lower jaw, and another one had a series of fine lacerations on its back in front and behind first dorsal fin. Kim saw 13 at once, and saw some GN down at 40-45 metres too. Charlie reported seeing 10 GN. I saw so many I lost count while I was taking photos. There were at least a dozen at 30-35 metres, including a couple of big ones. There were as many small ones up at 20-25 metres. Unfortunately I was only able to get a maximum of 5 GN into any one photo due to the low light levels. A couple had hooks an their mouths which I managed to photograph, and one looked like it had been bleeding recently.

Afterwards a boat load dived Smugglers cave and tunnel and reported amazing reverberations from waves breaking above the tunnel, even though the sea seemed to be relatively calm.

Anchoring

Charlie adds:

The SJYBs is a tricky place to anchor in. While the reef tops out at around 17 metres, it quickly drops away to 70+ metres. The stepped bottom contour, wind and usual strong currents mean you don't have much time to set the anchor. As a result, we have had divers swinging on the anchor line at 50+ metres watching the pick bump along the bottom of the reef/sand in 60+ metres of water. Needless to say this outcome does little for those divers interested in boosting bottom time and actually seeing things except the deep deep blue......

An anchoring method employed successfully on the SJYB and other tricky anchoring places is to ensure the first divers are geared up and ready to go before the anchor is tossed over. That way they can follow the anchor down and set it within moments of it hitting the bottom. The other tip is to ensure the boat driver keeps the boat sitting over the anchor so as to keep enough slack in the line to ensure the anchor can be dragged to a suitable place for setting.

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