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Diving the North end of Rotto

Jan ’11

The viz was better below than above the water!

Blue Devil on coral at Rottnest Island by Johanna PoolLee, myself¬† (Joey), Patto, plus 2 brave souls,¬† were lucky enough to head out to Rottnest Island for a day of diving on Wednesday. We’d checked the weather report and ignored the fact Bullseyes in a swim through at Rottnest Islandthere were to be thunder storms and only saw the flat water and calm winds… What more does a diver ask for???

Well, the day started HOT! There was a little cloud cover but nothing we couldn’t handle – or so we thought! We arrived at Perth Scuba to prep the boat and get the tanks filled at 8am and headed down to the boat ramp by 8.30am. The boat was filled with 4 sets of dive gear, 2 SLR cameras in housings & 3 cray loops with catch bags – I was stuck on a boat with a bunch of hunters!

We started the Bar Crusher, checked in with the Sea Rescue, and headed out from the East Fremantle boat ramp towards the open ocean. It was a lovely chug up the river, until it started to drizzle – at least it was a warm day we thought! By the time we got to the heads it was more like a monsoon, but the ocean was still flat so we figured we were safe to go and left the head and made our way to Rotto.

Let’s just say the trip over there wasn’t great – unless you were Patto who found the only dry part on the boat whilst Dad skippered! The viz above water got so bad that we navigated by GPS alone and the head wind slowed us to a crawl and made the journey over 2 hours!!! Once we finally arrived at Rottnest Island, safe and sound, the sky cleared and the wind dropped! How’s that for timing :)

We decided to go to the Northern side of the island to check out some new ground. What we found was well worth the wet and windy trip out we’d endured! We jumped in the water to a strong surface current, but the mermaid line kept us close and we all descended to the ocean floor where there wasn’t any current. We couldn’t believe the visibility of the dive site. We had at least 25 metres and there was so much fish life around us, the colourful corals, schools of fish, big crayfish (smarter than our catchers though!) and limestone swim-through galore!

Scorpion fish at Rottnest Island by Johanna PoolOn the first dive, Patto and I, took our cameras to see what we could capture in our strobe light. First of all I saw a big red Scorpion Fish sitting in the open. It quite happily stayed in position while I snapped away at him (or her) getting as many shots as I could. After I’d had my fill of Scorpion fish photos (or I’d blinded the poor little fella enough) I moved on to see what else was around. Moving on I found some huge limestone swim through’s that would have fit 5 divers across inside, within I found schools of bullseye, snapper, buff bream, and lots of friendly Blue Devils. Everywhere I looked I was finding something new, it was a photographer’s dream!

I finally came to the end of my air supply and headed back to anchor line after 60 minutes of pure joy. After much discussion on the boat we decided our second dive would be just ahead of our first dive because the guys had just found a spot that looked promising at their turn around point. Well, Lee and Rob were right, it was an even better spot than the first! We found so many more swim through’s plus Queen Snapper, juvenile Samson fish & juvenile Due-fish. It was so much fun and after another 60 minute dive we were stoked to have braved the weather to get over to Rottnest Island.

The trip back to Fremantle was done in only 45 minutes on clear calm water with no wind *sigh*. Makes you want to go back huh?!?

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