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Perfectly calm summer evening at Rockingham

We had 12 divers including myself for the Wednesday night manta club dive on 4/2/15. We all met at the Rockingham wreck trail on a perfectly calm summers evening. There was no sea breeze and the water was looking very inviting after a hot day.
We all geared up and entered the water following the dive brief. Everyone in the group bar one person had dived the wreck trail before and we had only one guy new to night diving who was my buddy for the dive.
The four of us in my group planned to descend on the first shallow boat wreck then work around in a anticlockwise direction taking in the deep boat wreck, both aircraft and tyre wall.
Visibility was average but certainly good enough for the four of us to stick together easily. We saw all the usual fish on the first couple of wrecks, Bullseyes, Stripey, various Leatherjackets, Western Talma and various Wrasse. We also saw a couple of unusual nudibranchs and a Western Scorpion Cod which was cool.
Around half way through the dive we came to one of the aircraft wrecks, Mitchell almost immediately flashed his torch at me to grab my attention. I headed over his way and saw beneath him in the sand the largest Shovel Nose Ray I have ever seen. It was so still that I thought possibly it was dead (as so commonly found under the Ammo Jetty). Then I noticed it was breathing and looked in good shape, it also had two Slender Sucker Fish on its sides which was also really cool to see. The Ray itself was huge, it was almost as big as me, we reckoned around 1.5m.
We then left the Shovel Nose in peace and headed to the tyre wall where we saw an octopus, after which we headed to the 5m line for a safety stop and then exited the water.
We were the only ones in the group lucky enough to see the jumbo sized ray (thanks Mitchell for spotting it). Needless to say the other guys didn’t believe us when we said how big it was. The funniest part was that my buddy James didn’t even see it, he must have wondered what the hell the rest of us were looking at for all that time in the sand!!!!
The overall vibe was that everyone had enjoyed their dive, I definitely did and look forward to seeing you all on the 11/5 for another night dive.

written by Perth Scuba PADI Divemaster – Aaron Goodhew

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