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Hen & Chickens

With so much going on its been an age since I’ve actually logged a dive on, instead leaving the logging to my Sunnto computer and a rather tatty collection of log books.

On Friday 12 December I met up with some old dive friends, Sharkbait, Bret and Donna and headed out to the Hen and Chicken Islands.  The weather was slightly overcast but the sea conditions were essentially flat.  The dive boat was Apollo (Goat Island Dive - Leigh) skippered by Brian.  Travel time was about an hour each way.

The first dive was on the southern side of Sail Rock, a small rock pinnacle to the south west of Hen Island.  This was a fantastic wall dive with good visibility and moderate temperatures.  I had a few problems equalizing on the way down but this gave me a great opportunity to have a close look at some clown nudibranches on the wall.  At 30 m there was a swim-through created by a huge bolder that had fallen and wedged securely across a chasm.  We disturbed a large ray that had settled beneath the swim-through.

Cruising around the boulders at the base of the wall I picked up a rock lobster and added it to Sharkbait’s catch bag.  There were some beautiful sponges, large schools of small fish in the open water, scorpion fish, a green wrasse, goat fish and the ever present demoiselles above the kelp.

As we came up at the end of the dive there was a strong surge.  This is a great way to enjoy a safety stop, pretending to be an aeroplane whooshing 15 m back and forth along the wall.

Brian cooked up a huge feed of sausages for lunch as we motored to the south eastern side of Hen Island for the second dive.  The depth here was about 20 m with the bottom strewn with large boulders covered in kelp.  This was Cray-country for sure but I only saw a single lobster on the entire dive - others had more luck.  I did find  a magnificent yellow moray eel and an anchor (but I couldn’t mark it - no line).  Again there were two spot demoiselles all over the show, with red moki and leather jackets in the kelp.  Bret saw a  school of large kingfish but I guess I was too busy looking under boulders for crays. 

Another great day diving...

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