On the last weekend of October a group from Scuba World, experienced an awesome weekend away in the quiet town of Wooli, NSW.
The group arrived at Wooli Dive Center, Friday 6pm, after a 6 hour drive from the Sunshine Coast. Most of the group knew each other, however there were a few introductions in order. We went to the bowls club for dinner and drinks. Congrats to Bev Evans for winning 2 meat trays at the weekly raffle.
7:30am Saturday was the meet time for our first days diving. The accommodation is on site, and the dive boat is literally 30 meters away. We set up our gear, put our suits on and were heading down the river by 8:30am. The North Solitary Islands are a short 25 min boat ride from Wooli.
Conditions on Saturday were beautiful. Hardly a breath of wind, minimal swell, 20 degree water temp and 8m vis. We were all very excited to be diving. After a dive brief from the skipper, we jumped in. Our first dive was the bubble cave. A short swim from the mooring and we were in the small cave, when you look up, an air pocket caused by trapped divers bubbles was above. There was a large wobbygong on the floor of the cave too.
We exited the cave and saw lots of macro life, a photographers dream.
Dive two was similar to dive one, however we also encountered 3 grey nurse sharks cruisng by.
Dive three was probably the highlight of the day. The site was called fish soup. You swim between two rock islands and the surge pushes you around a little, however there were fish everywhere! So many different species, it was an exciting experience.
We arrived back at the dock around 3pm, washed our gear and went to the pub for a few drinks, and a chat about the days diving.
We decided on a big BBQ dinner Sat night, so Greg put his hand up as the official BBQ chef for the night. A few red wines and beers were in order. It was a great night sitting around the large dining room table catching up with everyone.
We walked down to the dive boat Sunday morning at 7:30am, set up our gear and were on our way to the islands by 8am. The wind had picked up a little, however the skipper picked a site that was protected. First dive of the day was a light drift dive. I have never seen so many anemones. I guess that’s why they call it Anenome Bay.
Our last dive of the trip was a great site, again, lots of anemones, and macro life. There was a tight swim through, with thousands of bullseye fish encompassing the mini cave.
It was quite choppy travelling home, however we arrived back to the dock safely. We washed our gear, packed up, said our goodbye’s and we were on the road by 2pm.
I would highly recommend diving the North Solitary Islands with Wooli Dive Center. They run a casual operation, however it is very easy. The accomodation is 30 meters from the dive boat (no beach launches), and the tanks are loaded on the vessel. A quick 25min run out to the dive sites, with a maximum of 14 divers onboard. There is plently of room to move aorund the boat, and regardless of the conditions there is always a protected site to dive. We did not put Wooli on the 2017 calander, however if we receive enough interested we may be able to organise one next year.
Photos: Mike McKinnon (Brianna’s Olympus camera – thanks for letting me take it for a spin)