This was more like what I expected from the Great Barrier Reef! Our first dive at Osprey Reef was Admiralty Anchorage; one big bommie surrounded by little deeper ones. We dropped down into the sand and almost landed on a white-tipped reef shark. There were lionfish, lots more anemonefish-packed anemones, and a cool swimthrough in the main bommie.
I really fell in love with the little fish, though. We hung out at the top of the main bommie for a while, where there were schools of anthias swarming around over the reef. I especially loved these little purple anthias with their pointy noses:
Our second and third dives of the day were a little further north at False Entry, where the tender boats dropped us off a good ways from the boat, along a wall. This was our first tender entry of the trip (backrolls!) and we didn’t do so well. My snorkel – which I’ve had since I first got certified, and which we were required to have with us in Australia – immediately popped off and disappeared into the thousands of feet of water below us. Jeff made it through the backroll intact, but then lost a weight pocket while putting away his camera lens cover.
Luckily, neither one of those was a dive-stopper! We moseyed over to the wall and enjoyed the long swim back to the boat. As we approached the sandy area beneath the SpoilSport, we could see white-tipped reef sharks hanging out in 60 feet of water, and we noted their location for the next dive.
The second dive, just in the sandy patches and bommies under the boat, was even more fun than the first. Besides getting close to several whitetips being cleaned, we discovered two “families” of fire dartfish. In Hawaii, these guys are really a special find, so I was bouncing off the walls when Jeff first spotted one here. He even had the right lens on! Then we noticed another… and another… a whole family group of fire dartfish, all different sizes!
Turns out they’re a little more common in the GBR. Oh well – they’re still cool.
After another dive up north, we headed back to Admiralty Anchorage for the night dive, then crashed in exhaustion. Sunday was going to be a big day, with a shark feeding dive in the afternoon!
It didn’t start out so auspiciously. Our first dive Sunday morning was just kind of an okay site, nothing special. When we surfaced, the boat was eerily quiet. All the lights were off, the compressors weren’t compressing, and there was no air conditioning or water in the rooms.
The party line was that a generator overloaded, but the version I heard from a crewmember later was a bit more annoying. Some unnamed diver had “plugged in” their device without using a real plug – just bare wires stuck into either side of the outlet. This setup created a huge power drain on the first generator, and when it finally gave up all that drain killed the second generator as well!
It took several hours for the engineer to get us back up and running, during which most of us repaired to the top deck to stay out of the muggy interior of the boat.
When we finally got moving, the plan had changed – we’d do the shark dive before lunch instead of in the afternoon. Apparently the tuna heads for the shark feed were starting to spoil because of the power issue, and I think they also wanted to hurry up and get the big dive in before anything else went wrong…