27 th September 2010Magnetic Island Dive ReportIn early September 2010,John and I began discussinghow we could get ourselvesand our dive gear over toMaggie Island to dive theOrchard Rocks.I had dived these rocks oncebefore several years ago, and Iremember it to be quite animpressive dive site, although alittle subject to poor visibility. Ibecame interested in returning tothis site after discussing the areaat a film night hosted by a local diveshop in June last year.After considering our options, wedecided to hire a small boat; and onSunday morning we departed thecity boat ramp en route to OrchardRocks.After about an hour of solidsteaming, during which time wewere overtaken by a turtle and ayacht, I realised that following therecommended load rating on avessel’s survey sticker is probably awise move!We assessed our fuel situation, anddecided to pull up outside CoconutBeach and dive the small reef infront of Base Back Packers.We found the visibility here to bequite poor, but we stuck at it anddived together quite effectively.The effort here was worth it; Johnfound a really small Stone Fish wellhidden among the lettuce coral, andBradley and I found we hadattracted the unwanted attentionof two Remoras, which begancircling us in mid-water!Also of interest here were severalLagoon Rays, one nice size CoralTrout, and several black and purplenudibranchs.We then headed back to Picnic Bay,and continued around the point towhere the two houses can be seenclose to the waters edge. We foundthe depth here way too shallow fora dive, so we returned and anchoredup just outside the marine parkboundary off the end of the jetty.I had participated in a club clean updive at this site a few years ago,and remember it to be quite a good‘muck-dive’.We swam along the sand on abearing towards the jetty, and1
found a small bombie about 25mfrom the jetty’s eastern edge.Around this bombie we found asmall cloud of Glass Fish, a ScorpionFish, and one large ray that didn’tlike the look of Bradley, almost asmuch as Bradley didn’t like the lookof him!27 th September 2010As we swam back away from the endof the jetty, John made a fantasticfind. Hidden within a plastic box-2shaped crate lay a fully grownStone Fish, the size of an AFLfootball. These fish are amazing tolook at, and we were able to getquite close without disturbing it, soclose that we could even see thefrilly pieces of skin disguising themain spines on its back!People were fishing from the jettyas we arrived, so we deliberatelyremained within the structure bystaying inside the shadows castonto the sand bottom.Within the first five minutes,Bradley and I had started a fishingrod collection, and John was busyassembling an impressive collectionof fishing and kitchen knives.After comparing our ‘treasure’ wethen found a girl’s push bike, anddiscovered we could quite easilybalance on it underwater!At the end of the jetty, we found areally pretty cream and blacknudibranch, a long spined sea urchin,and two baby sized Scorpion Fish.We also found a school of Sweep, alarge school of Pike, swarms ofSardines, and several Sladey Bream(Mother-in-Law Fish).By the end of the dive, we hadfound enough broken fishing gear todeck out a tackle shop, but thefishing activity hasn’t seemed todiminish the life under the jetty;even with the reduced visibility wefound plenty to look at.By lunch time, and with a couple ofinteresting yet slightly unusualdives under our belts, we headedback to Townsville in time to getJohn home and off to his work.Although we hadn’t made it to ourintended dive site, there’s alwaysnext time, and we still had asuccessful morning exploring twoother local dive sites.Magnetic Island has provided mewith some interesting dives, andwhile these two sites wouldn’t makeit into an edition of Dive Log,Coconut Reef and the Picnic BayJetty are definitely worth a look.