I haven't been to Smyth Head in a few years so I took my boat out in Becher Bay on Sept. 24, 2022. I anchored a bit North of where I usually tie up and swam out down the slope. Visibility was 20-30'.
        A group of Steller's sea lions swooped past. A school of herring nearby darted away, but a school of black rockfish didn't even flinch and the sea lions ignored them. The sea lions made a few visits as I continued to swim out. Eventually I stopped taking pictures of them and tried to ignore them and pay attention to the other marine life around me.
        I was confused by the topography out here. I was expecting to find the wall I usually dive here, but instead, there was a slope of small rocks/rubble with some rocky reefs. I assumed I must be North of where I usually dive so I started swimming South about 60' deep along the slope. The current was unexpectedly-strong. I usually take my boat out to this area on small-exchange, good current days. My goal is usually to dive the more exposed sites outside of Becher Bay. Sometimes there is a swell out there which makes me stay in the bay and dive "back-up" sites like Smyth Head. My point is that I usually dive here on good current days and don't feel much current. Today, it was a not-great current day and I learned that this site can be current-sensitive too. I was being swept along South and I realized that I'd have to swim against it to get back so I turned around before I went too far. I stayed around the area North of where I'm used to diving and continued exploring down the slope. One of the most common rockfish out here was Canary. In some areas they were almost in schools. This is within a Rockfish Conservation Area so it's illegal for most people to fish for them.
        I'm not sure where I was out there on the slope, but I reached a wall that started about 90' deep at its top and dropped down to at least 120' deep as far as I could tell. I stayed along the top of the wall since I assumed I was a long way from shore in a worryingly-strong current and I was almost topped-up with nitrogen. The highlight for me on this dive was coming across a basket star perched on the edge of the cliff.
        I started the swim back up the slope. There was one steep-sided rock reef (maybe 50' deep) that was covered with tiny, grey burrowing cucumbers.
        On my swim back to shore, I swam up a mound of small rocks full of orange burrowing cucumbers and red urchins with a few fish-eating anemones mixed in. I passed over part of this mound at the beginning of my dive as I swam out from shore. The top of this mound was only 12' deep and the marine chart shows this shallow area popping up a bit offshore. The current was very strong here and as I reached the top of the mound, it was too strong to swim against and it swept me away. I surfaced about 150 meters off the shore and the current was carrying me out of the bay. I swam across the current towards shore and finally made it near the point of the bay. I swam back close to the rocks (where the current was much weaker) to where my boat was. I had brought a second tank to do a another dive somewhere nearby, but after the current and the extra swim, I was done for the day.
Proudly built with SiteSpinner free website maker
Proudly built with SiteSpinner free website maker