Take a look at our dive reports from January 2024! We’ve detailed what we saw, the temperature and visibility, and surface conditions of the Solitary Islands in Coffs Harbour in January 2024.

2nd January 2024 – New Year’s Dive!

With conditions easing slightly MegaWild loaded up and steamed out to South Solitary for the first dives of 2024!

First up our divers descended on Buchanan’s Wall. Highlights of the dive included Nudibranchs, Spanish Dancers, a Green Turtle, Slipper Lobsters, White-eyed Moray Eels, a Mosaic Moray Eel, Fire Gobies (today’s picture from our instructor Nathan) Wobbegongs and even a lone Grey Nurse Shark!

For the second dive our divers dropped in at Shark Gutters for a swim to South Boulder Wall. During the dive Grey Nurse Sharks, Marbled Rays, Nudibranchs, Cuttlefish, Octopus, a Cockatoo Waspfish and a pair of Peacock Mantis Shrimp were seen.

Congratulations to Amy, Ashton, Laurence & Madeleine on completing their PADI Open Water Diver course.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 19°C-21°C
  • Visibility: 6m-12m

Dive Report By: Nathan

Red Fire Goby - Nemateleotris magnifica - Cable Trail, South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Red Fire Goby – Nemateleotris magnifica – Cable Trail, South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

Nudibranch - Marionia Sp. - Cleaner Station at South Solitary (N Fripp January 2024)
Nudibranch – Marionia Sp. – Cleaner Station at South Solitary (N Fripp January 2024)

3rd January 2024 – Macro Wednesday at South Solitary

With the recent wet weather abating Megawild loaded up and headed out to South Solitary for today’s diving.

First up our divers dropped on Buchanan’s Wall. Marbled Rays, Green Turtles, Wobbegongs, juvenile Yellow Boxfish, Banded Coral Shrimp, Nudibranchs, Spanish Dancers and Decorator Crabs were amongst the highlights of the dive.

For the second dive our divers descended on Shark Gutters where unfortunately the current from Queensland had deposited some very green water, so macro was the flavour of the day! Many Nudibranchs were seen (including the Marionia Sp. pictured in today’s dive report), along with more Green Turtles, Blue Grouper, Black Cod, Cuttlefish and Popcorn Shrimp.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 19°C-22°C
  • Visibility: 3m-8m

Dive Report By Nathan


4th January 2024 – Good Visibility found hiding at Grouper!

With Surface conditions continuing to improve MegaWild loaded up and headed out to South Solitary for today’s dives. on arriving in water conditions were less than ideal, so MegaWild made a left turn and steamed over to Grouper (Southwest Solitary) Island where conditions were far more favourable!

First up our divers descended on Coral Gardens. Nudibranchs were the flavour of the day along with Damselfish, Barrier Reef Anemonefish, White-eyed Morays, Lionfish, Bullseyes, Spanish Dancers and Wobbegongs.

For the second dive our divers dropped in at Crazy Maze. Clown Triggerfish, Moorish Idols, Banded Coral Shrimp, Frogfish, a Green Turtle and even a teeny tiny wee baby Wobbegong were amongst the highlights.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 20°C-22°C
  • Visibility: 8m-12m

Dive Report By Nathan

Nudibranch - Verconia alboannulata - Coral Gardens at South West Solitary (N Fripp January 2024)
Nudibranch – Verconia alboannulata – Coral Gardens at South West Solitary (N Fripp January 2024)

Octopus
Octopus hiding at South Solitary

7th January 2024 – Warm Summer Water is Here

Today we ventured out to South solitary Island and we were welcomed to a balmy 24C
Dive one was at South Boulder as this was the calmest location. The students made their way down to the gap where we saw 2 to 3 turtles, the other divers went up boulder wall, we had moray eels, Wobbegongs, big schools of tarwhine and fusiliers.
Dive two we went down to Buchanan’s wall, and the visibility was a little clearer. We had lots of Octopus, Nudibranchs, turtles and Banded coral shrimp along the wall.

Congratulations to Riley and Aisleen who finished their PADI Open Water Course today.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 24°C
  • Visibility: 6m-10m

Dive Report By Lindsay


8th January 2024 -Mega Monday!

After a few days out of the water Megawild loaded up and steamed out to South Solitary for today’s diving!

First up our divers dropped in at Buchanan’s Wall, hilights included Nudibranchs, juvenile Yellow Boxfish, Banded Coral Shrimp, Octopus, Lionfish and a massive Mosaic Moray (today’s picture from our instructor Nathan).

After the surface interval our certified divers descended on Shark Gutters for a drift dive to the Gantry, while the student divers dropped in at the Gantry. During the dive Cuttlefish, Black Cod, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Spanish Dancers, Semicircle Angelfish as well as Green and Hawksbill Turtles were seen.

Congratulations to Maddison and Saila on completing their PADI Openwatyer Diver course.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 21°C-24°C
  • Visibility: 6m-10m

Dive Report By Nathan

Mosaic Moray - Enchelycore ramosa - Buchanan's Wall at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Mosaic Moray – Enchelycore ramosa – Buchanan’s Wall at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

Octopus - Blue Lined Octopus - Hapalochlaena fasciata - at the Cable Trail (N Fripp January 2024)
Octopus – Blue Lined Octopus – Hapalochlaena fasciata – at the Cable Trail (N Fripp January 2024)

9th January 2024 -Blue Lined Tuesday!

With the conditions picking up again SoWild loaded up and steamed out to South Solitary for today’s dives.

First up our divers dropped on Buchannan’s Wall, where highlights included Nudibranchs, juvenile Yellow Boxfish, Banded Coral Shrimp, Popcorn Shrimp, Spanish Dancers, Wobbegongs, White-Eyed & Green Moray Eels and even a very unusual Blue Lined Octopus! (photo courtesy of our instructor Nathan)

For the second dive we descended onto Shark Gutters for a very quick drift to the Gantry, where despite the visibility being a little bit off today the fishlife was abundant! Grey Nurse Sharks, Bull Rays, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Abbotts Moray Eels, Bannerfish, Moorish Idols, Blue Tangs and Hawksbill Turtles were seen.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 20°C-22°C
  • Visibility: 3m-8m

Dive Report By Nathan


11th January 2024 – Summer Water Finally Arrives at South Solitary!

With Surface conditions settling MegaWild loaded up with some super keen divers and powered out to South Solitary Island for today’s diving!

First up our divers dropped in at Buchanan’s Wall for a drift dive to the Gantry. Unfortunately we were greeted with not so welcoming visbility at the surface, luckily there was some clearer water hiding underneath! But there was still heaps to see. Some highlights from this dive include Nudibranchs, Gold-Crown Sleeper Gobies, Flagtail Blanquellos, Red Fire Gobies, Blue-lipped Wide Band Anemonefish and to top things off a Giant Stingray! (today’s photo, courtesy of our instructor Nathan).

After the surface interval, our divers descend on Cleaner Station for a “drifty” swim to South Boulder! along the way Hawksbill Turtles, Black Cod, Wobbegongs, Nudibranchs, Peacock Sole, Bull Rays and Peacock Mantis Shrimp were seen.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 20°C-24°C
  • Visibility: 4m-12m

Dive Report By Nathan

Ray - Giant Stingray - Five Metre Rock at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Ray – Giant Stingray – Five Metre Rock at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

Abbotts Moray and Red Rock Cod - Gantry at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Abbotts Moray and Red Rock Cod – Gantry at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

13th January 2024 – Southwest Cruise Surface Interval Saturday!

With conditions easing after yesterday’s blow, MegaWild loaded up and powered out to South Solitary for today’s dives.

First up our divers descended on Buchanan’s Wall, where Green Turtles, Nudibranchs, Abbotts Morays, Nudibranchs, Lunar Wrasse, Flagtail Blanquellos and Blue-lipped Wide Band Anemonefish were seen.

After a surface interval cruise to Southwest Solitary Island and back our divers again dropped in at Buchanan’s Wall for a swim to The Gantry. highlights included Wobbegongs, Hawksbill Turtles, Octopus, Gold Crown Sleeper Gobies, more Nudibranchs and Green Moray feasting on a dead Octopus!

Congratulations to Nathan & Noah on finishing their PADI Openwater Diver course.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 20°C-23°C
  • Visibility: 3m-8m

Dive Report By Nathan


17th January 2024- Blue water is here, Leopards are back!

With a window of opportunity, MegaWild steamed out to South Solitary Island this morning for some diving. Our trip out looked promising, when we were greeted with a wide blue current line and warm water!

Upon arrival, the bottom end of the island looked the best for vis and surface conditions. Everyone dropped in for their first dive at The Gantry. We were welcomed by lots of Turtles- Green, Hawksbill, and Loggerheads! Barney even made her appearance. Other notable marine life seen were different Nudibranch Species, Surgeon fish, Blue Lipped Wide Band Anenome Fish, Glass Shrimp, and Blue Tangs.

After the surface interval, divers again descended at The Gantry, but this time for a swim to Buchanan’s Wall. Our group of Open Water Divers had a close encounter with a Leopard Shark!!! More will hopefully be arriving soon now that the waters have warms up sgnificantly. We also saw a Blue Lined Octopus, Queensland Grouper, Popcorn Shrimp, more Nudibranchs, Eagle Ray’s, and a mystery Cowrie Shell!

Congratulations James on finishing your PADI Open Water Diver Course!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 24°C-25°C
  • Visibility: 15m

Dive Report By Teagan

Leopard Shark (T Anderson January 2024)
Leopard Shark (T Anderson January 2024)

Leopard Shark - Stegostoma fasciatum - The Gap at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Leopard Shark – Stegostoma fasciatum – The Gap at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

18th January 2024 -Epic Current equals Epic Drift Dive!

With the Surface conditions easing from yesterday SoWild loaded up and lfew out to South Solitary for today’s diving!

First up our divers descended on Buchanan’s Wall. Octopus, Nudibranchs, Egg Cowries, Wobbegongs, a massive Starry Toadfish and a hungry Blue Grouper absolutely destroying some Sea Urchins were amongst the highlights, and although not seen Dolphins were definitely heard nearby during the dive!

For the Second dive our divers dropped on Shark Gutters for a drift dive to the Gantry. During the dive Grey Nurse Sharks were seen along with Bull Rays, Nudibranchs, Spanish Dancers, Abbotts Morays, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and an extremely chilled Leopard Shark!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 22°C-24°C
  • Visibility: 15m-20m

Dive Report By Nathan


19th January 2024 – Whaler’ve a good time at South Solitary!

With conditions just getting better and better SoWild loaded up and steamed out to South Solitary for today’s diving!

First up our advanced divers dropped in at the Back Gutter and were almost immediately amongst a dozen assorted Whalers buzzing around the entrance to the Gutter. After the cloud of Whalers cleared 25 Grey Nurse Sharks were found in the Back Gutter, and during the swim through the Gap to the Gantry three Eagle Rays were seen (one being escorted by a Cobia), many Nudibranchs and Spanish Dancers were seen along the way, and once through the Gap the group was greeted by several massive Green Turtles and a Leopard Shark!

After the surface interval all of our divers descended on Shark Gutters; highlights of the dive included Nudibranchs, juvenile Yellow Boxfish, Ken’s Cuttlefish, Dragonnets, more Green and Hawksbill Turtles, and Four more Leopard Sharks were seen!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 22°C-24°C
  • Visibility: 15m-25m

Dive Report By Nathan


Sparsely Spotted Stingaree - Urolophus paucimaculatus - Buchanan's Wall at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Sparsely Spotted Stingaree – Urolophus paucimaculatus – Buchanan’s Wall at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

20TH JANUARY 2024 – Sea Slug census Saturday Start!

“Mega Wild” made its way out to South Solitary Island today.

Dive one was at Buchanan’s Wall, the visibility was down a little from previous days but we still had lots to see including schools of Bullseyes near Cable Trail, lots of Wobbegongs, Blue Tangs, Nudibranchs, Thorny-back Cowfish, a White Spotted Guitarfish, Eastern Blue Devil Fish and dozens of juvenile Sparsely Spotted Stingarees (Today’s photo).

Dive Two Nudibranchs, Spanish Dancers, Grey Nurse Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, and dozens of Green and Hawksbill Turtles in the Gap!

Congratulations to Dom, Evie, Lachlan and Sydney who all finished their PADI Open Water Course

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 22°C-23°C
  • Visibility: 10m-15m

Dive Report By Nathan


21st January 2024-North goes off with great vis

Jetty Dive had an action packed day today!! SoWild ventured out to North Solitary Island while MegaWild made it’s way out to South Solitary for the morning!

South Solitary had a couple great dives, both at the bottom end of the island. We had our divers descend at Buchanan’s Wall for our first dive and at The Gantry for our second dive. There was lots to see on these dives! Divers were greeted with both Green and Hawksbill Turtles. A Green Moray, a little itty bitty teeny weeny Orangutan Crab, Old Wives, Blue Tangs, Octopus, heaps of Nudibranchs, and some active Wobbegongs were cruising around as well.

SoWild got in at Anemone Bay for their first dive and had a rapid drift around the corner of Anenome for the second dive. Epic visibility with this one- about 40 metres at max! Leopard Sharks made thier appearance in the blue beautiful water. There were too many turtles about to count, swimming alongside Eagle Rays. Divers were shocked when they saw a “Jurrasic Park” Bull Ray swim by, being one of the biggest they’ve seen!

Congratulations Cas, Ifra, Daniel, and Thomas for completing their PADI Open Water Diver Course!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: North Solitary: 26°C, South Solitary: 24°C
  • Visibility: North Solitary: 20m-40m, South Solitary: 10m-18m

Dive Report By Nathan

Leopard Shark at  Buchanan's Wall, South Solitary Island (L Devery January 2024)
Leopard Shark at Buchanan’s Wall, South Solitary Island (L Devery January 2024)

Green Sea Turtle in the Gap, South Solitary Island (T Anderson January 2024)
Green Sea Turtle in the Gap, South Solitary Island (T Anderson January 2024)

24th January 2024- Blue skies and blue Water

With wind and swell forecasted the next few days, “SoWild” got a couple good dives in before the big blow out.

Minimal surface chop and blue water invited us to the top end of the island, where we were able to descend at Shark Gutters for our first dive. We had a really great dive with lots to see. A lonesome Grey Nurse Shark was seen hanging around the Sanctuary Marker. Our divers saw loads of Moray Eel’s, many of them swimming outside of their homey holes! Nudibranchs, Black Cod, and Banded Coral Shrimp were some of the other marine life seen.

After a sunny surface interval, we again descended at Shark Gutters for a drifty dive down towards The Gantry. Lots of Green Sea Turtles were out and about underwater today, most of them being seen in the Gap. A pair of Leopard Sharks were seen, a Black Lionfish, schooling fish, and massive Marbled Rays also said hello to divers today!

Congratulations Yohanna for completing your PADI Open Water Diver Course today!!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 25°C
  • Visibility: 10m-15m

Dive Report By Teagan


27th January 2024- Chilly Summer Saturday

MegaWild packed up and steamed out to South Solitary Island this morning. Unfortunately, we were greeted with not so nice visbility, however we made do and enjoyed our double dive!

Dropping in at Shark Gutters, divers made the most of what we had and explored the top end of the island. A Green Turtle was seen having a snooze inside of Cleaner cave, accompanied by the many nudibranchs filling the gutter with colour!! Loads of Banner Fish were seen, an Eastern Frog fish, and a cuttlefish were also spotted by our divers!

Our surface interval was spent wandering over to South West Solitary, hoping to find some better visibility. We again decided it was best to stay at the top end of South Solitary and descended at Shark Gutters for a drift down to South Boulder. The visbility cleared up slighlty on this dive, probably as a result from the increased current. A massive Spotted Eagle Ray had a close in look at one group of divers. Other notable marine life seen on this dive were 5-6 Octopus hiding inside of crevices, a Semiciruclatus, and a spanish dancer dancing it’s way through the water!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 21°C-22°C
  • Visibility: 3m-8m

Dive Report By Nathan

Semicircle Angelfish - Pomacanthus Semicirculatus - Cleaner Station, South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Semicircle Angelfish – Pomacanthus Semicirculatus – Cleaner Station, South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

Frippo - Ray - Eastern Fiddler Ray - Trygonorhina fasciata - Sponge Garden - 240128
Eastern Fiddler Ray – Trygonorhina fasciata – Sponge Garden – 240128

28th January 2024 -Last Day of the 2024 Sea Slug Census!

SoWild loaded up with some super-keen divers and disapeared into the morning mist, enroute to South Solitary for today’s diving!

First up our divers dropped in at Shark Gutters. During the dive an Eastern Fiddler Ray, an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny tiny Cuttlefish, Nudibranchs, Schooling Bannerfish, Green Turtles, Blue Grouper and a Bull Ray were amongst the highlights of the dive.

With over half the boat made up of Sea Slug Census takers, our divers again descended on Shark Gutters for the second dive. During the dive Nudibranchs, Black Cod, Lionfish, White-eyed Morays, Flagtail Blanquillos and a Loggerhead Turtle were seen.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 20°C-21°C
  • Visibility: 4m-10m

Dive Report By Nathan


30th January 2024 – Mid-Week Break With Shark Friends

After a brief spell out of the wather, SoWild loaded up and steamed out to South Solitary with some excited divers for today’s dives!

First up our divers dropped in at Shark Gutters for a one way swim to the Gantry. During the dive we spotted Nudibranchs, Black Cod, Porcelain Crabs, Wavy-Bubble Shells, five Bull Rays in a conga-line, Cuttlefish, an Eagle Ray, and a very skittish Sandbar Shark!

After the surface interval our divers dropped in at the back gutter for a swim through the Gap to the Gantry. Highlights included 25+ Grey Nurse Sharks in the Back Gutter, Nudibranchs, Green and Loggerhead Turtles, a Black lionfish, Octopus, and painted crayfish. Barney even made an appearance, showing the divers just how big she is!

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 22°C-24°C
  • Visibility 5m-10m

Dive Report By Teagan

Grey Nurse Shark (T Anderson January 2024)
Grey Nurse Shark (T Anderson January 2024)

Painted Angler - Antennarius pictus - Manta Arch at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)
Painted Angler – Antennarius pictus – Manta Arch at South Solitary Island (N Fripp January 2024)

31st January 2024 – Manta Arch Painted Angler is Growing Up!

This morning “SoWild” steamed out to South Solitary for today’s diving, heading out into calm seas and blue skies!

The top end of the island looked like good conditions, so we dropped in at Manta Arch for a crusie in and around the Back Gutter. 15+ Grey Nurse Sharks were seen cruising the Back Gutter, along with three Queensland Grouper. Other highlights of the dive included Orangutan Crabs, Popcorn Shrimp, Black Cod, Banded Coral Shrimp and our resident Yellow Painted Angler, who has almost doubled in size since he was last seen!

For dive two our divers dropped in at Shark Gutters for a drift to The Gantry. During the dive Swimming Anemones, Porcelain Crabs, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Nudibranchs, Egg Cowries, Blue-lipped Wide-band Anemonefish, Abbotts Moray Eels, Eagle Rays and Bull Rays were seen.

Conditions Report:
  • Temperature: 21°C-23°C
  • Visibility 6m-12m

Dive Report By Nathan


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