The Big Blue after the Dromey
Saturday night after the Dromey dramas, I gave Brad a call to let him know how the comp went. After explaining to him about all the comp shenanigans and results, he tells me that him and his dad had done a quick afternoon run south of mandurah that afternoon and found 25m vis but hadn't lucked into any fish. With below average vis in Lancelin, I figured it was worth the gamble to take a run south, especially as I owed Brad a big favour after aborting an earlier trip at the last minute.
We made a late start with winds expected to ease into the afternoon and headed south from the Cut. We had the Penguin at WOT, scooting along the coast in the lee of the dunes and it wasn't long before we arrived at our destination. With three young divers in the boat, we didn't have a lot of GPS marks to run too, but vis was very good for finding ground so we started sounding around. Finding only small reefs in close we chucked big Nath off the back and trawled for a big GWS, heading into deeper water as we went.
Eventually we found a nice drop-off from around 13m down to 17m and chucked in the pick. I was amazed at the clarity of the water, but Brad was claiming that vis had deteriorated since Saturday. Still, you could see the grains of sand on the bottom so I was not complaining. There were big sambos coming up from the depths to say g'day, and a few smaller ones getting about too. The top of the reef here proved to be very flat, but there was a nice ledge along the sand edge that we all followed, making for some crowded diving, especially with a fit bastard like Nath who always seems to be swimming underneath you.
Me and Brad both had a look at a small dhu, which was borderline and grew as you looked at it, but decided to leave him be. Next thing you know Nath dives down on it and lines up. Me and Brad are both screaming into our snorkels which seems to have no effect on Nath or the dhu but luckily Nath misses the shot. As a new diver, it would have been Naths second ever dhu, so he can be forgiven.
Not long later Brad comes across a massive bluey and takes a shot as it starts to swim away. It must have hit the spine, because it didn't come out the other side and engage the flopper and the big fella manages to shrug the spear and amble into a cave. Nath swims down and has a look but can't see him. Brad follows and the blue is looking him straight in the eye front on, and receives an iki jimi from 1.4m of Rob Allen at point blank. On my scales, the fish weighs in at 32kg!
We have circumnavigated the reef by the time Brad puts the blue in the boat, so we go for a drive looking for more likely looking ground. The next spot is a bit shallower, but has nice sand bottomed gutters. Me and Brad both pick up king georges with 1.4m guns. Mine took two shots after he kicked off the first one in typical fashion and then swam under me 10minutes later some 50m away.
We spot a cray pot inside of us and drive towards it thinking that it might point us in the direction of some good ledges. Suddenly the bottom comes up from 17m to 12m on the sounder and we once again throw in. On his first dive, Brad gets a nice breaksea, and we both agree that this is much better dhu territory with much larger overhangs and caves. I swim off on my own and find a nice deep gutter. I breathe up and dive in, expecting to see the silver flash of dhu at any second, but I'm dissapointed to swim out of the cave empty handed. A big sambo comes in for a look and while I'm watching him swim around and catching my breath, I spot a nice size dhu well above the top of the reef I was just under! I take one more deep breath and dive as quietly as I can and swim very slowly at the arrogant dhu, beginning my glide as early as I can. The dhu takes on last look at me and begins to turn away. I am not kicking but gaining slowly on him, and I extend my gun and wait for him to take another look over his shoulder. As he turns I take an angled shot from behind and above and manage to keep him off the reef and get him to the surface. (He weighs in at 6kg clean).
As he struggles, a mate of his comes in for a look, and I am thinking that I am going to be in for a double of nice dhus. While I'm stringing my fish, the second dhu hides in the same cave I was in earlier. I take my time and bleed my dhu properly and dive down to find no dhu! There are deep cracks and I figure he is there somewhere so I begin gutting his mate. The big sambo comes back and makes a very aggressive pass on me, more like a shark than a sambo, before chomping on the sinking guts. The other dhu comes out of his cave for a look and I make all the same moves I did on the previous one, only to find that this isn't the massive dhu I thought it was and although it is well size, I leave it for another day as I have fish in the fridge from the Dromey.
When I get back to the boat, Brad is excited to say that a school of Macks swam past, and he missed a long shot on a 20kg plus one. An unusual sight in Mandurah! Him and Nath also mention that the cray pot we had headed towards had been on a very short float and had bobbed slowly past them while they were diving! It is getting late, so we call it a day and head back at WOT again, content with a good days dive and some good ground found.