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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Rowley Shoals

The Rowley Shoals are three remote atoll-like coral reefs, 260 kilometers from Broome. Due to adverse wind and weather conditions, diving is only possible in the month of November.

After a rough crossing we arrived at Clerke reef, where we were greeted by perfectly blue water. During the dives we saw many fishes, from small to big and a lot of Coral, both Soft and Hard Coral. In fact, I saw more Soft Coral here than in some parts of Fiji!
Other highlights included a large number of Reef Sharks, mainly Whitetips but also a couple of juvenile Greys, two Silvertip Sharks and even a Hammerhead Shark. Unfortunately the later ones were too far away or appeared to surprisingly for good pictures.
Also present were large schools of Big-Eye Trevally and Teira Batfish, who were extremely inquisitive and followed us for the better part of a dive!

One of the most interesting dives was a Blue Water Dive. We were given a long rope with a surface buoy. On that we descended to 40 meters and waited what turned up. We had a Silvertip Shark checking us out and two huge Tuna swim by. Another group got even luckier, they spotted a Tiger Shark!

On this trip I reached my 400th dive. The crew was very excited about this and gave me a special prop for the dive ;).
There was also a fair bit of Night Diving in the area, where in addition to the traditional shrimp we also spotted a couple of snails and an Octopus moving across the reef :)

For people more interested in Macro Diving there were a fair number of Nudibranch around, although most of them belonged to two different species. On our last day we then found a big and special specimen.
In between the diving there were several times where we could go snorkeling as well. The highlight there being the drift-snorkel in the Channel of Clerke Reef, where we spotted a large school of Double-headed Parrotfish.
Snorkeling was followed by a Drift Dive through the Channel which was very adventurous :).

There was a lot to see at Rowley Shoals and I was sad that the trip ended after a week, even though my ears were probably quite happy to finaly get a break ;). I can highly recommend this trip to any advanced diver!

This trip was undertaken with The Great Escape. A very luxurious catamaran whose main job isn't scuba diving. And that showed in a couple of things that were missing, such as a camera area with enough electrical outlets and a bit more space on the dive deck to gear up. On the plus side, there was a lot of space in the living room and the food was fantastic! It definitely played its part in this being such an enjoyable trip :)

More pictures can be found in my web album.

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