During the warmer months of the year (January to May), the Needles are possibly the best dive site around Julian Rocks. This is where Leopard Sharks can be seen in large numbers and Manta Rays cruise past more frequently than anywhere else around the island. If you like turtles, you’ll enjoy the Needles where you can swim with three different kinds of turtles close up. The maximum depth on this side of the island is only 12 – 15 metres making it perfect for that second dive of the day. The Needles consist of several rock bommies reaching nearly to the surface and making for great diving along their walls and through crevices before you enter the big sandy “arena” where the Leopard Sharks tend to congregate and Green Turtles feed and rest completely used to divers and without any fear. At the peak of Leopard Shark season, it is quite common for divers in this area to be surrounded by 15-20 sharks circling them.
Moving further south from the Needles, you will find the Mohole, a small cave that generally has a giant Loggerhead sleeping in it and that tends to attract very big Lionfish. The Mohole is always good for a surprise, it could house a massive cod or Groper or a large Bull Ray that looks out from underneath the rocks.
Not far from the Mohole is an area called Cray’s Crags named after countless Crayfish hiding in its cracks and finally the Line of Smiles, one of our favourite sites around the island, which is a big cracked rock filled right up with Wobbegong Sharks, all looking out lining up their “smiles”. Anywhere around here it’s a good idea to look up every now and then, because Manta Rays come in here frequently when the water is warm enough. It’s quite likely you’ll see some huge Kingfish, Bull Rays and Eagle Rays in this area as well.
Images Copyright John Natoli