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Freedive Byron Bay Retreat with Deep Sensations Freediving, 2024 Retreat Recap

Updated: Feb 29

We just got back from the most incredible freediving retreat in Byron Bay! From February 1st to the 4th, Deep Sensations Freediving turned up the heat in this coastal paradise, and boy, did we have a blast. Let's dive into the highlights of this epic adventure!

Julian Rocks - Nguthungulli Nature Reserve: Marine reserves and their thriving ecosystems

Julian Rocks serves as a shining example of the importance and effectiveness of marine reserves.

Located just off the coast of Byron Bay, this marine reserve boasts a thriving ecosystem that supports an astonishing diversity of marine life year-round. From Grey Nurse Sharks (our favourite) to graceful leopard sharks, from the annual migration of humpback whales to the presence of turtles, Julian Rocks is a biodiversity hotspot teeming with life. Hundreds of fish species call these waters home, creating a vibrant and dynamic underwater community.

The establishment of Julian Rocks as a marine reserve has played a pivotal role in protecting and preserving this precious ecosystem. By implementing strict regulations on fishing, pollution, and other human activities, the reserve has provided a safe haven for marine life to flourish.

This protection has allowed populations of key species to recover and thrive, ensuring the long-term health and resilience of the entire ecosystem.

Furthermore, Julian Rocks serves as a valuable site for scientific research, offering researchers insights into marine ecology, biodiversity, and conservation strategies. The rich diversity of marine life found here provides an ideal environment for studying ecosystem dynamics, species interactions, and the impacts of human activities on marine habitats.

Beyond its ecological significance, Julian Rocks also supports sustainable tourism and recreational activities, such as freediving, scuba diving and snorkeling. Visitors from around the world are drawn to the reserve's pristine waters and abundant marine life, contributing to the local economy while fostering appreciation for the natural world.

By providing a sanctuary for marine life to thrive, supporting scientific research, and promoting sustainable tourism, Julian Rocks stands as a testament to the power of conservation efforts in safeguarding our oceans' health and biodiversity for future generations.

Day 1: Freediving Byron Bay with dolphins, statics and live

Picture this: palm trees swaying, dolphins surfing and jumping through turqoise waves, and a group of excited freedivers ready to get wet. That's the scene as we kicked off our retreat with a warm welcome at a luxury villa.

After a little meet and greet and settling in, we started things with a static session...during the first static session we got some PB cake was earned off the bat.

Following the statics, we headed to Byron's iconic sunset spot for live entertainment – because why waste a single moment of this epic trip?

We listened to a battle of the nature and entertainment, as hundreds of birds sung in the amidst the acoustic set by a single street performer.

With a BIG adventure awaiting, we opted for an early night.

Day 2: Ice Baths, leopard sharks and a mantaray?

Rise and shine, fellow adventurers!

Day two started with a stunning sunrise (for some), for others, it started a little later...

Once everyone was awake, we plunged into a breathwork session and ice bath session to get ourselves primed for the day.

At 11am we were on our way to dive with Blueseafaris.

The team over there were extremely passionate and welcoming, which only added to the great vibe and eagerness our crew had.

We were greeted to Julian Rocks with a ROAR of hundreds of gulls.

Wasting no time, we geared up and plunged into the blue.

We did not expect how things would go...

Leopard sharks, turtles, hundreds of fish and spotted eagle rays, we were SPOILED.

Yet, a couple of our divers got something we had not anticipated...

As Freediving Instructors, we constantly have people tell us they see mantarays, when in fact they are refering to the large bull rays. So when two of our divers told us, non chalanctly that they had seen a mantaray, we just assumed they were referring to a bull ray...

It wasn't until we got back to shore and showed us a clip, that S#@t, they saw a manta ray!....they had captured the most incredible manta shot, and the best part was that they had never seen one befre.

Back on land, we feasted on homemade burgers and tried not to lose friends over a game of Monopoly Deal. Spoiler alert: it got intense.

A couple of the team went to check out the Saturday night markets...little did they know, a deep case of holiday time had hit them, and it was only a Friday, so their mission was a failure.

Day 3: Freediving with leopard sharks, turtles and more mantas?

We kicked off Day 3 of our Freedive Byron Bay retreat with a static session, we had epic performances all round and a couple of divers set some more PBS, earning themselves the coveted PB cake.

With excitement levels off the charts, due to some news we had received, we set sail for Julian Rocks with the one and only Scott Wilson.

Rumour had it, mantarays had been spotted again.

And guess what? They crashed the party in style!

Fifteen minutes into our dive we were greeted by a manta ray train, this time we all saw them!

Amongst the mantas were dozens of leopard sharks, green sea turtles, a loggerhead, and much more!

We were stoked, little did we know things were going to get even better.

We swam further around the Eastern end and came across a bombie in 4m of water, we couldn't believe our eyes...

There were five eagle rays, 3 leopard sharks, a bull ray, AND 2 manta rays!!! All in eye sight.

We found the spot.

We spent over an hour diving this one bombie, experiencing multiple mesmerising interactions, whilst freediving alongside these gentle giants.

After the dive, Scott informed us that we were the happiest bunch of freedivers they ever had on the boat, and this isn't the first time other operators have said the same...

Back at the villa we enjoyed some down time, and attempted the Saturday night markets, again.

This time, it was a success! We had got our island time in check.

After the markets, we enjoyed a delicious ramen dinner, and played some UNO by the pool.

Like everything we do, we had to spice it up...the loser had to ice bath.

Finishing the ice bath, a couple of us jumped in the pool for a night time swim and some bubble ring practice.

Day 4: Farewell, for Now

As the epic adventure came to an end, we hugged it out, hyped each other up for another retreat and left our stunning Byron villa.

But first, a pit stop at Seal Rocks for a final dip with our turtle pals. Because when the ocean calls, you answer – no matter what day of the week it is!

Looking back, the Deep Sensations Freediving retreat in Byron Bay was more than just a getaway – it was an experience that allowed us all to connect with nature, each other, and make memories to last a lifetime.

The general consensus among the crew was that this was one of the BEST freediving experiences we have had. There is as reaon why Julian Rocks is one of the most popular dive sites on the east coast.

So here's to the memories made, the friendships forged, and the countless adventures still to come.

Until next time! 🌊✨

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