Archive for June, 2012

Poor diving weather

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

After returning from Portland the weather remained pretty poor for the most part. Still, I was keen to get at least some diving done so we got down to Bellarine Peninsula.

We started out at the Cottage by the Sea near the Heads. I was keen to finally check out this interesting shore dive that’s quite different from the usual piers. Unfortunately, the rains and flood water from the rivers had had their toll. The visibility was really poor and Dean and I managed to lose each other a couple of times. There was a fair bit of swell as well making entry and exit a real pain and also making the conditions underwater quite surgy. Still, the dive wasn’t a total loss; we did found some nice reef sections and I also saw my first eagle ray while we were heading back to the shore.

After the Cottage we moved to St Leonards. This is one of my favorite pier dives and usually an excellent spot for macro photography. Unfortunately the visibility was even worse there than at the Cottage by the Sea. With barely one meter visibility I really struggled to keep Dean in sight. Whenever I stopped to take a photo I ran a pretty high risk of losing him.

After a while we decided to give up, it simply wasn’t worth the effort. At this point Dean was also getting pretty cold in his wetsuit. As you can imagine these dives didn’t really yield any decent photos.

#182 St Leonards Pier 2012-06-23

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
St Leonards Pier in Melbourne, Australia
26 minutes, max depth 3.3 m, water 11°C
Buddies: Dean Wardell

#181 Cottage by the Sea 2012-06-23

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
Cottage by the Sea in Melbourne, Australia
42 minutes, max depth 7.9 m, water 11°C
Buddies: Dean Wardell

Dive Trip to Portland

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

A bit over a week ago I was on a dive trip to Portland (near South Australia border) with MUUC. Overall the conditions were not that great for diving even if the topside weather was quite nice, especially towards the end of the trip. We had our share of mishaps too, including quite a bit of trouble with the boat engine. While the diving in Portland itself was rather mediocre (mainly because of the conditions), our side trip to Ewens Ponds was a great success.

Portland has several pretty interesting dive sites but unfortunately the conditions over the weekend made it impossible to fully enjoy them. Bit further out around Lawrence Rocks the swell got pretty strong and it was rather surgy underwater. The Emily S wreck was still a pretty interesting dive even if heavy surge made photography frustrating. Vis out there was around 7 m, decent enough. We also did another boat dive near Lawrence Rocks. We were planning to dive the Nursery but unfortunately we missed our mark. We still ended up in a fairly interesting area, but unfortunately the heavy surge made the dive a rather dizzying experience with all the seaweed (and divers!) moving back and worth.

Closer to the Portland harbour the seas were calmer but vis was quite poor after a recent big storm and there was still a fair bit of surge on most sites. We dived some interesting reefs (Nargra Reef in particular) and the Lee Breakwater was pretty interesting dive both during the day and the night. Luke didn’t enjoy the dive quite as much in his wet drysuit though! Some interesting macro life and corals but we didn’t really see any big critters during the trip.

Due to problems with the boat engine and generally frustrating diving conditions we decided to visit Ewens Ponds on the SA side of the border on Sunday. Alex and Dean had already been there earlier and highly recommended the site. The trip didn’t disappoint, diving in the three freshwater ponds was an amazing experience! Water was crystal clear and the visibility was almost unbelievable. The shallow channels connecting the ponds were covered in vegetation and a particularly beautiful sight. There was also a fair amount of fish life, freshwater crayfish and a few lampreys. The two dives I did there more than made up for the rather mediocre dives during the rest of the trip. On top of that it was also a sunny day which was great for taking photos in the shallow water.

There was no diving on Monday, however we did a fair bit of hiking to visit the seal colony at Cape Bridgewater. Up from the cliffs it looked like a spectacular dive site, unfortunately the area is only reachable with a boat (one with a functional engine!). It was a really warm and sunny day and I got my first chance to observe wild kangaroos up close, so I wasn’t even too disappointed about the no diving part. :)

Despite the generally unfavorable conditions for photography I somehow still managed to pretty much fill out my 16 GB memory card. It took a while to go through all the photos but it was definitely worth it. The Ewens Ponds photos in particular contain some great shots and my first experiments with over-under photography worked out quite nicely!

  • 2012-04-26 Point Gellibrand Snorkeling

#180 Ewens Ponds 2012-06-10

Sunday, June 10th, 2012
Ewens Ponds in Mt Gambier, Australia
40 minutes, max depth 9.1 m, water 16°C
Buddies: Alexandra Law

#179 Ewens Ponds 2012-06-10

Sunday, June 10th, 2012
Ewens Ponds in Mt Gambier, Australia
58 minutes, max depth 9.4 m, water 15°C
Buddies: Pete

#178 Lee Breakwater 2012-06-09

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Lee Breakwater in Portland, Australia
39 minutes, max depth 11.6 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Luke Cawley

#177 Lee Breakwater 2012-06-09

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Lee Breakwater in Portland, Australia
38 minutes, max depth 12.8 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Pete

#176 Nargra Reef 2012-06-09

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Nargra Reef in Portland, Australia
55 minutes, max depth 13.1 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Pete

#175 Saxon Reef 2012-06-09

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Saxon Reef in Portland, Australia
50 minutes, max depth 11.6 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Greg