Archive for September, 2013

#341 Rye Pier 2013-09-29

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Rye Pier in Melbourne, Australia
44 minutes, max depth 7 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Walson

Pier dives: nudibranchs and spider crabs

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

The great boat dives in mid-September got my hopes up but unfortunately the great conditions didn’t last and rest of the month turned out quite windy. Luckily many of the Port Phillip shore dives are well protected from most winds so there’s usually at least some options for a sheltered dive. At 14 degrees water was still quite cool for most divers so it was just Walson and me heading out on the 29th.

We had picked Blairgowrie and Rye piers as the dive sites. Blairgowrie is a safe choice in most conditions as the sea wall at the outer edge of the pier blocks most of the waves. Despite the fairly strong winds we had an excellent long dive there in great conditions and good visibility.

There was also plenty to see, including lots of nudibranchs, a few seahorses and a couple of stingrays too. Out of the nudibranchs the Hedgpeth’s dorids were the most common sight. I managed to get some great shots of them.

The second dive at Rye wasn’t as impressive and the conditions were bit choppy, especially in shallower water. Our visit to the artificial Elsa’s Reef near the pier was disappointing too, the structure has more or less fallen apart by now. A big shame, it was a nice addition to a rather short pier dive.

The main highlight of this dive were the numerous spider crabs. There were quite a few of them around and I managed some nice closeups of them. Obviously this wasn’t a full crab migration or anything close, just a dozen or so spider crabs hanging around the pier. A great distraction on an otherwise average dive.

#340 Blairgowrie Pier 2013-09-29

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Blairgowrie Pier in Melbourne, Australia
74 minutes, max depth 6.1 m, water 14°C
Buddies: Walson

#339 J5 Submarine 2013-09-14

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
J5 Submarine in Melbourne, Australia
23 minutes, max depth 32 m, water 13°C
Buddies: Evan Hallein

#338 Portsea Backbeach Wall 2013-09-14

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Portsea Backbeach Wall in Melbourne, Australia
43 minutes, max depth 24.1 m, water 13°C
Buddies: Luke Cawley

Portsea Backbeach and J5 Submarine

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

The Spring is finally here and hopefully more diving too! Not much had happened on the diving front this Winter so I was really looking forward to some better conditions again.

We finally got our perfect day in mid-September. It was sunny and calm, a great day to take the boat out with Evan and Luke. We started out at Portsea Backbeach Wall, a reef dive I had only done once before as one my first dives in Melbourne. There are more impressive reefs around the coast, but it was still  pleasant dive with decent variety of fish, including several blue devils. My only real complaint was the somewhat lackluster visibility.

I was diving with Luke, Jess and Walson. Luke has had his new camera kit for quite a while now, but this was actually the first time I saw the thing in action. Quite impressive, even if those strobe arms are definitely very long!

Then for the next dive Luke and the OW-rated divers jumped in at the Lonsdale Arches. And finally to wrap up the day I did the J5 submarine with Evan and Oscar. I had only dived this particular sub once before so this dive was definitely the highlight of the day for me. The wreck lies down at 36 m and it is relatively intact. At this depth penetration is not feasible with a single tank so we simply stayed on top of the wreck. Of particular interest is the conning tower completely covered in yellow zoanthids, hence the nickname “yellow submarine”.

At this depth no-decompression limits are short, especially since we had already done one dive earlier. For some reason Oscar’s computer gave him a really short bottom time, so we had even less time on the wreck itself than usual. I had just enough time to get a few nice shots and then it was already time to start ascending.

Unfortunately the ascent didn’t go quite as planned. On the way to the final safety stop Oscar had some buoyancy issues and ended up going straight to the surface.

He was obviously little bit shocked when the boat picked him up, but luckily there was no lasting harm from the ascent. Apart from this incident the day was very enjoyable, hopefully the rest of the Spring diving is this good!