Diamond Bay

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This week we had one of those rare spells of really strong northerlies blowing for several days. While this is no good for shore diving inside the Bay it can make for excellent diving on the back beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. Due to swell these sites are normally rather unpleasant and even quite dangerous to dive but on a day like this when the strong northerlies have calmed down the swell the diving can be excellent.

I had planned to visit Diamond Bay (near Sorrento Back Beach) for quite a while and this was finally a perfect chance. The weather was excellent as well, a particularly warm and sunny day in May. Rest of the club regulars were busy running an OW course at Blairgowrie so it was Luke, Crystal and me heading down to check out the site. Unfortunately when we got there we found out that  Crystal had forgotten her fins. So in the end she had to drive back to get some new ones and it was just Luke and me doing the dive.

Entry takes more effort here than the usual shore dive on Mornington Peninsula. First of all it’s a fair walk from the car park and you also have to climb down some pretty big stairs to get down to the beach. And the way back up the stairs is obviously even worse. Luckily the site is well worth the effort!

We had an excellent dive here, a very different experience from the usual shore dive around Melbourne. Most of the bottom is rocks with lots of kelp and other organic growth on them. There are also plenty of small canyons and holes between the rocks with several swim-throughs too. Even on a good day like this the currents and surge can get fairly strong, especially around the Bay entrance where the water is quite shallow.

While the Bay itself is pretty enough the best part of the dive is definitely outside. The water gets little deeper and there are some excellent walls and some interesting marine life. In addition to the schools of fish we also saw a couple of big rays. But for me the highlight of the dive was definitely the small cat shark (or swell shark) we saw. Sadly he only let me take one photo, the first flash of the strobes scared him off. I was still very happy to see one of these sharks.

However, care must be taken to dive this interesting site. We had a minor incident on this dive when we decided to surface and check out our exact position. We found ourselves a fair distance out of the Bay and right next to a really shallow area. The waves started pushing as toward pushed us into the shallows area and we got banged around a fair bit before we managed to get back to deeper water. Both me and my camera survived unscathed but unfortunately Luke got a nasty bruise on his leg.

Luckily we made our way back to the Bay without further incidents. Crystal was already waiting for us there with her newly-bought fins. After a quick rest it was time to head back up the stairs to the car park. After a rather strenuous dive that long climb up the stairs was quite a killer!

After the Diamond Bay both Luke and me preferred something nice and easy for the second dive. We headed down to Blairgowrie where the OW people were just wrapping up their course. While macro lens is normally my first choice for Blairgowrie I went with wide-angle this time for some variety.

This was a pretty good choice. While we didn’t see any big critters there was still quite a bit of nice stuff to photograph. With the wide-angle on I focused more on the pylons and pier structure. There was a decent amount of fish life around and a lot of seahorses, including a nice trio near the end of the dive. Unfortunately we had some rather strong current around the main section of the pier so getting good shots of them was bit of a hassle. We had also timed our dive well, near the end of the dive sun was getting quite low and I got a couple of really nice pylon shots against the sun.

This was an excellent day of diving and I was really happy to finally check out Diamond Bay (especially with that cat shark sightning!). The dive at Blairgowrie also ended up being Crystal’s last dive in Melbourne. Later in May she packed her things and moved over to Rockhampton in Queensland. She will be missed in the club. 🙁

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