Portsea Backbeach and J5 Submarine

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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!

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