SS Coogee

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Yesterday I went diving with MUUC again. Despite the warm and sunny weather most people were busy with other stuff and this was actually my quietest morning with MUUC thus far. There were just three of us (Luke, Kath and me) heading out from the shed which made things little tricky with the boat. Luckily we got everything sorted out on the way to Queenscliff and ended up having a great day of diving!

First dive of the day was SS Coogee, an impressive old wreck. Coogee is an old steamship originally built in 1887 and scuttled in 1928 in the Ship’s Graveyard outside Port Phillips Heads. It lies in around 32 meters of water with the bottom around stern slightly deeper than that. Originally Coogee was 69 meters long, but now most of the ship is gone. The bow, the stern (including the impressive rudder quadrant now covered in yellow zoathids) and the two boilers are still in pretty good shape, however.

While sea conditions on the surface were quite rough, underwater things were great with superb visibility! Coogee offers some great photo opportunities and I ended up with some quite nice shots. I’m also starting to get hang of using the strobes with a fisheye lens, adding the diffusors helps a lot. Not that things were exactly perfect yet, I did end up with strobes showing up in some of the shots. But that was pretty easily fixed with some cropping or photoshop magic.

Coogee is bit deep for photo dive, especially with 12 liter air tanks. We got close to deco limits well before running low on air and had to head up after a relatively short dive. Bit of a shame really, I would have loved to spend more time down there. With the depth it’s pretty perfectly suited for nitrox which unfortunately isn’t available through MUUC.

After Coogee and a quick visit back to Queenscliff we headed out for the second dive of the day. This was an OW level dive at Pope’s Eye. Underwater conditions were lot better than last time I was there, visibility was significantly better and current was bit weaker as well. With lots of colorful fish, a visit from a pair of seals and a ray circling around us, the sights didn’t disappoint either. This was the first dive I actually tried the zoom ring I recently bought for the Tokina lens. The ring worked well enough and was pretty easy to use underwater. While none of the photos I took were truly spectacular, I did get some pretty decent shots during this dive as well.

During the day I was also testing some cheap dive torches that I recently bought as spares. They were quite bright (Cree T6 led) and I didn’t notice any issues underwater either, so I was pretty happy with the purchase. Main beam is pretty tight with decent amount of spill as well. With only one 18650 battery they are also quite light and should make excellent travel torches.

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