Boat diving

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I haven’t done a wreck dive in ages so I was really looking forward to this Saturday as the dive plan included a visit to the J5 submarine. This is the most photogenic of the subs around Melbourne and one of my favorite wreck dives around here. Due to the depth of this sub (bottom is at 36 meters) we dive it quite rarely and I have only had a chance to dive it once before.

Unfortunately our plans didn’t quite work out. We got the boat in the water just fine and started heading towards the submarine. But as we were approaching Port Phillip Heads the sea started looking quite rough. We have certainly passed through the Heads in worse conditions. However, after quite a bit of contemplation we ended up deciding to stay inside the Bay. Our trip back from the sub would have been at the height of the ebb tide which might have made the return trip somewhat tricky. So in the end we felt it was best to play it safe.

So instead of the sub we headed to Pope’s Eye. At least the tide was ebbing so the conditions were lot better there than a week earlier. We actually did two dives there. First some of the people already on the boat did the dive. Then we headed back to Queenscliff boat ramp (which is just a short boat ride from Pope’s Eye anyway) to meet some people who had done a shore dive first. We switched out people a little bit and then headed back to Pope’s Eye. And then the people who hadn’t done the first (including myself) did the dive.

The dive itself was pretty nice and certainly quite interesting. To begin with the current was fairly strong. There were also lots of particles in the water and the visibility was quite poor. And to complicate matters further Crystal was having some problems getting down. At least it was an easy site like Pope’s Eye. Soon enough the current started to ease and visibility improved too. There were still a fair bit of particles floating around but otherwise the rest of the dive was very enjoyable.

This was probably the best fish dive I have done at Pope’s Eye, there was a great variety of different species. Some of the scalyfins were being really territorial too, a few even tried to bite me through the drysuit! In addition to all the fish there was also a cuttlefish swimming around and stingray hiding in the sand. Far better dive than last week’s mess at Pope’s Eye!

For the last dive of the day we waited for slack water. We had a couple of fairly inexperienced divers with us on the boat so we opted not to dive the Lonsdale Wall itself. Instead we did one of the nearby reef sections, the GPS marker for this one was called Z Reef. I was diving with Luke and the area was surprisingly nice, lots of nice ledges, small walls and holes. Visibility wasn’t the best and the current got fairly strong by the end of our dive. We still had a great dive and everyone thought this was very nice OW level site. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to check out random markers on the boat GPS. 🙂

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