Dive Number: 23 25/03/2010 12.29 Cottage by the Sea

Wind: 10-15 knot Northerlies

Tide: 15minutes before 0.24 low tide at the heads

Conditions: Vis was bad with very milky conditions. A bit of surge around too and some current. Generally fairly aweful conditions for photography.

Bottom Type: Sandy bottom, with large reef overhangs and ledges.

Visibilty: 2-4m

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 124 minutes

Max Depth: 7.8m

Air usage: 200bar/2800psi

SAC: 11.5 litres/min

Details: Very dissappointed with the conditions and i was expecting better based on the weather. The critters that turned up though made up for the bad vis. Two Cuttles, Two Seadragons, Two Blue Devils, a Port Jackson Shark, a rosy wrasse, a Trevalley, a large strange cod thing i’m yet to identify(maybe a Beardie???) and some very colourful and curious leatherjackets.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, DUAL SS200 strobe.

Dive Report: This was a very milky dive, and it really tested out my dual strobe technique. Instead of making it more versitile, it made things a hell of a lot more complicated, and i missed some killer opportunities because i had my strobes wrongly positioned. With a single strobe you can have the strobe up high at 12 oclock, and despite uninteresting flat lighting, you can still light your subject and get a decent shot. With dual strobes though, theres a precision in positioning thats very dependent on the distance from camera to subject, and when you have a subject that moves from 1 metre to basically right in front of the dome in a matter of seconds, its almost impossible to get correct light coverage at all distances. Especially when the vis is bad, you have a wide angled lens on, and fish insist on kissing thier own reflection in the dome port. So after an amazingly close encounter with this Leatherjacket (that usually keep there distance), i was disappointed not to nail a shot of these nicely coloured Leatherjackets. Initially it kept its distance in the confines of the rock ledges.

But once it spotted its own reflection, i think it either couldn’t resist its own image, or maybe thought someone was moving in to its territory.

He really couldn’t have got any closer than this…

But of course had a crack at eyeballing the dome as close as possible.

This Leatherjacket eventually had enough of me, and took off. I continued under the ledges and thought to myself, “gee i’d love to see a Port Jackson Shark”…literally seconds after the thought entered my head, i spotted a large shark sitting deep under the ledges… A Port Jacko! My first..i was excited! ; ) He was tucked under only about a 60-80cm ledge making it extremely difficult with a tank to get in close enough for a descent photo. I knew from what i’d read that these sharks weren’t aggressive (and i’m not sure if they even have carnivorus teeth), but to get a descent photo i’d be blocking off his exits if he got freaked out, so it wasn’t the most comfortable if situations. Lucky for me when he was getting a bit unnerved by my presence, he just swung himself around and went deeper into the cave. Such a beatiful creature though, i’m looking forward to seeing more.

I continued on, and spotted a single Trevally darting around.

More colourful Leatherjackets turned up, this time a Horseshoe LeatherJacket:

Under the same ledge was a Rosy Wrasse..a new fish for me on a shore dive.

I came across another fish i’d never seen…i think it might be a Beardie:

A gorgonian-scape:

A Goatfish fossicked in the sand outside the ledges:

My air was getting low, and a Weedy Seadragon showed up, so i thought i’d have a quick go at it, but i didn’t have long to mess a round.

A second Seadragon appeared, and they were momentarily in the frame together…not a great pic, but unique to have two together.

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