Feb

1

Date: 1st February 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: After staying on the Fleurieu Peninsula for a few days, the next journey was down to the Yorke Peninsula to dive the many jetties. We based ourselves at Edithburgh and after setting up camp, we did our first dive at Edithburgh Jetty. I put the macro lens on for this dive. Plenty of small subjects around including nudibranchs, gobies, cowrie shells, wavy grubfish and flatworms. We spotted a Blue Grouper, which i always try to get a record shot when i seen them. This was more a warm up dive to familiarise ourselves with the jetty again so we could night dive it to find Striped Pyjama Squid.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

31

Date: 31st January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 30minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: I really wanted to explore the sea caves at Second Valley after finding them on my last trip over this way. I only had about 50bar left in my tank from the previous day, so i thought i’d do a mixed snorkel/dive just to check out the caves. After snorkelling into the the third bay, i couldn’t resist dropping in on a cuttlefish. As i descended i noticed an Eagle Ray buried in the sand, so instead of the cuttlefish, i focused on the Eagle Ray. These critters always know when your watching them though, and it took off in a flash.

I continued on to the sea caves, enjoying the lighting affects. It wasn’t long before i was out of air, so i still have a nice long dive to put on the todo list here.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

31

Date: 31st January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 11m

Details: Before the dive, we ran into a couple of dive tour operators that gave us some tip off’s on where the Leafy Seadragons had been seen. So we entered with confidence that we would see some Leafies on this dive. However after about 30mins of swimming around and still not finding any, our confidence was flailing. Luckily, a group of divers turned up and their guide pointed out to the divers two Leafy Seadragon’s tucked away behind some structure. These little fellas seemed like they were hiding away from the constant stream of divers, and even had some algae on them attempting to add additional camouflage to their armory. It made me appreciate my dive at Victor Harbour even more now, seeing Leafies in a more natural, less harassed environment.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

30

Date: 30th January 2017

Conditions: Overcast, getting dark and plenty of current

Visibilty: 10m+

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 11m

Details: After arriving at Rapid Bay, and setting up camp it was straight into our first dive. Conditions weren’t great with onshore winds earlier in the day. A strong current moved through the site making it fairly uncomfortable. No Leafy Seadragons were found on this dive, so we just explored the jetty and enjoyed the fishlife. A couple of Kingfish were an interesting sighting. Apart from that it was the usual suspects….Western Talma, Spiny-tailed Leatherjackets, Dusky Morwong and old wives in the ‘cathedral’.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

30


Date: 30th January 2017

Conditions: NW winds meant flat seas, but very cloudy water

Visibilty: 5m+

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: Our diving safari in South Australia started at Victor Harbour with a dive at ‘The Bluff’ in Encounter Bay. I wanted to dive this site last time i was over but conditions weren’t good. Although conditions weren’t ideal today, it was the only day on the 5 day forecast with winds from the north, so today was the day, despite the fairly average topside overcast skies.

After about 20 minutes in, i thought the search amongst the kelp covered granite boulders was futile, with not a single Leafy Seadragon to be seen. But after i spotted my first one (with algae covered eggs), they started popping up everywhere. All up i saw six, including one that was missing its tail, possibly a fishing line amputation. Another interesting sighting was a leafy with wrinkly/indented tail. I presume this was a male that was ready to take on eggs, and this was shaped this way to accommodate the eggs.

If it hadn’t been for the Leafies, this would have been a fairly average dive. Very surgey, and cloudy vis with not much fish life to speak of. I wasn’t overly adventurous though, staying close to the granite boulder wall under the jetty, so perhaps further around on the seaward side, it would be better.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

29

Date: 29th January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 30m+

Water Temp: 16c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: Ewens pond is a busy little place in Summer…the local swimming pool. And despite the signs saying no flotation or water craft, there were kids with boogie boards, lilo’s, floaties etc..you name it. At one stage while i was doing under over shots, a kayaker even paddled passed. Now, kids with their boogie boards don’t bother me, but kayaking through these little channels while there is scuba divers below is pretty daft. Anyway, it did give me a nice under over subject so i shouldn’t complain.

I always seem to spend too much time in the first pond when i dive Ewens and am either too cold or run out of air by the time i hit the last. So i spent most of this dive in the last little pond, exploring the small limestone cave where a few bream and fresh water crays hang out. Always a fun dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

28

Date: 28th January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 40m+

Water Temp: 16c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 30m

Details: A big part of getting my CDAA Deep cavern certification was to dive the amazing Kilsby’s Sinkhole. A crystal clear sinkhole with near unlimited vis. However, over 2016, the access arrangements have been contentious with the land owners opening the site up to Open Water divers(much to the displeasure of many CDAA authorities in a clear breach of the organisation protocols).

However, during the transition period, it was agreed that CDAA members could dive under the new arrangements together with Open Water divers, so i jumped at the chance and booked a spot with Scubafiend. I hired a nitrox tank, which was unfortunately a 300bar steel tank which over weighted me without any dumpable weight. So the first half of the dive had me floundering around making photography very difficult, and fairly unenjoyable. I didn’t nail any of the shots i wanted but got some keepers, so another visit is definitely on the cards. Photography was a lot harder than i expected, with dramatic changes in ambient light as you move around the sinkhole.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

27

Date: 27th January 2017

Conditions: Southerlies

Visibilty: 4m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: This site is usually crystal clear vis, but today it was a hazy murky mess. A lot of dredging work for the new boat ramp has been happening lately, but i think this was storm water or something. Regardless, i had a quick dive and found an isolated stand of brown algae, that pipefish and leatherjackets called home. Aftyer a few pylon shots i called it quits early.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

22

Date: 22nd January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: Just to waste some air, i popped under Sorrento Pier to see what its like. I thought i had dived here before, but not according to my blog….it must have been in my snorkelling days. The current was significant, which i expected, but what i didn’t expect was how untouched some of the soft corals and sponge life seemed here. It was flourishing in the shallow, but darkish high current waters under the pier. Although not a huge amount of fishlife, it was fun just shooting the light filtering through the pier.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

22

Date: 22nd January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: After the seals, it was over to Portsea Pier. The lighting effects filtering through the pier where impressive and provided an interesting backdrop for a thornfish sitting on one of the pylon sponges. A small wrasse darted from weed clump to weed clump and i’m yet to identify what species it is. I took a few shots of a Weedy Seadragon with algae covered eggs, as a contrast to the exposed pink eggs carried by the one i shot a couple of weeks earlier.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

22

Date: 22nd January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: The Australian Fur Seals at Chinamans hat are always fun to play with. It was a busy day out there today, and i always prefer to dive this in winter when there’s less traffic around. However, it was a great day with nice vis on flood slack so i couldn’t resist. Plenty of action, with young pups darting past frantically, old cruisers passing by and lots of play between the teenagers. A swimmer crab took a journey mid-water and was lucky not to be crunched up by one inquisitive seal.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

16

Date: 16th January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 30minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: On the way back to the Indented Head Boat Ramp, i decided to drop into the Pipelines to shoot a few rays, which are pretty much a guarantee here. I first dropped in on a Banjo Shark on the sand and then proceeded over to the intake vents. A few small leatherjackets where hanging out in there, using the cage as protection. As usual a number of stingaree’s where using the pipeline structure to hide beneath, and a number of them where also burying in the surrounding sand. They don’t stick around long when approached though!

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

16

Date: 16th January 2017

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: I felt an urge to dive from the boat around Indented Heads/St Leonards…just for something different. I think other times i had been out this way was in winter, so summer could potentially turn up some more interesting life out here. I decided on Price George Light. A shallowish reef rising from about 5m up to about 1-2m. Its pretty typical of the rest of the reef in the area, with sponge gardens and ascidians on the rocks, and kelp and algae on the higher, more well lit parts of the reef. Fishlife wasn’t great, and i didn’t see any rays or jellies (which was my hope), but still a nice little dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Jan

6

Date: 6th January 2017

Conditions: South Easterly winds but nice and protected around the pier..great conditions.

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: This time of year the Weedy Seadragon males carry around the bright pink egg sacks on their tail until they incubate and hatch. My last visit to Portsea, i did see one seadragon with eggs, but that particular male had a layer of algae camouflaging its eggs. On this dive i found one carrying the bright pink eggs exposed, and it was a very happy model for photos. Happy enough to engage in feeding behaviour while i watched, sucking in the small mysid shrimp from the water column into its protruding snout.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

31


Date: 31st December 2016

Conditions: Southerlies picking up, surface chop.

Visibilty: 3m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Details: With choppy conditions on the surface, i decided to not take the boat too far away from the mouth of the Barwon. I decided on a random site off Collendia in about 14m of water. It was ok, but nothing to write home about. The usual suspects, Horseshoe Leatherjacket, Moonlighters, Magpie Perch and a Blue-lined Leatherjacket that always seems to pop up around these parts.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

30

Date: 30th December 2016

Conditions: The winds had swung around to still southerlies, blowing out the ocean, however the swell was still low-ish.

Visibilty: 3m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: Day 2 in Warrnambool and conditions had deteriorated into rather ordinary diving conditions. The only option was to dive the break wall of the harbour breakwater. The water was very cloudy, so i chucked on the macro lens. The wall is covered by curtains of kelp which you have to pull aside to see the sponge and invertebrate life growing on the wall. It was fairly uninspirational, but i did see a large pot-bellied seahorse and nudibranch, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Camera Details: Canon 100mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

29

Date: 29th December 2016

Conditions: The forecast threatened me with thunderstorms, but the swell forecast said it was flat all down with light northerly winds. Thankfully, no thunderstorms, and the overcast conditions cleared to an immaculate day.

Visibilty: 15m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: Conditions were getting better as the day went on, with the tide falling to expose all the entry points and reef along the coast line. Even though i was thoroughly exhausted after the first dive, after a nap, i jumped in at Pickering Point. More lush vegetation with even more interesting overhangs and caves. The structures where generally larger here, at one point i came across a 5-6 metre tall pinnacle, rising from the bottom and breaching the surface. The top was covered in bull kelp dangling off it like a head of hair, with lots of growth all the way down to its base…an impressive structure. The sunlight was lower in the sky now creating some great lighting effects through the surface, filtered off the sea walls. A large Smooth Ray came to check me out at one stage with a bit of territorial bravado. As quick as it came though, it was gone again. I continued heading westward and found myself over near Thunder point. In one of the deeper gullies, i spotted an Eagle Ray sitting in the sand. It took off in a cloud of sand and disappeared into the blue.

Another amazing dive, that only exhaustion kept me from staying in longer.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

29

Date: 29th December 2016

Conditions: The forecast threatened me with thunderstorms, but the swell forecast said it was flat all down with light northerly winds. Thankfully, no thunderstorms, and the overcast conditions cleared to an immaculate day.

Visibilty: 15m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 115minutes

Max Depth: 11m

Details: Warrnambool has been on my diving todo list for along time, but with the lack of information on the dive sites and what to expect, i’d never rated it as a high priority. However, having a bit of time off over xmas, a small window of low swell opened up that seemed to allow the better sites to be dived. So the plan was to head down and dive Thunder Point, followed by Pickering Point. On arrival i headed to the dive store, where LDS owner, Brian, ran me through some of the options and recommended the area of reef in front of the old Aquarium as a good starting dive. This site apparently provided not only one of the easier entries/exits, but also a great area of reef. So i headed down and geared up, and scrambled down the rocks to the small subtidal rock platform that provided the entry point. A giant stride was recommended, but with a largish camera, it turned it into an awkward squirm through the bull kelp and a seal-like drop off the edge of the platform. I was greeted by large kelp covered bommies, with little fish life (potentially due to the spearo hovering in the area above me). I headed around to the west (south west) and the terrain started to become really interesting, with lush fields of green, red and brown algaes. Possibly some of the lushest and richest temperate marine gardens i’d ever seen. A Sparsely Spotted Stingaree came cruising past, using the kelp beds as protection when it spotted me. I explored the caves under the rock ledge, and spotted a large Maori Octopus that looked like it had a close getaway from a spearo, with a damaged tentacle. It worked the cracks and crevices looking for prey, and i kept heading west. The terrain got more gnarled and lush, with small gullies, pinnacle bommies and a few sea caves which allowed easy access due to the lack of swell and surge. I was in heaven, and soon realised that my dive time was pushing 2 hours. So i started heading back. Under a large overhang a Port Jackson Shark hung out, but took off pretty quickly.

Generally marine life was pretty sparse, but the terrain and vegetation were world class.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

27

Date: 27th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 3m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: Another horror dive at Whites Beach. I don’t know what it is about this site, it always has atrocious visibility, and today was no different. It was also overcast so it made conditions very uncomfortable…and sharky feeling. Once i found my first Wobbegong though i started settling in. And there was 5 more to come during a short 40 minute dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

24

Date: 24th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 20minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: One the way back from The Pinnacles, i popped into The Rooms to see if any Port Jackson Sharks or Wobbegongs were home. They must have been out and about today, so i only made this a short dive. A catshark was a good consolation, but it wasn’t a very photogenic one.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

24

Date: 24th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 15m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 16m

Details: Christmas was approaching and the weather gods were really turning it on. Low swell, low wind and good vis. I decided to head down to ‘The Pinnacles’ which is a shallowish site out from the Point Lonsdale Life saving club. This is a really lush area of reef, that has beautiful kelp gardens and a great array of marine life. Some dives you just can’t capture in images, actually, most dives, but this was a really enjoyable temperate reef blue water dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

18

Date: 18th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 6m

Details: Chris and myself headed over to Portsea to see if we could find some Weedy Seadragons that were carrying eggs. I didn’t see any, but Chris saw one with the algae covering them for protection.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

11

Date: 11th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 5m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: A new marina is under construction at Portarlington, to accommodate the new Ferry to Melbourne. A huge breakwall has been constructed to contain the marina, with only a small entrance now to the new harbour. I thought i’d snorkel the new arm of the pier where the new ferry terminal will be, then swim over to the breakwall. To be honest, it was a fairly uninteresting dive, with very little growth and marine life inhabiting the new structures. The breakwall will provide some interesting little caves, and overhangs for marine life to inhabit over time, but the kelp needs to establish itself first, and that hasn’t happened yet. Apart from a couple of Nudibranchs on the rocks, there really wasn’t a lot around.

Camera Details: Canon 100mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Dec

4

Date: 4th December 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 4m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: Visibility was atrocious today, but the main reason for this dive was to test out a new mask after my Oceanic Shadow mask shattered during travel back from Port Campbell (damn..i loved that mask). So between the bad vsibility, and a leaking, fogging mask that i had to flood every minute, it wasn’t a very enjoyable dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Nov

20

Date: 20th November 2016

Conditions:

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Details: While taking some under-over shots at Point Lonsdale, I spotted a large Maori Octopus skulking through the kelp towards some overhangs. I followed it to take some photos but it was soon giving me the evil eye and telling me to back off. I stood my ground, hoping it would get use to my presence and not see me as a threat. That didn’t work…it soon extended one of its tentacles in my direction, (seemingly an infinitely long tentacle, aka a Mary Poppins tentacle), while its body stayed put against the ledge. The single probing tentacle felt around the camera housing before sending its body to join the party and it launched a full body attack! Beak first! With its arsenal of tentacles joining the single tentacle to envelop the camera housing. I’d seen octopus steal camera housings before, so i wasn’t willing to let this one go. At arms length, i held onto the housing with one arm, while trying to snap some shots at the same time. With its beak firmly against the dome port, i worried my dome port was going to be a write-off. I shook the housing (as best you can shake a housing underwater) to try to dislodge the parasite octopus, and eventually it took off back to the shelter of the ledges. With my heart beating a million times a minute, i thought i spotted it moving under a different ledge. ‘Impossible’, i thought. ‘How did it get over there so quickly?’ I soon realised there were two octopus in the area. Probably a breeding pair. The first octopus must have seen its reflection in my dome port, and considered it a competitor to its love interests. I left them too their business.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos: