Nov

8

Date: 8th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: This was too be the last dive of the trip, so i thought i’d focus on the wreck a little more rather than the marine life. The one exception was getting photos of the Horned Seasnake which is the less common of the two – Olive and Horned.

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

Photos:

Nov

8

Date: 8th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: A relatively quiet dive compared the excitement of the day before. Some barracuda allowed reasonably close approaches and plenty of schooling fish around as usual.

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

Photos:

Nov

7

Date: 7th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: The highlights of this dive was a close encounter with a Green Turtle and Marbled Ray. The Snub-nosed Trevally were also feeding vigoursly mid-water.

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

Photos:

Nov

7

Date: 7th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: After the confirmation of the Silver-tipped Shark from photos the previous day, we were excited by the fact that such a rare shark to these parts was in the area. In all honesty, i didn’t expect to see it again today but kept my eyes open. While approaching two large cod engaging in some frisky behaviour, i felt a tug on my fins. “This better be good” i thought as i approached a great photographic opportunity. Sophie was doing the “Real Shark” hand sign and pointing off into the blue and sure enough the Silver-tipped Shark skirted the edge of the wreck coming towards us, and then darted back into the blue. We headed down to the sand and tried to get down low behind a section of mast from the wreck in hope of a closer encounter if it circled back around. Sure enough, it came past again and close enough to where we were hiding to get an identification shot. Its always a buzz to see sharks and sense the energy of the different species.

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

Photos:

Nov

6

Date: 6th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: What a great way to start the day! An awesome dive on the Yongala with a huge Manta Ray buzzing us at the top of the wreck. We also saw a Cod with a huge bite out of its head (perhaps from the Silver-tipped shark that was seen yesterday), and also another large ray laying on the sand, possibly a marbled ray.

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

Photos:

Nov

6

Date: 6th November 2015

Conditions: Light NE

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: For my birthday this year, we decided to fly into Townsville and head down to Alva Beach to dive the wreck on the SS Yongala with Yongala Dive. The SS Yongala was a passenger vessel that hit a cyclone on route to Cairns in 1911. All 122 crew and passengers on board died, and many of the bones of the dead are still contained within the vessel, especially in the bow. For this reason, plus the historical and tourism values of the wreck, penetration is not allowed, and even diving under the bow and stern are prohibited to conserve the wreck for as long as possible. Being over 100m long though, there is plenty to see and explore, and it forms an isolated artificial reef in the mainly sandy barrens where the wreck lies. This attracts marine life in abundance to be cleaned, to be fed and to shelter. It also attracts divers from all over the world, with a status of one of the best wreck dives in the world. This fact put it on my bucket list as a must-do dive, so with out much planning (weather-wise) we booked in for 6 Dives and struck it lucky with 3 fabulous days diving.

The first dive we just took it easy and got oriented to the wreck, but our guide returned excited as a school boy swearing that he spotted an Oceanic White-Tipped Shark out in the blue. Without photographic evidence, it went unconfirmed, and suspicion from the other staff members were high. We did see a large cod that had a big chunk out of its head that we thought looked like a shark bite, so we keen to get back in the water and see what shark species were around.

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

Photos:

Nov

4

Conditions:

Visibility: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 27m

Details: For my birthday this year, we decided to fly into Townsville and head down to Alva Beach to dive the wreck on the SS Yongala with Yongala Dive. The SS Yongala was a passenger vessel that hit a cyclone on route to Cairns in 1911. All 122 crew and passengers on board died, and many of the bones of the dead are still contained within the vessel, especially in the bow. For this reason, plus the historical and tourism values of the wreck, penetration is not allowed, and even diving under the bow and stern are prohibited to conserve the wreck for as long as possible. Being over 100m long though, there is plenty to see and explore, and it forms an isolated artificial reef in the mainly sandy barrens where the wreck lies. This attracts marine life in abundance to be cleaned, to be fed and to shelter. It also attracts divers from all over the world, with a status of one of the best wreck dives in the world. This fact put it on my bucket list as a must-do dive, so with out much planning (weather-wise) we booked in for 6 Dives and struck it lucky with 3 fabulous days diving.

The first dive we just took it easy and got oriented to the wreck, but our guide returned excited as a school boy swearing that he spotted an Oceanic White-Tipped Shark out in the blue. Without photographic evidence, it went unconfirmed, and suspicion from the other staff members were high. We did see a large cod that had a big chunk out of its head that we thought looked like a shark bite, so we keen to get back in the water and see what shark species were around. On the surface interval, reports came back that the first Mantas for the season had just been seen. So we quickly geared up for Dive Two and had a magnificent encounter with a massive manta that swam straight over the top of us. Chills and goosebumps all around. No Sharks though.

Day Two and another day of low swell and low wind. On Dive Three, we potted around on the sand in about 27m, and i was photographing two big Cod getting a bit frisky, when all of a sudden, i felt a tug on my fin from Sophie. Her hand went straight to the head to indicate a ‘real’ shark and furious pointing into the blue. We swam over to a big section of mast that lay over the sand, and i indicated to Sophie that we should get down low on the sand to encourage the shark to pass by closely. On cue, back it came and swam just over the other side of the mast where we we lay in wait. I snapped off a couple of photos of a Silver tip Shark!!! It circled again on a more distant pass, and then disappeared back off into the blue. After the dive, there were some excited divers who saw the shark, adding credibility to the first sighting. This was a very rare sighting on the Yongala, in fact none of the staff had ever seen or heard of a Silver Tip being sighted on the wreck before. So i was very happy to get some photos. Dive Four saw some great Green Turtle action, with one passing close by. And a big Marbled Ray swimming over the top of the deck.

Dives Five and Six were a little more quiet, so we focused on appreciating the structure of the wreck. I had some good sightings of the Horned Sea Snake, plus of course the Olive Sea Snakes which are everywhere.

All in all an amazing 3 Days of diving on a well run operation with Yongala Dive. The best thing about the Yongala is you never know what will show up, and this will keep me coming back in the future.

Here’s some of my early-edit photos. I’ll put up individual dive postings soon, so keep an eye out.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes

Photos:

Aug

16

Dive Number: 190  15/08/11  12.01,  Wolf  Rock, Rainbow Beach

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 42minutes

Max Depth: 30.4m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  Dive Two at Wolf Rock after a 1hr surface interval…soup, sandwiches and humpback whale sightings.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

16

Dive Number: 189  15/08/11  10.35,  Wolf  Rock, Rainbow Beach

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:  Big seas with lots of chop.

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 34.5m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  I hoped to get my AOW so i could dive wolf rock which i’d read good reviews about. I wasn’t disappointed. The word magical comes to mind..truly another world down there…domain of the Grey Nurse Shark.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

15

Dive Number: 188  15/08/11  12.08,  Woody Island, Hervey Bay

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 37minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: My last dive for my AOW – a Navigation dive. This just involved traversing a square and attempting to return to the starting point. A diagonal current made it a bit more difficult to calculate my kicks and distance, but i managed to adjust and got it spot on. Some nice coral in this shallow area, but not much fish life.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

15

Dive Number: 187  15/08/11  10.00,  Kgari Wreck, Hervey Bay

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   2m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 72minutes

Max Depth: 18.7m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  This was the multi-level dive for my AOW.  Just when i thought vis couldn’t get any worse, this dive turned on 2m vis. Not very condusive to photography.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

15

Dive Number: 186  15/08/11  8.10,  Snapper Ground, Hervey Bay

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   3-5m.

Water Temp: 16c

Bottom Time: 33minutes

Max Depth: 30.2m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  This was my deep dive for the AOW course. We dropped into about 22 metres, and then over a shelf to sit at 30m. Here i performed a narc test using a kids toy –  “put the right shape in the right hole”. I passed with flying colours…looks like all my training down the pub paid off. Not much around to photograph in the short time available. A seasnake and a bullray.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

14

Dive Number: 185  14/08/11  15.23,  Three Ships,  Hervey Bay

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   2-3m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 57minutes

Max Depth: 16.3m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: This was my wreck dive for my AOW.  Vis was still atrocious as a wobbegong found out when he found my elbow on his head. Large cod hung out under the bow of the ship, and schools swum above the decrepit hull. After spooking a large flathead, he posed for a photo. Interesting dive, but damn dirty.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

14

Dive Number: 184  14/08/11  12.53,  Moon Ledge  Hervey Bay

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   3m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 52minutes

Max Depth: 18.3m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  This was the first dive of my AOW course. It was suppose to be a drift dive, but there was no current! This was probably the most bizaar dive i’d ever done..the 3m vis made it very eerie, but the wall was made of a material called coffee rock which crumbles when you touch it. It formed a long wall with lots of overhangs and big boulders sitting on the slope. There were some good critters around, but the vis really didn’t make it very inspirational.

Camera Details:  First dive ever without a camera

Aug

9

Dive Number: 180  09/08/11  14.35,  Inner Lagoon, Lady Musgrave  Island

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   10-12m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 45minutes

Max Depth: 7m

Air usage: 50bar/750psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: After a quick bite to eat on the platform, it was back into the water for our second dive in the lagoon. Some other introductory divers joined us on this dive, and off we went. The vis was pretty bad with a lot of bottom being stirred up, but the coral and colours were much better on this dive, with more reef fish too.  We circled around some coral bommies close to the platform, and when we arrived back, i took some photos under the platform which had plenty of larger fish hanging out under it. Not a bad dive, but i still would have loved to have spent more time here, unrushed..with time to appreciate the tre beauty of the place.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

9

Dive Number: 179  09/08/11  12.35,  Outer Wall, Lady Musgrave Island

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 45minutes

Max Depth: 18m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  My lack of planning and Queensland’s winter dive hybernation struck again and had me digging to find options to dive. We headed to 1770, a lovely little fishing inlet.  The only dive operation in the region was Dive 1770, but the owner was up in Gladstone doing mining surveys or something for a couple of weeks. My only option was to get a ‘cattle’ boat out to Lady Musgrave Island which cost a fortune and charged extra for diving. All up $250 for a double dive…steep. Against my better judgement i decided just to do it…i really didn’t have any other options. After an hours ride out, we arrived at Lady Musgrave, a beautiful coral cay in the coral sea and unboarded to the platform moored in the cay. Only one other spanish girl was diving, and the dive master, Gus, had to stay on the surface, so he had a friend dive with us as dive leader. We geared up, boarded a smaller dive boat and headed back out of the cay to the outer wall. We dropped into about 18m, and saw a turtle dissappear into the blue. That was possibly the most interesting sighting, and again the diving was underwhelming. Little colour (except the shallows) and a lack of marine life. I’d heard so much about these cays and islands in the southern GBR, but it left me very dissappointed. One of the tour operators told me back at 1770 that you see more snorkelling in the lagoon, and i think i should have taken his advice.   The second dive was going to be in the lagoon, so i hoped it would show the true glory of these coral cays.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

7

Dive Number: 178  07/08/11  14.35,  Old Keppel Underwater Observatory

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 7m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  On the way back to the mainland, we stopped off at an old decomissoned underwater observatory. It had resident large rock cod that use to be fed and have subsequently stuck around. It was fairly shallow dive, and a lot of sediment in the water being close to a sand island, so vis wasn’t the best, but it had good fish life, with a lots of larger fish. I didn’t nail any shots of the rock cod though, they just weren’t cooperative, similar to these two strobes i was using that i’d borrowed for travel, and rigged up to fire optically (fairly unsuccessfully). It was a nice dive for photography though, like a shallow water wreck with some good subjects.

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

7

Dive Number: 176  07/08/11  12.35,  Child Island

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 23m

Air usage: 140bar/2000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  After the first dive, we swum over a waterproof case to Barren Island and scrambled into a small little grotto known as “One Bum Beach”. Dave had a small little cooker and snags that he cooked up for lunch, with tim tams for sweets. The other guys had a catnap on the beach and Dave took me over the ridge to show me a  little spot where you could jump off the cliffs into an ocean gully, and then swim up into the island. Great fun. Getting back out was the tricky bit, requiring  good timing between swell, and then scrambling over the oyster covered rocks. After we got back to the boat, we headed off to the second dive site, Child Island, which was a small island just off Barren Island, so not far to travel. This was a deeper dive and much more interesting, with whip coral, a lemon shark, some big rock cods and sea trout. A bit of a suprise when we surfaced to find the boat wasn’t there! The anchor had come loose, but luckily some fisherman where nearby to give dave a lift to go get it. We waiting, bobbing up and down with the story of the local 5m Tiger Shark fresh in our minds ;)

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Aug

7

Dive Number: 176  07/08/11  10.35,  Barren Island

Wind:   10 north-easterlies???

Tide:  ???

Conditions:  

Visibilty:   15m.

Water Temp: 18c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Air usage: 200bar/3000psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  After flying into Rockhampton and making absolutely no plans about where i was going to dive, i spent most of the day calling around to find some dive charters that were running trips the following day. Keppel Island was the obvious dive destination, however i could only track down two dive charters that ran dives in the area. The first (Keppel Dive) ran from Keppel Island itself, but after a phone call, it seemed the industry in central queensland goes into virtual hibernation during the winter months. (The 18c water temps is just too cold for queenslanders! Ha! Suck it up…that’s what we get in summer in Vic!) Anyway,  with some apprehension he suggested trying a relatively new operation called Manta Ray dive. So i gave them a call, and luckily the owner, Dave,  said he was running a trip with a few mates, and i was welcome to come along. Apparently he doesn’t run charters as such, but runs a private boat and has guests chip in for petrol etc. *nudge**wink* sort of stuff. Suited me fine, so i met up at the boat ramp the next morning and we headed out to the islands. Firt dive site was off the edge of Barren Island. We descended into about 14m and vis was nice but not spectacular. Large expanses of stag coral covered the area, with little diversity and it look fairly unhealthy. A small Wobby sat atop the coral which provided my first photographic subect. I quickly realised my autofocus wasn’t working and that i’d obviously left the lens on manual focus. God damn..i swear i checked it. Oh well..i pushed on and made do with the focus set were it was.  The marine life was fairly underwhelming, as was the coral in its structure, diversity and colour. Nearer the surface in about 6m+ was much prettier. Overall a nice dive but nothing spectacular.        

Camera Details:  Tokina  10-17mm ,  Inon 2000 + Sea and Sea Ys-120 Strobe (fired optically with difficulties)

Photos:

Oct

5

Dive Number: 80 11/09/2010 15.14 Stradbroke Island – The Group – Manta Ray Bommie

Wind: ????

Tide: 5hr past 2.30 high tide at Point Lookout

Conditions: Another lovely sunny queensland day with no clouds and a light breeze.

Bottom Type: Large Rock Bommie with scattered smaller bommies then extending out to a vast sand patch.

Visibilty: 15m

Water Temp: 19c

Bottom Time: 59minutes

Max Depth: 11.5m

Air usage: 170bar/2500psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: This was dive number two on the trip out with Manta Lodge. After going to 26metres this was a shallower dive to finish off in about 12m. After some chicken noodle soup and snakes we were back in the water. We’d been informed that at least 3 Manta Rays were in the area and this was the first time this season, so i timed it well. This dive proved to be a fantastic ray dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , single SS200 strobe

Dive Report: Diving in large groups again seemed unproductive. There were heaps of cool rays around, but it was hard to get close to any of them with so many divers flapping aorund mid-water. A school of around 80+ Golden rays were an impressive site though. Together with a couple of Manta Rays and a Bull Ray, the site lived up to its name.

Oct

5

Dive Number: 79 11/09/2010 13.30 Stradbroke Island – Flat Rock – Shark Alley

Wind: ????

Tide: 3.5hr past 2.30 high tide at Point Lookout

Conditions: Another lovely sunny queensland day with no clouds and a light breeze.

Bottom Type: 20-25m deep rocky gully/valley with steep walls and a sandy bottom.

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: 20c

Bottom Time: 54 minutes

Max Depth: 26.1m

Air usage: 170bar/2500psi

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: Another lovely day, after a day off diving due to strong NE winds that cancelled most dive trips. We caught the ferry over to stradbroke island, and decided to take the car over as well to take the pressure off getting up to Lookout point in time for my dive trip. This was a dive trip with Manta Lodge that ran rubber dinghies off a beautiful little beach. Dolphins buzzed the boat just metres off shore as we launched the boat and on the way out we saw a Loggerhead turtle on the surface. A changing of the guard was underway as the Grey Nurses left for summer, and the Manta Rays were just starting to return, so a sighting of both was on the cards. This turned out to be a cracker of a dive just for the underwater terrain alone, a deep valley with sheer walls with plenty of fish around, and scattered patches of coral.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , single SS200 strobe

Dive Report: I didn’t really get a lot of good photo opportunies and mainly enjoyed the dive. We dived in groups of 4-6, so it wasn’t real conducive to spending time to take photos. Here’s a few anyway, nothing i’m overly happy with apart from the stonefish.