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:

Sep

19

Date: 19th/20th and 26th/27th September 2015

Conditions:

Visibilty:

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time:

Max Depth: 40m

Details: The Caves and Sinkholes down at Mt Gambier have always held an allure to me. I’ve really enjoyed the diving i’d done in the fresh water pools of Ewens Ponds and snorkels around Piccaninnie Ponds and Eight Mile creek. And swimming over the Cathedral in Piccaninnie Ponds would make anyone wonder what its like down there. However, actually getting my Deep Cavern Cert to fully explore these glorious wonders of nature, seemed like a pursuit that was best left to someone else. So when Chris asked whether i wanted to do my Deep Cavern Course with him, what else could i say but, “Of course!” So over two weekends, under the excellent training of Jane Bowman, Chris, Jackson and Myself completed some vigorous skills training in pools, parks, muddy sinkholes in the paddocks of Mt Gambier, and finished up with a wonderful dive in Kilsbys Sinkhole. Was it easy or fun. Hell No! At times, i wondered why i put myself in these situations. But at the end of the course, i felt like a much better diver and was so glad i stepped out of my comfort zone.

The dives done included Pool Work, Gouldens Sinkhole, Little Blue, One Tree and Kilsby’s Sinkhole.

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

Photos:

Jul

6

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: The last dive of the trip was at Edithburgh Jetty in search for a Leafy Seadragon that eluded us at Wool Bay. This dive we got luckier and found one at the base of the pylons. Some cowfish were enjoying a feast on a discarded fishermans catch and both Shaws and Ornate Cowfish allowed close approaches. The growth on the pylons always amazes at this jetty…one of the best in the country. I hope to return for more diving here and find the even more elusive, Striped Pyjama Squid.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

6

Conditions:

Visibility: 15m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: After staying the night at Port Hughes, i convinced the other guys that it would be madness to be at the top of the Yorke Peninsula, and not have a crack at Leafy Seadragon. So we headed down the east side of the peninsula with first stop being Wool Bay. Conditions were great with light off shore winds and sunshine. The water was beautifully clear and the three of us spread out on our search for Leafy Seadragons amongst some of the nicest weed beds you’ll see. We searched for about 40mins with no luck, so decided to call the dive and head to Edithburgh instead.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

5

Conditions:

Visibility: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: We headed back towards Victoria from Whyalla, and decided to stop over in Port Hughes which is apparently a great night dive, and a good spot for angler fish. Unfortunately an onshore wind picked up and it made for a very surgey dive. I can imagine it would be a very good dive, but with a macro lens on in the surgey conditions and cold water temperatures it was a less than am ideal night dive. We did spot a Sand Octopus, Wavy Grubfish, some Decorator crabs, Cowfish and pipefish, but no luck finding any anglerfish or Warty Prowfish.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

5

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 140minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: This was going to be our last dive at Whyalla and conditions were fantastic. great vis, no current and lots of cuttlefish around engaging in all sorts of behavior. I started out the back in the deeper water and wanted to try to get some solitary cuttlefish shots with sunbursts in the background. One put on a great show for me, and i got the shot i’ve always been after, with a cuttlefish lunging at its pretty with tentacles spread and ready to devour. In shallower waters, the courting and guarding of the females was underway, with groups of eager males trying to muscles in on the dominant males action. The dominant male would spread out his mantle as a protective shield to keep the advancing competitors at bay. On one occasion, a small male got too pushy and the large male lept at it and grabbed him in his tentacles, drawing in the smaller male into its mouth. It nearly had him totally consumed, and in a last moment of desperation sent out a huge ink cloud into the large males mouth. I watched as a cloud of Cuttlefish ink arose out of the vents of the large cuttlefish and the small one made its escape from the jaws (or beak) of inevitable death. Sadly this was our last dive, but there is so much interesting behavior to observe at this unique aggregation, and i hope its preserved well into the future for greater understanding of these creatures and their breeding rituals.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

4

Conditions:

Visibility: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: On the edge of exhaustion after the last dive in current at Black Point, we decided to get in a short night dive back at the fenceline. The Cuttlefish had mostly tucked away fro the night and there were only a few night owls on the prowl. The lights generally kept them at a distance, so not very conducive for photography.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

4

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: For our second dive we headed to Black Point. The current was ripping through the area, which made the dive fairly uncomfortable in the fading low light of the late afternoon. This site didn’t have the concentration of Cuttlefish as Stony Point, but the area is much more interesting terrain wise. One cuttlefish, looking a little worn out, had its two feeding tentacles exposed and dangling from its beak. It made it look even more alien than these creatures already do, albeit a bit like a thirsty dog with its tongue hanging out. This was a fairly exhausting dive with the walk down the stairs and over the rock platform in an over weighted drysuit and camera. This site would be much better on a dodge tide.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

4

Conditions:

Visibility: 8m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 90minutes

Max Depth: 6m

Details: Cuttlefish Aggregation at Whyalla – We finally made it to Whyalla and with enough daylight to get in a solid first dive with the Giant Cuttlefish. We headed straight out to Point Lowly and to the fence line site at Stony Point. Initial reports were good, with all the divers in the areas reporting good numbers around. So we geared up and got straight into it. There really was no shortage of Cuttlefish, and lots of great behaviors were observed. One grouping that i stayed with a while, was a large male guarding his female with both his extended mantle used as a barrier, and his outstretched tentacles to cover her. Many new suitors approached the area and tried to muscle in on the action, but were quickly deterred by the dominant male. A great first dive, but it started getting dark quickly with overcast conditions.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Jul

3

Conditions:

Visibility: 30m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 12m

Details: On a road trip with Chris and Jarrod down to see the Cuttlefish Aggregation at Whyalla, we stopped in at Mt Gambier to break up the long journey from Geelong. Chris and Jarrod had never dived any of the ponds in the area, so Ewens Ponds seemed like a good choice. Its always nice to dive in the crystal clear water of the ponds and explore the colourful fresh water vegetation in the channels. The chilly fresh water really woke us up and put us in good stead for the next leg of the journey.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X Inon z240 Strobes + YS-D1

Photos:

Apr

5

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 8m

Details: I hadn’t really researched Second Valley, but had heard its a nice dive with Leafies and a few caves. I headed ‘outwards’ and saw very little reef but just open expanses of weed bed and sandy plains. I looped back and eventually came across some nice reef with a few small overhangs. This area was so much more interesting than the first half of my dive that i popped up to see exactly were i was. Looking around i quickly realized that i had no idea if i was left or right of the small jetty, since it was no where in sight, and the current had made me lose my bearings. The light was fading and my air was getting low…shit..which way??? I swam along the cliff face and only after a couple of minutes i spotted the jetty…phew..crisis averted. I headed back down and along the wall, and came across one of the caves i’d heard about. The kelp covered cliff walls along this area were pretty cool too..and much ‘fishier’ than out on the grass beds. If i return to Second Valley, this is the spot i’ll return too..great little dive in the end. The thing that surprised me on my last visit here is how the Yellow Zooanthids grow in shallow water around here. A contrast to Victoria, where they usually grow in around 20m +.

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

Photos:

Apr

5

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: The last dive at Rapid Bay and we had another crack at the juvenile Leafy Seadragon. This time we were straight onto it by observing a patch that another group of divers were checking out. I quickly realized that my dome port had two large drops of water in it…that appeared right in the middle of the frame for every photo! Buggar…i swum back in and got a tourist to assist me with taking apart the housing and wiping out the dome. Risky business, but some times these things have to be done. Back in the water and straight to the seadragon. We looked for another Adult, but had no luck. I was a happy diver finding an adult and juvenile over the 4 dives here, so i could return home content.

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

Photos:

Apr

4

Conditions:

Visibility: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: I couldn’t resist a night dive at Rapid Bay even though conditions were less than ideal. I didn’t go far so didn’t get the full show, but saw cuttlefish, scorpionfish, a couple of nudibranchs, a wavy volute and a strange worm thing. A cowfish posed nicely for some photos too.

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

Photos:

Apr

4

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: Talking to a number of local divers, they suggested trying the eel grass beds straight out from the steps for some juvenile Leafy Seadragons. The current was starting to run hard again and as we searched around the eel grass, we spotted an Eagle Ray…apparently a rare sighting in this area. That exhausted our luck and we missed out on the juvenile seadragons, but still nice to poke around under the cathedral of pylons on the way back. Lots of Cuttlefish around on this dive.

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

Photos:

Apr

4

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m+

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: We headed down to Rapid Bay over the Easter Long Weekend in a hope to get some Leafy Seadragon photos. My last dives here, i failed to see a single Leafy, so i’d hoped to have better luck this time. I didn’t waste any time and did the first dive on dusk the night we arrived. It wasn’t that well planned, as it was very dark and overcast and there was a strong current running. My search for a Leafy Seadragon was unsuccessful, but the trip was young and i had another couple of days to continue the search in better conditions, so i made do with just getting familiar with the site. The cathedral of pylons is a great place to hang out and theres always a fair share of Old wives around. An odd sighting on return to shore was a mid-water weedfish, just floating down from atop a pylon.

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

Photos:

Apr

3

Conditions:

Visibility: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: After the first dive i got some tips offs on where to search to find Leafy Seadragons. I headed out to the right and searched for a good 30 minutes exploring the structures that scattered the area. With no sightings, i headed back over to the left arm. In the distance next to a pylon i saw a magnificent Adult Leafy Seadragon in all its frondy glory. A sense of relief went through my body…i’d finally found one!!!

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

Photos:

Jan

2

Conditions:

Visibilty: 30m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 90minutes

Max Depth: 2m

Details: After a canoe trip along the Glenelg River for NYE, we popped over the border to South Australia and explored some of the famous spring fed creeks and caves south of Mt Gambier.

A site i’d never dived before – 8 Mile Creek was the next on the list. This creek is fed by a spring that runs out of Ewens Ponds and you can actually do a drift all the way from Ewens Ponds to the ocean. This would be a long way though, and i got dropped off about 1km inland from the ocean and drifted back to the sea. The vegetation was extremely beautiful with some purple water plants that i didn’t see in Ewens Ponds. At a few drains that flowed into the creek, bream and mullet could be seen feeding. Swans, swamphens and comorants fed on the creek also, but took flight when approached. This was a really unique drift snorkel in crystal clear water.

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

Photos:

Jan

2

Conditions:

Visibilty: 30m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 90minutes

Details: After a canoe trip along the Glenelg River for NYE, we popped over the border to South Australia and explored some of the famous spring fed creeks and caves south of Mt Gambier.

Piccaninnie Ponds was our first stop which we had already booked in for. Its amazing to snorkel above the chasm and look down into the deep blue water. A couple of freshwater Eels were in the shallows feeding on the reed beds at the side of the small islands. It was hard to get out but the cool water temperature eventually gets to you. Always a lovely spot to visit.

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

Photos:

Jan

2

Conditions:

Visibilty: 40m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60 minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: We went to Ewens Ponds on a scorching 40c plus day with howling northerly winds, and it seemed that this was the local spot to keep cool. Lots of people around, and a new (since id been there last) buoy anchored to the bottom for people to hold onto…highly annoying for photography. Its such a great dive though and it was nice to kick back with no current or surge to contest with. After finishing the drift it was tempting to go in for another, but a large bush fire burning to the north mean that the pond was also going to act as a water source for the local fire brigade. I didnt want to be water bomber fodder, so we went coastal.

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

Photos: