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

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:

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:

Jan

11

Dive Number: 117 23/12/10 12.51  Ewens Ponds, Mt Gambier

Wind:   15knot  SE’s??

Conditions:   Still fairly windy, but a nice sunny day. 

Visibilty: 30m+

Water Temp: 16c

Bottom Time: 122 minutes

Max Depth: 9.8m

Air usage: 140bar/2000psi ????

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details:  We decided to make our way homewards from Rapid Bay and headed back through  Mt Gambier. W gave Ewens Ponds another try, but this time with a macro lens to try to concenrate on some of the marine life.

Species seen included Ewens Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca  variegata), Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butheri), Common Galaxid (Galaxis Maculatus), River Blackfish(Gadopsis Marmoratus), a fish i’m yet to ID (maybe a young australian grayling???) and Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus bispinosus).  Of the smaller variety Freshwater Shrimp  (Paratya australiensis) and  some tiny bright red pod things.

Camera Details: Sigma 17-70mm , dual SS200 strobes

Dive Report:

Jan

6

Dive Number: 113 21/12/10 16.59  Ewens Ponds

Wind:  ??? Strong winds..possibly 15-20 SE’s

Conditions:  Windy conditions..overcast with patches of sunlight when clouds cleared. 

Visibilty: Awesome…maybe 30m+

Water Temp: 16c

Bottom Time: 64 minutes

Max Depth: 9.8m

Air usage: 140bar/2000psi ????

SAC: ???? litres/min

Details: Well..if Piccaninnie ponds gave me a taste for this sinkhole stuff, being able to scuba in Ewens Ponds took that craving to a new level.  It could only be described as diving some other planet…maybe a moon of Jupiter, except your guaranteed to see life on this dive. The first pond puts you straight into 10m ampitheatre witha pure white sand bottom which the springs feeds out. The springs bubble away beneath and the walls of the ampitheatre are lined with bolders cover in mud and bizaar weed structures.  A small shallow channel leads you through vibrant green and yellow vegetation  to the second pond,  contrasting amazingly with the unearthly blue and grey hues of the first pond. The second pond is shallower than the first and you quickly get lead into the second channel, again with vibrant reeds and vegetation. The last pond is another deep one, and has a small cave under the exit point which is a good place for sheltering bream and blackfish.   

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , dual SS200 strobes

Dive Report:

Jan

5

16/12/2010  Piccaninnie Ponds, Mt Gambier

Wind:  15knot South-easterly

Conditions:  Some surface chop but nice and clear in the water.

Bottom Type: Freshwater spring-fed  creek with mud edges lined with vegetation. Lots of reeds in the shallow section and one section has a ‘chasm’ which drops to over 60 metres.

Bottom Time: 100 minutes

Details: After a late night arrival after driving across from Geelong, we arrived at Piccaninnie Ponds to camp for the night.  The start of our adventures began. We must have left the lights and stereo on too long as we set up camp and got a flat battery. It was a cold and windy night…very unseasonal…we didn’t think we’d run into many souls in the wee hours so tried to get some sleep to rest up for the next day of snorkelling at diving at the ponds. (which were about 500m walk from the campsite..walkable with gear). About 3am in the morning, we heard a car in the distance…some guys cruising around doing some 4wd’ing on the beach. We managed to get a jump start off them, and after sharing a six pack with them for their trouble it was about 4.30….time for sleep. I think we slept till about 10am and then hit the ponds.  They were amazing with colourful vegetation and crystal clear water. Hovering over the ‘chasm’ the light penetrated through the surface, travelled 60 metres down and sent an eerie, yet beautiful blue glow back to the surface. It was very tempting to dive here, but you need cave training here due to some deaths in the past. It definently wet the appetite though. A bit of life aorund…pygmy perch, yabbies, and schools of galaxias.

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

Dive Report: