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

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

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

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

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:

Nov

12

Date: 12th November 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 9m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 7m

Details: Despite wintery conditions in November, the swell was looking low, and while on a camping trip at Princetown, i thought i’d drop in to the Jetty at Port Campbell for a splash. Conditions were really good with nice clear water and low surge. Although not the most interesting structure, under the peir presented some nice vistas with anemone covered stumps, and schools of Bastard Trumpeter swimming around. The heavens opened while i was under the water and seeing the heavy rain against the surface of the water was an interesting perspective. you could see the nutrients from the land slowly settling in from the surface and a thermocline starting to form. I headed out from the pier in search of a wreck that apparently was out in the harbour. I found some old bits and pieces, but i suspect the main hull formation of the wreck is out there somewhere. All in all an interesting dive.

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

Photos:

Oct

29

Date: 29th October 2016

Conditions: Horrible

Visibilty: 4m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 30minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: Very ordinary conditions at St Leonards today..hardly worth getting wet.

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

Photos:

Oct

13

Date: 14th October 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 8m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: It was good to see that Blairgowrie Pier seems to be on the improve after the recent extension works.Lots of nudibranchs around today.

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

Photos:

Jul

9

Date: 9th July 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 4m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 2m

Details: I decided to jump in at Queenscliff Marina to see if i could shoot some Smooth Rays that usually hang out there. Unfortunately i didnt set up the camera properly and left the auto focus
switch off. I did have one big ray encounter, but it was generally pretty quiet.

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

Photos: NO PHOTOS

Jun

19

Date: 19th June 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 90minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: The Spider Crab migration was on again for another year, and this time the aggregation was forming at Blairgowrie Pier to moult in the safety of numbers. A film crew was there setting up a dolly and videography equipment, plus a couple of charters dropped in while i was there. It certainly is getting more popular, despite happening mid-winter. I didnt see the numbers id seen previous years, but towards the end of the dive a large gathering started in the shallows besides the pier. Earlier in the dive i went out to the deep water in the channel and their were scattered numbers out there as well.

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

Photos:

Apr

8

Date: 8th April 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: A fairly quiet night dive, with the usual squid species around – dumpling, calamari etc. The biggest surprise was the large number of elysia nudibranch around. An invasion was on and there were Elysias everywhere munching on the weed. Some even floating around in the water column.

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

Photos:

Feb

21

Date: 21st February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 5m

Details: After running out of memory at the seals, i had to go through my shots and make some space so i could head to Blairgowrie as planned. I realised one of my strobes was out of batteries and the second was getting close, so a big dive plan fail for me today. I went out to Blairgowrie regardless and checked out the new marina section which was fairly barren. It was only when i got to the end of the old marina section that i started to see more interesting stuff. My strobe was out of batteries after a few shots anyway, so it was a relaxed dive just exploring.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

20

Date: 20th February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 5m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: This was meant to be a test drive of the inflatable boat after doing some repairs on it, but after launching i quickly realised it hadn’t been started for months, and wasn’t going to start on me today. So instead of putting the boat back on the trailer and aborting the dive, i towed he boat out into deeper water, anchored up, chucked the dive gear on and just pottered around the shallow reef near the boat ramp. It wasn’t very inspiring, but always good to get wet.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

12

Date: 12th February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: One of the first things i observed when swimming over to the Pier was a large seastar called Luidia Australie. I’d never seen this before and it was a formidable looking beast with spines down its arms, and moving fairly fast (for a starfish). I pointed it out to Chris and Kerry, but got the expected “WTF are we looking at here, a boring old starfish???”. Until the end of the dive, when i found a Goblinfish, this was actually my highlight. But the Goblin fish took the cake..what a weird fish! With its extended ‘neck’ and huge cape like wing fins, it had the most bizaare vibe to it. It flops around with its fins, neither walking nor swimming. Apart from the Goblin Fish there were a few Little Gunards around, some nudibranchs and lots of anemones open in the dark waters. A decent dive, but without the goblin fish it would have been fairly uneventful, considering the target species was the Prickly Anglerfish. Next time prickly angler…next time.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

12

Date: 12th February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: 7m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 4m

Details: We headed over in the boat to Portsea Pier for a night dive to try to find a Prickly Anglerfish. But first we did a dive on dusk. I’d just got a new housing delivered for my 7D, so i was keen to get accustomed to the new controls. There was a bit of surge around and Some small Weedy Seadragons we’re testing their skills trying to negotiate it. A large Smooth Ray was circling the pier looking for prey. Generally, not a very photogenic dive, but i was really looking forward to night settling in and seeing what came out.

Camera Details: Canon 10-17mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

9

Date: 9th February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 2m

Details: A very low tide tonight and Clifton Springs was a foolish choice for this reason, so this was more a snorkel than a dive. Despite the depth there was plenty going on within the hincksia-bloom covered seagrass. Dumpling squids sat atop the seagrass fronds, and journey’d midwater admist the misid shrimp and polyceate worms in the water column. A flatworm fluttered away midwater, and then landed on a pylon. Near one of the fallen pylons a Cardinal fish carried eggs in its mouth, and a Dendrodoris Nigra Nudibranch rested near its own egg spiral. A pipefish was loving all the prey that my light was attracting and used it to pick off critters. I had some battery issue with my light, so unfortunately i had to use my strobe light for focusing (which never works out well) so when i spotted two Short-headed seahorses together on a pylon, i was disappointed not to be able to light them properly. I decided to cut the dive short and on the way in there were a couple of cobblers and giant globefish in the shallows. It was a lovely night to take in the channel lights and the starry skies over port phillip bay.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

5

Date: 5th February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 110minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: Strong easterly winds nearly saw us call off the dive at Steeles Rocks, due to sounds of swell pushing up on the beach. So instead we headed to Portarlington Pier which was marginally more protected by the break wall. Despite being pretty mucky it was a great dive. Squid straight off in the shallows, and lots of flatworms swimming midwater plus a few Hoplodoris nodulosa Nudibranchs on the ground. Some Gurnard and stinkfish were skulking around the muck and a baby Goatfish found a small mussel shell to call home for the night. The biggest highlights came on the way back in, with a cute Short-headed Seahorse clinging onto some kelp and feeding on the small shrimp and crustaceans that pasted by the in the gentle rocking water. Just when i thought i was done for the night and Blue-ringed Octopus hunted near the new pier pylons. A pipefish was a lucky escape from its grasp.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Feb

2

Date: 2nd February 2016

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 3m

Details: Another night dive at Steeles Rocks turned up more great night critters. A couple of nudibranch (including a Cerberilla species i’m not sure i’ve photographed before), plus the local octopus species, Sand Octopus and White-spot Octopus. It was like a 800th dive wish came true when i spotted a pair of Dumpling squid mating…something i hoped before entering the water. Squid sex on the brain! On the way back in, a small ghost shrimp or tiny lobster species darted past frantically. This was obviously a species that spends its time under rocks, even at night as it didn’t feel comfortable out in the open, so i was happy to get a quick record shot of it.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm, 1 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos: