Dive Number: 171 17/07/11 13.51, Barwon Heads Bluff
Wind: 15knot north/north-easterlies
Tide: 1.62 high tide at the Heads
Conditions: There were smell sets of swell rolling in intermittently, but only breaking on the shore. Generally pretty flat. Visibility was really bad with lot sof weed stirred up in the water.
Visibilty: 2-4m with 6m later in the dive.
Water Temp: 12c
Bottom Time: 79minutes
Max Depth: 5.6m
Air usage: 140bar/2000psi
SAC: ???? litres/min
Details: I’m going to find it hard to put into words how bizaar this dive was. But i’ll give it a go. I started heading out through the shore breakers and despite the 2metres vis, decided to head out into deeper water to see if things would improve. I dropped down into about 4-5m and the water column was absolutley filled with free floating weed (presumably a remanant of the big seas last weekend.) The weed was moving energetically with the surge and the still attached brown algea and bull kelp swayed and thrashed against the reef. I found this all a bit much, not only was the vis and surge bad, but having “objects” in the water coming towards and away from me, really started getting my imagination working overtime. After 10minutes i decided the conditions were just too disorienting and dangerous to continue, so i started heading in. On the way, i checked out lots of the little overhangs and gullies through the reef, which provided shelter from the surge. Wegded in a rock crevice, i found a largish bone, i have no idea what it was from… it seemed terrestrial rather than from a marine animal. Anyway, my overly stimulated imagination made me start thinking that perhaps i was in somethings lair (perhaps the mythical barwon bluff monster the aboriginals called ‘Colite’…oh hang on..i just made that up.) Anyway, i got out of there pretty quickly. I then came across some red and blue material held under a legde by sand build up. It gave the impression of one of those old wetsuits from the 60’s-70’s, and since parts of it were filled with sand (which had given it form), again my over active imagination started thinking “diver corpse trapped under a rock”. I investigated further and started to try to uncover more of it, eventually realising that it was fabric rather than neoprene. My thoughts then started pondering the idea that this red and blue fabric might be remanants of the union jack of a flag.(damn..reading too much wreck iterature this week!). Anyway, i eventually discovered they were just plain old tracky dacks which i reassessed to be from the 80’s. I think this set my mind at ease a bit, and changed my focus to the certainty and solidity of rock, rather than becoming entranced by the movement of the weed. As i got shallower, the reef structures started getting more and more interesting, with amazing pinnacles, caves, overhangs, ‘windows’ and gullies. This is where all the fishlife were hanging out too, protected from the surge and providing better vis by reducing the movement of weed into the gullies. Some big sweep came to check me out, and large schools of juvenile zebrafish darted about. Blue-throated wrasse, magpie perch and a couple of species of leatherjacket all made an appearance. The amazing thing about this area was the swell was breaking directly over my head, but because of the pillars and pinnacles of reef surrounding me, i sat (relatively) safely in about 3-4 metres of water. It was quite incredible to look up and see waves breaking over you…very surreal. I was so fasicnated by this area, that my dive turned from a 10minute one to 80minutes, and i only really got out because i was shivering uncontrollably (plus i’d ran out of memory in my camera.) I got out near the cliff faces and felt like i’d stepped out into another world, or perhaps another time. There were 4 jetski’ers close to shore, which added to the strangeness of the situation given that these seas are usually reserved for hardcore surfers only. All up a really interesting dive, despite the bad photography conditions.
Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm , single SS200 strobes.