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.
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