Dive Number: 19 20/03/2010 10.59 The Narrows
Wind: 10-15 knot westerllies
Tide: 1.5 hour after 0.53 low tide at the heads
Conditions: BOM said it was meant to be 10-15 knot westerlies, but i think it was swinging around to the south more than expected. Not much surface chop, but small shore breaks, forming to large swell and shore breaks at the end of the dive. This site had a lot of current and surge moving through it, and i should have dived it on ebb.
Bottom Type: Rocky reef with overhangs.
Water Temp: 20c
Bottom Time: 77 minutes
Max Depth: 5.9m
Air usage: 125bar/1800psi
SAC: 13.2 litres/min
Details: Rocky reef typical of Cottage by the Sea (which everyone raves about), runs from Shortland Bluff at Queenscliffe, to the point at Point Lonsdale. I’d been to Cottage and The Springs, but i was interested to find out what the reef was like in between these two places. I stopped at a carpark on the road to Queenscliffe, geared up and headed up the track and to the right (south) down along the ocean boardwalk. There was a small wooden staircase leading down to the beach where i headed straight out. I covered about a 500m area southwards down to the second wooden staircase. I found some nice overhangs and ledges that seemed more intact that cottage, which has deep ledges and overhangs. The reef here had more columns of rocks holding up the ledges, forming a lot more structure for smaller fish to use, and deep crevices back into the rock structure for the larger fish.
Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, single SS200 strobe.
Dive Report: The surge was nearly unbearable here, but i eventually came across a nice little overhang section that was sheltered form the surge. A couple of these white ascidian/seq squirt things lined the top edge of the wall.
I small smooth ray hung out here also sheltering from the surge. A couple of big Abs looked like they’d had a fairly undisturbed life on a peice of timber embedded in the sand.
There was also a fairly old bottle in the same area, but it had no markings and not much character in design, so i left it where it was. The rim was unevenly formed, so by that i gathered it was fairly old.
Around the back of this legde was another wall of the same bommie, which much more interesting structure. It had pillars that smaller fish made home, and protected larger fish that stayed deeper under the ledge (such as scalyfin, wrasse and leatherjacket). A Blue Devil also made an appearance here, also staying just aout of reach to make a good photo with my fisheye lens.
I continued south along the reef and found a couple more overhangs and some strange loose boulders away from any descent structure they could have fallen off. There were also some nice seagrass beds, where a descent school of old wives hovered above.
On my way in, the swell was really starting to form and the shore breaks were getting fierce, needing a quick exit. I’ll do this dive again on ebb and it should be more productive.