Jul 292014

Kilsby's Sinkhole from a distance

About the site

Kilsby’s Sinkhole is a great big body of crystal clear water in Mt Gambier. Andreas and I dived there a few weeks back after a very pleasant couple of dives in Piccaninnie Ponds.

About the dive

The main aim for the dive was to get some more rebreather practise in. When I’m not spending my time caving through piles and piles of mud I’m busy clocking up hours on my rEvo. I’m planning to do my MOD2 & MOD3 courses at the end of the year, and that means 50 hours required as a minimum. More than hours, I’m keen to get multiple dives in different conditions to cement my skills. Sinkholes mean no boats and give lots of time before the dive to refine gear and make sure everything is working well.

Under the pontoon in Kilsby's

About the photo

And since we’re going to be drifting around practising maintaining our ppO2 and buoyancy, why not get some photos in at the same time? I’ve done more than a few photo dives in Kilsby’s. This dive was a search for something a bit different. After gearing up in semi-torrential rain (I love Mt Gambier) I knew there was going to be limited light available for underwater photography. I gave Andreas one strobe to hold and taped another to his unit. The handheld strobe had Hedwig’s new version of the triggerfish on it with much greater sensitivity over long distances.

You can see it worked while the old version didn’t at this extreme distance from the on camera flash. In the second photo where I’m closer to the strobes both of them have triggered. In both case this was in spite of the ambient light and complete lack of walls to bounce the on-camera flash around. The triggerfish are great little sensors and they really showed what they can do here.

I like the way the off camera strobe has lit up the rockpile behind to highlight the diver. With diver below and rainy surface above, this shot reminds me a little of that shot in the Shaft early last year. I like the darkness of it and the sense of space. Unfortunately the light at the top also showed up the scratches in the edge of my dome port that I’ve subsequently had to edit out. Enough ignoring the problem – I think it’s time for a new dome port.

Jul 222014
Downstream Imperial in Jenolan Caves

About the site Today’s photos are from the Downstream Imperial section of Jenolan. Jenolan Caves up in NSW see nearly a quarter of a million visitors each year. The show caves and pathway system are extensive and tours run frequently. From a diving perspective, this means timing our entrance so as not to interfere. For Downstream Imperial we moved off the beaten track and down to the water through an area known as the Woolshed. About the dive Unlike our through trip on Saturday, this Sunday dive doesn’t allow us out the other end. And instead of swimming upstream against the flow, we were swimming downstream. There are two main [read more...]

Jul 152014
Swimthroughs in Bicheno

About the site I was down in Bicheno for some reef diving at the start of June as part of the Combined Clubs Weekend. I posted before about the gorgeous orange and yellow sponges and prolific seawhips on the granite boulders down there. The water was blue for the six dives I did, but I gathered from the locals that recent storms had stirred things up. Certainly the weather wasn’t great while we were there and these photos were taken in fairly surgey conditions. This was our last dive of the trip and we were up shallower than the morning dive. Add that to these very cool boulders leaning in [read more...]

Jul 072014
Diving Jenolan Caves

About the site Jenolan Caves are a huge tourist attraction up in the Blue Mountains of NSW. The extensive show cave system sees thousands of visitors every year. The local caving groups are still in exploration mode in the further reaches of the cave, adding to the map each year. It’s been three years since I last dived Jenolan Caves. That trip was memorable for the first dive on Saturday morning being the only one we did – 10 minutes after getting into clear water, a tidal wave of mud turned up. Flooding rain meant diving was off for the rest of the weekend and with many of the paths [read more...]

Jul 012014
Mud, mud, mud in DD4 cave

About the cave DD4 is a streamway cave in western Victoria, close to the South Australian border. Unlike the crystal clear sinkholes of Mt Gambier DD4 is a small stream winding its way through limestone…and lots and lots of mud. There is a lot of walking passage through the cave, as well as a lot of areas where rockfall leaves you climbing over or under. And then there’s the mud. Lots of it. About the trip We visited DD4 for a reason – to follow up on sump exploration there from several years ago. Agnes Milowka put nearly 70m of line into the terminal sump of the cave and reported [read more...]

Jun 242014
Exploration in Elk River

I’ve been a little busy recently, as you might have gathered from the sporadic updates to the site. I’ve been bouncing from Victoria to Tasmania to South Australia and back again caving and diving. So instead of posting things in the order in which they happened, I’m going to start with the most recent and fill in the gaps over the next few weeks. This photo above is my favourite from this weekend just gone – the moment of triumphant return with empty reel in hand. The photo was taken (and the line was laid) in Elk River cave in eastern Victoria. As per previous posts here, here and here, [read more...]