Dec 012015

Wreck of the Milora

About the wreck

The Milora was a steam powered coal cargo transport, built in 1921 in Melbourne and initially named the Emita. She had a cargo of 2,800 tonnes of coal on board when she ran aground in the Port Phillip Heads in September 1934. After removing 1,800 tonnes of coal she was refloated a week later with most of her hold flooded, and taken to Williamstown between two tugs. By 1935 she was found to be uneconomical to repair, stripped of her valuable parts and taken out and scuttled.

The stern of the Milora

The Milora now sits in about 40m of water. Originally 100m long, she is one of the larger wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard and a great dive.

About the dive

We’d done a morning dive on the Wareatea and were looking for a slightly shallower second splash. The vis on the Wareatea had been spectacular and the sponges on the stern of the wreck were stunning. The Milora had similar vis but the colour of the water seemed just slightly more grey than blue. Combine that with an absence of orange and yellow sponge coatings and the photos from this dive have a very different feeling.

About the photo

After having some difficulties with the off camera strobes on the morning dive I rearranged things slightly for this one. Unfortunately this made things worse instead of better and there was no off camera light to be had. Luckily the sun was still out and we were slightly shallower to allow for some ambient light. The stern here is a large tangled mess of metal and I moved around trying to find recognisable shapes.

I like the shots here that shot the rust breaking through the sealife, and the contrast between the orange and the blue water. I felt throughout the dive that I wasn’t capturing quite the right angle, so this wreck might benefit from a couple more dives to find the shot that’s hiding in there.

Nov 242015
Kelp Forests in Peru

About the location Lima is closer to the equator than I imagined, but compensates with ocean temperatures that are quite similar to Melbourne. The cool Humboldt current passes up the coast on its way to the Galapagos Islands. Combined with a capital city of nearly 9 million inhabitants, this makes for less than stellar vis on the coast. Local diving includes trips out to swim and snorkel with the huge sea lion colony, and rumours of great kelp forests. About the dive Given I was in town for three weeks I was pretty determined to get wet at some point. Some friends at work were kind enough to point me in the directions of Naylamps School of Diving who were [read more…]

Oct 202015
Calendars 2016

It’s that time of year again, with Christmas creeping up on us and the pages of last year’s calendar starting to run out. Calendars f0r 2016 are now on sale. As with previous years I am doing a cave calendar and an ocean calendar. The caves version includes some stunning dry cave shots as well as the underwater stuff. And my ocean diving in the last 12 months reflects more on colourful temperate sponges and some rusty wrecks than the tropical critters of the previous version (though I did manage to squeeze one turtle in there). The full set of photos in each calendar is below. The photo pages are A4 (approx 12″ x 8″) with the dates grid below. [read more…]

Oct 132015
Sponges on Lonsdale Wall

About the site I love Lonsdale Wall. It’s my favourite dive site in Melbourne – better than the scuttled wrecks, better than the really-hard-to-get-on reefs. Even in terrible conditions it’s usually not bad and on a good day it’s stunning. With good vis you can hang over the edge of the wall and look down into deep blue water below. If there’s a little bit of tide still running you can drift slowly along beside the yellow zooanthids and orange sponges, watching fish follow you curiously. In short, it’s nice. About the dive Sunday’s dive was the afternoon slack at the end of the flood tide. With good vis outside that morning I was looking forward to blue water and [read more…]

Oct 042015
Cave Diving Kupang, Timor

Timor! I have just finished my third annual trip to the karst region of West Timor. In 2013 following some of Stefan Eberhard’s research, Stefan and I went for a quick reconnaissance trip. We spent a lot of time driving around and looking at dry holes in the tropical sun before finding our way into a major underwater system. On the last day we laid half a kilometre of line into massive blue tunnel with crystal clear water beckoning us on. It was enough of a high that organisation for the next trip began pretty quickly. In mid 2014 myself and five others headed back to the same area for further investigations. The first dive to continue the master tunnel [read more…]

Sep 222015
Wreck diving the Wareatea

About the wreck Unlike other wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard, the Wareatea was a passenger and cargo transport, built in 1883. She ran between Melbourne and the north coast of Tasmania between Federation in 1901 and the end of WWII in 1945, when she was scuttled. The wreck has great life on it with nice sponge growth and schools of fish around. While the bow is somewhat twisted and flat to the seabed the stern stands up and has the prop and rudder still in position. About the dive After a few weeks of diving in some pretty average vis, I was wondering if wreck diving was all it’s cracked up to me. Upon jumping into deep blue ocean I decided [read more…]