Jun 302015

Bobtail squid at Rye Pier

About the site

Rye Pier is a long, shallow shore dive. The pier is probably most noted for the annual invasion of the spider crabs which I photographed in 2012. They’re in the area at the moment and have been spotted at Blairgowrie Pier recently. They’re now on the move and will likely be seen at Rye over the coming days. While we were hoping to see the start of the crab invasion on Sunday, it was a fairly slim possibility. It was nice to see the pier life before it gets overrun by crustaceans. The rest of the year, Rye is known for orange sponges and lots of pot bellied sea horse.

Bobtail squid buried

About the dive

We intended a Sunday afternoon splash as a shakedown dive for some upcoming cave diving. Unfortunately Dave and Sandy discovered some vital bits were missing as we geared up and our water entry was slightly delayed while they were retrieved. We ended up staggering down the beach in far too much gear just as the sun went down. There was a little bit of chop on the surface but the vis was excellent underwater. A bit of a surprise given the number of divers removing wetsuits in the carpark at the end of what must have been a busy weekend at the pier.

There’s been a fair bit of caving in my life recently. As a result it’s been a long time since I’ve had the macro lens on the camera – this might even have been the first macro dive for the year. Certainly the last macro photos I posted here were taken last November. My critter spotting skills were definitely rusty as it took me nearly the whole dive to find my first pot-bellied seahorse. I’m sure I swam past a couple of dozen laughing at me down their long noses from camouflaged positions. I did spot a small eel, a small school of squid, endless hermit crabs and chase a few fish down for their portrait.

About the shot

The water was registering as 12 degrees on my Petrel so after a lap to the end and back I was looking forward to getting out. As we got back into shallow sandy territory I noticed this little jewel sitting on the bottom. I manoeuvred around to get a shot from the side as he tried to dig himself in. Luckily for me though unfortunately for him, he’d picked a bit of sand that he couldn’t get into. Just after I took the first shot here he relocated to a softer spot and rapidly made progress down into safety.

One of these little guys was one of my favourite photographs from my Dumaguete, Philippines trip. That was partly because I spotted him all on my own and partly because I think the shiny colour combinations on these squid are amazing. Seeing one in home waters was very cool.

Jun 162015
Draughtboard Shark at Phillip Island

I’m renovating my kitchen at the moment. Keen observation of other divers’ experiences of renovation tells me that renovating means not getting underwater for months at a time. I’m determined not to let my project about the house stop me from having fun. So after a productive day of pulling up tiles and with a forecast for Bass Strait of “light and variable winds”, Dad and I headed out of Phillip Island on Sunday. The light winds were a blessing and there was no surface chop. Unfortunately this also meant an absence of the northerly breezes which normally flatten out the swell. Despite a run of calm days a persistent one to two metre swell was showing no signs of [read more…]

Jun 092015
Itchy turtles at Julian Rocks

While I did consider a return to the annual Combined Clubs Weekend in Bicheno this June, after the temperature started to drop at home a flight north to Brisbane looked a lot more tempting. In the end we were somewhat foiled by the weather anyway with dives on the wreck of the Brisbane cancelled for the weekend for high winds. On Sunday we drove down to Byron Bay for a splash at Julian Rocks instead. The Rocks are a marine reserve a very short distance off the beach in Byron Bay. After a beach launch we jumped on the Sundive boat for a 5 minute run out. Two minutes later I was underwater. Given the weather situation I left my [read more…]

Jun 032015
Currents on the wreck of the Cambridge

  About the wreck The SS Cambridge went down in 1940 to a German mine laid by the Passat. She was the first Allied vessel to be lost in Australian waters during WWII. Of the 58 crew on board when the mine exploded, 57 survived and were picked up and taken ashore at Port Welshpool. The wreck sits upright in 67m on a sandy bottom. After Steve’s tales of limitless vis and huge props from a dive back in November, I was looking forward to an awesome dive on her as the highlight of a weekend diving around Wilson’s Prom. About the dive Our original intentions were to hit the wreck at about 9am for the morning slack water. The [read more…]

May 262015
Sea lions at Wilson's Prom

About the site The Moncoeur Islands are a pair of small outcroppings of rock south of Wilson’s Promontory. Technically part of Tasmania, the granite slopes are inhabited by a large sealion population and flocks of sea birds. Access is tricky – the seas here are very exposed and good weather is rare. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend of relatively flat seas on the Ocean Odyssey, a very awesome boat. After launching from Port Welshpool and slowly chugging down the east coast of the Prom we did some dives in rough water on Saturday. By Sunday the waves had dropped a bit further and we kept heading south. About the dive Steve and I had done a deep-ish dive on [read more…]

May 192015
Four years on the web

While I was pootling around underground in Mexico, this website passed its fourth anniversary. Four years since I spent a weekend setting up web hosting and nervously publishing my first photo and article. I didn’t tell anyone what I’d done for fear of early criticism sinking the whole grand idea. As I said two years ago I was afraid of having one of those two-post blogs, where the second post was about not having much to say “but be sure to check back soon!”. To avoid this I wrote my first dozen articles well before I posted the first one. For most of 2011 I had a 10 article buffer that slowly became a 6 article buffer followed shortly after [read more…]