Dec 262011
Clownfish at Layang Layang

About the island Layang Layang is a small coral atoll located in the South China Sea, about 300km north west of Borneo. Officially part of Malaysia, the island houses a Malayasian Navy Base and the Layang Layang Island Resort. Available activities include diving on the coral wall that drops 2000m into the depths, and jogging up and down the airstrip (safe, as the plane only lands three mornings a week). Being so small, Layang Layang is a place you go for diving, eating and sleeping, and this is facilitated by the schedule. After a wake up call and first breakfast, the first dive is followed by second breakfast, the second dive, lunch, the third dive and then afternoon tea. A [read more…]

Dec 192011
Long exposure in the Shaft II

About the site The Shaft is a massive sinkhole in the Limestone Coast, near Mt Gambier. A solution tube in the middle of a sheep paddock has created a small entrance to a spectacular underground cavern. From 1m in diameter at ground level, to 20m in diameter at the water’s surface a short ladder climb below, the cave expands to over 100m across at the point where this photo was taken, 38m deep. The sinkhole turns into two large tunnels on each side of the central rockpile, with the longer one descending to over 100m in depth. Despite the crystal clear water, the walls are predominantly black and the sheer size of the area means dive torches don’t reach very [read more…]

Dec 122011
High flow in Jenolan Caves

About the caves Jenolan Caves are a major tourist attraction located about 2 hours drive west of Sydney, in the Blue Mountains. The extensive and highly decorated show caves attract 200,000 visitors a year, and have great infrastructure with lighting, stairs and handrails throughout. There are a couple of options for getting off the beaten track however, with the first being the underwater route between spectacular show caverns. The other is new areas of dry cave that are actively explored by local caving groups. One of these, SUSS (Sydney University Speleological Society) was kind enough to invite me, along with Harry, Ken and Wayne, to do some cave diving over a weekend. Unfortunately, it rained solidly for the week before [read more…]

Dec 052011
Bridge on the ex-HMAS Canberra

About the wreck The ex-HMAS Canberra was a frigate in the Australian Navy until she was scuttled in October 2009 after a long negotiation and preparation by various groups. The ship was specifically prepared for divers, with entanglement hazards such as wiring and environmental hazards such as the hundreds of tonnes of lead used as ballast removed. The lead placed in the bottom of the hull to keep large ships upright was replaced with concrete to serve the same purpose once the ship hit the seafloor, and large holes were cut in each room to allow divers to swim through while still being able to see daylight. While entering an underwater shipwreck is a risky business, the preparation of the [read more…]

Nov 282011
Mapping in action in Tank Cave

About the site I’ve talked about different dives in Tank Cave on multiple occasions. As well as being the longest cave available in my home region of Mt Gambier, it’s also very well suited to photography. With crystal clear water, shallow depths, tunnels that change from white walled, to black, to orange with sunken floors, air pockets, small flatteners and large chambers, Tank provides a great place to experiment with cave diving photography. About the dive The intention for this particular dive was to complete a more accurate wall profile of a room that’s approximately an 800m swim from the cave entrance. With JDZ carrying measuring tapes and survey slates and myself with camera and additional strobes we headed off [read more…]

Nov 212011
Australian Fur Seals on the safety stop

About the site Over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to have seals drop in for a visit towards the end of my dives. Despite their considerable bulk and slow speed on land, these guys are easily able to turn a lap around a diver faster than you can turn to follow them. Luckily, curiousity will often bring them in for a closer look, craning their neck from side to side as they inspect the divers in their domain. About the dive This particular photo was taken at the end of a dive in the Heads of Port Phillip Bay. Slack water had just finished and I was gently drifting out to sea with the ebbing tide as [read more…]