Oct 312011
Split shots in Engelbrecht's Cave

About the cave Unlike other caves in the area, Engelbrechts Cave is located in the middle of Mt Gambier and the system runs under several streets and houses. There are two different water filled entrances, known as Engelbrechts East and Engelbrechts West. As you travel closer towards Mt Gambier, the water level is further below the ground. This means that while caves like Pines and Tank Cave only require a few steps down a 5m drop to access the water, Engelbrechts has significantly more stairs. When combined with 50kg of dive gear, the stairs present a bit of a challenge and these caves don’t get dived as often as they otherwise might. Visitors are also able to go on tours [read more…]

Oct 242011
Outcroppings on Lonsdale Wall

About the site Lonsdale and Nepean Walls form two sides of the shipping channel through the Heads of Port Phillip Bay. With such a narrow opening to the large area of the Bay, the channel is also known as the Rip for the speed and volume of water that flows through it when the tide is running. A couple of times a day, the tide levels inside and outside the Bay are balanced, and the current stops for around 45 minutes…perfect for a dive. Slack water timings are based on mathematical calculations by the Bureau of Meteorology and nature doesn’t always co-operate. Inevitably, if you’re running late at the boat ramp, slack water will be running early. It’s also important [read more…]

Oct 172011
Reflections of Underwater Photographers in Tank Cave

About my buddy As I mentioned last week, following the CDAA AGM and symposium I was lucky enough to spend a week over in Mt Gambier diving in Tank Cave and Piccaninnie Ponds with our international speakers. The first of these was Brian Kakuk who runs Bahamas Underground, a cave diving oriented training and adventure facility in Abaco, the Bahamas. The Bahamian caves are highly decorated with some extreme stalactites and other formations, so it was no surprise to discover that Brian’s buoyancy and awareness of the cave were better than excellent. If you’re looking for some tales of adventure and cave discovery, Brian writes these up in the “Exploration” section of the Bahamas Cave Research site. After a break [read more…]

Oct 102011
Action shots in Tank Cave

About the cave I’ve talked about Tank Cave before…over 8km of interconnecting, labyrinthian tunnel in my somewhat local cave diving region of Mt Gambier. Tank Cave is a single level system, with tunnel depths varying from about 6m down to just over 20m at the far end of the cave. There’s great variation in the cave characteristics, from pure white breakdown rooms with flat ceilings, big dark chambers with air pockets, tight silty tunnels with scalloped walls and long, low flatteners. The shallow depths and clear water are great for photography, with well-marked permanent lines helping you to resume navigation after peering through the viewfinder for a while. About the dive Following the CDAA AGM, I was lucky enough to spend a [read more…]

Oct 032011
Reflections in Ewen's Ponds

About the site Ewen’s Ponds is part of the 8 Mile Creek in the Mt Gambier region, near the coast and the Victorian border. It consists of three relatively circular ponds, with the creek flowing between them through channels. Ewen’s doesn’t contain any kind of overhead environment or cave, and as such it can be dived without a cave diving certification. The centre of the Ponds feature freshwater springs, with water bubbling up through the sand. The middle of the deepest pond gets to about 9m, and the brown algal growth across the bottom and the rocks creates the impression of a moonscape. Around the edge of each Pond there’s a selection of greenery, and the flowing channels are full [read more…]