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…]