Jan 302012
Backlighting in McCavity Cave

About the site McCavity Cave is used by local cave divers to refer to the underwater portion of Limekiln Cave, part of the Wellington Caves near Wellington, NSW. Approximately a 5 hour drive from Sydney, Wayne and I flew up from Melbourne one Friday night to check out the cave diving. McCavity is notable for a couple of reasons, the first being the underwater stalactites and stalagmites. The second reason is the unusual entrance. After climbing down through the dry cave to a chamber known as Central Station where gear is assembled and drysuits are donned, divers duck and crawl through the last section down to a small hole. Recent rains had brought the water level up to the top [read more…]

Jan 232012
Long exposure in the Shaft III

About the site The Shaft is a site that I’ve talked about twice before. From a manhole-sized hole in the middle of a paddock divers are lowered to the water’s surface 8m below. After gearing up in the water you drop into the depths below – the central rockpile and debris cone starts at 35m, and the cave gets down to over 100m on one side. The walls are predominantly black and the small entrance means there’s very little natural light in the cave. Dive lights struggle across the huge distances. In summer the angle of the sun allows rays of sunlight to pierce the darkness. The ambient light coming straight down the hole is enough for the human eye [read more…]

Jan 162012
Sunlight through Kilsby's Sinkhole

About the site Kilsby’s Sinkhole is perhaps the single best reason to do your Deep Cavern course with the Cave Diver’s Association of Australia. With crystal clear water filling the huge open amphitheatre, other divers appear to be swimming through space. Moving back under the roof at the deep end allows you to look out into the sunlit daylight zone. Alternatively, you can swim on down between the white limestone with trimix dives allowed to 60m. It’s been my favourite dive in Mt Gambier for years, although closely followed by Piccaninnie Ponds and Tank Cave. I took some photos in here back in winter which were nice but not stunning. They were hampered by the high sides of the sinkhole blocking [read more…]

Jan 092012
Colours of a temperate reef on Nepean Wall

About the site I’ve talked about the wall between the Heads of Port Phillip Bay before. A stunning dive at slackwater a short boat ride from Queenscliff on the west or Portsea or Sorrento on the east, several kilometres of colourful reef makes for hundreds of different dive sites. Boat passage through the Heads and out into the open ocean can be difficult when the weather is bad, restricting the access to the wrecks outside. However, some bits of the wall are always accessible at the right time of day although visibility can be very variable. Slack water dives when the tide has been ebbing out of the Bay and the ocean is about to flood in through the Heads [read more…]

Jan 022012
Cave diving training in Goulden's Sinkhole

About the site Gouldens is the cave diving training hole in Mt Gambier. Characteristically green and murky, all three levels of CDAA cave diving training start with dives here. Simulated equipment failures and appropriate emergency procedures are demonstrated and practised. By the end of a training course, the black organic silt across the bottom of the hole is usually evenly distributed throughout the water, with vis reduced to a few feet. As a result, very few divers get back in here for what’s possibly a nice dive. I say possibly because I’m one of them, and I haven’t dived in Gouldens without an instructor in the water, either for my training or when assisting with someone else’s. About the dive [read more…]