Mar 262012
Return to the Roe Plains

At the end of this week I’m heading out west, driving from Melbourne to the desert plains over the West Australian border. I was last out that way at the end of 2010, when I had the privilege of diving both the Roe Plains caves of Olwolgin and Burnabbie, as well as assisting with some research in Warbla Cave and with time for a quick dip in Tommy Grahams. This time I have a slightly shorter trip planned, and the first half is focussed exclusively on the latest discovery in the Roe Plains. In October last year, Paul Hosie from CEGWA did the first dive in a small, unpromising puddle. Two dives and two reels of line later the cave [read more…]

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Mar 192012
Harvester in One Tree Sinkhole

About the site One Tree Sinkhole is located to the south east of Mt Gambier, near Little Blue and other sinkholes in the area. Unlike the crystal clear visibility of Kilsby’s Sinkhole, it can be quite murky. The shallow layers of water are often warmer and have a greenish tinge from the algal growth. After breaking through into the deeper, colder and hopefully clearer water, sunlight only filters down very dimly. One Tree has a classic sinkhole formation with the shallowest area being the middle of the hole, dropping steeply away to deeper areas around the edge. The natural rockpile in the middle has been augmented by a variety of farm implements and other items disposed of over the years. [read more…]

Mar 122012
Bottles on the wreck of the Loch Ard

About the site The Loch Ard is one of the more famous wrecks in Victoria’s history. One of the last passenger sailing ships to travel from the UK to Australia as steamships began to take over; she made the journey in 13 weeks in 1878. Aboard the 3 masted square rigged ship were 36 crew and 18 passengers. After leaving England in March, the Loch Ard was nearing her destination in Melbourne when disaster struck in the early hours of June 1st. Captain Gibbs was expecting to sight land when the ship encountered heavy fog. Unable to locate the Cape Otway lighthouse, he instead spotted cliffs looming out of the darkness. Despite attempts to turn the ship using sails and [read more…]

Mar 052012
Friendly fish at the Grotto

About the site Melbourne sits at the northern end of Port Phillip Bay, and the heads open out into Bass Strait at the southern end. A comparatively large volume of water flows through a small heads entrance, leading to strong tidal currents each day. This water movements carries nutrients through the entrance, and when the water flow stops as the tide changes direction, great diving become accessible. Diving between the heads of the Bay is of necessity a well-timed activity, and one that’s well worth it. In some places the wall of the channel steps down from 12m reef flats at the top to over 60m deep in 5m blocks. The vertical walls are coated with soft corals and sponges [read more…]