Dec 242012

About the site

I talked about my quick trip out to Weebubbie Cave a couple of weeks ago. As well as having a stunning tunnel, it has the largest “cavern zone” of the regularly dived Nullarbor caves and was selected to allow our newly rated Deep Cavern diver room to move. To reach the underwater cave divers swim out from shore for a couple of hundred metres down a wide tunnel. In a circular, domed room at the end we descended down the rocky floor and into the underwater continuation. You can check out the photos from this massive space here.

With most divers focussed on reaching the back of the cave, I suspect we’re all swimming on the surface to conserve our air supplies through the lake. As I discovered on this trip, I could happily spend nearly two hours pootling around the lake zone and get some excellent photos. The lake itself is far enough into the cave to be in the dark zone, and is not affected by wind or current. This means the surface can be completely still and the darkness above helps with perfect reflections.

Surfacing in Weebubbie

About the dive

Both of these photos were taken as we returned from dives down the railway tunnel – you can see the deco bottles hanging in the shot. Despite my best efforts in the huge tunnel I didn’t take enough pictures to flatten the strobe batteries and I was glad to have them going off as we gently swam home under the shimmering surface.

About the photo

The boulders that cover the floor come up to a point in the middle of the tunnel, with deeper patches on each side. In the top photo here you can see the left hand wall curving into the distance and the central spine of boulders running down the tunnel. More importantly, the reflection shows the same thing, giving some symmetry to the shot. Stefan’s bubbles have just hit the surface and the ring of ripples is about to spread out across the reflection.

The second shot here was taken just before surfacing back at the rockpile. By this point we’re in the shallows and swimming along just under the surface means the bubbles don’t have very far to travel. This gives a lot more time without any bubbles disturbing the water and you can see the mirror-like stillness. Pointing one of the camera strobes up at the surface has given a rippled light effect as it diffracts off the moving surface. The hotspot created by the off-camera strobes, and the dark edges created by the on-camera strobes starting to go flat draws attention in to the diver. Which all goes to show that you don’t have to go to the end of the cave to get the shot – sometimes it’s waiting for you, back in the entrance.

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