Apr 292013

Cave junk

About the cave

These two photos were taken in a small sinkhole south of Mt Gambier. I dropped down on a rope from the paddock above, stopping half way down to survey the entrance lake covered in floating bottles and other debris. Directly under the entrance is a huge cone of stuff…a lot of old fencing wire, bottles and tins, 44 gallon drums and other unidentifiables. The water around all of this was crystal clear, so the challenge was working out how to get dive gear on and get in without spiking myself or my drysuit on anything sharp.

Rusty wire

About the dive

Having navigated my way off the pile and into the water with dive gear attached we set off around the edge of the cavern zone. It’s only a little sinkhole and once we were under the roof there was a lot more rock and a lot less junk. I find it interesting that all the rubbish in the water is old – times and attitudes have changed. It’s also interesting to see how the things that were thrown away years ago have rusted and decayed.

The site is shallow and wide, with boulders leaning up against the walls to form tunnels in some places. We followed the survey line through several swim throughs, popping out into the main cavern each time.

About the photos

Photographing the various bits of rubbish made this more like a wreck dive than a cave dive. I love the red colours in the rusty metal and how they stand out against the blue water. This sinkhole hasn’t seen much diver traffic so the silt floors are pristine and unmarked. The water tank and the rolls of chicken wire must have rolled down the hill to come to this final resting place where they’ve been rusting away for more than a few years. The rust developing on the sides of the tank adds great texture and I like the way the lines of the cave draw you into the picture.

I made an abortive attempt to get an off camera strobe positioned in the tank without much success. By the time I’d got it halfway right the silt coming off the roof and the rust coming off the tank made great pictures a challenge, and the strobe still wasn’t in the right place. As I reached to rearrange the strobe I could see that getting the ideal position would probably end up with the strobe dropping down through the tank and into a crack in the rock below….it seemed like a good time to exit gracefully and look for the next shot instead.

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