About the cave
At a certain point in cave training, most CDAA members do a lot of diving in Pines Cave. There are five main cave-rated sites in Mt Gambier, and Pines is the largest and most interesting. In order to rack up the hours and experience required, those who don’t travel to other cave diving regions do a lot of diving here. It’s also a dual rated site and once you’ve passed the Advanced Cave course there are a bunch of tunnels to explore.
The main cavern is fairly open and on clear winter days sees good sunshine down the rockpile. In the shallows there’s lots of timber scattered around.
About the dive
This was our last dive of the weekend, and a good wash for the gear after crawling out of Stinging Nettle Cave. I dodged the rain drops to change lens and port on the camera and housing. As soon as we geared up again and stepped into the water the clouds parted to reveal sunbeams streaming down into the water – of course. Without wide angle lens I had no way to capture the very nice view. After thinking on it for 30 seconds I realised I was committed to the macro lens, so off we went.
Andreas and I ducked down to the permanent line before coming back up to collect the camera and hunt for critters in the shallows. My only real thoughts for the cave yabbies before this dive was making sure they weren’t on the primary line as I was reeling it in. Getting up close and personal let me see the different colours and spikes – red, green, blue and yellow – on each individual.
About the photo
The yabbies were more relaxed than some ocean-going critters but still not totally keen on having their photo taken. The smaller ones would walk backwards, waving their claws at me. The little guy in the second photo didn’t have any claws to wave. He didn’t seem too fussed, unlike the big guys in blue.
I spotted the subject in the main photo today while I was trying to improve the composition of his friend next door. He was safe in his hole and not too worried about me. After readjusting my strobe I really liked the framing effect of the surrounding rocks. This was the first time I’ve taken the macro lens into the caves, and it was cool to be able to show the macro critters in the rocky environment.
Don’t be fooled by the perspective, as I had to back off a long way to fit these guys in the frame with the 100mm lens. The very clear cave water helped out. At this distance under a Melbourne pier you’d be looking at a shot full of sandy backscatter. So my first macro venture into a cave was a success. I look forward to doing it again!