About the site
I was intending to dive at Mornington Pier yesterday, a quick trip out from home. When I got there I discovered the 1m+ swell was breaking under the pier and the car park was empty of divers. With the wind coming in from the bay it was time to move to the other side and I drove over to Flinders Pier instead.
Yesterday was also the first day of the Underwater Festival photo competition. Photos have to be taken in September this year to qualify so I have the next 29 days to take the winning shot. It was great to get started early.
About the dive
Due to the unexpected redirection I got to Flinders about an hour before sunset. While this reduced the light it also meant a bunch of creatures and critters were coming out of their holes for the evening. In particular I spotted a massive stingray hunting over the weed. He would skim just over the top, then lower himself down into the seagrass and create a silt cloud. I’m sure the fish hiding in the weed underneath was not having a good night.
I also spotted and then very quickly lost sight of a weedy sea dragon. Before the dive I wondered if the weedy sea dragons might have eggs on the first day of spring, but the only one I saw was egg free. He casually finned around the back of a pylon and I completely lost him in the weed. The camouflage strategy works pretty well.
About the photos
On a pier dive some months back I wasn’t having much luck finding critters on the bottom and the ones I did find were all in terrible spots for photography. After surfacing to check on the way home, I noticed a collection of shrimp sitting on the top of the pylon. This has turned out to be a great critter-hunting location. The pylon tops are out of the water at low tide so the sponges and weed can’t grow into every crevice. The bare pylons have a few more hidey holes for shrimps, blennies and other small and fast moving creatures.
The challenge of photographing in the top layer of water is the waves overhead. I took both of these shots less then 1m under the surface and the small chop splashing around on top made accurate framing and focussing hard. I have a lot of shots of half a fish. With a little perseverance I am happy with these two. We’ll see how the rest of the month goes before I make any decisions, but they’re on the potential competition entry list.