Mar 042014

Octopus eyeball

About the pier

I’ve dived at Mornington Pier a lot. It’s a convenient location for gear testing – the closest “real” dive location to me where you can park your car right next to the ladder and climb into the water. I did more than a few dives here in preparation for my cave diving courses, running lines between the pylons and getting used to new equipment.

The pier is under (re)construction at the moment. To reduce wave action on the moored boats the early section has had baffles installed. These are large sheets of plastic fitted to the outside of the pylons on both sides. The new walls go down to between half and one metre off the bottom and create a dark zone under the first section. The life in here has definitely changed from what you could find before with dark-loving creatures out and about on business in the middle of the day. I’ve done three dives at Mornington since the walls went in and all three times the vis has been terrible. I’m not sure if the algae and particulate in the water is growing in the dark zone or being encouraged by the works which are still ongoing at the end of the pier, but I hope it’s just a coincidence and not a sign of things to come.

Stingray eyeball

About the dive

I was at Mornington on Sunday in preparation for Tassie next weekend. I’ve just picked up a pair of dry gloves and a heated vest from Damo at DKG Drysuits and I was excited to try them out in slightly warmer water. This was partially successful as it was far too warm to turn the heating vest on. It does seem comfortable though and the internal, waterproof batteries sat neatly under my drysuit. The dry gloves were very  dry, stopping all water and also a lot of blood getting to my hands. I’ll be trimming a extra ring off the seals there.

I’m a recently convert to gloves, having dived for 10 years and almost never worn them. This includes Melbourne winter with water temperatures down to 10 degrees. Early last year I found a pair I loved and discovered the joy of being able to feel your fingers at the end of a dive. The big drawback of neoprene gloves, beside the loss of dexterity, is that your hands are impossible to see in the dark and talking to your buddy in a cave becomes difficult. Dry gloves, on the other hand, are blue…so if I could work the camera with them this could be great.

About the photo

I got in to discover vis of less than 2m and green snot particles all through the water, but I figured I wasn’t really there for the scenery. Upon reaching the mid-section of the pier I stopped and went hunting for the blennies I had previously shot in the cut-off pylon stumps. The stumps seem to have grown over with vegetation but I did encounter this little stingray eating dinner, and then later swam across the octopus up top. Both were either patient with the camera or occupied with deep thoughts. While arranging the lighting to minimise backscatter from the gunk a school of squid and another of large silver things went past at speed. Watching them, I was glad for photo subjects who are happy to sit still and pose!

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