Mar 182014

Underwater in Junee Cave


About the cave

I talked about Junee Cave last week, after our long weekend trip two weekends ago. The weekend was photographically focussed and I was keen to capture the straws and decorations in the dry cave between sumps one and two. Since we had to go through the water to get there it seemed silly to miss the opportunity for underwater photography, although I didn’t have high hopes for great images.

Descending in sump one

About the dive

While the defining feature of For Your Eyes Only may be the straws that line the ceiling, the defining feature of sump one is being cold. And dark. And often very silty. When I last visited in 2009 we had a large group of divers in and out and after the first dives there was very little to see underwater. It’s a relatively short sump and all I really remembered was swimming into black rock walls in the murk as I headed out of the cave at speed.

With my very nice heating very on I was toasty warm for these dives, with the exception of my face. I was also using dry gloves in anger for the first time and the dials on the back on the inons are definitely hard to manipulate. With a short sump and silt pouring off the roof from our bubbles there wasn’t much time for underwater settings fiddling and I was careful to get the camera and strobes sorted before descending.

About the photo

Both of these shots were taken on the second day. I got a few good images on the Saturday dive, but I didn’t have any memories of the underwater landscape. I also took photos in some places where the walls were too far away to light properly in the dark conditions. Areas with nearby walls showed off the cave much better than a diver hovering mid-blackness. I spotted the narrow area in the photo up top as a great spot for a photo, but the silt overtook the frame on Saturday. On Sunday I was a little more prepared and carefully inhaled while swimming through. I turned to catch Andreas following me and the silt cloud just starting to billow out of the ceiling.

The second shot here is the very start of the sump, well inside the cave. Andreas is just inflating his drysuit to follow the line down. I especially like the shadow patterns on the bottom on the right hand size, caused by having one strobe above the rippling surface of the water. For both days we were blessed with good vis. It was great to capture these black walls and green water, so different to white walls and blue water of the Nullarbor caves.

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