About the site
Bicheno is a small town up on the northern end of the east coast of Tasmania. With prevailing south westerly winds through winter the waters are relatively calm and the diving a (very) short boat trip from shore. If I was living in Bicheno I’d strongly consider buying a nice underwater scooter rather than a boat. If you were feeling enthusiastic the dive sites are swimmable distance. But we were there for the 2014 Combined Clubs Weekend and had the pleasure of going out with Bruce from Bicheno Dive and his very nice boat.
About the dive
The shot above is from the first dive of the long weekend. We jumped in and dropped down into clear blue water. JDZ and I had geared up in rebreather and camera on a boat with another 7 people waiting impatiently so after reaching the bottom I spent a bit of time bungee-ing my bailout and deploying the rEvo’s cheeseboard. And then I looked up and looked around.
The bottom here is covered in seawhips, something we don’t get in any numbers in Melbourne. Little fish were scooting around the bottom scenery, between the yellow, orange and red sponges and other squishy things. The vis was at least 15m and the water was not as cold as I had been expecting. Bliss. With my rEvo humming nicely, I started clicking away.
About the photos
The vis here was similar to a good day in Melbourne but there was a lot of particulate in the water. You’ll notice in both photos here I’ve got down very low to the scenery and tried to avoid lighting the water. Running the strobes sideways through the sponge life has brought out the shadows. I especially like the seawhips protruding both out of the frame and off into the blue distance in the first shot. The second shot was a waiting game. While I loved the little canyon and the distant underwater hills, the strobes could only light the closest sponges. So I settled into position and waited for the fish to swim by to give a little more interest to the shot.
I was glad to be closed circuit on these dives and they were certainly a very pleasant way to get some more practise in on my unit. The seawhips and sponges that you see here gave way to mountains of kelp above about 30m so it was great to spend more time at depth to get these shots. Floating quietly on the rEvo also let the fish gather around me without having to hold my breath and chase them – a very nice change from those dives on Lonsdale Wall some time ago.