Jul 072015

Rebreathers under Lake Ayre

After a productive Saturday morning on the Mt Gambier main street buying tiles for my kitchen floor, and a pleasant Saturday afternoon dive in Kilsby’s, Sunday brought a relaxed two hour swim through Tank Cave. The site was open for Sunday only and the four of us were the only ones there. This made getting in the water a lot easier – no rushing to clip on bailout with someone standing awkwardly hunched in dive gear (or the reverse).

Three divers in F

With three models in the water at the same time this was the first opportunity to test out all of my strobes on a single dive in a while. A couple of my inon Z240s have been playing up with electronic gremlins and burnt out flash tubes leading to very dim flashes. Steve has taken most of them apart from replaced the tubes and I had high hopes for a well lit dive. Once we were all underwater I moved around the group carefully wedging strobes under bungee and pointing them in approximately the right directions.

We headed for F tunnel and the photographic challenges began. With multiple models it becomes harder to get enough clear water around each diver to give them a clear outline. Overlapping fins with heads or hands with tanks leads to confusing shots that don’t quite work. Visual separation of divers is easy enough to explain but hard to create, especially in smaller tunnels.

On the other hand, being on rebreathers helped the situation. I didn’t have to worry about percolation off the roof so we had more time to adjust positions for each shot. And I could have the diver in front down below the divers behind without having to worry about timing their exhalations. But I still found myself waiting for the larger, wider parts of the swim and these are where the better shots came from.

The first image here is from under Lake Ayre, again. I’m still drawn to this place and one of the images I wanted to take was of rebreather divers, with a perfect reflection from an undisturbed surface. I like this shot! Once we swam out further a few stray bubbles crept up the roof behind. The next few shots were slightly rippled but they show what it’s possible to create here. The second shot is from half way along F tunnel in one of the wider shots.  It looks like a fairly natural swimming position for all three divers. In reality both Michelle on the right and Ken on the left are out on the sides of the tunnel, slightly further than they might otherwise be. The extra spacing gives a clear view through to Tim bringing up the rear. Three divers in one shot – mission accomplished.

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