Apr 052016
 
In the trees in Ela Elap

I spent the Easter long weekend in Mt Gambier. Four days of uninterrupted diving in sites at every level was a nice change from the usual two day jaunts. The first couple of days I dived with fellow-rEvo diver Tom in Pics, Kilsby’s and the site above, Ela Elap. Ela is a sinkhole site south of Mt Gambier. Unlike Piccaninnie Ponds it has greenish waters and a murky bottom. Ela is known for being cold and it lived up to its reputation – a balmy 18 degrees on the surface gave way to a chilly 11 degrees below 20m. We jumped in and spiralled down through the very murky surface layer to the dark water underneath. I took some shots of [read more…]

Jan 052016
 
Engine rooms in Truk Lagoon

After an epic 2 weeks, 23 different wrecks and nearly 4,000 photos I’ve made it home from Truk Lagoon. As I churn through the photos (Why do I have way too many “final picks”? How does one choose between a giant propellor shot and a well lit cargo hold interior? How many trip photos can one reasonably ask friends and family to look at?) I was struck by how much I learned about ship layouts during my visit. The normal wrecks dived in Melbourne were mostly scuttled in the 1930s or 40s. This means both that anything interesting was removed first, and they’ve had a lot more time to break down. In many cases all that’s left is the hull and [read more…]

Dec 242015
 
Truk Lagoon: The San Francisco Maru

Truk Lagoon is a long way from anywhere. After United cancelled their flight from Cairns to Guam I re-routed my trip via Hong Kong. This made the first leg of the trip nine hours in the air instead of three while leaving the second leg to Guam at five hours. After two international flights, a 14 hour stopover in delightful Guam and the TSA going through every item in my hand luggage, I arrived in Chuuk late on Sunday night excited for two weeks of diving. With some creative packing and use of the hand luggage allowance I managed to make it with rEvo, camera and extra strobes. I’m diving at Blue Lagoon Resort and enjoying their excellent rebreather services. After [read more…]

Dec 012015
 
Rusty stuff on the Milora

About the wreck The Milora was a steam powered coal cargo transport, built in 1921 in Melbourne and initially named the Emita. She had a cargo of 2,800 tonnes of coal on board when she ran aground in the Port Phillip Heads in September 1934. After removing 1,800 tonnes of coal she was refloated a week later with most of her hold flooded, and taken to Williamstown between two tugs. By 1935 she was found to be uneconomical to repair, stripped of her valuable parts and taken out and scuttled. The Milora now sits in about 40m of water. Originally 100m long, she is one of the larger wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard and a great dive. About the dive We’d done [read more…]

Sep 222015
 
Wreck diving the Wareatea

About the wreck Unlike other wrecks in the Ship’s Graveyard, the Wareatea was a passenger and cargo transport, built in 1883. She ran between Melbourne and the north coast of Tasmania between Federation in 1901 and the end of WWII in 1945, when she was scuttled. The wreck has great life on it with nice sponge growth and schools of fish around. While the bow is somewhat twisted and flat to the seabed the stern stands up and has the prop and rudder still in position. About the dive After a few weeks of diving in some pretty average vis, I was wondering if wreck diving was all it’s cracked up to me. Upon jumping into deep blue ocean I decided [read more…]

Sep 152015
 
Dark water on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

About the wreck The ex-HMAS Adelaide is a sister ship to the ex-HMAS Canberra. Both were deliberately sunk after a useful life of service and now serve as diver attractions. I have dived the Canberra (which sits out of Melbourne) a few times, but I hadn’t visited the Adelaide. She can be found on the NSW Central Coast, just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney. About the dive I was up in NSW to give a talk at Dive Imports on the delights of cave diving around the country. After a great night with an enthusiastic audience we were up early Saturday morning to head out to the wreck. The topside weather was fantastic with bright sunshine. Unfortunately the [read more…]