Oct 132015
Sponges on Lonsdale Wall

About the site I love Lonsdale Wall. It’s my favourite dive site in Melbourne – better than the scuttled wrecks, better than the really-hard-to-get-on reefs. Even in terrible conditions it’s usually not bad and on a good day it’s stunning. With good vis you can hang over the edge of the wall and look down into deep blue water below. If there’s a little bit of tide still running you can drift slowly along beside the yellow zooanthids and orange sponges, watching fish follow you curiously. In short, it’s nice. About the dive Sunday’s dive was the afternoon slack at the end of the flood tide. With good vis outside that morning I was looking forward to blue water and [read more…]

Dec 312012
Chasing fish in wide angle

About the site Both of these photos were taken on different bits of Lonsdale Wall. The rich temperate waters support a lot of life, including huge populations of the yellow zooanthids and other colourful sponges and corals. The walls look beautiful underwater but the colours can be really hard to photograph well. Strobe light drops off a couple of metres from the camera and balancing natural and artificial light sources without having some portion of your yellow zooanthids looking a sickly green can be tricky. A few years on, I’ve perfected lighting zooanthids so they come up yellow against a blue background. With some clear blue waters hanging around Melbourne over the last month, I’ve done a handful of brilliant [read more…]

Nov 192012
Blue water on Lonsdale Wall

About the site Lonsdale and Nepean Walls border the deep water channel that runs into Port Phillip Bay. They can be dived at slack tide each day, when the water balances inside and outside the bay and the currents stop running. The flow of water means filter feeders like the bright yellow zooanthids, sponges and soft corals can be found up and down the walls. Lonsdale Wall also runs a fair way into the bay and is protected in poor weather. As a result, it’s an easy dive to do when the swell is running and the wind is adding white caps on top. Which is convenient, but also means I’d dived the wall in terrible conditions and terrible vis [read more…]

Mar 052012
Friendly fish at the Grotto

About the site Melbourne sits at the northern end of Port Phillip Bay, and the heads open out into Bass Strait at the southern end. A comparatively large volume of water flows through a small heads entrance, leading to strong tidal currents each day. This water movements carries nutrients through the entrance, and when the water flow stops as the tide changes direction, great diving become accessible. Diving between the heads of the Bay is of necessity a well-timed activity, and one that’s well worth it. In some places the wall of the channel steps down from 12m reef flats at the top to over 60m deep in 5m blocks. The vertical walls are coated with soft corals and sponges [read more…]

Jan 092012
Colours of a temperate reef on Nepean Wall

About the site I’ve talked about the wall between the Heads of Port Phillip Bay before. A stunning dive at slackwater a short boat ride from Queenscliff on the west or Portsea or Sorrento on the east, several kilometres of colourful reef makes for hundreds of different dive sites. Boat passage through the Heads and out into the open ocean can be difficult when the weather is bad, restricting the access to the wrecks outside. However, some bits of the wall are always accessible at the right time of day although visibility can be very variable. Slack water dives when the tide has been ebbing out of the Bay and the ocean is about to flood in through the Heads [read more…]

Nov 212011
Australian Fur Seals on the safety stop

About the site Over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to have seals drop in for a visit towards the end of my dives. Despite their considerable bulk and slow speed on land, these guys are easily able to turn a lap around a diver faster than you can turn to follow them. Luckily, curiousity will often bring them in for a closer look, craning their neck from side to side as they inspect the divers in their domain. About the dive This particular photo was taken at the end of a dive in the Heads of Port Phillip Bay. Slack water had just finished and I was gently drifting out to sea with the ebbing tide as [read more…]