Dec 062016
Colourful Lonsdale Wall

I love Lonsdale Wall. I love cave diving too, and the wrecks are pretty cool, but there’s something about this little stretch of brightly coloured, densely packed, huge variety of sponge life living in high velocity waters that makes for the best dives in Australia. The tidal flow in and out of Port Phillip Bay each day means there’s only a short window for diving. The top of the wall has a forest of kelp, but the underside of the underhangs is where it’s at. Between the carpet of yellow zooanthinds the sponges come in all different colours. The water absorbs colours at depth so a quick strobe flash lets me get a look at the pinks and oranges and [read more…]

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…]