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#1 3@5

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:06 AM

hi all,

i might have the opportunity to go and work on a project in melbourne for a while starting this december and i was wondering what the diving was like around there? (yes it would be one of the criteria for me accepting the project ;) )
any input from our friends down under?
i have read up a bit on it, but would appreciate any info you can provide me?
thanks for the help /paul
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#2 mattdiver

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:54 AM

I was in the same situation earlier this year, and got to do a few dives down south with Dive Victoria out of Portsea (http://www.divevictoria.com.au/).

I dove on some "reefs" (not sure that's the right term in temperate waters) with unusual fish and nudibranchs (at least for me, normally a warm water diver ;) ). Marine life was rather abundant.

Also got to dive on WW1 sub-marine wrecks with sea lions. That was awesome! There are four WW1 wrecks in that area, plus a whole lot of other wrecks in "The Graveyard"...

Water conditions in December would be fairly similar to the Mediterranean in the South of France in June...

#3 pmooney

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:58 AM

Portsea pier is a fairly easy dive to access, anda reliably consistent dive. Well worth a look.

#4 3@5

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:34 AM

thanks for the input. we shall see if i will make to the waters down under before it gets too cold over here in the south of france :D
/paul
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#5 Drew

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:03 AM

Paul, forget Melbourne, take a short flight up to Adelaide and do the seals and seadragons on Fleurieu Peninsula. Kangaroo Island is great fun and you may also get a shot of the pyjama squid. Qantas.com.au has frequent cheap fares betw the 2 cities. Or if you have the time, drive up the ocean road. Nice drive along the ocean and if you're a cavie, Mt Gambier has a sink hole. I usually just stop to eat :D
Use Jim Thistleton on Kangaroo Island. If you're driving from Melb, you can also dive Rapid Bay Jetty (hope you've been working out) where I found the less seen red tinted leafy sea dragon (they are usually deeper).

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#6 anthp

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 01:24 PM

Now Paul - I don't wish to start a dustup with this Drew character, as he can be a valuable resource. :) But, in this case he is feeding you a furphy. :D

There is no doubt that Adelaide, KI, Rapid Bay and Picaninnie sinkhole are fun - but certainly don't forget about Melbourne! Oh the sacrilege of it all. :D

Now this will probably sound parochial, as I've been diving Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne for 15 years, but it really is a great location. In addition to worthy suggestions by Peter and Matt, I can recommend Flinders Pier where weedy sea dragons abound (and it doesn't take 8 hours to drive to like Rapid Bay). In fact it is only 1 hr from the centre of Melbourne.

Also recommend doing some dives in the Rip between Port Phillip Heads where you'll find colourful sponge gardens and fish including the blue devil, the bizarre elephant fish, blue ringed octopus and lovely nudibranchs which may all be new and interesting for you. More than 90% of the marine life in Victoria is endemic and can't be found anywhere else. Nepean and Lonsdale walls are some of my favourite locations. Like the Rip, Pope's Eye in the southern end of the Bay has been a protected area for decades and also has very healthy fish populations. Further afield - the giant kelp forests in the Bay and at Wilsons Promontory are similar to their counterparts in California.

If larger marine life takes your fancy, you can very easily snorkel with seals from Queenscliff (just over an hour from Melbourne) or seek out the famous Australian giant cuttle - the largest cuttlefish in the world! I have encountered them on shore dives at Cottage by the Sea (60 mins from Melbourne) and know they occur at Rickett's Point (less than 30 mins from Melbourne).

If you decide to come down this way - drop me a PM and we might be able to head out together.

While I'm on the contradictory bent, cheapest flights from Melbourne to Adelaide are invariably to be found on http://www.jetstar.com.au and http://www.virginblue.com.au. Qantas fares are a ripoff.

Posted Image
Elephant Fish. Copyright Kelvin Aitken

Posted Image
Red Velvet Fish. Copyright William Boyle

Edited by anthp, 30 October 2006 - 03:51 PM.

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#7 Drew

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 06:06 PM

Ohhh is that how you wanna play it... flag waving for the state of victoria are ya?
It's not the weedies but the leafies and the red ones that are the treasured shots. Weedies can be had almost anywhere along the South of Oz... even in past Syd.
And if it was so prolific, how come you're using ol' Kelvin's shots? I'm going to tell him you posted his shot on the web. :D
I've dived in Vic (even the cold Promotory Peninsular for leafies(Life lesson: never listen to a marine biologist on where to find things)) and my take is, SA got Vic beat for beautiful creatures in particular the leafy sea dragon and pyjama squid. Seadragons are simply more prolific in SA. Otherwise, everyone would go to Flinders Pier (8m max depth is not a good depth for leafies).
Posted Image

C'mon an elephant fish over this??? Now that's sacrilege. :D
Oh and did you mention that the water is colder in Vic vs SA by about 2 °C? Hmmm
I will give you that my favorite italian restaurant in Oz is in Carlton and the women are better looking in Melb than Adelaide. The surfing is also top class mate, but since you got that casino mate, it's been downhill baby. But I'll still try to come for the Ozzie open in Jan if I don't go to Africa...but no diving. :)
Furphy... haven't heard that in years. Ozzie colloquiallisms...

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#8 anthp

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:20 PM

Right that’s it!!

I’m gonna get my flag wiggling…Stewth mate, I reckon you’ve gone troppo Drew!

I suppose if you are just measuring appendages mate, then leafies might take the cake, but weedies have waaay better colour IMHO and are FAR more charismatic. ;) One man’s treasure is another man’s tedious if you ask me. :D I wouldn’t want to be so presumptuous as to second-guess Paul’s preferences of course…

Now, the reason I’m posting shots by others is because I’m at work (ahem – and working extremely hard I might add) and not because I don’t have some in my collection at home. Kelvin will be pleased with the link to his site I’m sure. :) Now to continue the theme (albeit now potentially somewhat more risqué), please enjoy one of Mr Achetel’s shots from http://www.aliensofthesea.com to illustrate the gorgeous colours on these critters. I’m sorry, you can’t tell me they aren’t cool! :)
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Of course another reason for me to defend little weedy is because he is Victoria’s Marine State Emblem. And I can’t help it if you have a problem with chimeras with a pachyderm resemblance. Kelvin certainly loves them… quote: “The Elephant Fish must be the most spectacular of all the cartilaginous fish.” Kelvin Aitken.

Now I may have to concede that water temperatures in Victoria are generally ever so slightly cooler that South Australia. But when Paul is planning to visit, temperatures around 18 C are common at the dive sites suggested. I certainly wouldn’t like to think that you were questioning Paul’s manliness. :D

For a little diversion, this clickable map from CSIRO has current water temperatures across Australia.

On the cephalopod front… Yeah sure, so if you’re into squid, the pyjama’s are pretty cute, but what’s wrong with our own little Euprymna tasmanica dumpling squid which are common under St Leonards Pier in the evening.
Posted Image
As a juvenile, this little fella catches light producing bacteria inside its mantle. At night it finely regulates the bacterial light emitting from its underbelly to match the starlight/moonlight shimmering above. All the better to hide from the flathead predators. Now how cool is that??!!

Now, I’m not sure what your sources are - in fact I’d love to know so that I can tease them about it - but whoever said that leafies are easy to find at the Prom or Flinders?? I don’t believe I ever nominated Flinders as a leafy hotspot, but it sure is great for weedies. :(

Drew, I’m delighted to note that you concede we have some pretty decent food and delightful sheila's. Surfing is definitely worth doing here…although SA gets a look in with that too. Further afield in central coast South Australia - Cactus Beach has some pearler waves if you don’t taking a line around the great white sharks…I guess that GWS isn't uncommon at Phillip Island either where the you share the surf with the penguins.

Seriously now - if you are coming down in Jan - I’ll be waiting for ya! :)

Find it hard to believe that you’d skip the run for anything though mate. :(
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#9 Nazaar

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 09:54 PM

I spent a year in Adelaide diving and studying the marine stuff over there, and have been diving in Melbourne for the last 15 years, and I think Melbourne and Victoria has the biggest range.

How can we even talk about Melbourne without mentioning Lonsdale and Nepean Walls? Kilometres of walls, caves and undercuts from 14-100m, exposed to the incoming tides and absolutely covered in sponges, gorgonians and soft corals. 50m sheer drops. Within that you get all the fish and inverts that come with a semi-enclosed bay that's exposed to the pelagics at just this spot. Pycnogonids all over the place, nudis, and of course the lovely blue devil, at this time of year the little ones will come soon as well. All a 15-20min boat trip from Portsea. I can honestly say that after diving in a number of the better spots around the world that a good dive on the Wall is up there as one of the best, without a doubt.

And what about wrecks? There's the entire ships graveyard out there, ranging from the 4 WWII subs to old dredges and bulk haulers.

Mt Gambier has a sink hole.

A sinkhole??? Mt Gambier is practically swiss cheese! If you've got qualifications that the CDAA is happy to accept as equivalent, and time to get to Gambier, the sinkholes are absolutely spectacular.

Edited by Nazaar, 30 October 2006 - 09:59 PM.

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#10 Drew

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:07 PM

First of all, mate... it's strewth, not stewth... where'ya from? Geelong? Funny how a yank has to correct an ozzie on his own culture's destruction of ze mother tongue.
As for ol'Pawel's shots, I too can over saturate in post and claim it's natural, esp with his "Bazooka" HD housing and his "you must buy them from me me me" halogen lights. :D
I can see the "Demons" are out for a bit of double teaming eh. Still sore they don't call the AFL VFL anymore?
As for pointers, you can actually see them at Rapid Bay. I missed one as my buddy was frantically clanking away while I was concentrating on a weedie, which was 3m away from a leafy. :)
Kelvin is marine theming so he'll say anything to sell an image. Ask him what Mike Parry did to sell himself in Capetown. :D
Don't get too carried away with your sheilas... the sheilas in Brissie and the gold coast got'em beat, and they have a tan too. :)
And Paul, now that we've hijacked the thread, you must tell us where you decide to go. Remember, your trip in Sept hangs in the balance. :(

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#11 anthp

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:40 AM

Ahhh yeah - so there's a typo. At least I know how to spell coloUr mate! :)

And if you're gonna get in a tizzy about this language thing, then let's get one thing straight... Ozzie is an ostrich or perhaps a bloke that puts birds in his mouth, depending on where you are from. An Aussie, on the other hand, is a bloke from downunder. So I can only assume you are talking about the ostrich and not me. :)
Posted Image

As for coloUrs - all the ones I've seen looked exactly like Pawel's :)

I will have to ask about Mike Parry though...now you've got me wondering. :(

Double teaming - I've no idea what you are talking about?? :D :) :D Really truely. And as for footy - I think I might've been to a match once. Isn't that the one where the ball isn't quite spherical? ;)

And finally we agree: Paul - you've got to tell us where you are going. Don't let this wuss-bag Drew scare ya with his blackmailing. He's all talk. :(

Edited by anthp, 31 October 2006 - 12:43 AM.

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#12 3@5

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:58 AM

...snip...
And Paul, now that we've hijacked the thread, you must tell us where you decide to go. Remember, your trip in Sept hangs in the balance. :)


thanks for all the suggestions !!!! :D well now i know i have options :)
i'll find out in about a month if i am on my way down under or not and if i am well i will just have to sample all these areas and see for myself what you guys are ranting, raving and bashing about. (yeah i know that was the diplomatic answer :D )
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#13 anthp

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 01:03 AM

Very good Paul!

You can adjudicate - provided you can present compelling evidence that you aren't in a certain someone's pocket. :D

In all seriousness - both SA and Vic are great. But I did have to bite at the blanket 'forget' statement. :D

I'm sure you'll have fun if you decide to drop round here.

Edited by anthp, 31 October 2006 - 01:04 AM.

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#14 anthp

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:16 PM

For shipwrecks in near Melbourne, Heritage Victoria has a great little site including descriptions, history, GPS and dive notes...
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