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Richard Mason

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Everything posted by Richard Mason

  1. In some respects, yes; I believe our NW coast shares many marine species with South Australia which is effectively only the other side of Bass Strait, although most of my diving tends to be East Coast/Tasman Peninsula (in the SE) . I haven't dived KI, but I reckon you would feel fairly well at home. Bit chillier down here though, our top temp in Summer sits around 18C, dropping down to around 11C in Winter, so not a huge temp range and not particularly warm, dry suits are more in vogue here now. It's dropping quite quickly ATM, I dived bicheno 3 weeks ago and wqe had 17-18C in the water, went back that way last Saturday, 100kms north in fact and it was down to 14C, in only 14 days. Not much in the way of wrecks here I'm afraid as the Luftwaffe & Kriegsmarine stayed away from here but what we do have is some excellent scenery, both above & beklow water, including giant kelp forests, sea caverns and awesome wildlife, seals, whales and many fish and invertebrate species which are pretty well endemic to this part of the world only, being cool-temperate and isolated by great distance from other coastal waters with the same climatic conditions. These were taken by a leading photographer in my dive club, James P, and tell the story down here pretty well: In many respects, Tasmania is a photographers dream, with good to fantastic visibility pretty well all year round, depending on the weather. Just the seas can be a litle bit rough at times, which comes of sitting in the Roaring Forties.
  2. Well at least you needn't worry about flooding your camera. Great pic by the way, public aquarium or your own?
  3. I've recently acquiired a Sea & Sea DX860G compact, with housing & strobe etc I've taken a couple of hundred photos so far and as expected, many, if not most (ie around 95%) are just plain wrong, for a variety of reasons, which I'm working on. However, one thing which has infuriated me, to some extent, is the back scatter problem; the strobe is slaved through a fibre optic to the camera flash and I've found that despite sticking some black duct tape over the diffuser provided on the housing, I'm still having the same problem, because light is still escaping the housing. The strobe was supplied with velcro backed fabric and velcro tape, along with a pattern to cut it out to suit several other makes/models of housing, like Canon, Olympus etc except they haven't provided a pattern for their own Sea & Sea housing. I guess I could always cut this out myself to suit but the housing is very curvy and I honestly doubt, being the cack-handed individual that I am, that I'd get it right. It seems to me that a better and more workable solution for me would be to apply black tape to the inside of the housing instead. (actually a better solution would be for the manufacturers to make an opaque front to their housings but never mind that.) Can anyone see any likely drawbacks with this idea? Richard
  4. I can't tell you too much about Melbourne but if you hop on a plane, you can be in Tasmania - Hobart in an hour, Launceston in 40 mins and I think it's pretty special here. 40-50 mins from Hobart airport is Eaglehawk Dive Centre, with a wide variety of dive sites, including the SS Nord at 42M, Cathedral and Waterfall Bay Caves (12-20m), wall dives, seal dives and even a giant kelp forest at Fortescue Bay. One of the business partners, Karen Gowlett Holmes is anm award winning u/w photographer and biologist and very helpful. Around two hours drive from both Hobart and Launceston, is Bicheno, which sits on top of the Governor Island Marine Reserve. Both areas were visited by David Doubilet, about 10 years ago and featured in an article in Nat Geographic, with some awesome photography. It's considered coldwater diving by Aus standards, top temp around 18C in Summer, bottoming out at 11C in winter - which is also when we get our best vis, often over 30m on the East Coast but this can happen any time, although not so much in early summer (Nov-Jan) when there is often an algal bloom which may bring it down to maybe 10-15m. We don't have hard corals here but we do have fantastic sponge gardens, once you get to 30m+, very colourful and great for photography. Check out these websites too: http://www.discovertasmania.com/pdf/divetrail_A4_web.pdf http://www.eaglehawkdive.com.au/ http://www.bichenodive.com.au/ There's also a dive centre at Wynyard on the NW coast, although they don't have their own website. I've not dived there myself but my club usually organise a trip up there each year and the photographic opportunities look excellent. http://www.divinginaustralia.com.au/tasmania/wynyard.asp Low Head on the northern end of the Tamar Estuary, about 60kms north of Launceston is another fantastic diving area but is subjected to very strong tidal flows - you can dive slack water there and that's it. Regards Richard M.
  5. Hello all, Just joined today and rather than lurk, I thought I'd introduce myself. I learned to dive 27 years ago in the UK, I have lived in Australia for 20 years now, 18 of them here in Tasmania, that's the triangular block of land in the far SE of the country (I'm often surprised that some people still think it's near Indonesia somewhere). Returned to diving about 9 years ago and having got a bit bored with just finning around and looking at the pretty fishes, I thought it would be nice to add another dimension to my diving. I have finally taken the plunge at an introductory level with a Sea & Sea DX860G and strobe set. Out of around 300 shots taken over 3 days of diving, I've got perhaps 4 "keepers" and am fast realising that this is going to be a pretty challenging interest. I was advised (several times) to join up to this forum and I''m hoping I can get a reasonable amount of usedful hints & tips and in time, maybe contribute something useful myself. Regards Richard Mason
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