After last weeks fabulous show of Spider Crabs at Blairgowrie, we decided we would head back over one last time to see the crabs in action. Alas word went around the day before the planned dive that the crabs had moved on and very few remained in the area.
We carried on regardless, and were rewarded with an AMAZING show of cuttlefish, as they danced and showed off for us. Be sure to look out for the one that swam right between us, and the one with impressive folds of skin that makes it look straight out of Pirates of the Carribbean (Davy Jones anyone?!).
Before diving I had only ever associated cuttlefish with the thin white cuttlefish bone that often washes up on the beach, collecting them for treats for our cocky – I had no idea they were such magnificent creatures.
Location: Blairgowrie, Victoria, AustraliaWater Temperature: 14°CAverage Depth: 3.2mMaximum Depth: 5m
WE SAW A SHARK, WE SAW A SHARK! Despite a Great White being spotted in the area (how awesome would that have been?!), my first Australian shark was a draughtboard/swell shark, at about 1.2m long. It swam directly below me before disappearing into the murkiness that is Flinders. You just never know what you’re going to see under water!
The swell shark is so-called because despite its smallish size, when threatened it can swell up in an attempt to trick predators.
Location: Flinders, Victoria, AustraliaWater Temperature: 15°CAverage Depth: 3mMaximum Depth: 4.4m
On my second visit to Blairgowrie to observe the Spider Crabs we were rewarded with thousands of the crustaceans gathering in the shallows below the pier to moult. No-one really knows why they come crawling into the waters below Blairgowrie Pier, but it is suspected to be a case of safety in numbers, as there are many predators that take advantage of the crabs when they’re in the process of growing a new shell. On our visit we only saw one large ray cruising, but there were plenty of reports of many more in the area, as well as small sharks and other predators.
Location: Blairgowrie, Victoria, AustraliaWater Temperature: 14°CAverage Depth: 3.2mMaximum Depth: 5.1m
To celebrate the first day of winter Yu, Alan, Marky and I struggled out of our warm beds predawn for a 6am dive at Black Rock.
Black Rock has a small pier, but the main attraction is the wreck of HMAS Cerebus, a Navy breastwork monitor ship that was scuttled as a breakwater off Half Moon Bay in 1924. Whilst it used to be a popular site for divers and picnickers (sections exposed above water), in 1993 there was significant structural collapse and the site now has a large exclusion zone around it, so alas there is not a lot to see.
A chilly morning (it was 3°C ❄️outside when we jumped into the 13°C waters!), but a quiet and peaceful way to start the winter months. Shallow site, great for playing with my new gear. Saw a tonne of flatworms in the water, as well as a fiddler ray straight up (camera wasn’t rolling!) and a few other critters came out to say hi. The best bit of a winter predawn dive has to be ascending to the crisp and clear sunrise 🌅
Location: Blackrock, Victoria, AustraliaWater Temperature: 13°CAverage Depth: 2.5mMaximum Depth: 4m
On the final weekend in May we also went to Flinders Pier, home of the otherworldly Weedy Seadragon. As well as these magnificent creatures, we were also treated to a massive school of trevally, an inquisitive giant cuttle, colourful cowfish and more. The challenge of Flinders is seeing beyond the weeds and spotting the marine life hiding in plain sight… The extra challenge is holding your camera still while the surge tries to push you all over the place!
Location: Flinders, Victoria, AustraliaWater Temperature: 14°CAverage Depth: 3.3mMaximum Depth: 4.8m