Hurricane Night Dive

On Saturday night PB took Andrew and I out in his boat to dive the wreck of the Hurricane, just off the coast of Rosebud. The Hurricane was a clipper sailing ship that sank in 1869. She was relatively intact until the 1960s when officials considered her to be a hazard, and hazard blasted it, leaving the remnants spread out over the sandy seabed.

Over the course of an hour I was able to sit and watch a blue ring octopus going about it’s night, as well as various colourful fish and an anemone that I haven’t observed before. The bioluminescence observed was out of control, love the night dives!

The last time I dived this site was as part of my Wreck Course, weighed down with a stage tank and the responsibility of being “on course”. It was great fun to just explore and see the sights, although it wasn’t without it’s challenges – ascending in the dark holding a torch, catch bag, SMB and camera, trying to vent air from the drysuit and hold a 5m safety stop, before hauling ourselves (and gear) into the boat. Still, a tonne of fun and a great experience diving on PB’s very well organised boat.

Location: Port Phillip Bay
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 10.5m
Maximum Depth: 12.1m

Edithburgh Diving

When Christie told us that Edithburgh was one of the best night dives in Australia, we just HAD to get there despite it being a few hours “out of the way”. Whilst it’s safe to say we enjoy diving, we LOVE night diving – the range of critters that come out at night are super special to see.

We ended up doing three dives at Edithburgh – a late afternoon checkout dive followed by two night dives. The aim was to spot a “striped pyjama squid”, an adorable black and white striped dumpling squid which, as you’ll see, we managed to spot (several times in the end!). We saw many other nighttime creatures as well, including an electric ray, lots of octopuses, cobblers (catfish), brittle stars and more. We were also treated to a special event – the sea cucumbers (which we don’t often see in Melbourne waters) were spawning – standing erect in the water and doing their thang. Was a sight to see, although best not to think about what we were swimming through so much 😂 No video as I don’t want to be kicked off Facebook for sharing illicit content 😲😝

This dive site was perhaps the most accessible that I’ve ever experienced – car parking mere metres from the jump in point, with toilets a few steps in the other direction. Relatively short pier, but more than enough to keep us entertained for 3 one-hour dives. Air available at the BP, although we bought air with us from Adelaide (double check with the BP beforehand if you’re relying on them for air, we did get mixed reports).

Location: Edithburgh, SA
Water Temperature: 21°C
Average Depth: 3.5m
Maximum Depth: 6.2m

Rapid Bay Jetty Diving

We were told that Rapid Bay Jetty was an epic dive, and it did not disappoint. When we arrived at the jetty, it was blowing a gale and we were hesitant to jump into unknown waters given the wind. A chat with some friendly divers in the carpark quickly changed that and off we went.

The main aim of our dive was to spot a leafy seadragon – cousin to the weedy seadragons we see here in Victoria. Such otherworldly creatures, we were lucky enough to spot one (probably the same one!) on each dive we did here. Of course there were loads of other creatures to see also – octopus, cuttlefish, massive schools of fish and so much more, with different critters greeting us on our night dive. A massive dive site, we did two day dives and a night dive and still didn’t make it to the end!

Rapid Bay Jetty is actually two jetties – an old large dilapidated jetty with sections falling into the water and a newer fishing jetty running parallel about 20m to the east. To access the old jetty (and dive site), walk down the fishing jetty (it’s long, consider a trolley), down the stairs and to the dive platform. Upon entering the water and descending, you’ll see a series of starpickets that lead the way to the old jetty. Head out (watch for fishing line) and then along to the T. Keep an eye on your air as it’s a large dive site, better to return with some air as opposed to a long surface swim!

We were advised to bring spare tanks with us given the long drive back to Adelaide and were grateful to not have to worry about air through the entire trip (public holidays and Sundays are a little different in SA!). On our return for the night dive we did discover that Peter at Second Valley Air Fills was available for air, super handy. Not many facilities in the area, so pack snacks for your surface interval and note that the closest toilets are at the campgrounds. Check the conditions with a local beforehand – our new found friends in the carpark were able to advise on current, recommended turn around points etc, which made for an easier dive.

Location: Rapid Bay, SA
Water Temperature: 20°C
Average Depth: 6m
Maximum Depth: 9.8m

Freshwater Diving in Ewens Ponds

First stop on our recent South Aus dive trip was Ewens Ponds in Mount Gambier (watch this space for Rapid Bay, Second Valley, Port Noarlunga, Edithburgh and Port Hughes – whew~!)

Ewens Ponds are a series of three spring fed freshwater waterholes connected by shallow slow moving channels. The visibility in this underwater world is breathtaking – as you emerge from each channel the ground drops away revealing the extent of the next pond, and it feels like you’re flying through space. The channels themselves are a tonne of fun – sort of like an amusement park for divers, with the stream pushing you through, just tuck in your elbows and enjoy the ride!

We were so taken by the ponds that we rearranged our travel plans to stop by for a night dive on our return trip and it was well worth it, with eels sitting amongst the reeds and freshwater crays scuttling away everywhere we turned.

The site requires a booking via an online permit system. Water is about 15C year-round, so a wetsuit (or drysuit!) is a must. Navigation is simple, although a little harder at night – a daytime exploration dive highly recommended. Take your time and don’t rush – the booking is for 1 or 2 hours, so make the most of it!

You will likely need to take a bit of weight off for freshwater, and be careful not to hit the bottom as you first descend – the water is so still that silt and sediment will take ages to settle. The best bit about diving here (other than the insane viz!)? You don’t need to wash your gear afterwards!

Location: Mount Gambier, SA
Water Temperature: 15°C
Average Depth: 4.8m
Maximum Depth: 9.1m