Thursday, 10 January 2013

Melbourne feat. Flinder's Pier and the Amazing Weedy Sea Dragons

Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus). Photo: Ryan Pearson
By Ryan Pearson
Well well well, better late than never hey? My amazing partner (DD Virkki) decided to give me an epic birthday present last year... a 10 day trip to Melbourne for my first temperate water dives and a hunt for some Weedy Sea Dragons. Not everything went to plan, but it was still an awesome trip either way.

We packed everything up, including dive gear with a 60kg limit only to scrape it in at 55kg. We arrived to a toasty Melbourne with the intention of staying with a friend in the city for a couple of days, then heading down to the Mornington Peninsula for 2-3 days of diving. A quick look at the weather forecast showed some ominous signs of just how frivolous and annoying Melbourne weather can be. It went from beautiful clear 25°C days when we were in the city, to rainy, 15°C max days with freezing, gale force (up to 80km/hr) winds for only the couple of days we were on the peninsula.

Rye Pier on one of the freezing/windy/rainy days. Photo: Ryan Pearson
This weather, combined with DD nursing a little head cold meant we didn't end up diving at all while staying on the peninsula. But we did have fun, and ventured through the national park and former army barracks right on the headland. That's where we encountered our first ever tiger snake... ooohhh.

Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus). Photo: Ryan Pearson
DD getting her Star Wars on in front of an abandoned gun turret in the National Park. Photo: Ryan Pearson

The wild southern ocean on a windy day. Photo: Ryan Pearson

The flora of the shooting range. Photo: Ryan Pearson
Anyway, after couple more days back in the city and checking out the sights (including the amazing museum), the last Saturday we were there was forecast to throw up some beautiful hot weather. So, we drove back down to the peninsula, picked up tanks at about 3pm and headed over to Flinder's Pier for our first ever temperate water dive.

One of my favourite exhibits at the Melbourne Museum... the interactive rotating touch screens are awesome!

A live bower bird in the rainforest exhibit at Melbourn Museum. This guy was dancing around performing mating rituals just metres from me. Photo: Ryan Pearson.
We got to the site about 3:30pm to set the gear up in ~38°C temperatures. Note, I had also forgotten to bring my macro lens and had to resort to taking my crappy 50mm lens underwater for the first time ever. I donned my 5mm semi-dry wetsuit and scuba gear, picked up my camera, and started the very long, and very hot walk half way down the pier to the entry point. By the time I arrived and put my fins on I was shaking and seriously about to pass out from heat exhaustion... so I rushed into the water and absolutely loved the cool 18°C water temperature.

The long long walk we took along Flinder's Pier. Photo: Ryan Pearson
In all it was a lovely dive with 10m vis, no current, and a max depth of 3.8m... oh, and there were Weedy Sea Dragons EVERYWHERE! Unfortunately we had to cut the dive short (after only about 20 mins) just so we could get the tanks back to the shop before 5pm.
Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus). Photo: Ryan Pearson

Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus). Photo: Ryan Pearson
On the drive back to Melbourne later that day the radio told us the temperature went from 38°C down to 21°C in just 10 minutes! In all, we ended up driving for about 8 hours that day. So... we ended up flying to Melbourne and driving to the peninsula twice (which is a long and slow drive each way) to only fit in a 20 minute dive... and it was worth it!

1 comment:

lily eva said...

Diving Melbourne is great experience.