Barwon Heads Adventure, April 18th 1999

Neil Walker and I set off to Barwon Heads for a bit of a dive on Sunday, 18th of April. It was a lovely sunny Autumn morning, no wind, not much surf, so we decided to do the dive.

At about 11am we dropped down the stairs from the Bluff lookout, me in my new Sonar semi-dry (excellent!), to tune our weights and see if we could see anything interesting ...

After a bit of stuffing around sorting out weights, on a flood tide on the river we set off out in a south easterly direction diagonally away from the shore, angled towards the point, the surge was a lot bigger than we expected, and in 2-3m we pushed out through the current over silty sand until we hit kelp over rocks.

At this point (after about 30 minutes underwater) we decided to surface to check our position, we were at 6.9m, and ascended to discover we'd gone a little further than we expected ...

Anyone familiar with Barwon Heads knows that the point seperates Ocean Grove from 13th Beach, and we could see 13th, and were being pushed onto a bommy quite quickly. Not good!

Neil was struggling to find his BC inflator (unfamilar with the hire gear) but sorted it out and managed to stabilise his bouyancy before we snorkeled off the bommy and began the long trip back to the staircase.

Next time we dive there, it'll be from a boat! Apart from a lot of kelp and a few toadfish, we didn't see much life, except for a few large abalone. As neither of us are much interested in eating them (and it's illegal at the moment!), we left them behind undisturbed. It was a hard dive, and we were exhausted when we clambered back up the stairs.

My new semidry suit was great though ... I didn't bother with a hood, and was toasty warm in water that was about 16 degrees. I'll see how it goes when the bay starts to get cold in winter ... might need the hood then!

In the afternoon we filled our tanks at "Getalife" in Queenscliff, and the bloke who filled them filled them fast. I can't say I was overly happy with his methods. I've been spoilt by fillers in Perth with watertanks and a nice slow fill, not a brutal push to 260bar and "don't worry, it'll be 240 when it cools down". If it was my tank I'd have gone spare...

We then trundled down for our planned afternoon dive at Portarlington pier. This was a very relaxed dive, we spent an hour underwater exploring the base of the pier and the boats (and getting showered by mussels from a fishing boat cleaning its baskets). Vis was pretty bad, as the bottom was very silty and the slightest movement churned up tonnes of muck, but otherwise it was a very pleasant dive, and Neil and I were tired but happy with the days dives when we washed off and headed back to Melbourne in the evening.