Shag Rock and Flat rock at Stradbroke

Good Friday 6th April

Nick K and I set off to Stradbroke Island for the early two dives. 5.55am ferry across and we were greeted by Manta Lodge there who took us to the dive shop. James the dive master was on again, and we really appreciated his caring and professional attitude, if only all dive masters were like him!

Had to ‘slum it’ (laughs) with a single cylinder today as they don’t allow twins on board. Nick got to dive sidemount. Diving single wasn’t so bad though, gave me more flexibility in body position when taking photos but I did miss my twins and hate weight belts. Whoever invented those things was not thinking about ergonomics.

Our first dive was on Flat rock where there was some current, pretty good VIS about 20m and we did a 55 minute dive here with a maximum bottom of 25m but an average of about 19m. Highlights were playing with a Leopard shark who was getting cleaned and circling us, lots of clown fish cities, two Octopus, a Giant Moray that was shy and I couldn’t quite get a good shot of him…

After our second interval we headed to Shag rock and did a 50 minute dive here with a maximum bottom of 12.5m. I found my first anemone crab which was surprisingly not as shy as I would have thought and just sat there while I tried to get my camera down a crevass and get up close for a photo! Lots of Sponges and Feather stars, Wobbegongs and Blind Sharks, Stone fish, Angel fish, Batfish, Lionfish, yellow spotted Moray eel.

I was surprised we didn’t see any rays at all on either of the dives, and also that there was a lot of broken dead coral around; I’m hoping from the storms of late and not divers kicking it!

There is no toilet on the boat with Manta Lodge so prepare to pee in your wetsuit, it is inevitable. I had a great day of diving and am booked on again tomorrow so can’t wait to do some more exploring. I even seem to be getting the hang of my longer strobe arms and double strobes now which is great. Perseverance does prevail. I’m playing around with manual white balance and strobes at the moment which does seem to help the colour correction and metering however it is logistically difficult to do underwater at every shot, I will need to make some modifications to have a longer strap on the white card so I can expose it properly. My shots of the stone fish came out a bit yellow and I think my yellow nail polished finger may have got into the metering process!

Nick is trying out the Contour at the moment, and I am really surprised at how well the colour adjusts so far underwater without any light. Nick thinks it’s better than the Go Pro but I can’t say as I haven’t tried either! I just know that Go Pro is marketed really well and everyone diver and his dog seems to have one at the moment.

More tomorrow!…Happy Easter 🙂

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