Solo dive Julian Rocks and Camera tragedy

Saturday 31st May 2014

Today I drove down to Brunswick heads to do some solo diving as the boys were completing their TDI Advanced Wreck course. As I had sent my video light battery back to get repaired I decided to try to get some macro footage and had geared up my camera with a 100mm lens and my Sola 1200 light. I also wanted to try out my new underwater Tripod for the first time.

On the first dive it was a drift dive to the Cod hole. Within minutes I saw three baby Eagle Rays and a huge Barracuda. As I continued down the Turtle trench to the Cod Hole I entered into a school of about 25 large Barracuda about a metre long! Amazing! I had never seen any so big before and so close to me! They didn’t seem to mind me swimming with them. Of course of all days to bring the 100mm!! Argh I could scream! So all I could do was just swim beside them and enjoy the sight.

I continued on to see the Giant Grouper and a huge Cod hiding amongst a school of Sweet Lip and Jewfish outside the Cod Hole. Some large Snapper and Kingfish swam by. I was starting to wonder why I bothered with the 100mm lens at all!

Around the corner I got to see a school of Cow Nose Rays in about six metres of water, as well as a Shovel Nose Ray and some baby Snapper. I completed a 55 minute dive as planned with a maximum depth of 23 metres.

For the second dive I jumped in at the Nursery and tried to find some critters to practise my macro video on. I’m telling you Macro videography is not easy, especially in a current, it’s near impossible.The tiniest movement an show up as a big shake in your footage so you need the camera to be completely still. I set the tripod up and framed a Anemone so that the Clownfish would swim into the frame. This seemed to work well and I think the trick to Macro videography is picking just one subject and spending some time on it getting it right. Patience is key.

After a while I got bored and swam around and found a school of Kingfish and some Moray eels. I then realised I had been swept out wide and back towards the Cod Hold where I didn’t want to be so I surfaced to get a bearing, and descended again. This meant swimming back into the current which was tiring, and as I had misplaced my gloves this morning I couldn’t use my hand to grab and claw my way up through it. I felt quite overexerted by the time I got close to the entrance of the Needles again so I decided to Bail on the dive. Just before I did a Hawksbill turtle came over to say hello. I completed a 51 minute dive with maximum depth of 17 metres.

So I’m sitting at home feeling a bit glum because I wish I had taken my Wide angle lens today, and it suddenly dawns on me to check if there are any spots on the BNE ex HMAS tomorrow….hey presto yes there is! So now I get my second chance, Wide Angle it is! 😀

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