Oak Park, Fish Soup
We intended to head to 'fish soup' but ended up making it to the cave again. Lots of great things to see on the way, such as giant cuttlefish, large and small stingeree's, nudibranchs, starfish and sponges.
I'm really enjoying the improvement the switch I made for my light makes - I don't waste so much time trying to get the light on an off.
Oak Park, The Cave
Geoff followed me to Oak Park, and we found the club dives going into the water already, so we took our time and did the dive on our own.
I was amazed at how well I can remember the site. I managed to get us all the way to the cave and urinal and back again without getting lost.
My new regulator was really working well - this was the first time I've made it to the cave with plenty of air to spare, my air consumption, even after being out of practise for so long, was better than ever.
Lots of brightly colour sea tulips on the dive, a big giant cuttlefish and some nudibranchs.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sensation of diving again - I doubt the dive was really that spectacular, but the first time back, combined with the sense of acheivement of navigating and making it to the cave and back, made it special.
Geoff also thought it was special, which is great - hopefully he'll be back soon.
Peter joined us as a group of three, he was running a Dive Master course on the day. He dragged us asside and told us that he would vanish after 3 minutes or so, and we would not see him for the rest of the dive. When we got back, we were to act dumb, like we were always a group of two.
That little nugget tucked firmly into our belts, we went off and had a brilliant dive.
My buddy took the nav for the first half or so. Well, actually we sort of traded back and forth. Neither of us was spectacularly sure where anything was. Nevertheless, we got right out to fish soup without actually meaning to, and went past the bubble cave (and its nearby urinal in the sand) on the way back.
Fish soup was excelent, the largest school of Old Wives I've ever seen, and another bigger school of fast moving kingfish.
Other than that, a big eagle ray early on in the dive made it interesting, after we disturbed him, he circled us for some time, always keeping right out on the perimiter of our sight, like a ghost.
THe exit was one of the toughest I've done in ages. Because of the wave action, we had to get out on the south side of the pool. The waves were merciless, dragging you back more than you went forward. Tough work. For the 2nd dive, we decided we'd head to the right (south) of the normal Oak Park reef, across the series of reef fingers that mark the entrance of the river mouth. Our exit point, the rocks at Bass and Flinders.
We attempted to do this, but found it pretty tough going, and the surge quite strong.
Peter decided to turn around after consultation with the two trainee DM's.
The decision was made to head back, and we did. As soon as we got back to where we started, I knew Peter was up to something, because we started to follow the reef out in the direction of the cave. After about 30 minutes, I was running low on air, and indicated this to my buddy (one of the DM's.) This didn't seem to do much, but eventually someone let Peter know for me. He responded that he was lost.
Well, A debate like it I've never seen so painfully drawn out with hand gestures and slates... heheh. I knew precisely which way it was to go back, but noone seemed interested. Finally, my air dipping way below what I thought I'd need to get back from about where I thought we were, I took matters into my own hands and made some pretty straight to the point gestures to Peter (Low on air, thats the way back, point).
We left them to it, arguing, and headed back. Again Peter was up to something, because he shot away as if out of a canon. They hadn't a clue we'd gone, or where.
The exit was no peach either, having worsened from before, and I was tired.
This was a good dive. Gave me some great insight into the mechanics of what it takes to be a DM (and a little of what not to do). I felt pretty good that I knew what was going on and that I knew where I was, although I admit I didn't have the pressure of responsibility to cloud my judgement.
A great dive, despite not seeing much.
Oak Park, Night (New Computer)
The dive was extremely relaxing. I've not been for a little while, longer than I usually like between dives. We had a nice leasurly dive out along the lower edge of the oak park wall reef, and came back along the top of the wall.
The collection of rocky overhangs and other rock structures makes Oak Park a great night dive, there is lots to shine your torch into and explore.
We spotted an enormous wobbygong shark snoozing under one of these rock caves - he was easily longer than a diver.
Other items of interest was a pigmy seahorse, pointed out by Kellie and lots of large nudibranchs. There were quite a few splendid chromodoris about, and unusually, they were quite large ones.
I found I got quite cold towards the end of the dive which is unsual for me, especially considering the temperature of the water. I think it must be that I've lost too much weight for the wetsuit I usually hire and it doesn't fit as snugly as it should to prevent water circulatiing around.