Easter – April 2018
We returned to Marion Bay after a 2 year break, nothing had changed in this sleepy town in fact this year seemed quieter that normal with fewer tourists around.
The weather report for the whole weekend was promising so it was with excitement that we arose ready to go on Saturday morning. There was no one at the boat ramp surprisingly so made for an easy launch. While Marion Bay was calm the horizon was a bit wavy so that was an ominous sign. The mainland turned out to be too rough, but we found a sheltered spot on the lee side of Althorpe Island where it was nice and calm.
No sooner had we arrived when the locals put on a spectacular show for us, by locals I mean the Seals and Dolphins. The interaction was amazing and something I hadn’t seen in my 30 years of diving. It was like being at Sea World, the Seals were chasing the Dolphins and the Dolphins were jumping out of the water and having a great time as were we watching all the games. We were almost reluctant to go for a dive such was the show they were putting on! Their game of chasey went on for hours and they were still at it when we had finished our dive. Although not spectacular scenery, a few crayfish were collected.
After stopping off at the old jetty for lunch we returned to the same location for our second dive where one of our younger members caught his first cray (congratulations Nic).
The seas had calmed down for our trip back and surprisingly we didn’t see any other divers. After a BBQ diner which included some lovely salads, we sat around a fire having a few quiet drinks discussing all the worldly issues,,,, and resolving most of them.
Saturday morning we arose early to reasonably calm seas and headed back out to dive Althorpe Island again although this time further East than the day before. After a flat and easy trip out to the island we found a nice wall and drop off that bottomed out at about 14m. The visibility was also better today and on the first dive Hels and Michael caught a nice big cray. We were again kept company by the local seals that were very interested in what we were doing. The second dive was in the small bay just below Cape Spencer light house. The bottom was about 14m but was very undulating with lots of walls and caves to explore. There was plenty of fish life along the beautiful Gorgonia and sponge encrusted walls. It was a spectacular dive. When we arrived back to the house Ronnie and Pete had arrived and set up their van in the backyard. (Squatters!) They were very relaxed with their tables and chairs out having a quiet drink, looking very much the professional campers. Saturday night diner was at the local hotel after which we returned to sit around the fire again relaxing. After individuals gradually snuck off to bed it was left to Michael and I to hold the conversation and solve the rest of the worlds issues that didn’t get resolved the night before.
Sunday morning was flat calm and we went out to Haystack Island to dive the South side as it was not often you can get to this side of the island. This location can only be dived in these conditions and is known for its walls caves and swim throughs and it didn’t disappoint. Although in some areas the visibility wasn’t great in others up against the coral and sponge covered walls it was quite good. It was a very pretty dive maxing out at about 18m. We weaved out way in and out of the walls and caves until our air supply required us to surface. It was on to Cable bay to have lunch then onto our next dive destination which was the wall along from the Gap.
The wall here ranges in between 5 to 18m but is probably best at about 12m as it can get a bit swelly in the shallow regions. There was no such issues as Sonya and myself drifted along the wall admiring the coral and sponge covered wall and looking for unsuspecting crays, although a few were seen only one was caught. I sure they have become wary by the end of the season and some would walk right back into their holes at the mere sight of us.
We had to be out of the house by 10am so we all packed up early conscious of the fact that there is normally huge traffic jams at Pt Wakefield so the earlier we left the better!
This was just a great Easter, we had great weather, calm seas, good company and very good dives, what more could you want. It was good to share this area with Michael who hadn’t dived these places before but certainly enjoyed them, I think he will be back.
Special thanks to Sonya & Tim for organising the weekend and taking their boat and to all those who attended. Thanks to Ronnie & Pete for visiting and staying for a few days – its always nice to catch up.