South Australia dive report

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on April 04, 2023 at 17:19:58:

Merry and I just returned from a three-week trip to South Australia. Our goal was to photograph the Leafy Sea Dragons and Giant Cuttlefish. We accomplished that on our first day, so the pressure was off.

We arrived in Adelaide for five days at the Intercontinental Hotel.

We walked around town for the first two days, checking out the many shops, parks, and Central Market. The fruits, vegetables, and meats there were the freshest I've ever seen. Steaks were three inches thick. Unfortunately, we were there to dive, not barbeque. We scheduled two boat dives at the Rapid Bay Jetty with underwatersports.com/au aboard their six-pack boat. I rented a Kia SUV to haul our dive gear and cameras down to Wirrina Cove Marina where we would make a ten-minute run to the jetty.

After paying for parking in the Avis Car Park I got back into the car and buckled the seatbelt. I didn't see the arm at the exit drop back down and proceeded to scratch the side of the car. I've never scratched a car before, so I was really bummed about it for the rest of the day. I was relieved when I returned the car and was told not to worry, as I paid for zero-deductible insurance.

The dives were great. Conditions were much like Southern California in the summer, with 70 water and twelve to fifteen feet of visibility. We found three Leafies within the first five minutes. Our guide, Wayne took us to a giant cuttlefish for our second dive. We stopped for meat pies on the drive back to Adelaide, stopping occasionally to check out kangaroos. After another day of walking around town, we flew to Port Lincoln for ten days aboard the M/V Rodney Fox.

Strong winds kept us from the best sites on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula and the first day of shark cage diving, so we motored down to Kangaroo Island. The dive sites were covered by thick algae, or as Peter Tieleman called it, vegetables. Other than a few large smooth rays during the first dive and a friendly dolphin encounter during the last dive, there wasn't much to photograph. We did a lot of swimming but never made it to the wreck or anything of interest. The water temp here was 64.

We made a land excursion on Kangaroo Island to visit rock formations, a lighthouse, and more kangaroos. After a long day on solid ground, we re-boarded the boat for an overnight ride to Edithburgh Jetty.

Visibility wasn't great, but we found more Leafy Sea Dragons and a very large Maori octopus, the third largest octopus on Earth. I was unable to motivate it to come out of the crack it was hiding in, so no photos.

We spent the next two days back at Rapid Bay Jetty. After attempting to make out the facial features of an angler fish, I navigated back to the Aquarium and the giant cuttlefish. I recognized the area after only diving there once a week before, surprising Merry with my navigation skills. Visibility was much nicer this week, at least thirty feet. I was able to shoot wide angle for the first time on the trip. The divers in our group as well as those from the previous trip played tourists by waving at the streaming camera under the jetty.

Leafy Sea Dragon, Phycodurus eques

Giant Cuttlefish, Sepia apama

Horseshoe Leatherjacket, Meuschenia hippocrepis

Ceratosoma brevicaudatum

Pteraeolidia ianthina

Mimachlamys asperrima

Tosia australis

Centroberyx gerrardi

Eubalichthys mosaicus

Enoplosus armatus

We returned to Adelaide for another four days. After getting food at the Central Market, we visited the South Australia Museum, Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide botanic gardens, and the zoo. The highlight was witnessing bats hanging from trees...thousands of bats. Grey-headed flying foxes to be exact. The city estimates there are about 30,000 living in the small area outside the zoo.

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