Travelling on a semi-regular to visit family in Victoria, i’ve made a habit of packing my dive gear and taking advantage of the drop in dives offered by Beyond Deep Diving. Last time I was down I managed to get in on a night dive at the Ogden Point Breakwater, and this time I was lined up for a morning dive. I showed up for 0945, got my aluminum 100 tank and waited for everyone else to show up. A little after ten, it was apparent that it was just the diveguide and myself headed out. We chatted for a bit, then got down to the brass tacks of where we would be doing our dive. I said anywhere where I could get some good pictures, and he said Deep Cove was our best bet. We set off and were into the beautiful green waters of Deep Cove.
Deep Cove is a wall dive style of operation, with a tiered stone wall going down to a bottom of sand or sand and broken shell depending on depth. The visibility was decent, with a bit of particulate (it was high tide after all) in the water, but you could discern shapes out to 5-6m and there was a good 3-5m visibility depending on depth. Current was present but negligible, and mostly at shallower depths. Our deepest depth on the dive was 26m, but most of our time was spent in the 12m to 5m zone. The weather was overcast, so I brought my UK C8 eLED, which was a great plan given the darkness in the deeper parts of the dive. Surface temperature was around 10-12˚C, and it was hovering at 6˚C at depth. The dive was 60 minutes (possibly my best time), and filled with life and excellent photo opportunities.
The life in the area was pretty fantastic. Moon Jellyfish and Frosted Nudibranchs were the first up, followed by numerous sea stars and kelp greenlings. The sea star population was probably the best represented for the dive with Pink Spiny, Vermillion, Rose, Dawson’s Star, Painted and of course, Sunflower sea stars all there. The Pacific Giant Octopus made a good showing as well, with three found in the cracks between stones, generally around or below the 10m depth. The vertebrate side of the show was somewhat disappointing, with only a handful of rockfish of various types, a few sculpins, greenlings and a couple of lingcod. A surprise as a decent number of Coonskin Shrimp, some of which were noticeably large and quite photogenic. The Kelp Crab covered rock was pretty fantastic to.
As said in the dive description, the dive was 60 minutes in length and quite cold. Very cold in fact. So cold that owing to the duration of the dive, even my drysuit clad dive buddy was suffering when we came up. Personally, I was lucky. I generate a fair amount of heat normally, but my wetsuit wasn’t enough to keep my core from dropping in temperature a bit. This dive pushed the safety limit of cold water exposure in a wetsuit for me. The dive was a good half hour or more out from home, and my dexterity was suffering as I pulled in. My Nana, knowing what I was up to, had hot tomato soup waiting for me, and afterwards I was into a hot bath to get my body back to normal. I was exhausted and satisfied, but reminded of the dangers of prolonged dives in cold water.
Once again, I had an excellent experience with Beyond Deep Diving, and my Nikon CoolPix L22 worked flawlessly as both a camera and video recorder. I did find my C8 eLED a bit too powerful for illuminating potential photo subjects, but a C4 might do a better job. Macro pictures turned out well and the dive was a success, although a strong reminder of the risks of cold water exposure. Deep Cove was a great location, and I wouldn’t mind headed back and exploring the other direction next time!