Kirsty and I had a fantastic pre-Easter dive at Flinders. We were the only divers there, and we had fantastic conditions all to ourselves.8
This was perhaps the clearest dive we've ever had at Flinders, with visibility exceeding 15 metres at times.TYhe conditions gave us great views of the Smooth Rays patrolling the pier, and the view across the gase of the pier at the engine block was amazing. There were lots o Cowfish and several large Smooth Rays, but not a single Weedy Sea Dragon. When filling our tanks later I was told that many diviers had reported not seeing them.
Interestingly, we did see a school of Mado - the first time we've seen them in Victoria (more common in New South Wales), and perhaps an indication of the effects of global warming. In the news this week thy were talking about the East Australia Current coming further South, and closer in to the coast, and the increased food supply leading to a doubling of the number of Fairy Penguin chicks, so perhaps this is related to this.
We had a great view of a male Rainbow Cale out past the pier, at the wreck of the catamaran. There were lots of juvenile Leatherjacketes schooling about halfway out along the pier, and once again they were very inquisitive, and were nibbling on the camera frame, and photobombing my video of a Smootyh Ray. One of them even tried nipping me, My reaction can be seen in the video of the dive...
About 9 pm, incoming SS Penola ( 500 tons) struck and ran down City of Launceston which began to settle almost immediately. Passengers and crew transferred with difficulty to Penola. Sunken vessel valued at about 17,000 pounds - not insured. Sold by auction to Barrett, engineer of City of Launceston, who sold to a syndicate but salvage attempts eventually abandoned. Victorian Steam Navigation Board Inquiry held City of Launceston to blame for accident. Two separate Supreme Court actions by the respective owners for damages found in favour of the plaintiff in each case! An appeal by the aggrieved owner of the Penola for a non suit or a new trial was ultimately refused. Eleutheria, lighter, exhibited light at wreck site until it too sank. City of Launceston was the first shipwreck to be declared an Historic Shipwreck under new Victorian legislation. Built for the Melbourne to Launceston Bass Strait run, it was a regular trader across Bass Strait. - See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/shipwrecks/124#sthash.aPC0R645.dpuf
Divers: Kirsty Batchelor, Peter Batchelor
Weather/Sea: Calm, fairly strong ebb current.
Visibility: 15+ Metres.
Water temperature: 17°C.
Maximum depth: 4.8 metres.
Time of entry: 12:45
Duration: 59 minutes.