Our first dive at the Cuttlefish aggregation site was fantastic! After three years of failed attempts due to bad weather forecasts and COVID19, the drive to Whyalla was well and truly worth it!
Even though the end of May is relatively early in the season there were plenty of Cuttlefish, with mating rituals, threat displays, mating, and egg laying all on view. The males were fronting up to each other, changing colour to dark purple, then exhibiting zebra-striping, side-by-side body alignment, waves of dark colours across the body, and the occasional head-on display with arms spread wide open. We didn't see any physical attacks, although there were plenty of males showing the scars of these fights.
There were very few other fish on view, although I did see a large six-spined Leatherjacket in a cave, with a cleaner shrimp clambering over its side - the first cleaner shrimp I've ever seen!
After eighty minutes we were gettng cold, but torn between staying in the water to watch more of the action, or getting out to warm up. A shallow dive, so Kirsty and I had plenty of air left, and we could have stayed in quite a lot longer, athough our camera batteries would have died...
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: light breeze.
Visibility: 5 - 10 Metres.
Water temperature: 14°C.
Maximum depth: 4.8 metres.
Time of entry: 11:45am
Duration: 84 minutes.