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Week 22
29th June - 2nd July 2004

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Let's Go And
Dive The Cod Hole!!!

I booked myself my big diving trip upon Taka (http://www.taka.com.au/), one of the few boats allowed to go up to the top of the Ribbon Reefs and the Cod Hole!  Famous for the hoofing great Potato Cod...  Big friendly things the size of a big dog!  I contemplated doing the trip that also did the Osprey Reef too, but that was $400 bucks more... and there was a good chance the high winds would stop it going there at all, so I stuck with the Cod Hole only...  I'll have to see a shark feed another time!

We  boarded the boat at about 6pm and it set off north for the night to get to the cod hole for the morning... a long bloody way!
After boarding we sorted out all our diving gear and set it all up ready for the 1st dive really early in the morning!

My cabin... I'm on the top bunk...

My dive gear... (second from the end)...   (Spot the slightly smaller air tank... more about that later!)


Dive 1: The Cod Hole

After Brent's dive brief, we were ready to go...

Whilst putting on my gear, the strap on my facemask snapped off...!!!  Bugger!!!  So they gave me replacement... a lovely black rubber mask that was like having chronic tunnel vision looking out of it compared to mine...  Hmmm.

So we jumped in...  immediately, my mask started flooding...  so I was trying to clear it constantly for the whole dive...
We headed down deep to get a decent depth for the rest of  the day... you have to start you day with your deepest dive to avoid the bends... So we got down to 32m... my deepest depth yet... we hung around there for a few mins looking out to sea to see if you could spot any sharks or the infamous Minke whales that were reported to be around somewhere... Still my mask was flooding and sea water was going up my nose, etc. which really sucks! I looked at my tank gauge and it read 100 bar already!!!  (started with 210 bar...  100 bar is your turn around point in a dive)  So I caught up with Neil, my buddy and let him know I had to surface a lot sooner than we expected... Bugger!  I really wasn't relaxed at all on that dive which therefore meant my breathing was not relaxed either.. so I guzzled all my air really quickly...

The only two photos I took on the dive...!!!

The water was wonderfully clear!!!

Dive 2: The Cod Hole - The Feed
This dive I had to prove to myself and to Neil that I a wasn't the gas guzzler I appeared to be on the last dive!  I managed to repair my mask, so I'd get my decent peripheral vision back and no leaks hopefully...

So once we were in, we wandered down to the bottom and off to the feeding ground...  Where Brent was gonna get out the pilchards!

Along the way, we met a couple of the locals... heading off to the feed too!  These potato cod are massive!!! Cod and chips would last you quite a while with one of these fellas on yer plate!!!

Along comes 'Tricky', the Maori Wrasse, eager to steal some of the scrummy pilchards...  apparently, he's mastered the art of opening the food tub, stealing the pilchards and closing it again before buggering off, all in a flash!  so the instructors and dive masters had quite a job keeping his nose out!

Another BIG sea slug... they're everywhere...

After finishing up at the Cod Hole, we cruised off towards the next dive site, Challenger Bay...  A few of us were up on the sun deck, right on top of the boat looking out for Minke Whales...  They had been sighted earlier, they hadn't stuck around...
But then Neil shouts "Dolphins!!!" and runs down below... I didn't realise where he'd gone until noticed him leaning right over the Bow of the boat...  So I ran down and

Dive 3:  Challenger Bay

Wow!  Neil managed to spot this cuttlefish!!!

The Big Dog Bommie... as named by me!!!

Crickey!  Is that the time???

Dive 4:  Challenger Bay - Night Dive

A dog faced puffer fish... they really do have dogs faces too!  Cool!

Blue Spotted Ray

Big Puffer Fish!!!

The weird phallic sea cucumber thing...

Spooky shots of the duckboard

Early Thursday morning, just as we were gonna get ready to go diving, someone shouts Minke Whales!!!
3 Minke whales were circling the boat... so we were ordered to don our snorkelling gear and jump in!

We all had to hold on to the rope... it's the law you know!  Then let the Minkes come up to check you out!

It was dawn, so the sun was really low and the vis was pants... but you could just make out the whales below you...

Slowly the vis was getting better and the whales were coming ever closer!

Dive 5:  Clam Gardens
Aptly named due to the large number of hoofing great giant clams everywhere!!!

Turtles are ace!!!

Giant Clams... Not arf!

Ooh, bubbles!

Dive 6:  Steve's Bommie

Dive 7:  Beer Garden (Agincourt Reef)

Beer garden was a pretty much dead coral dive site... the thorny starfishes came along the other year and ate everything!  ...they have a habit of doing that every 7 years of something...
The reason we were diving the site tho, was that cos there's bugger all coral, there's bugger all fish... and therefore bugger all predators...  so the turtles make use of this by using it as a sort of motel... they stroll along at sunset and kip here the night quite safely

Dive 7:  Beer Garden - Night Dive

Dive 9:  Hog's Breath

Dive 10:  Split Bommie

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