CJ - This is my first entry for a few weeks having been very busy getting back into the whole working routine again which was a bit of a shock to the system having not worked since October!!
I've been working in the Buying Office for Myer, one of Australia's largest retailers for 5 weeks now, working in the Product Development area for Babywear. I've settled in well and am enjoying using my brain again as it hasn't had much use over the past few months!! Only just over another month to go and then my contract is up and I need to decide what my next move will be! My plans have changed slightly over the last couple of weeks and I have now decided to come back to the UK earlier than planned, in August for a few weeks to see family and friends etc and then am hopefully coming back out to Oz to work the rest of my visa out which runs out in December.
So with only a few weeks left in Melbourne I figured it was time I started to see what Victoria had to offer other than what I already had seen. And first on my list of things to do was to go diving in Port Philip Bay where I had heard you could see Sea Horses and Weedy Sea Dragons!! Sea Horses I have only ever seen in an aquarium before, and as for the sea dragons, well they were a completely new species to me, never having seen or heard of them before! So before the weather and water gets too cold, off I set at the crack of dawn down to Portsea about 1.5hrs outside of Melbourne, which is where the dive centre was.
The water down on the south coast is what they call 'temperate' which basically means COLD!!! myself only having ever dived in 'tropical' warm water before!! So you could say it was a bit of a shock to the system when I first jumped in off a pier (both were shore dives, no boat needed!), and felt the cold water seep into my wetsuit!! I did have a much thicker wetsuit and a hood for these dives though to compensate for the drop in temperature!!
The first dive was at Rye Pier, where the Sea Horse colony was. It took us a while to find the horses as they are quite small and don't really move an awful lot, but eventually we spotted a group of them. A couple of them were looking a bit on the chubby side as you can see by my photos, that's because they are pregnant, and guess what it is the male seahorse that carries the babies!!!!
The second dive was from Portsea Pier, and this is where we were hoping to find the Weedy Sea Dragons! Having only ever seen a picture of these creatures, I wasn't sure what to expect. Again only being small creatures and not moving around a lot, they are quite hard to spot, but after time if you concentrate and sit still you can normally spot them gliding through the water!! The weedy sea dragons are related to the seahorses, and you can see this from the shape of their snout/nose. Again another beautiful and graceful creature that I am not sure I will ever see again! Well it will take a lot of persuading to get me in 'temperate' waters again!!
All in all they were two great dives, after I had got over the water temperature and had managed to sort my buoyancy out (you are a lot more bouyant with a thicker wetsuit and therefore need more weight to keep you down). The plants, coral and marine life in 'temperate' waters is very different from that in 'tropical' waters. The fish aren't as colourful, more plain looking, but the coral and sponges, and other marine life make up for that. You just have to be patient and look carefully and there is a whole different world to be seen down there!