Divers: Deep, Dark and Scary crew – Brenden, Danny, Push, Youri and Dazza
Visibility: 15m Depth: 55m Conditions: Bloody Choppy
The usual suspects arrive in various states of preparedness. Mostly on time although some still insists on leaving it to the last minute. When you are doing these dives you have to be on the ball. The depth and sea conditions are often unforgiving and will bite you if you don’t come early and well prepared. Having done this dive with George in winter, today is a marked contrast. It is in the mid 20’s at Dive Vic kitting up and will get to 30+ degrees by the end of the day. Extremely sweaty is a good description of our body states as the 16 divers and the 35 sling tanks are loaded onto a bucking and dipping Nemo which is being tossed by the NE swell from the nor’easter blowing at around 15knots. The dash out through the heads is smooth but there is quite a bit of chop/swell outside. Gearing up will be hell! as it proves to be, twenty minutes after the first teams enter the water after helping everybody else, the DDS boys finally get into the water. What a relief! Sweaty is an understatement! On the bottom we are not greeted by the wreck but find the huge gear wheels, which I presume had large cables around them which opened and closed the hopper barge doors. You can see these in a photo (pg132) in the excellent book – Victoria’s Ships’ Graveyard written by our esteemed instructor Mark. These lie on their side 20m from the wreck itself. I presume this is the first time anybody has seen them as they are so far from the wreck. I can just make out the wreck and swim off with the rest of the boys finally catching up. We swim down the starboard side entering the bow which makes for a neat bit of penetration. Out the hopper and over the top and down to the barges’ bow. From there we swim back along the port side. In my pea brained head, I want to see the props and so we finned down toward the stern. The rudder is visible, but no props.Hmmm, thats weird? Of course, if I had read Mark’s book thoroughly I would have remembered that it was a dumb barge with no propulsion of its own being towed from location to location. Obvious! We do another sweep up the starboard side, coming back down through the hopper itself. With a minute left I signal to the boys to head to the gear wheels but we can’t see them and we begin our uneventful ascent. Danny completes his first normoxic trimix dive after getting his cert last week. Well done DJ. A very rugged trip back against the swell followed by the compulsory BLT and latte at the Smashing Bean cafe ends another successful and entertaining DDS adventure.