Divers Matthew and Stuart Garrow
Father, son and wading wallabies
Cup day 2013 dawned bright and beautiful and my thoughts swung to a dive with my eldest son. Ever since our first aquatic adventures, (the water birth, teaching him to swim, bad fishing trips, snorkelling together) I have dreamed of diving together. He is a newly minted , in Vietnam, PADI Open water diver. Would he be counterfeit or the real thing? His Dad was about to find out.
We secured a berth on the Sea Dragon out of Portsea and set sail for the Lonsdale Wall at the place know as Devil’s Drop-Off. Would this trip find us in diver’s hell or would he together discover the delights of Port Philip diving. With all the other divers on the boat wearing double thick dry suits, twin tanks, re-breathers and enough computing power on their wrist to descend the Mariana Trench he was apprehensive. Always the embarrassment to my son, I didn’t look the part in my torn 7mm suit as I had lent him my semi-dry, my single tank and old BCD.
We were relieved to be descending down the shot line after a dive site and boat briefing that had him fearing death by fire on board or being swept through the heads to Tasmania. A couple of seals checked up on us as we descended and we were greeted by the resident blue devils. Matthew appeared to be surprised to find anything living in PPB . We explored the wall and its nooks and crannies spying leatherjackets, old wives, boarfish, its sponges, Yellow Zoanthids and a lovely Marigold Dorid N udibrach (Neodoris chrysoderma). The tide turned and thankfully we avoided the Bass Strait as we were pushed back to the shot line where pleasingly Matthew showed excellent skills at holding his safety stop in surging waters.
Safely back on board the Sea Dragon we enjoyed a sunny return to Queenscliff marina to warm us up. As we left the marina I was surprised to see what I initially thought was a dog in the channel, but it had rather long ears and a big head. A closer look made me suspect it was a kangaroo or another case of my “Raptures of the Deep” but as the creature hopped on to the shores of Swan Island it was clearly a wallaby having a swim. All in all a good day out, father bonds with son, he becomes a PPB diver, we see aquatic mammals, non aquatic mammals in lots of gear, fish, aquatic plants and slugs and a swimming wallaby. What else could I ask for!!