The original trip notice has been archived.
Cape Conran or Eden
26-29 January 2017
|Coordinator: Sharyn Wragg |
2017 Cape Conran trip report
Trip photos are below...
Boat: 65 + shore: 3
Some reconnaissance trips had been organised in recent years by Sharyn, then an ill-fated 2013 trip in which both boats broke down
on their first trip to the reef. Apparently the reef was also dived once in the early days of the club, but with no marks for wrecks
and not finding them. So it gives me pleasure to report on the first ANUSC trip that extensively dived this site. The trip enjoyed
fine weather each day with some light sea fog on two mornings. The low or absent S/SW winds was critical to launching and retrieving
boats from Cape Conran boat ramp.
The first dive was exploratory, because our map and GPS marks of the SS Ridge Park didn't seem to agree. We found very
pretty sponge gardens teaming with butterfly perch, wrasse, abalone, and a sea dragon. Although we didn't find the wreck,
it was a satisfying dive. The next few dives found the Ridge Park and an inquisitive seal. Saturday morning's group opted
on an exploratory dive, the afternoon divers chose the Auckland, which bore a riot of colourful sponge, ascidians, and corals, and
a huge painted cray sitting in the open. Fish were varied and plentiful in the reserve. On Sunday we did an exploratory double-dive
on a the central pinnacles along the reef's spine, descending past kelp and scoured rock to increasingly rich sponge
gardens and corals at the base of the walls. Lastly, a blow-off 14m dive between the reef and the shore, where the rocky Yeerung
river channel continues into the sea bed. This was a lovely dive with kelp, PJ's, rays and a seadragon, a contrast from
the sponge gardens of the reef. The vis on most dives was about 10m once down, water a comfortable 22 degrees.
Camp and other activities
Jungle Beach Campsite had plenty of space, and the club chose a shady corner on the bush border to itself. Nearby tracks into the
scrub were used for the compressor, walking, birdwatching. Wildflowers, monitors, echidnas and pygmy possums were seen at camp.
Facilities were good, and the camp hosts Darren and Leasal were very helpful, calling the day before to offer advice on the diving
conditions, and supplying a fireplace and a tractors load of firewood for two nights (as a welcome one-off donation).
The Gippsland wilderness has much to offer, and we visited nearby the beautiful rivers, swimming holes , rainforest and coastal
walks. We also went to Marlo pub on Saturday night to meet the local ranger / tour guide Mike Irvine, and thank him for dive GPS
marks, wreck maps and a booklet on Beware Reef.
The boats performed well, although there was no radio in Tig, so the boats were always together (Torsten brought a hand-held). The
area has become a popular for fishing, and there were some ques at the ramp, especially on the last day. On the trip home,
Tigger's trailer bearing failed resulting in it being hauled home on a flatbed trailer and a very late night for Jeremy
Divers: 19 (SRA members: 18; Students: 1) Total: 26
Sharyn Wragg (Trip coordinator); Claire Scott; Chris Bloomfield; Michelle McKendry; Charles Adamson; Alan Rennie; John Miles; Tim
Stapleton; Peter Christen; Gail Vest; Viridiana Silva Perez and partner; Torsten, Anabel and Jonah Schwich; Brenda Woods; Lucy
Randall; Oscar Hatten; Cecile & Glen de Vine, children and parents; Jeremy & Michelle Weinman.
All participants had a good time and remarked on the beauty of the area and their desire to return when the trip was run again.
Photos courtesy of Alan, Claire and Sharyn.