Mentored by Dolphins at Portsea

DSCN0796After a poor few days of weather at the end of last week, Brett (myself), Luca and Luna piled themselves and all their gear into the caron Sunday morning and headed off to Portsea for a lap to Police Point.

At the pier we were met by Jacinta giving us an equal number of divers to go out with and keep buddying principles safe and efficient.

The beautiful weather had also brought many other beach dwellers out: kids and kayakers, scubas and skippers; all wanting to grab some of the beautiful weather that they’d been missing out on for the past week.

We geared up and entered the water then started swimming out directly to Police Point in order to avoid much of the boat traffic that we would have intercepted had we gone out to depth first then across.

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We found a few good spots and ran some drills, such as prepping, duck diving, equalising and buddying. Luca was on the ball when he saw a large amount of bubbles come rising to the surface after I’d reached the bottom on one of my dives. He shot down to rescue me just as I was coming up. Seeing that I was fine he queried why I had exhaled. I told him I hadn’t and that I was fine, but then on closer inspection of my next dive bubbles were seen to escape from my wetsuit as I did my turn at the bottom.

This is something for all divers to consider and understand as part of their buddying and training practices to avoid inadvertently startling your buddy.

Kudos to Luca for being aware and alert.

I reached a new personal best, having not done much depth previously, down to a depth of 15m with a bottom time of approximately 20secs.

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Jacinta and Luna lead the charge to the next location which was a yellow marker buoy, giving us something else to look at both on the bottom and on the way down, checking out the various life forms that are abundant on most marker buoy anchor chains.

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Continuing our swim to Police Point, I was in my own head and focusing on my technique and energy conservation when I heard Jacinta screaming to me!

“Brett! Brett! Look over there!”

I looked to my right to see a pod of five dolphins not more than 8 metres from me, with Jacinta nearly in arms reach. I was flabbergasted at the stealth with which they had snuck up on us and majestically passed by. They definitely found US considering the intimate distance they came to, which felt almost as a validation to the skill that we have and the peace with which we bring to the water as freedivers.

No sooner had they passed by than we were surrounded by boats. Just like the dolphins, the boats seemed to come from nowhere, all trying to get a glimpse of them.

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And then they were gone. The dolphins had motored on out of there and the boats followed too, as if trying to keep some of their devine majestic beauty with them.

Thankfully Jacinta managed to grab a photo as proof we were there with them, reminding us of the blessing from the sea we received that day.

It was taking us a little longer to get to Police Point that expected and unfortunately the tide had turned so reluctantly we started heading back. It was lucky we did because the strength of the flow tide coming back in to the pier gave us the experience as though we were on a drift dive. Without even paddling it was quite clear we were moving, giving us an array of visuals even just by sticking our faces under water.

On the way back we did a few more dives observing an assorted abundance of glass bottles and shells with a few banjos and various small critters such as hermit crabs and an octopus.

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Arriving at the end of the pier a little bummed the tide had turned sooner than expected, we wanted to continue diving a bit so we played around under the pier with crabs, nudibranch and puffer fish. The puffer fish were apparently having a bit of a committee meeting there as there must have been over 30 in a cluster at one point!

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The tide and waves eventually got the better of us under the pier, having been in the water for nearly 3 hours, as our tired bodies were battered around and so we vacated the water returning to get an early (and well needed) dinner of pastries, packed lunch and muffins! (Thanks Luna!)

Notes: Having hit the water a little late the ebb tide was too weak to bring us to the Quarantine Station in time and so had to go back under the mounting flow tide. Full care and diligence must be taken when checking tides and planning for vehicular transportation and swimming to the dive site.

Specs:

  • Air Temp: 24c
  • Water Temp: 21c
  • Freedive Duration: 1415-1715
  • Area: Between Portsea Pier and Police point
  • Depth: 5 – 16m
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Distance Carpark to Shore: 200m
  • Drive from Melbourne: 1.5hrs
  • Nearby Treats? Portsea Pub