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Beautiful conditions continue in the river

Last nights (13/7/16) manta club night dive just for a change was in the river! Due to the relentless swell we keep getting in the ocean and poor visibility for shore dives. We already know the river has been having some awesome dive conditions lately so fingers crossed it would be the same. The location for last nights dive was Blackwall Reach in Bicton. We hadnt dived here for a little while and like normal i was looking forward to it.

We had 14 divers all up, some had come along to catch, some for a look at the wrecks and others were trying their new drysuits in the dark for the first time.

It was perfect weather with calm clear conditions although the air temp was pretty low.

After the usual brief and organisation of buddy pairs and checks etc we entered the water. Almost immediately we were greeted by a water police patrol boat that came in close for a nosey. Presumably checking to see if we had our dive flag and oranged strobe, which we did and they pretty quickly moved on.

perth-scuba-manta-club-dive-13jul2016-2The majority of us swam 200m or so along the cliff face to the descent point for the wrecks. Once we located buoy 716 we dropped down and when we got below the 5m dirty water on top the vis was amazing. We quickly found the barge and it was the best i have ever seen it. From the bow of the barge i could nearly see the stern!! It was that good. Swimming down the center you could clearly see the port and starboard side. It was almost like the visibility was only limited by the length of our torch beams.

We didnt stay at the barge too long and after only a couple of minutes we headed to the second smaller wreck to the north then from here there is pegs that head straight out for approximately 70m to the wreck of a cabin cruiser. Inside the wreck we found a solitary pink snapper that was huge. Around 25 to 30kg i would have estimated. It was laying lifeless on the bottom but looked in good condition. On closer inspection we could see it was alive and its gills were moving however it was definitely not right and looked a little sick to say the least. Pretty random finding one as big as this in the river.

From the cruiser we retraced our fin kicks back to the other wrecks. The smaller wreck to the north of the main barge on closer inspection had a beautiful Lionfish hiding inside it and two big groups of swirling cat fish.

Back on the barge we founds so much life, Gobbleguts, Seahorses, loads of different kinds of Crabs, several kinds of Boxfish and heaps of Learherjackets of all sizes. Then at the southern end on the wreck of a small tinny there was a good size squid just chilling out on his own in the dark.

By now my buddy was getting a little low on air so we ascended back up the slope for a safety stop and to grab the anchor holding the flag. We slowly swam back towards the entry area through the shallows whilst towing the flag and checking out some of the rock overhangs along the way, were we found scores of juveline Snapper, more Seahorses and plenty of toadfish.

For this dive i was lucky enough to try one of Perth Scubas Apollo neoprene drysuits. What can i say…… it was toasty apart from a small bit of moisture around one of the valves i was bone dry and what a difference it made. I felt so much warmer than on some of my other recent dives in a wetsuit. Last time i dived in a drysuit other than in a swimming pool was over 5 years ago in the UK and to be honest i had forgotten how good they are in colder water temps. Not just during the dive but also post dive. When you come out and the air temp is low you just peel it off and slide a hoody and hat straight on and your warm as toast. They are also especially good for repetitive dives as you re-enter the water warm which is hard to achieve in a wetsuit.

Everyone had a cracking dive even the guys who were shivering in their wetsuits 

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