Welcome to Dive Log Australasia

Dive Log is the premier scuba diving monthly magazine that provides all the latest scuba news and information from across Australia and the Asia/Pacific region. You can read our monthly magazine free by clicking on the Latest Edition tab, download the iPad application at a low cost of $2.99 or find it at your nearest Newsagent for $4.95. Dive Log is also available at selected dive stores. Each month we look at the key issues that effect us all as divers as well as look at great diving locations in the region as well as the perfect scuba diving holiday destinations. We also review the latest diving equipment and gear and scuba courses and certifications, to ensure you are always up to date with the latest and best things happening in the scuba diving industry.

HIGH CLASS DIVING 
ON THE ARENUI 
By MIKE SCOTLAND

UNDERWATER BLISS AT
SOUTH SOLITARY ISLAND
By PT HIRSCHFIELD

SOLITUDE LEMBEH
A LA CARTE DIVING
BY MIKE SCOTLAND

I watch as delicate tentacles place a small black egg deep within the arms of a Staghorn coral. The large Broadfoot Cuttle was elegantly depositing her fragile eggs so far inside the coral, that no predator could extricate them. The eggs were the size of a grape, round, dark grey in colour. Her attentive male suitor was standing guard whilst she performed her maternal obligations. Both displayed amazing colour patterns, changing every few seconds to communicate with each other.

 

Three of us hovered respectfully at a suitable distance to observe this amazing act of two of the most enigmatic of the creatures of the coral realm. It was an experience to cherish forever. All too soon, the pair slinked off to hide. We could see twenty or so eggs firmly secured deep inside the staghorn coral. This had been a real treat to observe in the wild.

 

This drift dive runs along the reef edge for a kilometre. It has many bright orange soft coral bushes, staghorn coral gardens and many clumped coral bommies. Each is home to stunning angelfish, Batfish and Sweetlips. I spotted a Lionfish and a Reef Scorpion fish inside the same coral den.  The Scorpion fish was camouflaged in a deep red hue, blending in superbly with the encrusting sponge and red algae.

 


I have a confession to make. If Coffs Harbour offered an equivalent to the easy access shore diving I enjoy most days on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, I could be tempted to relocate to this gorgeous area in a heartbeat. Not only is the small city with the iconic ‘Big Banana’ exceptionally lush, green, clean and beautiful, but the diving I shared across two days with Jetty Dive at South Solitary Island with my buddies Maria, Lyn and Bert was far beyond my expectation and up with some of the best I have experienced in Australia. The sheer diversity at South Solitary Island seems to bring the highlights of temperate and tropical marine life together into one incredibly exciting dive zone that more than lived up to the glowing recommendations I'd received from some of the divers whose opinions I trusted the most.

 

When I had mentioned to Dive Log Editor in Chief Barry Andrewartha that I was planning to do my Dive 1000 at South West Rocks in November, he quickly replied ‘You must put Coffs Harbour Solitary Islands on your list. I could introduce you to Brett Vercoe. He could show you some of the best East Coast Diving!’ (and as luck would have it, Brett happened to be on the dive boat for one of the days that we booked on). Local Melbourne legend Alan Beckhurst had told me that the Solitary Islands have long been favourite dive sites for him and his talented underwater photographer wife Mary Malloy.

 


My final day of diving during my one week stay at Solitude Lembeh was the ultimate diving experience at this ‘Michelin Star” dive location.

I had paced my order to the dive guides, Harvey and Epat for my final diving feast. I wanted to get a better photo of the Hairy Striated Angler fish that we had seen on day two. I also asked for a colourful Nudibranch with an Imperial shrimp. Finally, I had ordered a Golden Banded Shrimp Goby. This was a triple challenge for my dive guides for a final smorgasbord of diving delights. They selected two dive sites most likely to bear the fruit I had ordered.

My “diving waiters”, Harvey and Epat were up for the challenge. Harvey’s brother, Yayee was another dive guide in training. As it turned out, I was the only diver on this day and all three dive guides were on call to help out! They conducted a starburst dive pattern, with two disappearing off into the misty water in search of treasures for me to photograph.

It wasn’t long before Harvey and I heard some distant tapping. We swam about fifty metres to find Epat with a Hairy Frogfish, the colloquial marine life name. Aussies call these Striated Angler fish, because of their fishing lure. This is a good reason that the scientific name is often used as a preference. Antennarius striatus. For those of us infused with the spirit of Pisciphilia, the love of fish, this international convention is a better solution to the vagaries of fish nomenclature from one country to another.

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