Redcliffe, Queensland, December 2006

My next couple of dives also involved getting up ridiculously early and driving down to Redcliffe, which is between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. I booked onto a boat with Redcliffe Dive. We met up at Scarborough marina, and after signing reams of paperwork, they put the boat in the water and we headed over to Moreton Island, which is one of the larger sand islands in the bay off Brisbane.

The dive site was the Curtin Artificial Reef. This is apparently the largest artificial reef in the southern hemisphere and is made up of 19 vessels as well as car bodies and tyres. We were planning to dive some of the vessels, though there were fishermen over our first two choices. We hit the water and it was far to say that the current was running like a train. Visibility wasn't bad at around 8m, but there was quite a bit of sand getting kicked up by the current.

In all, I think we drifted over about 8 smallish boats. I think they were mostly tugs. Taking pictures was a bit of a challenge in the conditions, but I managed to get some reasonable nudibranch shots. There were also some morays on the wrecks, some big Queensland grouper and even some Great Barrier Reef anemone fish. This must be about the southern limit of their range. I've never seen them any further south. The water wasn't a bad temperature at 24°C. Depth was 20m and we stayed down for 46 mins including the safety stops at the end.

Back on the boat and there were drinks, sandwiches and enough sweets (lollies) to make you feel well and truly sick before the second dive, which was to be a drift along a reef known as the Pines. This was mainly a series of boulders. Visibility was a bit worse than the previous dive at around the 6m mark. At 14m, it was much shallower and we did an hour. There were a lot of mullet around, looking remarkably similar, but not identical to the red mullet we get in the northern hemisphere. Again, there were some big grouper, a turtle covered in barnacles and a wobbegong shark.

All in all, it wasn't a bad couple of dives. It wasn't exactly great visibility, but I thought the sheer size of some of the fish life more than made up for it, and how often do you get to do 8 different wrecks in one dive? It would have been nice to have done it at slacker water. I might not have had to get up at 5.30am then either.