Dive Report – #211, #213, #214 – Little Blue, Mt Gambier

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Dive: 211
Date: 26/01/2018

Site: Little Blue Sinkhole, Mt Gambier
Dive Time: 30 mins
Max Depth: 34m
Gas: 21%
Max Deco: 0 mins
SAC rate: 13.4
Temperature: 13c


Dive: 213
Date: 27/01/2018
Site: Little Blue Sinkhole, Mt Gambier
Dive Time: 31 mins
Max Depth: 33m
Gas: 21%
Max Deco: 1 min
SAC rate: 15.6
Temperature: 12c


Dive: 214
Date: 27/01/2018
Site: Little Blue Sinkhole, Mt Gambier
Dive Time: 35 mins
Max Depth: 34m
Gas: 21%
Max Deco: 1 min
SAC rate: 16.04
Temperature: 13c


Wow… how bout all that huh.. Sorry.. but all ma dive buds are gonna like all that stuff.

Jane and the OD crew sent a frantic email not 3 days before Australia Day suggesting there were a few beds left at Just A Bed Lodge in Mt Gambier.. and would anyone like to grab one and do some diving?

Heck yes I would.

Then I saw the weather forecast. Bloody 40 degrees across the Australia Day long weekend in Mt Gambier mate.

‘Yeah but you’re diving dickhead.. in cold, fresh water..’

‘Yeah but you stand outside in a snake filled paddock in direct sunlight in 40 degrees with no shelter, and put on a onesie followed by a hefty tri-laminate suit and then lug 60 kilos on your back down a jaggered rock face whilst wearing a neoprene hood..’

So shut up.

Actually because of the weather, most of the sites on private land were closed. Because Total Fire Ban and all that. The implication is that you could onesie-ing up, jump on in.. some knob lights a smoko and sets the paddock alight. Then you’re a bit stuck, albeit in a lot of water.. but probably breathing a lot of smoke, with an exploded car, and otherwise feeling hot.

So we couldn’t dive One Tree.. and we probably couldn’t have dived Ela Elap. Which meant that as Basic Cave divers we were limited to Little Blue, Ewens Ponds and Piccaninnie Ponds. So that’s what we did.

Little Blue sinkhole is governed by the Department of Water and Environment and many other aspects of stuff in South Australia. It’s a bit of a local tip tbh.. and despite decades of raising awareness, it’s probably still considered by locals as such. Well you’d be lead to believe. I’m not calling Mt Gambians pigs, but the place does see a lot of rubbish. Now I totally just ripped this off the CDAA website, but the diagram of the site looks a bit like this:


At the top of the cut ramp is a great car-park that you can back right up onto and gear up. At the bottom of the ramp is a pontoon, used by what I thought was almost exclusively divers, but as it turns out, given the entourage of locals who showed from Straya day.. just about everyone else as well. See:


And so the other thing that happens from the top of the sinkhole, is some pretty serious jumping. There’s actually a few bikes and scooters at the bottom of the hole as well, no doubt from some ratty kids getting some massive GoPro footage..

Haha.. found this..

So the dive itself can vary. On the way in, Georgie and I found some other divers on their way out..

‘How’s the viz(ability).. ?’

‘Great!’ she exclaimed.. ‘..Like about 5 meters..!!’

..5 meters.. ffs.. but yes.. that’s a good visibility day at Little Blue Sinkhole.

So we straddle past all the locals in boardies and stride off the pontoon into 20 something degrees water.. do our checks and descend.. through a thermocline.. where the water settles to like 13c or something..

So we drop normally near the wall on that pointed bit that says ‘Shallowest Point’ in the diagram above. It’s like a ridge.. and you’ll see it in the dubstep lined GoPro video mashup I’ll post below at about the 20 second mark. It gets real fuck off scary and dark on the inner lip to the wall with some kind of black alien fungus stuff so generally we avoid that bit.

Little Blue is normally a bit of a moonscape, littered with relics of the human era.. a kind of silent post-apocalyptic wasteland of ruin. There’s a truck body there, surrounded by craggy trees.. and an old car in the middle at about 35-36 meters. And this time we stumbled across a reasonably fresh tree corpse.. that you’ll see in the video.

I’d have reckoned that across the 3 dives we did there, the visibility was closer to 10 and you can tell me what you think in the video.. but as a kind of consolation for the crappy fire conditions and limited site access, it was a kind of nice surprise.

It’s a weird sensation to hear the locals dropping in from the cliff edge.. the whole sinkhole kind of resonates with this booming sound as they hit the water.. we surfaced once, after a short stop at 6m to find ourselves surrounded by an inflatable rafter, a few swimmers, kids in lifejackets and a single toothed jumper, keen to understand if we heard him.

‘Yeah mate.. real loud’

He guffawed..

‘We followed your bubbles the whole time!’ yelled one flat fringed little boy..

‘I’m a diver too mate you know..’ said some other guy..

As you emerge, you’re still a bit of a novelty to the local crowd..

‘What kind of car is it.. ?’

‘How deep is that you went down in that water..?’

‘Do you have your ticket number 3 in diving.. ?’ .. (what?)

But let the video speak for itself. I love Little Blue in the sense that you can connect with locals, be a novelty for a sec, and enjoy the gloomy nature of the site..



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