March 2015 on the Great Barrier Reef
Trevor Jackson – Spoilsport Captain
From the earliest days of known exploration….men set forth to seek out the undiscovered. Some did it for notoriety, some for money, some were driven to advance science, others still simply for the sheer joy of laying eyes on something beautiful.
Humans love to discover, to explore…Unfortunately, pretty much all the good stuff has been done. The great jungles of the Americas, the deserts of central Asia, the African plains, Mount Everest…the Poles…all taken. If you want to be a genuine explorer these days you have exactly two choices…you’re either an Astronaut or a Technical Scuba Diver…all the other bases were covered early last century. Since NASA isn’t hiring, the real choice comes down to just diving.
When technical diving started off it was pretty much the domain of freshwater cavers. Gradually, shipwreck enthusiasts began to utilize complicated rigs to seek out deeper and deeper targets beyond 40 or 50 metres. Both these groups had plenty of incentives. For cavers, it was pure exploration, literally going where no man had gone before. Wreck enthusiasts had history; drama; and treasure to seek out. But now a third stream of technical diving is emerging. Since there isn’t a mainstream term for it yet, I will make one up…we will call it, Deep Reefing. Deep Reefers seek out life. Life that resides deep in caves and under overhangs, which in turn lie at depths beyond the scope of everyday scuba diving.
Until recently there hasn’t been a whole lot of incentive to deep dive in the ocean without a wreck being your target. Tech diving requires a fair bit of investment in both time and money, so looking for fish and coral has never really been high on the agenda. Why bother when you can see them on any old shore dive? But what if you found something extraordinary, something new, something out of this world, something worth that time and effort? The newly documented “Deep Sea Arcade”, at Osprey reef, off Australia’s east coast, has just become that something!
The dive itself is a 500 metre one way swim in the 60 to 80 metre depth range. Divers are commonly dropped off at one end and spend an hour or two drifting northwards to a protected decompression area. It is a dive site that defies belief, a virtually unbroken ‘arcade’ runs its entire length. Countless varieties of coral and plant life cling to the ceiling of a darkened overhang that, in places, cuts 8 to 10 metres into the cliff face, to attempt to describe the site in full would prove underwhelming, photos can do it better.
One thing is for certain though, Deep Sea Arcade truly is a world class dive, which might bring you to an obvious question – ”How can I get there?”
And for that there is a simple answer. Each year Mike Ball Dive Expeditions runs a specific trip for just such a venture, if you’ve got the skills, we’ve got the means. The next scheduled trip departs Cairns 14 Jan 2016…its name Deep Reefs.
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