A small group of Society members were able to stay at the Moonta Bay Beach Villas over the weekend recently, thanks to the kindness of Peter Anastassiadis. We were supposed to be a bigger group, but half of the group cancelled out at the last minute due to cold or flu problems.

Lyndon and David arrived at the villa on the Friday night. They were soon joined by Haixia Wen. Lyndon was able to do some stand-up paddle boarding by the nearby jetty on the Friday.

I (Steve) drove up to the villa on the Saturday morning. David checked out both the Moonta Bay and Port Hughes jetties for diving entry whilst waiting for me to arrive. The steps at the Port Hughes jetty were closed to divers due to a loose pile. Entry at Moonta Bay jetty is mainly via steps into the swimming area there.

Steve arrived at the villa just before David returned with the news that we would be diving at Moonta Bay. Each of us drove our cars down to the jetty and prepared to dive, although Haixia elected to not dive at all. She preferred to take photos of proceedings and assist the divers with their gear.

Lyndon decided that the clear shallow water at the jetty was best suited to a snorkel. He entered the water well ahead of Steve and David who were both going to scuba dive.

Lyndon snorkeling near the steps

(Photo taken by Haixia Wen)

Lyndon did several swims around the jetty by the time that David and Steve got started. (We took our time when Lyndon informed us that the water temperature was a mere 14 degrees C.)

David preparing to dive

(Photo taken by Haixia Wen)

David spent his entire dive time within the swimming area after finding several pipefish there and seeing so much growth on the fencing on the jetty. Steve made his way out to the outer end of the jetty. He found a pair of seahorses along the way.

Steve found the odd nudibranch and crab during his dive. There were lots of small fish to be seen, including a ringed toadfish, some weed whiting, bullseyes, magpie perch, cowfish and hardyheads. A small cormorant could be seen diving down into the water a couple of times (mostly seen on its way back to the surface).

The two short-head seahorses were the highlight of Steve’s dive though.

One of the two short-head seahorses

(Taken by Steve Reynolds)

Steve found the ringed toadfish and a juvenile cowfish to be friendlier than normal. These fish are normally quite camera shy, but a couple of them (one of each) actually approached Steve’s camera rather than swim away from it. Here are the results: –

The ringed toadfish and juvenile cowfish

(both posing for Steve’s camera)

There is much growth on the jetty piles, making the site a pretty dive. Steve made his way back to the swimming area, taking photos along the way. He found David preoccupied with his camera at the fence in the swimming area. He was feeling quite cold but still persisted with his dive for a good while after Steve’s exit from the water. (Part of the reason for his coldness turned out to be an unzipped wetsuit.)

Haixia looked after our individual car keys for us whilst we dived. She handed the keys back to Steve so that she could return back to the villa to cook up a hot meal for us. Lyndon also headed back for lunch since David was still in the water. Steve waited on David and helped him to change. It was nice to return to a hot meal at the villa, thanks to the ever industrious Haixia who never ceases to amaze those around her.

The wind picked up whilst we ate our lunch and further diving looked unlikely. Lyndon decided to make an early departure in order to travel to Peterborough to catch up with his mother. Whilst Haixia insisted on cleaning up after our meal, David and Steve drove off in search of diving or snorkeling possibilities. It was a wasted effort thanks to the lack of entry at the Port Hughes jetty, the rising tide and the increasing wind. They returned back to the villa in time to farewell Haixia who had decided to drive back home before it got too late.

Steve also decided to leave for home a little earlier than planned. Haixia was thanked for her help and we then said our goodbyes to each other. David was able to stay for another couple of nights. This was only fair since it was David who had first been offered the use of the villa. This offer eventually extended to Society members in general.

Our thanks go to Peter Anastassiadis for his kindness in providing the accommodation at the villa for us.

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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