City of Geelong
Geelong is the second largest largest city (urban pop. 200,000) in Victoria, about 70km SW of Melbourne. Geelong spreads around the shores of Corio Bay with Torquay, Bells
Beach and The Great Ocean Road to the southwest, and to the east
are the Bellarine Peninsula, Queenscliff, and The Rip.
Google Map of Port Phillip and surrounds
is in the sub-temperate zone of the southern hemisphere with water temperatures ranging from 9c to 22c inside the bay and 12c to 18c outside the heads in the nearby ocean.
This means we dive on rocky reefs with kelp forests, sponge gardens and
sandy plains. We can't boast of clear, calm, tropical warm water but
we do have more diversity in our marine plants and animals. Many of them are endemic, which means they are not found anywhere else in the world.
Current wind directions and water temperature
of our diving is done 30km to the east of Geelong in and around the
entrance to Port Phillip, known locally as "The Rip". This 3km wide
entrance can be wild and trecherous at times with ripping currents and
breaking swells. Cutting right through the middle of The Rip is a
deep trench (100m at the deepest point) which provides some spectacular
wall diving with wildly coloured sponges and abundant critters. This
trench is the ancient path of the Yarra river.
Most diving in this area is tide dependant. We either wait for the short slack water periods or drift with the current.
Outside The Rip dives are less affected by the tide but more affected by the Southern Ocean swell.
Current ripcam view The Rip
Panorama of The Rip area
Rip is one of the most dangerous habour entries in the world. As a result there are many historical shipwrecks to explore. There is also the extensive ship's graveyard a few km outside the bay with hundreds of scuttled ships to dive, including some WW1 J-class submarines. Some
wrecks, like the Eliza Ramsden (20m) and J4 sub (28m), are shallow
enough for Advanced certified divers while most others are deeper than
40m and require higher levels of certification and equipment.
Most ships take on a seapilot just outside the heads to negotiate the narrow channel
through The Rip and on to the busy ports of Melbourne and Geelong.
Local divers are accustomed to hearing the deep roar of the orange pilot
boat's motors as it charges out to meet another big vessel.
In October 2009 the ex HMAS Canberra frigate was sunk a few km outside the heads in 30m as an artificial reef and dive site.