Recent Trip Reports

The Road to Freedom

Some might say all roads lead to Rome, but for SSAC they more often lead to the Lord Nelson. In a repeat of June 2020, the ending of the (106-day!) lockdown meant, for the doubly vaccinated at least, a return of the time honours tradition of a few beers down the Nelson. Aside from signing in, it was just like a normal night at the pub but (a) you know you get a table and (b) it's not a too noisy, so a win-win.

Getting to the pub meant we were finally able to welcome new member Steve, who had been all set to come down the pub 4 months ago. Steve recently learnt to dive on the mid-North coast and he has all his own gear, bar tanks and lead. The members were quickly able to help him outsourcing them. Steve is keen to build up his experience with any local shore diving or boat diving and ultimately wants to get into wreck diving.

The lifting of the restrictions also meant that we bid farewell to Ross and Michelle as they can finally resume their nomadic aspirations and hit ...

Jervis Bay

A photo from Jervis Bay

The joy of the new normal, is working from home doesn't define who’s home, so Paul, Gary and I all found ourselves working from his recently renovated and very charming Currarong holiday home. The weather on the drive down looked charming, but you could see the wind was beginning to pick up.

By lunchtime the fateful news that there were no dive sites likely to be accessible by boat (even though it is a rib, the 40 knot winds and 6m seas were too much) on Saturday and would we like a guided shore dive on the far (south) side of bay? We all agreed that was probably not the best value and maybe it would be a good day for a hike instead.

Sandy, Duncan and Sam all arrived early Friday evening, by which time the wind had picked up and rain had set in, not that that worried us as we enjoyed curry and pizzas around the fire.

Saturday morning was blustery but dry, so we set off on a hike around Beecroft Head. First stop, Whale Point, site of the [TSS Merimbula](https://www.micha...

Camp Cove

A photo from Camp Cove

Michelle decided to celebrate the arrival of a sunny summer with a shore dive Camp Cove. The trip plan did remind people parking was a nightmare anywhere near this penultimate harbours side beach on South Head, so to get there early. What it left out is that Ross & Michelle were aiming for a pre-dive breakfast and so got one of the last spots at 7am! I arrived 45 minutes later, and had 10 min wait for a spot to come up, so not too bad considering it was a gorgeous day. The others appeared to be missing in action, or maybe just stuck in traffic so we went in and followed McFadyen’s guide. The abridged version is: head from the carpark down to the beach and straight into the water, surface swim to the big post, and if organised take a bearing on the harbour bridge/city. Descend (~4m), head east, and after ~10m you will hit a low rocky reef (depth 5-6m). Swim, keeping the reef on the right, if you are good on air you...

Bare Island

A photo from Bare Island

A few hardy souls met at 0800 near the walkway to Bare Island. More than redolent of a UK dive - whitecaps in the bay, the mizzle* making everything damp and much muttering of 'we got up for this?'. At this point, one of our intrepid explorers mentionned he had forgotten his fins. Given the distance this person had driven to join us, we gave him the benefit of the doubt - this was not a polite way of stating a perefernce for a warm dry car (by the way, did I say it was not warm... Michelle even broke out the beanie [editorial comment - wusses, it was over 20 degrees!).

Ben , Ross and Michelle embarked as a team of three, and as a first for that particualr combo - dived as a 3, staying in good visual distance and actually surfacing at the correct spot.

The dive was great, viz about 5-10mwith lots of life. Ross rediscovered nudibranch spotting (ever the malacologist) and Ben found us a cute little octopus in the sand to round out the mollusc-fest.

AFter a lovely dive, we...

Bass Point

A photo from Bass Point

Finishing 2020 just like we began, SSAC was again diving at Bass Point and again we were beaten by the summer crowds and ending up diving the Gravel Loader. On the plus side at least there were no Bushfires to worry about even if the holiday traffic resulted in a classic 'rolling wave' dive formation with pairs going in as and when they arrived.

Pulling stumps and retreating to Rick & Soo place we planned an early arrival at Bushrangers Bay the following day. While the weather was more overcast, the bay was flat as a tack, which combined with a handy rock platform to sit t...

Bare Island

A photo from Bare Island

7:20am Friday morning and damn, I will have to make do with the second closest (and free, a pleasant change from Shelly's daylight robbery!) parking spot to the path down to the island. Mark and Simon pulled up 5 minutes later in the spots behind. Despite the parking frustrations, the weather couldn't be better: sunny, light winds, almost no swell and a flood tide.

We took advantage of the good conditions and did a stride entry off the east side of the island. I was armed with the macro lens and on a nudibranch mission. There were rich pickings when the octopi, grouper and conger eels weren't trying to steal the action.

Before I knew it the 60min dive time was up and time to head for the exit on the west side of the island (with a pit stop on the mainland for the navigational challenged....which in hindsight could be a handy short cut if you don't mind a bit of a scramble up to the bridge). As we were packing up (10ish), wave upon wave of divers were heading in. Were they...

Shelly Beach

A photo from Shelly Beach

In a break with tradition, the weekend dive at the SSAC perennial favourite dive site, Shelly Beach, was on a Sunday afternoon rather than first thing. I had barely stopped to say 'hi' to new members Martin and Calum who were kitting up in the car park and when a spot in the as-expected-packed car park opened up, which was a great start.

Down on the beach, the big turn out were in various stages of kitting up and heading off to the water. Al as always on a scooter mission. Duncan was testing out his recent services gear (outcome: First Stage had done their usual good job) with dive buddy Sam. Sandy and Anne were providing shore cover and I was helping Andy test his scooters (aka phaff) and get my open circuit gear back up and running (aka yet more phaffing). Why revert to OC? A backup plan as the COVID induced cell shortage begins to bite the rebreather divers.

The vis was nothing to write home about, but the water was beginning to warm up (19' on the surface...1...