With Australia Day falling on a Wednesday, what can you do but make a extra loooong weekend of it!
Ross had heard of a large seal colony down at Narooma, so booked us on the Sea Eagle from Narooma Charters . The Boat picks up from the Wharf, just past the tourist info centre. Which as the added bonus of being just below the Million Dollar View Hotel (aka OBrians) a great place for lunch a beer post dive.
Without a dive shop in town, it is the local fishing merchant, Compleat Angler Narooma on the Cnr Graham Field Streets in Narooma which has a compressor and with a little haggling can do reasonably priced fills.
The diving action happens at Montague Island, home one of to the largest seal colonies in NSW. The vis was a bit pants when we there, but with more seals than you could shake a stick at who cares! A fun time was had by all. Ross, thanks for organising a great trip!
I suggested Jill came along, sat on Bazs balcony overlooking the water, read a book relax and soak up the sunshine.
Sorry Jill it was a good idea, when the wind wasnt blowing a blizzard it was raining or cold or even all three at once, Jill had a great time?
Sam and I were luckier the water was warm the viz was good and we did a couple of 20m+ dives to test our kit out prior to the Big one at the end of this month. My first dive was on open circuit as I wanted to check out some regs Baz had just serviced for me. This was a good dive and we both enjoyed ourselves. My navigation was brilliant and we ended up right outside Bazs shop.
We had a cup of tea and then I messed about with my Inspiration which Baz had also had a look at for me. Sam looked on at all the messing about in order to fire up the beast. Eventually everything tested and Al declining a very generous offer to join us we went in for our second dive. More of the same good viz, warm water, lots of Rays, a Wobbie and lo...
After a very dull overcast start to the day over Sydney, the weather over Manly was surprisingly sunny. Excellent conditions for a lazy Sunday afternoon dive! After kitting up with the 400 pro dive divers down there, one couldnt help but think that this wasnt gonna be the best dive, however we would be pleasantly surprised as we actually only saw a small group of them at the start and at the end of the dive. Although without them I wouldnt have found a nice weight pouch to add to my collection. (Anyone in need of a 9 lb lead weight?)
The dive itself was pretty good, good vis and lots to see, no Wobbies or Port Jacksons this time but a load of smaller fish, Sting Rays, a Coffin Ray (Electric Ray/Numbfish), two Eastern Fiddler Rays, a shoal of Squid and we had the usual following of Blue Gropers wanting a free meal. We also had the pleasure/amusement of watching a pro dive instructor demonstrating how to deploy (or how not to deploy) a DSMB by firstly over inflating it, jamming the r...
After high hopes of an excellent weekend, we werent to be disappointed.
A few of us (Me and Rob) arrived early on the Friday arvo to set the camp site up, suss the place out and to gather as much fire wood to make Guy Fawkes proud!
After finding out someone had nicked our allocated camp spot, we had to relocate to what turned out to be a better spot anyway. Plenty of room for an even bigger campfire (good training for hairy knuckles) and to erect the badminton/volley ball court.
However finding the fire wood wasnt as easy task as first thought. Firstly there wasnt any wood lying around the camp site (apart from tiny $20 bags at reception) and secondly we had no tools to help persuade trees to fall down. So in the Yaris we went up the hill side in search of a bounty of logs (what logs I was expecting to fit in the Yaris I dont know), however after searching using my phone light as a torch, we had to settle for some small sticks and a tree stump which happened to burn all night...
Truk/Chuuk Lagoon Trip Report.
On the 31st March 2011 seven divers from Sydney made a trip to Chuuk Lagoon located in the Federated States of Micronesia
February 17th and 18th 1944, the US navy conducted operation Hailstorm a coordinated and concentrated attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy. What was then a battle zone is now a world renowned location for the best diving in the world
Members of the team were due to arrive in Cairns via varies airlines, so it was decided we would meet up and relax in the pool bar of the Colonial Hotel until the midnight flight to Guam. Once the team had arrived pizza and beer were enjoyed and the discussion of what to dive was a hot topic of conversation. A big thanks to Gary who made a detailed book of the numerous wrecks and the dive sites that were on offer once we arrived in Chuuk.
Departure time arrived and it was a good job we had booked a mini-bus! One thing 7 divers do not do it travel light. Check in was a rather uncomplicated process un...
After a rendezvous in Tuggerah to pick up Caroline and devouring what can only be described as one of 'the biggest pizza in the world' we made our way up to Nelson Bay. The Friday night was pretty uneventful, just chilled out, had a few beers and listened to grandad Mike telling us stories from the war and from when he was a lad.
After listening to the wind and torrential rain hamming off the apartment roof all night, it was inevitable that the planned boat dive the next day to Broughton Island was called off. So not to be outdone by the weather, we decided to try our luck at one of the many shore dives sites that Nelson Bay has to offer.
After checking the tide times, we headed over to Halifax Point and waited in the car for slack water. We must have looked like a right bunch of weirdos/benders, sitting in a car in the woods in our wetsuits. After much deliberation we decided to brave the torrential rain and kit up. This is where Daves problems began. Problem 1 The fancy dig...
After a wet April and too many dives cancelled due to bad weather it was great to see a bunch of SSAC members out on Baz's boat especially as wave rider had packed up the day before with the last reading at 5m! As we rounded the heads in the autumn sunshine, the tail end of the swell was still there, but with a long period so reasonable drivable, although did make for an 'entertaining' exit, and a bit of fish feeding.
We ended up on the SS Myola, a collier which sank in 1919, and now lies at a depth of 50m. The wreck has largely broken up, but the steam engine sits on its port side with the condenser sprawled nearby, just up from the prop and stern post. The large boilers are still intact although are known to move around during heavy seas. A classic Sydney 'boiler dive'.
The mission: dive the newest shipwreck in NSW: ex.HMAS Adelaide Having been blown out on the previous attempt, the weather gods choose to smile on us this time with light winds, flat seas and beautiful sunshine. The pickup point was Bayview boat ramp, at the bottom of Pittwater, with a handy pontoon everyone was on board The Tropicat and ready to roll by the 11:45 departure time and after a quick brief we were powering down Pittwater at a fair lick, out past Lion Island, and then about a 20 minute ride to Terrigal and ex-HMAS Adelaide (click here for pdf of dive site). There were four other boats on the moorings but by the time we had kitted up and were in the water, a couple had packed up and gone, so it was very quiet on the wreck. Gary I went in under the bridge, with Gary quickly finding the toilets, before we went on the kitchens, then dropped down a deck, past the generator, and prop shaft (the engines were removed before scuttling) and on to the gearbox. We worked out way bac...
10.30 on the nail, Phil and John turned up at Baz's for a warm up dive with Jonathan and me. We kitted them up with beg, stolen and borrowed kit, they looked well!
We were nearly ready when Al and Anne arrived, Anne was going clothes shopping and Al was going to get wet, I know which I would rather do.
Phil and John were unknown and could have been all over the place but that was not the case it was Jonathan instead (only joking). A couple of extra pounds of lead and off we went for the first dive, we had a good dive and arrived back quite near Bazs.
Several cups of tea later we were ready for round two, more of the same but this time Jonathan was to navigate and again another good dive was had by all. There was a mistake at the end as Jonathan for the first time ever actually navigated to where he should have. Yes Jonathans navigation worked even with a northern hemisphere compass.
More tea and a laugh and it was all over too soon.
We saw; Octopus, John Dory, Cuttlefish, Ray...
This years Christmas-in-July was held in the expansive Vista Del Lago, an Italianate mansion overlooking a lake north of Erina, just down the road from Terrigal. The owner already had the wood fires lit by the time we arrived, we quickly got the Christmas tree set up to add to the festive feel, and when Tash arrived she got some of the legendary mulled wine on the go: all the ingredients for a great Christmas in July were in place.
Saturday started early, and with a round of bacon 'n egg baps knocked up by Rob n Jill, for those diving the Adelaide with Terrigal Dive Centre. While the sunny weather took the chill off the temperatures, the hefty swell made it too dangerous to dive relatively shallow Adelaide so the dive was cancelled. Unfortunately, due to the lack of phone reception at the house we didnt find this out until we got to the dive shop. Not to be diddled out of a dive, four when in for a shore dive, which let Al complete his dive marshalling training and the drysuit...
Disclaimer: This was not an SSAC sanctioned trip. The British Sub Aqua Club does not condone or teach cave diving and believes that it falls outside the bounds of recreational diving. They might be right.
A year spent in Melbourne, unpredictable weather and the ever-present threat of sea-sickness meant that most of my diving in 2010 was in the sinkholes and caves around Mount Gambier. On moving back to Sydney there was a lot of interest from members and friends of the club and an expedition to South Australia was swiftly organised. We ran into our old friends from Brisbane at Oztek and they jumped at the chance to join a combined trip (presumably before looking at a road atlas).
Al, Jonathan, Gary, Ross, Michelle and Chris would be tackling the CDAA Deep Cavern course under the tutelage of Terri Allen. Everyone in this group was an experienced wreck diver and were particularly interested in improving their line skills and learning about site access, but the course is open to les...
The plan was to meet up at Gary W place in Currarong who was allowing us all to stay at his holiday home there over the weekend, which was fantastic. Great little place in a lovely location. For Gary M and I, we chose to take the scenic coastal drive, but unfortunately it took longer than we first thought. Once there grabbed some good old fish and chips from the local and downed some beers with Gary W, Phil, Ben, Rob J. and Jill. Owen and Zoe arrived later that evening ready for the boat dive in the very early hours of the morning.
Once up at the crack of dawn, well Phil was, we drove around the bay to Huskisson to catch the boat, getting left in Garys dust from his M3! Unfortunately Owens car got the better of him, locking him out and breaking his key, alas he was unable to make the boat.
During the hours boat ride to the Drum and Drumsticks we passed massive high 50ft sheer cliff faces and even some migrating whales in the distance. Once arrived at the dive site, downed anch...
Dive Managers, Dive Leaders and Brass appendages.
Tropicat picked us up from Mosman Wharf at 10.30am.
We had a full boat of top grade divers aboard for this exploration dive to unchartered waters;Our mission should we choose to accept it was to dive the Artificial Reef followed by Magic Point.
The team consisted of;
Alex Joint Dive Manager and Dive Leader (dive 1)
Dorota Joint Dive Manager and Dive Leader (dive 2)
Jonathan Skippers point of contact
Owen Poser and looking good in his new drysuit
Andrew A man to be admired
Me Feeling awful
Jules A little known guest diver on a JJ rebreather
Christian A Red Sea diving instructor who has come to check out the best dive sites in the world.(Sadly the Red Sea will never be the same again to him after this experience.)
All went well with this well-rehearsed group of team members until we got in the water, Andrew and Owen were wise and didnt bother with the first dive, Dorota and Jonathan dived in and around the Artificial ...
As the drizzle turned to rain it wasnt looking good for the end of year shore dive at Bare Island. However the rain had pasted and there were patches of blue sky on the horizon by the time I had got a fill from Sydney Dive Academy. I made my way down to the 12noon meet up at La Perouse, named after the French navigator Jean-Franois de Galaup, comte de Laprouse, who landed there in January 1788 only days after the first fleet. With light winds but a moderate swell breaking over the rocks on the east side of the island we opted for the easy entry down the ramp on the west side. The vis wasnt magnificent, but there was still a good spread of sea life to be seen from Octopus and cuttlefish to nudibranchs and stonefish. Once we were all safely back on dry land it was time to fire up the club BBQ, throw on some snags, a bit of roo and some lamb chops before cracking a beer and kicking back n relaxing in the now gloriously sunny weather. Aussie diving doesnt get any more chilled than this!