Recent Trip Reports

Manikin Muster at Pymble Ladies' College

There is no better way to burn off the excess calories of Christmas than lending a hand at Royal Life Saving Society Australias' annual championships. It was their 125th anniversary and the event was held in the stunning Pymble Ladies College.

The Championships are sanctioned by the International Life Saving Federation and so are run to a rigorous level of detail requiring deep water (well, for a swimming pool, nearly 4m!) and exact positioning of the water-filled manikins used in many of the events. The championships ran over 4 days, but it was only the 12th and 13th of January that we needed to be there. Michelle, Andy and Fe did an excellent job deploying the manikins in their starting position - it was no easy task as the had to be millimeter perfect in their position and one wrong fin kick would knock them out of alignment. Ben had the easier, but tiring, work of collecting them up and...

Shelly Beach

A photo from Shelly Beach

As forecast, there was barely a breath of wind on Saturday morning and there was still a light fog lingering over Shelly Beach as we kitted up. Alas, the swell hadn't dropped as much as we hoped so there was enough of a break over the reef there a couple of optimistic surfers paddled out, and encouraged me to go and explore the rocky foreshore on the left-hand side of the bay. What a revelation that was! I don't know how many times I have been to Shelly, but I've never been down that side...there were more Wobbies than you could shake one of the Port Jackson at, shoals of fish large and small, Blue Grouper rays. It was a fabulous dive! Max depth 5m, which was about the limits of the visibility. Water temperature was 17'C, chilly enough in a 5mm wetsuit to not want to hang around more than 45 min.

The post dive coffee and egg 'n bacon roll watching the world go by capped off an excellent morning. Giving there were a group of paraplegics off for a dive, what excuses do t...

Australian Maritime Museum

A photo from Australian Maritime Museum

Six fearless members of the club took technical diving to new limits - exploring the shipwrecks of Titanic and German battleship Bismarck as warm up dives before setting down on the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest-known point on Earth. All this was conducted from the safety of the Australian Maritime Museum, without getting wet, no kit faffing nor cancellations due to weather and either side a picnic accompanied by a cheeky glass of wine! We also managed to squeeze in a tour of a submarine and take in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year photos with some club members even pledging to dust off their cameras in the near future. I look forward to seeing underwater photos taken by SSAC as winners next year :)

Michelle

Christmas in July - Mudgee

The days were getting colder so it was time to pull out the Santa hats and pretend it's Christmas. Houses were booked, shopping was done and it was time to head to Dumplings Den in Mudgee for a weekend of festivities.

Friday nights fun slowly grew as people arrived. Andy showed off his sharing skills by supplying the cheese and wine while Soo sorted out the pizza.

Saturday was a free day with people doing what they wanted. The two popular choices were the wine tour and the Field Day (the highlight of the Mudgee social calendar - a fine collections of baby farm animals to be petted, sheepdog trials to be watched, a magnificent collection of farm machinery old & new as well as more wine tasting and great slow cooked lamb sandwiches!). Judging by the excitement when everyone arrived home they were both a big hit.

The main event kicked off with G&Ts around the fire followed by champagne and wine. The food started and didn't stop. Prawns, cold cuts, tinny bum chickens, ham...

Shelly Beach

A photo from Shelly Beach

In the second of the two Meakin dives (see the Bare Island trip report for the first one) the famed former member did make it to the dive site this time. The Sydneysiders arrived between 7:45 and 8:10am and even then you had to go a fair way up the road to get a park...I guess it was the warm sunny weather and flat calm seas that got everyone out of bed so early on a Sunday morning. We'll have to go for 7:30am start next time. Having established base camp near one of the BBQ, we waited for the stragglers.

With a quorum of dives we set off. Marie and Ben hitching a ride to the far end of the reef with Andy and Al who had brought the scooters down. There was good viz on the ocean side, max. depth around 12m, with most people managing the planned 1 hr runtime. Once the formalities of the morning were out of the way it was time for brunch. There was a fine amount of bacon, HP, tommy K, tabasco, eggs, but al...

Bare Island

A dive at Bare Island was the first of two ‘the Meakin is back’ dives planned for Gary Meakin’s return visit to Australia. After organising equipment and logistics the time was set for an 8am meet at La Perouse on Saturday.

At 7:30am Monique and Sam received a message from Gary informing them that he had split his head in a surfing accident that morning and was going to hospital for stitches! This followed the news that a swimmer had been very badly bitten by a shark at Congwong beach the previous evening. The first we learned of this was when 9 News approached Sam for an impromptu interview. This later appeared on the evening news when the ‘local swimmer’ declared how ‘totally shocked’ he was. 9 News failed to include the bit where, when asked if the shark attack had deterred him from entering the water, Sam replied ‘no, but my wife won’t be very happy with me if she sees this on the news’.

During the final stages of kitting-up a policeman approached the groups of divers and...