God Bless the Queens, and more importantly Australia, for making her Birthday a public holiday!
It is only a couple of weeks until the winter solstice, and on Wednesday we were all enjoying the warmth of the fire at the Nelson. and moaning about the rain. However, the forecast for the long weekend was dry and sunny, so plans were made for a shore dive and (shock, horror!) there was even talk of doing some training.
Come the holiday Monday, Sydney was trying it's hardest to make you think it was still summer: Sunny and 20 degrees both on land and in the water. There was no sign of the student, so the training was abandoned and the toys came out. Dispite the recent rain, the visibility was still in the 5m range, which was good as the three of us all had scooters and it could have ended in a tragic accident if the vis was bad. As it was, much fun was had by all.
Key point for next time...don't go for an 11am meetup time...the parking is shocking and worse, the cafe...
During last weekend's dive at Shelly Beach Al was claiming there was a massive pack of (juvenile) bronze whaler sharks. Knowing full well that it doesn't count unless you get a picture he was back again this week with Ben and Sam also join the shark-fest.
The conditions were great, light winds, no swell to talk of, good vis and the water still a toasty 22'C. Ben and Sam set off at a leisurely pace (you know you are taking your time when you get overtaken by a cuttlefish), while Al buzzed around on his scooter. 80 min later nearly every Australian fish species had been ticked off, but the marauding pack of whalers were somewhat light on the ground. Apparently, the open circuit gear makes them a bit skittish, with Ben only getting one sap of one from afar.
Still, a bacon & egg buttie with a coffee rounded off a perfect Sunday morning.
On 4th May, SSAC made its semi-annual pilgrimage to Jervis Bay. Despite the weekend being bookended with rain, we had a fabulous day out on Dive Jervis Bay's new boat Wanderer. With the conditions perfect, we did the double dive up at Drum & drumstick, checking out the ordinance and playing with the seals. Alas Ross' recently repaired drysuit blew a seal, so it was only the one dive for him. On the way back we had a bonus tour of the sea caves.
The fifteenth Annual General Meeting of the Sydney Sub Aqua Club was held in the Ladies Parlour of the Australian Hotel in the Rocks on Wednesday 20th February. The outgoing membership secretary, Sam reported that 2019 membership is expected to reach 26, up two from 2018. While Sam was thanked for his three years as membership secretary he is not going far, as he will stay on as the Web Officer. Also changing roles within the committee was Ben who stood down as Treasurer to take on the role of Secratery and Andy who swapped being Diving Officer for Chairman. Marie stayed as Publicity Officer and Fe stays as Expeditions Officer. We welcomed Owen as the new Diving Officer and Gary as the new Treasurer, while bidding farewell to Soo who stepped down as Chairman after a number of years.
The most noted resolution was to have a three month trial of switching back to the Lord Nelson as the adopted home of the club.
The full minutes from the meeting are available in the member'...
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...
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...
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 :)
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...