With Australia Day falling on a Tuesday it was the perfect excuse for a four day weekend and a trip further afield, so where better than Eden, deep in the NSW South Coast. The cunning plan of leaving early Saturday morning and going via Canberra worked a treat and bypassed the Friday night traffic leaving Sydney. We were staying at the Merimbula Divers Lodge and had one of their bunkroom apartments to ourselves. Situated above the dive shop and complete with handy dive gear store room it couldnt get easier. Which was more than could be said for getting a late lunch in Merimbula town...luckily the Cantina Tapas Wine Bar came to our rescue.
The diving started in earnest on Sunday morning with a few suffering the after effects of the worlds hottest Mexican pizza which had been yesterdays dinner, but the fresh 19C water sorted that out. We started on the more broken up of the two tugs, the Henry Bolte, which sits in 22m of water just off Ben Boyd point marked by the tower of the same name. Between dives the rib heads back in to Twofold bay to swap tanks and time to grab a coffee from one the harbour side cafes. The second dive of the day was the Tasman Hauler, which although scuttled at the same time as the Bolte (1987) is still intact and upright. There is plenty of opportunity to explore inside and a wealth of marine life on the outside. That evening we went to the only pub in town, which did good food, but like much of Marimbula was rather quiet, although we did end up playing pool with the divers from Abyss who were also down from Sydney for the weekend.
Mondays diving started with a trip to the cave, which for the keen is actually swim-through but the majority of it is very narrow, so we stuck to the front portion and the spectacular wall it sits in. There was a bit of confusion over the second dive, which was planned as a return to the Tasman, but due to the qualifications of others on the boat ended up being a reef dive on the other side of the bay a bit annoying for those that had got nitrox fills, but the dive shop did give us free fills all round as an apology. That afternoon we went to see the Ben Boyd Tower and nearby historic whaling station (the journey is considerably longer by road than by boat!) and stopped off in the Top Pub in Pambula which does a good Chinese on the way home, back in Merimbula we headed to the Cantina which was doing its level best to liven up the town, for a couple of beers and a chat with the owner.
Given the success of the drive down, it was decided to head back the same way which again rewarded the drivers with an almost traffic free trip back to Sydney...surely unheard of for Australia Day- a great end to a terrific weekend!