Trip Reports from 2013

Apollo Barge (Southern Cross Divers)

With the weather finally clearing, Baz’s boat (Southern Cross Divers) was able to set sail. By a small miracle 7 members of SSAC were on board and all set to go diving. The 3 wise monkeys sat in side, with one monkey turning a slight shade of green as the trip continued. The rest of use enjoyed the sun rise, and relaxing scenery of Sydney harbour as we sailed/motored to the dive site. The dive location was the Apollo barge a small wreck situated off long reef in approx 46mts of water, once the wreck had been “hooked” the usual mad dash to hit the water first began. The reason........not to be the one to free the anchor at the end of the dive! First prize goes to Steve Pearson.

The vis was good with the barge coming to view at about 32mts; this wreck is a dump barge about 60 meters long and about 10meters wide. It has one large hold divided into two sections. There is also a bridge and engine room. I believe there is a small passage which leads to the engine room but was unable ...

Hairy Knickers, Kangaroo Valley Canoeing

A photo from Hairy Knickers, Kangaroo Valley Canoeing

Hairy Knickers, Kangaroo Valley Canoeing Trip Report.

It was a bright sunny morning when we met at Kangaroo Valley Safaris to pack all of our possessions into water-tight barrels before being bussed to the top of Tallowa Dam to head off on out Canoeing and Camping Adventure (Hairy Knickers) .

The deep gorge had great scenery and the many tree-lined flats along way were great stops for lunch and camping over night. We had a campsite planned about 12-15 km from our starting point. With the bright and sunny start, we got going well at a good pace.

After the lunch stop the heavens opened and the macs and kagools came out. The next hour or so was heads down and canoe. The rain didn’t last long enough to stop us enjoying the trip.

As it was clearing up we reached our camping ground. We quickly got our tents up and then a couple of tarpaulins were put up for us all to sit under..

With camp sorted the next essential thing to do was collect fire wood .. (Hairy Kni...

Clifton Gardens

A photo from Clifton Gardens

Having spend all day* Saturday locked up ploughing through the theory of the BSAC Accelerated Decompression Procedures (ADP) Course the students, Rhodri, Duncan and Pete, were keen to put the theory into practise at Clifton Gardens the following day. The weather couldn’t have been better, clear blue skies and toasty warm water. After a monumental amount of kit phaffing the shake down dives got underway. I am not sure what the beautifully marine life around the legs of the pier made of these divers lumbering past with twin tanks and stages, but it certainly kept the locals on the beach amused.

The lure of the club BBQ and opportunity get the cobwebs off the dive gear drew a good turn out from rest of the club as well. While many didn’t progress beyond the BBQ, some got as far as putting kit together and then still not bothering to make it to the water! Either way a fun day was had ...

Shelly Beach Dusk and Night Dive

It was billed as Rob Smiths last dive in Australia before he heads back to the warmer waters of the UK, but unfortunately the gear he'd borrowed had other ideas.

The dive started off fine, a fair bit of marine life to look at (however no Wobbies or Port Jackson's). At almost the turn around point of the dive, Rob indicated that he had a problem with the BCD inflator button, which soon became apparent when he surfaced in a cloud of bubbles, as both the inflator and dump valves were both stuck open (thankfully only from 6m). I have to say I really enjoyed the 500m swim back to the beach. Lessons learnt by Rob, never borrow dive gear off Rob Fenton and secondly know the dive gear you're using.

Sam joined me for the night dive. Lots of marine life to see and was pretty uneventful until Sams Halcyon Torch randomly exploded underwater. I swear I'm not the common factor in the dive gear failures that day! After switching to his backup, we headed back for a well deserved BBQ and ...

HMAS Adelaide & ADP Course

A photo from HMAS Adelaide & ADP Course

Saturday

The weekend kicked off with the smell of bacon frying, which is always a good start. Bacon and egg butties consumed it was off to Terrigal for the first day of diving on the ex HMAS Adelaide on the second anniversary of its sinking. The weather gods had decided to shine on us as there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and as we descended down the hill towards The Haven car park we could see the sea was a flat as a tack. The crew kitted up and made their way down to the slip to wait for Bob to come back from the first run of the day. As the 9:30 departure time came and when those in dry suits were beginning to curse the sunny weather and get jealous of those who had gone for the semi-dry option. The RIB finally came round the corner and after a quick turnaround we were relieved to be on the 5 min run out to the wreck.

While the water was warm the visibility wasn’t spectacular (5-10m). Duncan was put through his paces by Ross for this first dive of the ADP course, while ...

Shelly Beach Arvo Dive

The weather seemed to have scuppered Robs plans of a last dive in Australia with 4m seas forecast, but we decided to head down and have a look on the off chance with a plan B of beers and a BBQ if it was a no go.

Thankfully, the seas at Shelly were pretty good with just a bit of swell, so it was go go go. The dive was great, heaps of life about. The vis wasn’t as good as normal but with the slight swell it kinda reminded me of diving in the UK.

And the best part of the dive, a hawksbill turtle graced us with its presence just as we were heading in. First time I’ve ever seen one diving in Sydney. It was definitely a fitting end to Robs diving in Australia. The plan B went down pretty well afterwards too!

Truk Lagoon

A photo from Truk Lagoon

Global Dive Trip with BSAC Clubs

What do you do when mates and dive buddies immigrate to Australia? Do you .....

a. Say good bye and send a Christmas card,

b. Keep in touch via e-mail, Facebook and Skype,

c. Wait for them to organise a trip and then go diving with them?

That was how it started, with an idea to meet up and dive somewhere warm and like all good ideas it escalated from there. Most divers have been on organised club trips with other BSAC clubs before so in these days of instant and easy communication does it really matter that the other club is based on the other side of the planet? No.

Sydney BSAC had a planned trip to Truk lagoon comprising members of both Sydney Sub Aqua Club and Brisbane BSAC but as with all trips there is always room for a couple more. So a great opportunity was seized to join like-minded divers, dive with an old friend and meet new people. Before long a club trip had expanded to a three club trip, featuring BSAC clubs Sydney, Ne...

Bare Island, Queen's Birthday Dip

A photo from Bare Island, Queen's Birthday Dip

While some of the club were out with Southern Cross Divers to do the paddle steamer Koputia, 8 miles off shore and 78m down, a few of us took the more leisurely option of a dip at Bare Island. The day got off to cracking start with hazy winter sunshine and barely a breath of wind. Alas, Stuart blew a hose, thwarting his planned dive, but Paul’s recently (twice) repaired drysuit and newly services tank/reg’s all behaved themselves. Ben C was there to take his shiny new JJ in for its first dive since passing his MOD1, and Duncan was just there for giggles.

With Stuart and Crossett senior providing shore cover, we set off 5 min a head of schedule (no phaffing with this crew!), about hour before high water. There were so many other divers around you would have been forgiven for thinking that this must be the most popular dive site in Sydney....

Wollongong - Bombo and Seals

The weather was looking touch-and-go leading up to the weekend but a final text message from Ben at the crack of dawn on Sunday meant the dive was on. However, upon arrival in a cold but sunny Wollongong the wind had increased and conditions looked marginal. Luckily a change in the mornings shipping movements meant we could defer the decision to dive by another hour. After muffins and coffee in the local harbour cafe the dive was on again!

The decision to limit the number of divers to five proved to be a wise one since twinsets and rebreathers meant we were tightly packed on the United Divers boat. After a short and surprisingly smooth ride we were soon hooked-in above the wreck of the SS Bombo. The wreck lies in 30m on a flat sandy seabed and attracts lots of fish. The visibility was excellent and there was plenty of time to thoroughly explore the entire wreck. Most of the Bombo is ...

SS Myola. Southern Cross Divers

A photo from SS Myola. Southern Cross Divers

Apart from the stupidly early start, this was a wonderful dive. Flat seas, clear viz and a boatful of divers, what more could a diver want. Apart from Ben's small leak in his recently refurbished drysuit, nothing went wrong. Even the Baz,s new insanity double death chilli sauce was part of the balmy morning experience. To finish it off, we are escorted from Balmoral almost to the marina by a pod of dolphins...even for pointless marine organisms, they are kinda cute, but obviously not as cute as limpets (for the more gullible out there... this is called irony).

Baz's Beach ........Again!

A photo from Baz's Beach ........Again!

After the weather gods had decided to change there mind and Baz had cancelled the morning dive. Mike, Rick and myself decided on a splash outside Baz's shop. The exercise.............confirm Mikes YBOD has finally cleared all the gremlins, me to provide portable bailout to Mike and Rick to play with his DPV. Two dives later, with everyone back on shore and success all round. Mikes YBOD is finally dive ready, Rick should change his name to marine boy and chasing rays so much fun with a DPV!

Ps I apologise for the poor quality photos!!!!

Camp Cove

A photo from Camp Cove

The second shore dive of the weekend was in the slightly more picturesque Camp Cove. Situated just inside of South Head, Camp Cove has a lovely sandy beach and a free car park. The beautiful sunny weather made it a tad popular, but finally everyone made it through the traffic and found a spot to park. As Duncan, Michelle and Ben set off for the dive, Stuart and family provided the shore cover.

The dive plan was simple - head out until we hit a rocky reef at ~5m turn right, then right again when we got to the rocky headland. What could go wrong?! After what felt like 10 min of swimming over sand at 2m it was time to up periscopes and get a slightly better bearing. Before you could say 'look at that cuttlefish' we were on the reef. There was plenty to see hiding in the nooks and crannies, and soon we had done the loop and were walking up the beach taking in the spectacular views of the the setting and city sky...

Hairy Knuckles - Kangaroo Valley

A photo from Hairy Knuckles - Kangaroo Valley

Hi All,

As the trip report never got written??? and I certainly cannot recall a lot of the events! I am instead posting some photos of the event for us all to enjoy!

I hope captain Mike is already planning the next trip!

Happy 2014

Mt Gambier Cave Diving

Aside from some minor navigational issues leaving Michelle’s work, the journey down to Mt Gambier was uneventful with a first schlep to Holbrook where in true Ross & Michelle fashion, we had a cabin in a caravan park; ok it exemplified 1980s décor and had a tv the size on an iPhone but it was cheap! Disaster was averted the next day in that an early getaway meant that we could not find an open café in Holbrook. Luckily, Ross’ capacity to find bacon was on top form and we located a truck stop. Al was initially uncertain but you need to trust the expert… top bacon and egg rolls, we had to have a second. The rest o9f the trip down was ok and we arrived at Just-A-Bed lodge to find it empty of people… the Dive Ninjas of the Advanced Cave Course were still being shown the way of the Force (sorry to mix metaphors but it seemed to work).

Over the next few days Michelle, Al and I went back to basics to find out how this open-circuit malarkey worked… first horror, the gas runs out. No ...

Return to Camp Cove

A photo from Return to Camp Cove

After a pleasant dive here in August, and with a better idea of the site layout (this time we went out along the right hand rocky wall) we decided to return to Camp Cove. The rues of turning up at 4pm worked for the relatively easy parking and the weather was again sunny and sea was as flat as a tack.

Underwater the visibility wasn't quiet as good as previously, but there were plenty of small cuttlefish, a ray which was happy to model for the cameras and Robert spotted an Octopus. There are a few swim-throughs among the boulders which added to the amusement. In summary a relaxing, hour long shore dive.

Somewhere sort of interesting from Botany Bay

Getting Wet Again

For a few of us the kit was dusted off and ready for a a couple of dives with a somewhat extended time since being in the water. The weather forecast was good. Steve and Voyager arrived at Botany Bay Boat Ramp and we loaded the gear. This location is far more accessible than the trip down to Cronulla as was the case in the past when diving with Steve. The parking is free with plenty available, a few close to the ramp and pontoons.

The 1st dive (possibly at Anchor Reef) promised gullies and variable underwater scenery. If the viz was better it would probably live up to the expectations, but it wasn't! So 2 Weedy Seadragons, kelp, a gullies or 2 provided an altogether average dive. This was exaggerated by the swell rising whilst under making the exit onto the boat interesting.

The 2nd dive was a contrast. It was deci...

Swansea Drift Dive

There was some discussion as to when was the optimum time to do the Swansea channel drift dive. The local high water was at 8:14 pm (so around 4ish should in theory would be maximum flow) . The oracle (McFadyen) said anytime between 1 hr before and 2 hrs after Sydney high water (5:29 pm) was fine. In the end we settled for meeting up around 3ish. By the time we had done the car shuffle, had a snack, go the the loo (nearest toilets are in the Woolies) and generally phaffed around the current was really picking up. We kitted up in the RSL car park, and then at 4:30pm it was a stride entry from the wharf and we were off on an express ride to the boat ramp (1.5km away)!

The visibility could have been better, but it made trying to dodge the bridge pylons all the more exciting. The max depth was 11m, with most of the dive at 4-6m. There was rather a lot of boat traffic which also adds to the excitement - it would...