It was the Australia Day weekend and the forecast was for hot and sunny every day, what could be better! Well clocking off work early and getting to Jervis bay by mid evening was one, and having fairly palatial accommodation was another...even if it did have a bit of a Swedish sauna theme to the dcor! The rest of the crew rocked up over the course of evening, although Bec n Jules were staying down the road a local campsite so only swung by to drop Red off.
Come Saturday morning, Bec calls it a day as her rebeathers gone belly up so they are heading back to Sydney. The remaining 6 of us headed down to Deep6 in Husskison
for a trip out on their larger boat, Avalon at 8am and there wasnt a cloud in the sky. The trip out to Point Perpendicular took about 35 minutes so we settled down to enjoy the cruise. Outside the heads there was a reasonable swell but we were able to tuck in close to the sheer cliff faces fora bit of shelter both of the dives. The water was about 20C at the sur...
Not quite a dive... members of the club went on a camping weekend at Bents Basin (nr Penrith). Pete organised the venue, the guys in Stuarts car organised vast amounts of beer and Ross provided firewood. Great weekend, camping, canoeing in the lake (if one is planning to steal a canoe.. make sure its a light one!), swimming, comedy boomerang chucking and then barbie and beer. The only lowlight was the lowlife bogans partying all night.. yes longer and louder than us.. envy is such a wonderful thing. Red had to b restrained the following morning from reducing the population of the world by 3... The following day.. nice walk and an ice-cream, although we are still scarred by enduring Greensleeves for an hour...
Another great weekend aboard the Ocean Trek run out of Huskinson.
Organised by Bec, who sadly could not dive after being felled by a heavy cold, the five remaining divers were spoilt by some superb dive sites in the bay.
After a shaky start with some dry suit and kit problems (time for a little expenditure on kit service guys?) we started with two dives around Bowen Island to the South before the wind swung around and the diving moved across to the Northern Head of the bay.
The third dive was superb with great viz and the classic rocky underwater terrain Jervis Bay is known for. Cuttlefish, Eastern Blue Devils, Wobbies and some bull rays all throwing them selves at us during each 40 minute dive.
The boat crew were their usual efficient and jolly selves. The food as usual was plentiful. All washed down enthusiastically with a few recreational glasses of ale and wine of an evening.....
Another positive was that we met another two gorups of divers from Canberra and Sydney. who wer...
Following on from Rick's ravings about the diving on Stradbroke Island Ben decided it would be a perfect destination for a joint trip with our northern cousins BeeSAC. Ben rallied five divers from SSAC and Jason Pacey co-ordinated diving, food for 12, and the BeeSAC divers.
For most the trip started in Brisbane around 5am on Good Friday when alarms went off to get to the ferry port in time to meet where the skipper, Ken, and his troopie for the 7am ferry, however Ben, Al I decided rather than go for the early morning we would head over the night before so we left Brisbane Thursday afternoon to get a ferry to the island, via a shopping mall as Ben's sleeping bag was still in Sydney! On arriving in Straddie we were pleased to find that Jason's instructions to find the house were easy to follow even in the pouring rain. After Al's 'careful' testing of the ground to find the quick sand we parked up, unloaded the car and sat down to enjoy our pizza dinner and drinks.
Note to self: ...
It was a lovely sunny day and a southerly change due around lunch time so a perfect day for a cheeky mid morning dive on the Bombo down at Wollongong. The vis was up to 20m so it was only the excessive fish life which got in the way of the view of the huge boiler, the engine, the up right stern prop (the rest of the boat is upside down).The bow has largely collapsed, but there was a large wobby hiding in between the plates. The post dive trip to the Five Islands Brewery for lunch and a pint of the latest brew: Obama Ale, wrapped up an excellent trip.
A most excellent dive. Yves is offering a 'buy one, get one free' deal for May so we all had a double dive for 35 each.. fantastic. The boat is quiet and fast, with loads of space.. what more would you want (bring your own Tabasco for the soup). There was a bit of a sea running so Becs did a good job of feeding the fish (moral... pharmaceuticals are good!), but it was slight, certainly nothing to make getting out of the water difficult.
There were 4 divers from the club on board. Yves took us to what he calls mid-way reef(off Dee Why). We had excellent vis (first dive was about 15m horizontally) and could clearly see the boat from bottom at 25m. There was a top cave to bimble in, lots of overhangs and swim-throughs. The cave was spoilt a bit by being very full of fish, but they soon disappeared when I had to beat the cr*p out of my torch to get it to work (yippee Ross gets to shop for more diving kit)
Excellent day on and under the water.
ps.. the photo's were really taken by J...
Pete and I were the first to arrive at the Superior Riverside accommodation. It did what it said on the tin, being a comfortable, well appointed modern cabin. We bagged our beds and waited for the rest of the gang to show up and when they did they promptly re-arranged the sleeping arrangements. A few drinks later it was off to bed ready for an early start.
The next morning we were on the boat and on the way to Fish Rock. I chose Fish Rock Cave for my first dive and, because it was so good, for my second dive too. These were both great dives with fish life all over the place: Sharks, Wobbies, Rays, Lobsters, Cray fish and so much more.
That night was spent at South West Woks a good Thai restaurant which served great food including the Ginger Dish of Death Ben the ginger mans favourite.
Sunday was not so clever weather wise and everyone was moaning and groaning and wondering if the nice warm bed was a better option I was game as UK diving conditions are not too distant a memory f...
The big seas on Friday night had dies back to a slow rolling swell which, with the light westerlys, made for a fast run up to Long Reef from Rose Bay on Yves boat. The fist dive of the day was the Dunkenfield, a 50m collier which hit long reef sank in 1889 and now sits at 25m. The large two cylinder engine is still sitting upright amongst the splattered plates with the boiler just off to one side. Stu made a good effort of examining every inch of it in the gloomy conditions.
Once all back on board the good ship Mv Mindarie there was lashing of soup (which now comes served with tabasco!) and timtams, before we headed south to the second dive site: the Royal Shepherd. Another collier, which was also under the command of Captain Hunter (although the sinking wasnt his fault this time!) which sank in 1890 and is at 29m. Bec I were the second pair in. Unfortunately the vis had dropped to 2m and the sinking feeling got worse when we realised that the anchor was sitting on sand! Not to be ...
Another sunny winters day with conditions flat as a tack!
2 dives, the first at 'The Waterfall' - Sydney Nth Head (26m) and the second at 'The Colours' Sydney Sth Head (16m). Viz ranged from 15-20m on the first dive to 10-15m on the second dive with a fair amount of surge experienced on the second dive. A highlight included a massive 1.5m diameter ray, plenty ofsoft coraland a blue groper that decided to harass me.
The Colours: http://www.michaelmcfadyenscuba.info/viewpage.php?page_id=273
Thanks to Jules and Mike!
*Jules took the photos
One of the best inventions on the Antipodean continent clearly is to party twice, where everyone else on Earth only does so once a year! Having integrated perfectly in our chosen home (except for those especially honoured born-and-bred-Aussies in the club, who obviously find nothing unusual with expecting Santa Claus in July), we had a proper Christmas in July party in a suitable cold place. Megalong Valley managed to survive our attentions the second year in a row, and it may or may not be lucky that the back of the homestead is not visible from any main road. At least we think it isn't. Hope. Well.
In either case, the prize for the most impressive outdoor lights display clearly goes to this year's decorators. Suffice to say that the result shouldn't go on the web site, as it may offend adult viewers and puzzle children. I'd just love to hear the explanations parents of 5 year olds might come up with, about what that dazzling light display depicted!
Of course, there was also ...
A record-breaking 2.5 hour run down the coast saw us ensconced at 63 Burrill Street on Friday night with time to spare for a couple of beers.
Flat seas and sunshine meant that the 14 degree water came as a nasty shock when we jumped off Genesis at the Australian Fur Seal colony south of the bay. There were a few sea lions playing at the surface, but they didn't seem as interested as they did on our trip last April. I suspect that visiting earlier in the season before the pups are born might be the key next year.
We lost one diver to a terminal hangover on Sunday morning and headed North out of the bay to the smaller seal colony, breaking the journey with a dive at everyone's favourite site; the Whorehouse (nomenclature based on the number of exits from the labyrinthine cave system beneath a monolithic boulder).
Our final dive was on the small wreck of the Wandra; a steamer which went down in the early 1900's leaving a boiler, engines and winch assemblies scattered across a ...
Meeting with military precision at 0630 at Southern Cross Divers, we kicked the day off by hanging around for half an hour fixing Baz's engine*. With that problem solved, the engineering committee merged into the dive gear assembly committee and finally managed to produce something vaguely resembling a twinset for Gary's first dive on Long Reef.
The delay in leaving didn't cause any of the usual problems as there was no wind, no current, and flat seas outside the heads. Visiblity on the bottom was excellent, with the Meggol clearly visible off the starboard side of the Dee Why. Everyone swam across to explore the relatively intact stern section of the old minesweeper after an interesting poke around the Dee Why's boilers.
Al and Mike were last back on the line and did a beautiful job of freeing the anchor and half-filled the lift bag to perfection. No one could possibly hold them responsible for failing to attach the it to the chain first...
100% turnout. All three turned up -- Rick, Jonathan and petit moi.
We followed the shark net on the outside (yeah, nice idea boys for a twilight/night dive). Marine life was excellent 'Seahorse Portrait', 'Surprised Seahorse', 'Baby Firefish', 'Friendly Cuttlefish', 'Newcastle United nudibranch' [probably quicker than a real player], 'Baby Cuttlefish', amongst heaps of other things. Rick claims it's one of his best dives in Sydney See if you can match the previous descriptionsto the photos below. Go to Rick's page for the answers rickgrundy.com/SydneyMarineLife
The club will be making Tuesday evening dives a regular occurrence. Nights are getting lighter -- good opportunity to do some photography, kit familiarisation and/or training. And for those that think the water's a tad on the chilly side at the mo, our intrepid wetsuit diver Jonathan managed a good 40 mins before his pinkies started to turn into bluies.
Only thing that's missing, sez Stuart, is a hot flask of tea for ...
With grey skies we met a Clovelly carpark for a single shore dive. Jules and Gary buddied and for over an hour and enjoyed the company of a large hungry blue groper, wrasses, cuttle fish and open water divers. Aimee and Bec took in the delights of the nuseries of baby fusiliers. With warm 20 degree water and 10-15m viz it made for a crusie dive. Rain, lightning and a few sets made for an energetic exit and a good giggle back at the carpark.
Some of the usual suspects had signed up for a trip out to Long Reef with Baz (Southern Cross Divers). A stiff breeze on Friday had whipped the seas up to 4m (according to wave rider) on Friday evening. This had nothing to do with Sickboy and Al cancelling the dive at the last minute, neither was the fact that Sickboy was in the Observer Hotel at gone midnight! However the forecast was for it to drop overnight and it was certainly a beautiful morning as we headed out from The Spit. Once past the heads we could see the forecasters had got it right and there was just the tail end of a rolling swell, you can tell how calm it was as 'canary' Michelle remained pink around the gills throughout the dive! Baz hooked in 'the barge' - which once used to dump ash from the Pyrmont Power Plant out at sea, until it was dumped itself in the late 70's. It sits up right at 46m, has an engine room and wheel house at the stern, three large holds,which you can swim between and winch at the bow. After a...
Another chunder dive was experienced by a few of us! Due to rough conditions, we dived inside North Head with Mike W, Owen, Vicky, Dave, Julian and Bec.
Dive one was at Waterfall, close encounters with Port Jacksons, wobbies, fusiliers, blue gropers and soft coral with plenty of cracks and crannies to explore. Visibility was approximately 10m and temps around 20 degrees. Mikes over pressure valve erupted underwater causing some confusion until we realised it was actually his backside and not his unit. A colourful dive!
The first dive incident occurred during the surface interval with the loss of a few layers of skin from the roof of Owen and Becs mouth from super hot chicken soup. Ouch.
Dive two was at a more sheltered location where the sea was calmer. Viz was at 5-10m. Blue gropers and cheeky PJs provided entertainment as well as watching Jules salvage yet another anchor.
Plan of attack was:
7am Michelle went for jog (nuts)
8.30am bacon sandwiches (thanks Ross)
9am BSAC slides and workshop presented by Ben
10.15am faff around preparing cameras, including housings and o-rings.
11am shore dive off Fly Point.
2pm healthy lunch back at abode (thanks Michelle)
3pm review of everyone's photos and 'touch ups' and Matt attempted to resurrect Michelle's flooded camera with vacuum cleaner.
6pm Michelle's camera lives!
7pm marathon Indian dinner
10pm bedtime tipples
7am Michelle didnot go for jog.
9am bacon sandwiches (thanks Ben)
10am fun hour-long drift dive from Halifax to fly Point. Of note was some interesting navigation by DO, if you get my drift.
Noon dynamic duo Emma and Matt dive number two.
1pm disappointing pad thai noodles in town
2pm homeward bound.
A few words on the course:
Ben positioned it perfectly with the experienced photographers such as Matt and Ross through to the...
Byour SSAC reporter, Jill:
Wobbies (or should it be wobblies?), drinking like fish instead of spotting them and theft on a grand scale - yes, it was the SSAC Christmas Party Night!
The evening started early, in the rooftop bar at the Aurora Hotel, where we eventually took over a table - after an impromptu party type game of musical stools - and did our best to boost the profits of the bar in true SSAC style. For many people it was a chance to meet the fabled Lynn and Paul, people we only know of as they're the ones who are sailing around the world, and for others it was the chance to welcome them back into the club.
A short walk later, via the bottle shop for many of course, we found Hannibal's restaurant and moved down to the beautifully named 'Golden Tent Room' (though it looked like red and white stripes to many of us!) After a bit of jostling for places, particularly for those with dodgy knees and/or pregnant bellies, we settled back into the cushions and the food start...
After a stunning drive through the Hawkesbury, a pleasant start to Saturday evening hosted by Michelle Ross unfolded, with Jill, Mike, Ben, Stu, Bec, myself and Rob in the spa looking like Al Capone. The Hawkesbury Residence achieved a new spa record consisting of eight of us touching toes and, created something resembling a waterfall down the garden.
The kitchen came into action around 8am filled with the smell of bacon sandwiches, mugs of tea, filter coffee on tap and a few bleary eyes. Im sure Michelle and Ross willhave emptied the last of the dishes the following night and helped do their bit to recycle a crate or two of empty beer bottles and the odd smashed champagne flute (sorry Miche)!
The boat was due to leave at 10.30am which made for comfortable timing to Terrigal Dive Centre for a double boat dive. After a few issues with Becs breather the final straw occurred with a perforated diaphragm and a lumpy wait on the boat. The kit issues didnt stop at Bec but were accompan...