Archive for July, 2008

Winery tour Hunter Valley

July 22, 2008

On our trip to the Hunter Valley and Nelson Bay a week ago we went on a winery tour with “Aussie Wine Tours”. The small tour bus was filled to the last place. The plan for the day was to visit Brokenwood, Ivanhoe, Briar Ridge, Iron Gate and Kevin Sobels with lunch inbetween and a trip to the chocolate and cheese factories at the end.
Brokenwood offered a tasting of a broad range of their low to medium budget wines. I was surprised to find Italian type wines. (more…)

Bare Island (#271, 10.1 m, 75′)

July 22, 2008

Apart from the SW wind we found excellent conditions at Bare Island. The water was 15 degrees, still reasonably warm, at least if wearing a 7mm semi-dry.
I jumped in with the crowd of ProDive and did my own little photoNudibranch dive. Two minutes into the dive I found a little octopus hiding in a small crack, along the east wall there were tons of nudibranchs, two PJ sharks, a second larger octopus…all there. If I hadn’t told Dan to start getting worried if I wasn’t back after 75 minutes I would have stayed forever… especially because I met the small octopus again, this time sticking its head out of the hole… (more…)

Paprika Chicken

July 22, 2008

A simple dinner, quickly prepared and very tasty with a glass of red…

serves four:
2 red capsicum
800g chicken breast, cut in stripes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 hot chili, cut in thin stripes
2 dl white wine
2 dl chicken stock
1 bunch continental parsley, cut

Quarter the capsicum, remove the interior and boil in water until soft. In the meantime cut the chicken breast in slices and fry in some butter. Put the chicken aside and add paprika, salt and pepper. Use the same pan to fry the diced onion and the garlic. Add the tomato purée and fry until its colour gets darker (not too dark, otherwise it develops a bitter taste). (more…)

Koala(s) in the Tilligerry reserve, Port Stephens

July 22, 2008

Last weekend we visited the Tilligerry reserve on our way back from Nelson Bay to Sydney. For most of the 45 minute walk we were scanning the tree tops in vain, but close to the end we found this little fellow:

Unlike any other koalas I have seen so far it was very active, we could observe how it changed from one tree to the next. I got scared when it was dangling in the air, secured only by the arms grabbing two different trees…

Whale Watching in Nelson Bay

July 15, 2008

Having seen the giants of the ocean from shore during the last few weeks I was longing for a boat trip to have an even closer view at these fascinating mammals. On Sunday we boarded the catamaran of Imagine cruises in Nelson Bay for a 3h whale watching trip. The weather was shoking, rain was pouring heavily on the canvas and the grey of the water was not much different from the colour of the sky. A brisk wind made sure that everyone was putting on all the layers of clothes they had brought along. We left the heads and cruised towards the open ocean. The sea was fortunately not too heavy despite of the wind. Then the skipper announced the sighting of four whales. And suddenly everything else was forgotten. Four whales, just in front of us.
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Night dive at Oak Park (#270, 7.3 m, 68’)

July 9, 2008

Reports by the guys at ProDive from their night dive on Monday suggested that we were going to find excellent conditions, and weAll alone... did indeed. The visibility was beyond 10m – I think this was not just the effect of my new mask… The entrance at the NE corner of the pool was perfectly calm due to W winds and the low tide, which we missed by only about half an hour. What followed was an hour of pure magic: great visibility, an amazing amount of fish and critters at reasonable temperatures of 17 degrees. I have never seen as many giant cuttlefish in one dive. I counted four, and two of them were hiding in the same crack, next to each other. I was really excited, maybe even a bit too much. The fiddling around at my strobe had the effect that I unlocked one of the buttons. With the strobe thinking that my main flash was a preflash only I ended up with a whole series of badly underexposed pictures. Nevertheless this could not ruin the moment. (more…)

Long exposures

July 7, 2008
Cronulla Rock Pool

Cronulla Rock Pool, originally uploaded by käptncook.

I finally got myself a tripod. Instead of going to bed after a late dinner I decided to test it, and the rock pool at the esplanade in Cronulla seemed to be the perfect subject, especially with the waves washing over it at high tide. I stayed for about 30 minutes and evaluated the possibilities of the Canon G9 in low light conditions. It performed quite well, but anything above ISO 200 is definitely excluded due to noise.
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Aroma Festival in the Rocks, Sydney

July 7, 2008

Yesterday the so called Aroma Festival took place in the Rocks. It was all about coffee, chocolate, tea and spices. I mainly concentrated on the coffee. Around 35 coffee roasters were offering coffees for a dollar a cup. There was no way to give all of them a try due to several limitations. At night when I tried to fall asleep (and before that to play snooker with shaky hands…not the best idea) I realised that much more coffee would have cost me the night… Apart from reactions of my body it was the amount of people which stopped me from trying more than five to six different brands. The great weather invited to spend some time outside and big crowds of people followed the invitation of the sun to the Rocks. All in all it was a very friendly atmosphere and despite long queues in front of popular coffee stalls everyone was very relaxed. (more…)

Pumpkin Soup with Smoked Salmon

July 5, 2008

I just got up from dinner. Just something quick tonight, but still giving me the feeling of having had a tasty meal. Just to mention this before even getting started with the recipe: the combination of pumpkin soup and smoked salmon might sound a bit odd, but try it and judge afterwards. I came across pumpkin soup with smoked trout fillets in a great restaurant back home in Switzerland, and after initial doubts I enjoyed a wonderful meal! The substitution with smoked salmon works well too. The soup is also tasty without fish if you don’t like this thought at all.
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Shiprock night dive (#269, 14.9m, 51′)

July 2, 2008

High tide was timed perfectly an hour after work, and the strong wind warning was not enough to keep us out of the water. The water was very calm at Shiprock, and at least at the entrance itI'll keep an eye on you... also looked clear. On the dive we had visibility of maybe 4m, not great, but I have also had worse conditions at this spot.
We dropped down on the plateau above the wall and almost ended up on top of a stingray – the first photo opportunity of the dive! At least for me – after me placing the batteries wrongly on the last dive it was up to my buddy this time to bring along the empty housing, the camera was at home… (more…)