Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Encounter with a humpback whale at the Steps (#272, 11.6 m, 58′)

August 12, 2008

To state this from the very beginning of this post: the dive I did on Saturday will be one I won’t forget for my whole life. After almostOnce in a lifetime... three weeks of flu an cold I finally hit the water again (just to end in bed again the next day…), we decided to dive The Steps in Kurnell to hopefully take some good shots of the weedy seadragons. We found our first victim very quickly and got our cameras going. On the way towards the Leap we saw a few cute nudibranchs and while Matt was entertaining himself looking for seadragons I discovered an octopus and started shooting close-ups. (more…)


Koalas, Brisbane Ranges NP

August 5, 2008

Being banned to stay off the water due to flu and cold I have to concentrate on different activities. I spent a great weekend withStretch the legs once in a while.. my friends in Melbourne, and on Sunday we drove to the Brisbane Ranges National Park. We hoped to see koalas on the Anakie Gorge Walk. Many of the eucalyptus trees were black from a fire not too long ago, with new branches and leafs blocking the views to higher regions of the trees. We were already on the way back when we finally discovered a drowsy koala just next to the walking track.

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.


June 30, 2008

The weather was well behaved during the whole weekend and we were therefore lucky to get a parking spot at the end of the Cape Solander drive in the Botany Bay national park in Kurnell. The perfect whale watching day – absolutely flat sea, excellent weather. The rock platforms close to the parking lot and around the whale watching station were highly populated. Long forgotten binoculars had been taken out of the drawers and were brought along after tapping off the dust. (more…)

Burning sky

June 19, 2008

Burning sky, originally uploaded by käptncook.

Another morning of soccer… the Russians produced an impressive firework against Sweden which ended with a 2-0 victory and the qualification for the quarter finals against the Netherlands. The Russians were only topped by the firework happening outside of my window. I had been about to leave for work just before 7am when I saw the sun shining through the clouds and producing wonderful colours on the sky. I took a few shots from my balcony…

A windy morning – a delayed sunrise

June 15, 2008

After watching the Netherlands trashing France I decided to go out and enjoy the sunrise equiped with my camera – with the intention to have a look at the conditions for the upcoming dive two hours later. There was not much of a sunrise as all light was blocked by a thick cloud. I started playing around with the camera and taking pictures of the wild water – there was indeed not much hope for a dive somewhere along the coast!
Suddenly there were a few beams of sunlight braking through the thick layer of clouds, a cone only lighting up the refinery out in Kurnell. A fantastic moment with the wild waves in the foreground. I tried to capture it, even though the G9 and any other compact camera is not at its best in low light conditions.

Nature meets mankind, originally uploaded by käptncook.

Queen’s birthday long weekend

June 9, 2008

Given the miserable diving conditions and the not very pleasant weather there was not too much to do this weekend. I took the picture of Port Botany Bay below from my balcony this morning at 8. And went back to bed for half an hour after having seen how the weather was like…Port Botany Bay in rainy weather But ok, the weather on Saturday had been a bit better, and I went for a bike ride out to Kurnell. On the map I saw that there is another wildlife reserve just before reaching Kurnell, the Towra Point nature reserve. I thought of checking it out on the way, as it has water on its east side – this would allow to see and take pictures of the sunset with water in the foreground… Soon after cycling into Towra Point road I saw the official NPWS sign – no cycling, and I am not sure if entry to the reserve was even only allowed with a permit.Towra Point reserve - the road is becoming a lake I stepped off my bike and walked along the road. The road became more of a lake soon though – not a surprised after the rain during the last few days, this part of the reserve was marked “barrier swamp”. I did not attempt to cross this barrier but took a few pictures and turned around. I definitely want to check with the NPWS if there is a possibility to visit this reserve – it is so nicely calm out there, and wild indeed considering that it is just a few minutes away from the road! (more…)

Lake Eckersley, Heathcote national park

May 26, 2008

After the dive on Sunday morning we went for a nice little walk in Heathcote national park. The track from Heathcote leads first trough the woods and then on a fire trail along the water pipe. The last few hundred meters to Lake Eckersley lead again along a smaller trail. The National Park and Wildlife Service distributes permits for two camp sites just next to the lake. I am definitely going to sleep there one night! The lake is also nicely refreshing for a swim in summer…

Reflections on Lake Eckersley

Oak Park (#259, 9.5m, 60′)

May 26, 2008

Finally. The day had come to test the underwater housing for my new camera. Bulletproof it looks, and massive too… I was a bit nervous, even though I had done some preliminary testing in a bucket of water. But what would happen with increased pressures? After all the housing is designed to withhold pressures for dives up to 60m…
Last Saturday I jumped in together with Gypsy and her three open water students. A perfect occasion since I could just float along and care about my camera. Apart from seeing if the housing was really waterproof I also wanted to find out what I can get out of the Canon G9 under water and if the housing is limiting in any sense (I plan to purchase an external strobe in the next few days anyway, but I wanted to verify reports in some internet forums about shades in pictures from the lens port blocking the internal camera flash).

The dive along the main wall of Oak park was nice and easy, the visibility quite good (>10m). The drawback of the good viz was the fact that one could see all the other divers in the water, and there were many of them! We dived 20 minutes out, not quite reaching the second reef. On the way back I took it a bit slower, looking out for opportunities for macro shots on the way back, unsuccessfully though. The usual marine live was around without anything special. The students were amazed by the friendly blue gropers though.
All in all a nice relaxing dive assuring me that the housing is doing fine and giving me some comfort with handling this “monster” – it is far nicer to deal with underwater…
Comments on the camera setup can be found here.