Posts Tagged ‘NSW’

Big Wave Surfing in Cronulla

September 8, 2008

No diving conditions today...

The forecast for the weekend suggested strong S/SE winds with 3-4m surge coming in from east. This type of conditions has a strong impact on almost any of the dive spots around Cronulla and the eastern suburbs. We decided to stay dry – for good reason, as I found out on Sunday. The weather was not as miserable and we went for a walk along Cronulla esplanada. The waves were certainly reaching a height of 4m, and a few guys on their boards were showing off. Quite impressive, I must say! I attach a few pictures. (more…)


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…)

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…

Oak Park night dive (#261, 7.3m , 61′)

May 28, 2008

little critter on night dive at oak park

Crab on nightdive at Oak Park Yesterday night I went on another night dive at Oak park. The conditions at Pete’s point were too harsh, we therefore went to good old Oaky. Initially we were five divers (amongst them a second Swiss diver – unbelievable, but he is the first Swiss I met in Sydney in almost 1.5 years…), but Matt and me were carrying cameras and we left the group after a few minutes of diving (or say the group left us…). There was a lot of small stuff around, and also a few cuttle fish, an octopus and some still awake fish… No pictures to prove that though, most of them look like taken in a snow storm. Backscattering. Am looking forward to the arrival of the strobe, it has left Japan yesterday night 🙂

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

Leap to the Steps drift dive (#260, 21.3m, 51′)

May 26, 2008

On Sunday morning I woke up in time and decided to take the chance and to go for the second dive of the weekend. The Leap in Kurnell is one of my favourite dive sites in the region. The way to the entry point is a bit strenuous, following stairs cut in the rock, down the cliffs. To enter the water we usually jump from a rock platform (the leap…), depending on the tides the height of the jump can reach about 2m. There is no way back, the shortest exit I know is indeed the swim to the Steps, the exit point of the dive. So better do your buddy check carefully…

The Leap entry pointnudibranch at the leap

After a short swim away from the rocks we droped down and dove perpendicular to the cliff edge until we reached the sandy bottom at around 20m. We decided to immediately turn to the left – a short swim to the right there is a little wall with a nice sponge garden. We stayed down at around 20m for 10 minutes, following the boulders and the sandy bottom covered with some kelp. For once we did not spot any weedy seadragons, and no cuttle fish either. Exceptional. I don’t think we kept our eyes open wide enough…
We followed the boulders a bit further ascending slowly. There were a few gropers around and I also got the chance to try some macro shots with the new camera setup. As expected there is a shadow in the lower right corner, inflicted by the lens port partially blocking the internal flash of the camera. This justifies the purchase of an external flash (sometimes it is so easy to convince myself of buying some gadgets…)
We took the usual exit at the Steps – the waves help to get on a rock platform, and with still rather low tide present when we came out of the water it was even more convenient than usually… A nice dive without highlights, but hey, the reasonable visibility and the feeling of simply floating along the wall are good enough for me to go back anytime!

Comments on the camera setup can be found here.

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.

Sunrise in Cronulla

May 16, 2008

I am getting tired now… This morning I got up at 5.45, had a short brekky and drove to Cronulla beach. Again. Already on Sunday I had the same weird idea. Seeing the sunrise over the sea. And taking picutures of it. After talking about it for more than a year I have finally done it. Twice. Today’s excursion had a second reason apart from enjoying the beauty of nature. My friend Amparo is leaving the country for good on Tuesday, and I want to give her a picture of Cronulla beach for her bookshelf. Memories. I hope she is not going to read this before Tuesday…

Arriving at the esplanade in Cronulla a bit after 6am I was amazed by the amount of people being awake at that time of the day. Very awake. Running along the beach or in the sand, walking their dogs, having coffee… I went on the beach and enjoyed watching the surfers in the first morning light. It was drizzling at times, but I could not be bothered, it was simply pleasant to be outside. The sun sent her first light through layers of clouds around 6.40, and the sight was gorgeous indeed. On Sunday the sky had been almost clear from clouds and the colours were great indeed. Today the additional scattering due to the clouds and sections with light and shadow produced an even more interesting painting on the sky. I took a lot of pictures and will have find the good ones tonight or tomorrow. Once done I will put them on Flickr, here is a first example:

Night dive at Oak Park (#257, 8.1m, 49′)

May 13, 2008

Finally a night dive again! People are getting lazy and I hear more and more that it is apparently too cold for diving now…come on, the water temperature is 18 degrees. Spanda agreed with me and we headed off to Oak Park in Cronulla. The sea was nicely calm, no wind, low tide. Everything perfect. Except for the fact that my spare torch is out of order at the moment and that my buddy’s torch fell to the ground and didn’t want to emit any light anymore. The divemasters showing how not to do it… we ended up diving with one torch. After all the moon was quite bright tonight!

From the entry point south of the pool we headed south-east over the kelp, hitting a small wall and following it for 25 minutes majorly in north-east and east direction. This ledge is off the main wall of Oak Park. We saw heaps of hunting catfish, and under an overhang we discovered a giant cuttle. Awesome! I wish I had been able to get a good shot of it, but the camera flash produced way too much backscattering in the rather murky water. We were compensated with a well hidden hermit crab showing her face on the way back:

After 49 minutes we stepped out of the water again. I don’t know why I had waited for so long since my last night dive, it is just incredibly relaxing to hit the water after work and float a bit in the dark!