Monday, March 22, 2004

the roller coaster continues

what a weekend. i'm still on a high. our weekend away in port stephens was an amazing success. on the surface, a weekend away, about a 7 hour drive up when you have to contend with sydney traffic, and a 4.5 hour trip back, and only 2 shore dives, doesn't seem the greatest. but it was grand.

friday finds us at gerringong. el presidente gives us a radio so we can talk to him (but only line of sight, gees, get a mobile phone man!). so i'm practicing my kooky truckker talk. "breaker breaker, this is mary the fairy in my big pink truck." or "moon unit, moon unit, this is mission control, where the hell are you?"

we also manage to make what is probably a new record for the most consecutive u-turns trying to find the rent-a-house in the dark at port stephens. what frikken town planner has let them have 2 streets with the same name? idiots. needless to say, there was the usual amount of sarcasm directed at mutant moron traffic, especially on the way back when i'm driving. "get off the road grandad", "keep left grandma, it's a 110 zone and you're doing 90 in the right lane". "oh yeah, well done grandad, pull out into traffic going 100kph, and only do 60kph, we love that." "what are those strange things on the side of your car, be they mirrors?"

ok, saturday. the sun is up, the weather is just perfect. we are doing the morning "high tide" dive. and we stuff up, we get in too early, and going with the tide is really easy, but when it's time to swim back, we're going against the tide, and it's hard yacka. being the lasy sod that i am, i don't do much finning, i prefer to streamline myself, do just enough to move a little forward, and also move sideways into the shallows, there the tide will be swirling and stuff.

but apart from that, the life, the diving, the ... other... stuff.... you're not allowed to fish here, or anchor your boat etc... there are about a 100 bream and snapper waiting for us. in water 3 foot deep as we put on our masks and fins. friends of mine complain. every time they try to photograph the colourful local fish life or corals or other stuff, some stupid fish is swimming into your face or your camera, or both. "hey scuba dude, whatcha doing? take my picture" but if you try to shoot them, they bugger off or otherwise be annoying. and the nudibranchs at this dive spot, colour colour colour. lots of it.octopus, cuttlefish, more octopus, groper (thats a fish, not a scuba diver at the bar afterwards), stripeys and lotsa fish that are fish, and other stuff that i don't know what they are called.

another epic dive club weekend away. but wait, there's more!

sunday morning arrives, fortunately high tide is a little later this morning as i installed a little hangover last night and more sleep is definitely a big help. i've gone to the fridge last night for a beer, and there's only one left, i drank that many? doh! time for bed!

it's a little windy but the shore dive we are doing, halifax point, is sheltered as the wind is blowing offshore. how many people are there here? the local dive club, among others, is diving here today. there must be nearly 50 divers, but the site is fairly big, we don't see many people underwater. ran into a couple of people i know before the dive and they told us where to go to see good things.

it's the maiden voyage for my camera as well, i nervously duck it beneath the water and check for leaks, soon i relax and start madly shooting things. and there is so much to see! bream, snapper, stripeys, the list goes on. we find some small wobbegong sharks, octopus. a cute little green moray and some other morays, i don't know what sort but i got them on my camera! took a little movie of a cuttlefish, which was madly flashing different colours to try and scare me off. i can't settle myself on the bottom anywhere to take a picture because i'll crush something. this is such a busy site. my buddies are constantly pointing out stuff to shoot. at the end we see a school of drummer, and they are big too. but i'm too slow to photograph them. drat.

i hear a noise and look up, it is raining, i love watching the rain from underneath. and a large school of tiny fingerlings under the surface as well, confusing the image. i shoulda took a picture! doh!

i am so exhausted i can hardly drag myself out of the water. it's bucketing down as well. everyone is so excited, the locals as well as us, we are all talking to each other about the cool stuff we saw. it's raining so much i think my gear was washed by the time we got to the car. we jam everything in, in a big hurry so we don't get wet (hehe) and back to the house for a warm shower before heading off for the long drive home.

i will definitely be back for this next year.

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