Archive for February, 2012

#152 George Kormode 2012-02-18

Saturday, February 18th, 2012
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Rye Pier and Mornington Pier – Great macro life

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
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I was quite busy during the weekend with the move and the weather wasn’t playing too nice either, so I ended up skipping MUUC’s weekend dives. Luckily we had several visitors and new members interested in a pair of shore dives during the week so I still got some diving done on Wednesday.

There were six of us heading to Mornington Peninsula in the morning. Our first dive of the day was at Rye Pier, there was some current but otherwise it was another great dive at Rye. This was also my first time at Rye with my macro lens and I ended up with some great shots of seahorses, spider crabs and hermit crabs. While the dive went well for the most part, one of our visitors was having some problems with her gear and eventually she had to skip the dive altogether.

Due to somewhat annoying tides we were pretty much stuck doing Mornington (one of the few deeper shore dives on this side of the Bay doable even at low tide) as the second dive of the day. It’s not my favorite pier dive in Melbourne, but I still ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It was nice to explore the pier properly (we did a full round around the outer part) and we did up seeing a couple of seahorses and quite a few fish as well. Unfortunately, the girl who had to skip the first dive was still having problems and despite quite a few attempts to get underwater she eventually had to give up and she ended up missing both dives.

#151 Mornington Pier 2012-02-15

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
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#150 Rye Pier 2012-02-15

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
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Moving Chaos

Monday, February 13th, 2012

My housemate Emily moved to the other side of Melbourne on Sunday and as I’m going to rent a room from her for one more week I ended up moving with her. While moving is always a somewhat chaotic process, this was easily the worst moving experience I have ever had.

Emily had one of her friends come over for the night to help with the packing and by Sunday afternoon we finally had most of the stuff stored in boxes and bags. I was actually fairly impressed at this point, on Saturday it was still looking like we could never get everything packed in time. Unfortunately, this was probably the last thing of the day that went well.

The moving company’s truck was supposed to arrive around 2 pm but instead they showed up around an hour late. And they had only one smallish truck instead of the truck and a van as promised. The guys handling the moving were also far from impressive. It was just a pair of small and very young boys with broken English. They seemed to struggle with anything even remotely heavy, at least Emily’s choice of instrument is a guitar, not a piano, otherwise we may have never finished…

Even so, the two girls and I ended up carrying most of the stuff and the moving company guys focused on packing the truck in a very disorganized fashion. It was no real surprise that we couldn’t fit everything in the truck despite the earlier promises to the contrary from the moving company. In the end, Emily had to call her parents for help and they had to drive to Melbourne all the way from Ballarat (around 120 km trip) with their trailer. At least with the trailer and three separate cars we could finally fit in most of the stuff but we still had to leave some of the least valuable stuff like potted plants behind for another day, it was getting too late for multiple trips anyway.

The whole process from the arrival of the moving truck to getting everything out of the truck in the destination took a total of five hours. We all thought this was a completely ridiculous considering the pretty short distance and the relatively small amount of stuff involved. After the day it was very clear that the guys the company had sent us were in no way up for the job. And obviously they were charging Emily by the hour, too!

Luckily almost all the stuff we were moving was Emily’s and I didn’t have to get personally involved. I wouldn’t have been nearly as polite as Emily when getting screwed over like that. At least the whole ordeal is now behind us and I’m looking forward to some busy (and hopefully less annoying) times. At the moment we have some shore dives planned for Wednesday, a diving trip to Phillip Island during the weekend and early next week I’m off to Sydney for a few weeks!

#149 Steeles Rocks 2012-02-08

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
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#148 St Leonards Pier 2012-02-08

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
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St Leonards Pier and Steeles Rocks

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
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I haven’t had much chance to use my macro lens recently, so it was nice to do a couple of simple shore dives with Joey on Wednesday. This time we headed to Bellarine Peninsula as we were hoping to do Barwon Heads Bluff as the first dive of the day. Unfortunately sea conditions looked bit rough as we got there and we decided to stick to the more protected dive sites inside the heads instead.

First we headed to St Leonards and did a pretty nice pier dive there. It’s pretty comparable to Rye Pier, with plenty of interesting species and lots of macro opportunities. The lone seahorse we saw was pretty good at avoiding the camera, he kept hiding between kelps and always turning away from us. The ones I saw over at Rye were much more cooperative! Fish life under the pier is quite rich and we ended up seeing several shrimps hiding in various holes as well. And there’s quite a bit of junk down there as well, from old tires to tennis balls. While it was little windy on the surface, conditions underwater were quite good and I ended up with some quite nice seahorse and fish shots.

The second dive of the day was at Steeles Rocks near Portarlington. We didn’t really know what to expect and the dive ended up slightly disappointing. Most of the area we explored was very shallow and not nearly as interesting as St Leonards. There were quite a few rocks and hard corals but not that many fish. Luckily we ended up seeing several Fiddler Rays and one of them let me get really close and personal for some nice macro shots.

In addition to actual diving itself I’m starting to get my gear together for my first tech course. I’m probably starting with combined TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures for some longer bottom times and bit deeper dives. I already found a pretty good deal for an used Dive Rite Transpac and Rec Wing, now I just need to hunt for the rest of the needed gear. I haven’t been in water with the Transpac yet but hopefully I have a chance to test it during the weekend.

#147 Sven’s Reef 2012-02-04

Saturday, February 4th, 2012
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Boat Dives on Saturday

Saturday, February 4th, 2012
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After the awesome wreck dives on Australia Day weekend, last Saturday was a return to bit more mundane diving with MUUC. Girls were out doing some shore diving on their own, so it was just us boys (and one girl) on the boat. There were several new members with us as well, so we kept things simple and started with a slack dive on Lonsdale Wall.

Unfortunately, my buddy’s (one of the new guys) reg was leaking quite a bit so we stayed in shallow water (max 20 meters) and never got to the actual wall. Despite this precaution, we had to come up quite early as my buddy was pretty low on air after only 15 minutes. We did see some interesting coral formations, some nice fish and one cray hiding in a hole, but with only 21 minutes total bottom time the dive was still somewhat disappointing.

The second dive of the day made up for it though. We went for a return visit to Sven’s Reef near Barwon Heads. While still not quite ideal, conditions were much better than on our previous visit. Vis was better and while there was some surge it wasn’t nearly as bad as last time. I also had a full tank this time around, so we did a pretty long dive with Luke and my buddy from the first dive (who now had a working reg too!).

The reef over there is pretty amazing, there are lots of overhangs, swim-throughs and various holes. With huge schools of fish swimming above us it was some of the most interesting reef diving I have done. The whole area is covered in bommies, of particular interest was a single narrow pinnacle rising maybe five or six meters from the bottom. We spent most of the dive at around 20 meters giving us a long and very nice dive. Bit too many particles in the water for great photos, but I still ended up with some pretty decent ones.

There was also some talk of doing a third boat dive but it was getting bit late already and we would have needed some refills. So we just ended up heading back to the shed, washing the boat and the gear and finished the evening with a barbecue.