New Years Fireworks, 2006

Sunday, 31 December 2006 | link | tag | / TheWell
The New Years Fireworks, not something I often get to see live due to working most new years. This years were a bit of a dissapointment compared to last years, it seemed to me that they had spread themselves too thin, using the City skyline for the first time, and not a lot of attention on the bridge. Sure, there were big syncronised mortars along the length of the parramatta river, but only in ones and twos. The sustained onslaught of colour and size from last years show was definately missing.

FastTrak Xmas Cruise, Sydney Harbour

Thursday, 16 November 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
After what can only be described as freakish weather - 36 degrees Max and 8 degrees Min, all in a week, this day was spectacular. Warm and sunny with a cool breeze, perfect for being out on the harbour.

Looking Glass, Nelson Bay

Friday, 10 November 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
Andrew and I left Sydney at 4am for a 7:30am boat dive out of Soldiers Point Marina in Nelsons Bay.

We were supprised to find a glorious day waiting for us, and an almost empty boat. Calm seas and blue sky, a perfect day for diving.

The conditions at Broughton Island - Looking Glass, the tunnel straight through the island that Grey Nurse love to lurk in - were perfect, so we did both dives there.

We saw thousands of fish, big blue groper, but most importantly, 7 or 8 big Grey Nurse, one of them easily the biggest I've ever seen - about 2.5 metres long.

There was a fair amount of surge, so the first dive was a little hair raising. After a decent surface interval, the swell died a bit, and the sun had angled into the crack in the island, so the second dive was well lit and a lot more plesant.

Wildlife World, Darling Harbour Sydney

Saturday, 7 October 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
Well... Don't bother. Clearly its open before its ready.

The first thing I thought when I heard there was an Australian fauna park in the heart of Sydney was "How are they going to pull that off without hurting animals?".. The easy answer is they're not. Never have I seen so many listless, bored and stressed criters.

Add to that that most of Australias beloved wildlife is nocturnal, or by nature very shy and retiring, and what you get is enclosure after enclosure of tree parts because the animals have all managed to fuck off out of sight to avoid the stress.

Shameful. Letter to the editor time.

The fee was a flat out insult to boot - $30 per adult.

North Haven, Cod Grounds

Sunday, 1 October 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
Finally, some Grey Nurse. Still very scarce. The water was sensationally clear on the last day at Cod Grounds, so clean you could see the bottom from the surface - almost 35 metres down. Carpets of Wobbegong everywhere.

My old friend the Eastern Blue Devilfish made a few appearances, such a lovely fish.

North Haven, Titan and Cod Grounds

Saturday, 30 September 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
The weather relented and gave us a stunning clear and calm morning, the plan was the Titan and then the Cod Grounds. Never a huge fan of wrecks, to be perfectly honest, and this one is espectially boring in that its subsided into the sand, about all thats showing is the featureless bottom plating, covered by, well, at 40m, not much at all.

Still, getting Narc'd is almost as good as a few beers, so I didn't complain.

THe Cod Grounds are entirely different prospect - last time I was here there were an astonishing number of Grey Nurse about. This time only a couple, perhaps the weather didn't agree with them...

After the dives, we had the whole afternoon - we took a drive to Crowdy Head national park.

North Haven, Bonnie Hills.

Friday, 29 September 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
Back diving for the first time in quite a while. Had to just about commit murder to get the time away from work commitments. I'm sure they'd lock me in the office if they though it was legal (or at least could be gotten away with).

Anyway, the weatherman totally and utterly failed us for the first day in North Haven, blowing a gale in the morning meant we were restricted to inshore reefs. Still, a very colourful reef at that.

A couple of Port Jacksons, a couple of painted crays, and quite a bit of colourful weed and spongues - was certainly not unpleasant.

Hunter Valley by Helicopter

Thursday, 21 September 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
Fasttrack took a few of us for a heli flown pub crawl through the Hunter Valley, which was just fantastic.

We hit Bluetongue for lunch, and did their tasting menu with differnt wines. The highlight though was the Ginger Beer - Beer with Ginger added. Nery Nice.

The pilot was very happy to indulge our geeky questioning and we learned quite a bit. The aircraft, a $2.6 M Bell 407 with 4 rotor blades and seats for 7 was very smooth as far as helicopters are concerned.

Woollongong and the South Coast

Saturday, 12 August 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
An otherwise boring sunday spruced up with a bit of a drive down the south coast arround Woollongong and Bulli. The sweeping freeway along the coast - the tourist drive, is somewhat remeniscent of the Great Ocean Road, but on a smaller scale.

We also stopped at the Chinese Buddhist Temple.

Molonglo Gorge, Canberra

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Australian Capital Territory
I checked out the Molongo Gorge very early this morning before my session at the SAGE-AU conferrence. Cold and damp, clambering over slippery rocks - I clearly still have issues.

Still, it was worth the effort to get out and commune with Nature for a little. Molongo Gorge is part of the river that is dammed to make Lake Burley Griffin, the water feature that gives Canberra some of its charm.