Subaru Rally of Canberra - Official Start.

Thursday, 9 March 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Australian Capital Territory
Drove down to Canbeerra early on Friday to catch the official start of the Canberra Subaru Rally, held in Garema Place in Civic, the centre of Canberra.

All of the drivers and cars were presented in the mall for the public to take a closer look and chat to the drivers and get autographs etc.

Dean Herrige, still driving for Subaru, was kind enough to sign a print of a photo I took in 2004 for me.

Very good to get a closer look at the cars. Lots of expensive cars with women drapped over them.

This is the first leg of the ARC and the APRC, and there were entries from a couple of Indonesian teams. The even was opened by the Ambassador of Indonesia.

Watagan Mountains and Yengo National Park

Friday, 17 February 2006 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
I took a drive north up the F3 until I got to Wyong and headed west looking for the trail going into Yengo National Park, and the raod that goes via Wisemans Ferry through St Albans. I did two complete loops, one through the Wtagan State Forest, and the second through Yengo NP via Wollombi and Wyong.

It started out as a lovely day around lunchtime, but as teh afternoon wore on, storm clouds began to build. I got absolutely bucketted on while driving on gravel roads in Yengo NP, so it made for some interesting driving.

Typical lack of decent signs meant that I had to backtrack a couple of time - roads going through National Parks and State Forests frequently just come to a dead end, or more usually, stop at the boundary of private property and a locked gate - but you aren't told that at the start. Oh well.

It was a very pleasant day out amoungst the trees. Lots of Red Gums and Flood Gums to keep my company, and more than enough dirt roads for the day. Finished off with a rip accross Wisemans Ferry over the Hawkesberry River.

Kurnell, The Steps, Botany Bay National Park

Saturday, 11 February 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - Sydney / Kurnell
A lovely day for it - overcast, but warm. Its been a while since I was diving with the Abyss crew, and low and behold I met Racheal, whom I last dived with in Little Bay about 2 years ago - (which was a very horrible dive, involving a huge snorkle back because of nasty current). So, we buddied up again. Racheal is now an excellent diver and buddy.

Because the tide was going out, the water visability wasn't tremendous (all that dioxin in the harbour probably) but there were pockets of clear water, and I had the macro lens on anyway, so getting close to things was required.

It was weedy sea-dragon day. We must have spotted about 10 altogether, and none were very shy, dispite the 50 divers or so that had already visited them. After thoroughly blinding a couple with flashes (poor things - I try to keep it to 3 max, or it stresses them out) we headed on to the swim-throughs towards monument and enjoyed nudibranchs and spongue life.

The second dive people were going to repeat the first dive (boring !?!?!) so Racheal and I tried our luck with going with the current for the second dive, towards the steps, with the knowledge that it might be a harder swim back on the return leg. As luck would have it, by the time we started the second dive, the current had dropped off and it really needed have mattered which way we went. That was great though, because we had the whole section from The Steps to the Leap to ourselves, and saw catfish, rays, more weedy's, pigmy leather-jackets, brightly colour weed cale's and lots of schools of bigger fish that tend to vanish after a few divers have been through already.

Google Maps

Wednesday, 8 February 2006 | link | tag | / TheWell
I finally got around to updating the way I collect satelite images that are linked to the images on TheWell. Previously I was using the TerraServer to obtain image data, but it was a bit slow and sometimes didn't work.

Google has been offering the use of its Google Maps API for some time now, the same data that is used in the GoogleEarth product can be embedded into a webpage very easily.

In addition to changing the mapping imaging, GoogleMaps also allowed me to plot track data onto the images, so you can see the path taken for a few hours either side of when an image was taken.

Take a look at an example.

The Wreck of the Oakland, Nelson Bay

Saturday, 28 January 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
Sunk in 1905, A steamer that carried mollassis and coal to and from Qld, is lying in about 26 metres of water on sand.

The guys were going their deep module, and wreck module, and I don't especially enjoy wrecks much anyway, so I enjoyed being narked instead. There is always something else you can do if you get bored in the water ;)

Thanks to Jules, Mel, Tabi, Steve (Ox), James, Aimin and Aimina for a great weekend. Drop me a line if get a minute guys, so I have your email addresses.

Halifax, Broughton Island and Cabbage Tree Island, Nelson Bay

Friday, 27 January 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - North Coast
An amazing days diving. In only three dives we'd cranked up a large list of animals, one of which is found only at Cabbage Tree island - the Donut Nudibranch. We saw eagle rays, wobbegong, grey nurse sharks, at least 8 different varieties of nuidbranch, pinapple fish, feather stars, a blue groper and a brief encounter with the creature from the black lagoon...

First dive was at Halifax point, an aquatic reserve just around the point from the boat ramp and jetty o the east of the Nelson Bay township. A nice leasurely stroll into the water on a sandy bottom and a very easy dive, especially since we had timed our entry to coincide with the high slack tide.

Nudibranch's abounded, and colourful spongues and weedbeds were the backdrop for the dive. I counted 7 varieties of Nudi's in a little over half and hour. Truly fantastic.

2nd dive, Looking Glass at Broughton Island, is simply breathtaking. A balloon shapped tunnel right through the island, the Lookingglass is a gloomy lurking ground for grey nurse sharks and huge schools of bullseyes and stripey.

There was a bit of surge, which surved to hurl you flying along the dark corridors of the tunnel, and then leave you weightless in the back-surge. Once such surge brought me up over a large boulder and face to face with the first grey nurse shark of the day. I'm not entirely sure who was more supprised, but I give the prize for best reaction to the shark: a quick turn, a snap of the tail and he was gone. All I did was drop my camera :)


The final dive was at Cabbage Tree Island, on the swell leeward side, amongst two smaller wrecks. Instructed to watch for a rare 'Donut' Nudibranch, James and I had it spotted and dazzled with strobe light in under 5 minutes flat. THe rest of dive didn't fail to disapoint, an Eagle ray took a bit of a chase to get within camera range, and a dozing wobbegong had made the old wreck his home.

After all this, the group still had enough energy to front up for a winery tour and some wine tasting. That finished us off though I think, the rest of the evening ends sort of, well, blurrily.

Kurnell, The Steps

Friday, 13 January 2006 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - Sydney / Kurnell
First dive back in the Sydney - Andy del and I hit the Steps in Kurnell for a Saturday afternoon dive. A glorious day after a dreary morning - the sun was belting down on us just after 1pm - not a great time to be putting on 5 mm neoprene.

The water felt SOOO good after the hot climb down the stairs. It felt even better after passing the thermocline at 5m.

Not great vis, but classic Kurnell, lots of fish, lots of nuidbranchs, weedy seadragons, etc.

I need to do some gear maintenance, my tanks are out of test, and my new computer, inexplicably, has a flat battery.

Royal National Park, Sydney

Sunday, 25 December 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales / National Parks
Bud, Mum and Dad and I all trooped off to the Royal National Park on Boxing Day, apparently where everyone else in Sydney was, the traffic into the park was horrible!

We had lunch at one of the more remote spots, made quieter by the fact that you had to drive a 4 km dirt road to get there - at least it kept the BMW's out.

We then drove around to the walk to Marley's Head, and walked out to the cliff top. Nice day for a walk, about 26, dry and a gentle breeze.

There were a lot of people out for the day at the head, watching the yatchs from the Sydney to Hobart go by.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sunday, 25 December 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
We took a drive over to Kirribilli in the hope that the lights for the bridge would be lit, but alas not yet. It was a beautiful night though, no moon, no clouds, no wind and a nice cool 25 degrees.

I tried out taking time lapse photos of people with the city in the background, and a flash fire during the long exposure. Some of the results are good, they look kind of fake even.

Check out the Southern Cross over the Sydney Opera House. Sauce.

Neutral Bay, Sydney

Saturday, 17 December 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / New South Wales
Dad and I visited a small park near where my work collegue Gerhard used to live. Bit to much wind to get any nice steady shots, may have to try again sometime.