Nature SCUBA Diving Sydney Sights and Streets

Oak Park Shore Dive

With a holiday coming up for some Northern hemisphere winter fun it was time to get out in the water again before leaving the warmth.

I booked in with team at Abyss once again, having noticed a slightly different shore dive listed for this weekend. Most of their weekly free shore dives are open to all qualified divers (PADI Open Water), but this one was limited to Advanced Divers with an objective to go a little further out on one of their regular dive sites.

I’ve dived Oak Park with them on a few occasions, so recognised their description of the Fish Soup objective would be a good challenge. After picking up some hire gear at the shop, we met around 9am at the site for our briefing prior to gearing up for the dive. I found a buddy for my first dive in Chris and we were told this dive had a very clear objective – to get us all to the Fish Soup part of the dive site. We were given a turnaround mark of 120bar with clear instruction that if any buddy pair got to this pressure we were to signal the instructors but then head back under our own devices. With all of us having dived the site before, we were given a couple of navigation reminders before heading off for the dive.

We entered the site next to the ocean pool which is the norm at this site, and then surface swam about 30m off the back of the pool before starting the dive. With our objective in mind we didn’t mess around once we were under and made a pretty good pace in some mixed visibility. Not the worst, but this site offers better on most occasions. With this pace there wasn’t much time to look around on the way, but a few of us paused briefly to look at a cuttlefish hiding under a ledge.

This photo of the cuttlefish is from our second dive, it was hiding a bit further under the ledge by that time.

 

Oak Park Shore Dive

 

After quite a lot of finning we came over the edge of the ‘bowl’ that is Fish Soup and started looking around. Unfortunately there wasn’t a great deal of life around on the day and with my buddy and I needed to leave after about a minute of looking around. We spun around, signalled to the DM and off we went. The return fin was a nice challenge with quite some ground to cover, testing our navigation skills and our dive fitness. Fortunately both of these passed muster on the day and we surfaced very close to where we commenced our dive, then had a short surface swim back to shore.

 

The dive group met back on the grass of the park and enjoyed a standard Abyss surface interval including tomato soup with tabasco sauce, cold cordial and bread rolls with Peanut Butter or Vegemite. The usual chat about the first dive and plans for the second dive ensued and a couple of divers who needed to leave bid farewell.

 

With everyone agreeing that there wasn’t enough life to warrant the rushed dive to get back to fish soup, we split into smaller groups and setup for our second dive. Heather joined Chris and I and we set off. We decided to do a more relaxed dive and get to ‘the cave’ that’s well known at the site if we had enough air, and then turnaround at this point. We took the same entry and then relaxed into a much slower pace, with both Heather and I looking for life to photograph.

 

We potted along, spotting plenty of life including many nudibranchs on the way out, as well as finding the cuttlefish again.

Oak Park Shore Dive

This small starfish was looking quite lonley

Oak Park Shore Dive

Along the way the classic Blue Groper joined our group

Oak Park Shore Dive

We reached the cave and had a quick look, though my strobe isn’t strong enough to penetrate the darkness for a decent photo of the 4 metre deep cave. Then it was time to start heading back. Some more nudibranchs along the way, and a few fish.

Some fish are hard to spot (this might be an Eastern Red Scorpionfish)

Oak Park Shore Dive

Others put on more of a show (this might be a Sergeant Baker)

Oak Park Shore Dive

And jellyfish come in all shapes and colours. This blue jellyfish was quite cool

Oak Park Shore Dive

A couple more Nudibranchs to finish

Oak Park Shore Dive

This one was TINY!

Oak Park Shore Dive

 

The rest of the gallery can be seen below.

Oak Park Shore Dive

Oak Park Shore Dive

  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive
  • Oak Park Shore Dive

 

icon-car.pngKML-LogoFullscreen-LogoQR-code-logoGeoJSON-LogoGeoRSS-LogoWikitude-Logo
Oak Park Shore Dive Site

loading map - please wait...

Oak Park Shore Dive Site -34.070231, 151.156125
Nature Weather

Sydney Lightning Show

Late Spring and Early Summer in Sydney is traditionally the time we see a lot of unstable storms move through. This week, we’ve been subject to them with consistency each afternoon and evening. Wednesday’s systems were quite severe and caused traffic dramas with flash flooding, caused electrical transformers to catch alight in Pyrmont and reportedly started at least one house fire.

Thursday’s systems came into Sydney later in the evening and put on a spectacular light show around the city around 10pm-midnight. As the night sky came alive, I setup my camera on the balcony and started to capture some great nearby strikes. As the storm rolled on they only became more spectacular.

You’ll find about a dozen images in this gallery

Here is an image of 6 stacked photos.

And a couple of individual frame.
Lightning strikes inner Sydney as a storm moves through the city late on December 4, 2014

Lightning strikes inner Sydney as a storm moves through the city late on December 4, 2014

Enjoy

Fire & Rescue Incidents Fire Rescue

Firefighters Continue Hazard Reduction Burning in Sydney’s North

NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters last weekend around Sydney put a big effort into hazard reduction burning with forecast rain ahead looking to close the window for these burns in the foreseeable future. There is a fine balance of weather that allows the fuel to be dry enough to burn cleanly, without temperatures and winds being too high to maintain adequate control.

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

In the Warringah district in Sydney’s north, a number of large scale burns took place with assistance of strike teams from around Sydney and helicopters assisting with observation, fire ignition and water bombing. On Sunday, the Warringah Catering Brigade provided over 300 meals to crews for breakfast and again for lunch. Local SES members were utilised in a logistics role to assist delivery of meals and other supplies as required. Firefighters from National Parks and Wildlife, as well as Fire & Rescue NSW also attended the various burns.

I attended a burn in the vicinity of Matthews St, Davidson where local crews were assisted by a strike team from the Macarthur Zone which included tankers and crews from Narellan, Hoxton Park, Catherine Field, Lynwood Park and Minto Heights. They were later also assisted by 3 stations from FRNSW and a helicopter as needed which also worked other burns in the District. This burn was a very strategic burn providing a buffer between a large area of National Park and the edge of the suburb, which included many houses backing directly onto bushland.

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

Crews faced some tough conditions with local winds causing them to work in heavy smoke conditions and hampering planned lighting patterns.

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

Ground crews were assisted from the air, with the NSW RFS owned ‘Firebird 200’ conducting observation runs to keep the Incident Management Team informed of progress and conditions. They also conducting aerial ignition, deploying small incendiary devices to areas of the fire difficult or unsafe to access on foot to assist with progression of the burn.

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

Sector Commander and Safety Officer liaising during ignition of the burn.
Hazard Reduction burning conducted by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Matthews St area of Davidson

While this burn in Davidson was occurring, the local district was also conducting other burns in Elvina Bay/West Head, Allambie Heights, Manly Vale and Ingleside. Several additional aircraft operating across these burns resulted in the establishment of a local airbase for refuelling and staging of the aircraft.

Terrey Hills Pumper provides fire protection during refuelling of Helitack 273

Firebird 249 returns to airbase

Helitack 272 departs for water bombing at Elvina Bay

Coal and Candle 1B patrols the fire edge at Elvina Bay while water bombing occurs in the distance

A full gallery with many more photos is available here: Photo Gallery

Nature SCUBA Diving Sports & Adventure

Grey Nurse Shark Dive!

I’ve been diving for quite a few years now and have been eyeing this dive off for most of that time, but always seem to be busy or find it already booked out when I try. Well this time I was lucky enough to get on! What better way to end a 4-day long weekend.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Magic Point is located off the south of Maroubra beach in Sydney. You can get on a boat dive with some of the major dive operators in Sydney leaving from Manly, Rose Bay or as we did, the beach at Long Bay. I’ve been doing most of my Sydney diving with Abyss(.com.au) for the last few years. They always have great crew and today we had Klaus as our DM with 6 of us along for the dive. We tag teamed with another group who had done their first dive before us, then we did our first dive while they had a surface interval. When we returned, they went for their second dive while we stopped for our SI, before it was our turn for the second dive.

From the beach landing at Long Bay, it’s a 5-10 minute boat trip around some of the iconic Sydney cliffs. We’re able to pull up to a buoy attached to the anchor dropped on the first dive and a few minutes later we’re in the water. We descend to about 12m along the anchor line and take a short 10m dive along rock face and we are at the shark cave. A few key rules to stick by such as not blocking or getting too close to the cave entrance and not trying to follow the sharks have been explained before the dive. Our group is a calm, switched on bunch and we’re spread around the cave about 5m out and settled on the sea floor calmly.

Almost immediately one shark does a weird acrobatic move and I wonder what else we’ll be treated to.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

After later surfacing the DM is as amused as I am. As we sit and watch about half a dozen sharks move around calmly it’s quite amazing how comfortable I feel. The sharks are quite majestic with the larger, older sharks keeping a greater distance and the smaller, younger sharks more inquisitive. It’s on 2 of these younger sharks that we can see large fishing hooks, a disappointing sight for all of us. Unfortunately I don’t think they’d understand if we tried to help by removing them.

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

At times the sharks are close enough for us to reach out and touch, but we stay still and let them be – wanting to impose on them in the least way possible. I focus on trying to get the best shots I can with my new underwater strobe (the term for an underwater flash unit).

Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Our first dive is quite long, with our whole group conservative with their air consumption and after a short dive around the area we ascend after 50 minutes. We return to the beach for a surface interval and the traditional Abyss snacks including tomato soup with Tabasco sauce and peanut butter rolls. A second dive follows, much the same as the first although visibility is a little poorer with particles stirred up. Another 45 minute dive and we are done for the day. This would have to be the best combination of easy diving and amazing scenes that I’ve done. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has any interest in these majestic creatures, even if you’re a little nervous.

You can view more photos HERE
Magic Point Dive with Grey Nurse Sharks

Nature Sydney Sights and Streets Weather

Sydney Summer Storms

Every summer Sydney is treated to some fantastic demonstrations of nature as summer storms roll through. A weak system rolled through this evening and I managed to capture a little bit of the lightning. Here’s hoping for some more opportunities soon.

More photos HERE

Lightning over Sydney, Australia on the evening of December 20th 2013

Lightning over Sydney, Australia on the evening of December 20th 2013

Fire & Rescue Incidents Fire Rescue

2 people rescued from Unit Fire in Homebush

Fire & Rescue NSW firefighters have rescued 2 people from the balcony of a unit complex where a fire broke out this morning. The 2 story brick & tile construction unit complex is in Homebush, in Sydney’s west.

Firefighters received reports that people were missing in the fire. On arrival they found two people with severe injuries. Injuries are believed to include burns and smoke inhalation.

Fire has caused extensive damage to the unit of origin, as well as affecting adjoining units.

RAW PHOTOS & VIDEO HERE


%d bloggers like this: