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( 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.


Fire & Rescue Incidents Fire & Rescue Stations, Appliances, Equipment Fire Rescue

Melbourne’s MFB covers Sydney Fire Stations

To many firefighters in NSW, the past week has flown by in a blur. It has been an extreme start to the bushfire season and so many have done what seems so ordinary to them, but extraordinary to others. They’ve put aside their own lives to go and help others in need and often from some distance away.

With large fires, it’s not uncommon for this assistance to come from interstate. Quite often we see specialists including Incident Management Team members flown in from other states. It’s also fairly common for bush fire brigade volunteers to send firefighters and tankers to assist at these large fires.

This week though, we saw something a lot less common. Melbourne’s MFB sent a number of pumpers to Sydney, and they weren’t tasked to the actual bushfire incident. Instead, they were sent to a number of City fire stations to standby and respond to run of the mill calls, allowing Fire & Rescue NSW to utilise their urban crews and appliances in the bushfire efforts.

As I understand it, 10 MFB Pumpers were sent to Sydney. Their crew of 4 on each pumper were split into a day and night shift. FRNSW joined them to create a crew of 2 MFB and 2 FRNSW firefighters on each shift. They responded to all calls as normal and these are reported to include at least one structure fire.

I managed to catch a few of these around shift change, as the FRNSW appliances were returning to station. The MFB crews should be heading home today, as the intensity of the bushfire crisis eases.

More images available here

1 City of Sydney

3 The Rocks

19 Silverwater

22 Leichhardt

23 Gladesville – the MFB Pumper was hiding behind the closed roller door

Fire & Rescue Incidents Fire Rescue

Barrenjoey Headland Bushfire

Fire has burnt out scrub and bushland on Barrenjoey Headland in Sydney’s north, known for its use in the television drama series ‘Home and Away’. 2 buildings at the Barrenjoey lighthouse complex sustained damage but no other property damage or injuries were reported.

Around 2pm on Saturday 28th September, fire crews from NSW Fire & Rescue and NSW Rural Fire Service were responded to reports of a bushfire below the lighthouse. Images posted on social media showed a small but fierce fire burning with a strong easterly wind blowing. The fire grew rapidly and arriving firefighters were immediately concerned with the safety of bush walkers and fisherman in the area. An Emergency Warning was issued for the fire.

Some 80 firefighters were dispatched with boats and helicopters involved in the incident. Boats were immediately tasked with checking on people who may have been stuck on rocks around the headland, with a small number being taken to safety. Helicopters undertook water bombing operations on the fire. With only a small walking trail and narrow vehicle track to the top, firefighters travelled on foot and utilised an ATV from the Surf Lifesaving club to move equipment to the top of the hill where the lighthouse and associated buildings were under threat.

Firefighters who had reached the buildings called for immediate assistance, with smoke coming from a building’s roof. Firefighters in breathing apparatus worked their way into the roofspace where roofing beams had caught fire. Embers had travelled in through very small gaps between flashing and roof sheets, igniting the roof beams. Fortunately firefighters were able to limit the spread of fire, though repairs will be needed.

Also at the lighthouse buildings, a number of visitors to the headland had gathered for safety. NSW Rural Fire Service sent emergency alert messages to mobile telephones in the area instructing anyone on the headland to seek refuge there, with paths back to the car park too dangerous to travel on. Those gathered were later transported to safety below. By around 4pm, the Emergency Warning advice had been downgraded to ‘Watch and Act’.

@kaitlynpejkovic posted this on Instagram

After a tense afternoon, crews who were involved in the initial firefight were replaced by incoming night crews. The main concern became a number of buildings at the northern end of the western beach. The fire was continuing to travel above these buildings having already burned the entire eastern headland. Firefighters ensured safe lines were established around these buildings and monitored the fire, allowing it to burn to control lines. Meanwhile a crew was tasked with monitoring the lighthouse and associated buildings overnight, with embers still being of concern.

Firefighters who’d been in attendance overnight were welcomed to the new day with a glorious sunrise, revealing the extent of bushland burned and able to assess the scene completely. A National Parks helicopter was brought in to assess the scene from above. Fire Investigators assessed the scene, but unable to find a definitive cause the NSW RFS stated the fire was suspicious. On Sunday the fire was further downgraded to ‘Advice’ level and the scene was later handed back to National Parks & Wildlife staff.

More photos from overnight at the fire, and sunrise from Barrenjoey head are HERE

Dawn from Barrenjoey lighthouse overlooking Palm Beach

Dawn from Barrenjoey lighthouse

Dawn from Barrenjoey lighthouse observed by firefighters

Dawn from Barrenjoey lighthouse shows the fire still burning on the western side of the headland. Foregound shows some of the equipment used to protect the buildings

Sunrise allows us to see the area of roofing damaged by fire. Embers penetrated the very small gaps between the flashing and roof, then setting roof beams alight. Firefighters broke through the ceiling wearing breathing apparatus to reach the fire and prevent further damage, saving the historical buildings.

Parkair 4 (helicopter) was brought in the next morning to observe the fire impact

Out & About Sydney Sights and Streets

Prime Minister Gillard meets in North Strathfield Cafe

Sydney, Australia. 22/MAR/2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits a cafe in North Strathfield for a meeting and draws a crowd of local workers and visitors.

The Prime Minister and John Murphy were meeting with the Inner West Courier. More to come on what was discussed.

Sydney, Australia. 22/MAR/2013Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits a cafe in North Strathfield for a meeting and draws a crowd of local workers and visitor

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