The leaderboard has been updated with several fish, head over and take a look! Some fun facts from our weighmaster:
106 fish have been entered in total
18 divers have submitted fish
average weight of 1.8kg
There isn’t much time left to submit your fish for the CSC but it could still be anyones game, don’t let the the leading weight put you off from submitting your fish as there are still points up for grabs.. This has by far been the most engaging competition for our members.
The weekend just gone saw the Geelong Freedivers pack up cars and head interstate for this years camping trip. After polling our members it was decided that we would head to Eden NSW.
I awoke bleary eyed at 5am Friday morning to finish packing the Ranger with the aim of picking up people and being on the road by 6am to beat the morning traffic and get to Eden in time for an afternoon dive. As always things didn’t do to plan after having issues hitching a camper trailer, I was watching the sky get brighter and the fear of being stuck in peak hour traffic getting stronger. We eventually got it sorted and drove to Grovedale to grab another member and were on the highway around 7:30, only an hour and a half behind schedule already.
Thankfully we only got the tail end of the traffic in Melbourne and then had a pretty smooth journey the rest of the way with minimal pit stops and hardly any traffic. I sure noticed the drop in performance over the great alpine road with 4 people, packed tub and camper attached!
We arrived at the Bittangabee camping grounds around 4:30 and promptly headed straight to the water to have a look. Seeing the sun very low over the mountains we decided it would be wise to set up camp with the little light that was left and to leave the diving for the morning. This is when we realised that the sites that i booked were just for tents and that we couldn’t get the camper trailer onto the site! After studying the angles between poles, trees and parked vehicles, Julian thought we could manage to squeeze it through a gap which my reversing skills would never allow! So we unhitched the trailer and pushed it through and onto the site and finished setting up our tents and got a fire started.
The first night was baited with anticipation for the following day and the pleasure of being out under the stars, cooking dinner over the fire and stuffing bananas with chocolate and baking them in the coals for dessert. The smell of dessert was enough for the locals to lower their guard and come into the camp site, even nearly jumping in our laps!
As we were starting to think about heading off to sleep we checked the time only to see it was 7:30(!), at which point we had a thought for the Nam’s and Timon who had only just left Melbourne and had a long night drive ahead of them. We ended up staying up for a while longer having a couple cold ones around the fire sharing stories and eventually headed off to be well rested for an early start in the morning.
The Nam’s and Timon however were just starting their journey taking shifts driving and sleeping while we were getting the best sleep of our adult lives. They arrived at the camp grounds at 4am, couldn’t find which site was ours and ended up sleeping in the car.
The sun and birds came up at 6am and the day was started, we stoked up the fire to cook some bacon, eggs and sausages for breaky on toasted rolls with some mushrooms and black pudding. The late travellers somehow managed to wake up after just 2 hours sleep and join us as we decided what we were going to do for the day.
Despite camping right next to the water we decided to jump back in the cars and drive another 30 minutes to get to a 4×4 track and 15 minutes down to the end of that just to park the cars, load our gear up on our shoulders and trek 2km to the desired spot to try and bag some kings.
From the surface the location and water looked spectacular and once we got in the water we weren’t disappointed. Flat surface, crystal 15m viz and abundant fish life made for a very enjoyable day in the water. Swimming out to the point we were amazed at the amount of bait fish as well as the others, it was a real challenge not to to shoot anything while we waited for kings. We got some nice depth really quick with some amazing ledges and drop offs which were prime for sniping from.
After a number of hours we decided to stop waiting for kings and to start targeting other species. We saw lots of species we have back home but mainly stayed away from them to target fish that we don’t find back home with the blue, red and jackass morwongs high on that list. We spent lots of drops sitting down around the 15m mark stuck in indecision on which fish to shoot, what a problem to have!
After about 7 or 8 hours in the water we finally noticed the sun getting low on the horizon and decided to call it quits. This is when we finally noticed that we had skipped lunch so Nam decided to have some trevally sashimi on the rocks.
I thought the hike down to the beach was killer but it is so much worse going uphill after a full days diving and with extra kg’s of fish on your back. Needless to say we got back to camp in full dark and proceeded to cook dinner, a bit of a surf n turf with red morwong and trevally sashimi, blue morwong cooked in the coals, squid fired on the hotplate along with Peters famous snags and flame grilled steaks.
We enjoyed another night sitting around the campfire sharing stories, not of dives gone by but each persons account for the day. We turned in early again thinking of a morning dive and dreading the long trip home, the trip was way too short.
Once again we were up with the sun and the birds, Julian and Nam got their rods out and tried their luck fishing off the rocks while the rest of us stayed at camp and cooked breakfast over the fire, eggs, mushrooms and snags in toasted rolls. Today we decided to try different methods, the Nam’s and Timon stayed and dived bittangabee bay while Danny, Julain and I decided to drive another 30 minutes away (but no hike thankfully!) to chase some bonito.
Bittangabee had slight overcast conditions but no swell and water that was crystal clear. The estuary mouth didn’t have much going on but as you went out further there were some big drop offs with heaps of red morwongs and luderick and the deep gullys had a nice boarfish at the end. Interesting was seeing a few ship wrecks. On a mission to get an eastern rock lobster Nam was checking some big ledges to no avail just seeing big urchins and giant cuttles hiding for shelter.
They decided to come in at 1pm which just happened to be when the sun came out and wind dropped down and died completely. They finished off with a bit of lunch before heading back to Melbourne.
On the hunt for Bonito Danny and Julian tried a different spot, still a little drive away but not as much 4×4 as the previous day and from the carpark we had an awesome view.
Once we got down to the water we saw flocks of birds diving and feeding out from shore which just increased the excitement! With conditions very similar to the day before there were similar species (and salmon) and numbers of them but we were here for Bonito. Diving the big ledges and drop off was fun and a mixture of ground which included sandy patches. There was plenty of bonito but they weren’t hanging around. They would flying, smashing some bait fish and then get out of there quick never presenting a shot.
What seemed like cutting the dive short we got back in the car and sadly hit the road about 3pm and started the trek back home. Driving down the road and watching Eden disappear in the rear view mirror I nearly hd to wipe a tear from my eye, it is such a magical place and one weekend is not nearly long enough to spend there.
We finally made it back to Geelong at 11:30pm to drop Danny off and head back down the peninsula to drop off Julian and get home to a much needed shower and in bed by 12:30 trying to sleep thinking of the awesome diving in Eden and dreading going back to daily life in a few short hours.
For the second underwater photography competition we had 6 staunch competitors all keen to get cracking at the non-gentleman’s hour of 7:00am. The chosen location was the marine park at Springs beach Point Lonsdale.
The weather was… terrible. However due to the winds being offshore for the entire duration and the preceding days of northerlies the visibility was actually quite good. Probably worst case of 5 and best 15+ metres.
As you can see conditions looked quite reasonable.
However it was chilly and we were all suffering and amused at ourselves for even turning up at the beginning.
Naturally somebody had to forget crucial equipment. Here’s Nam fashioning a weight belt made from gaffa tape. Impressive work!
Finally we got to the water at around 7:30am. If you look closely there’s actually a 7th competitor who Richard is giving some solid advice too regarding the rules of the competition.
Rule 1: You must wear appropriate clothing
Rule 2: Please bring a camera 🙂
We were all actually put to shame by a dozen or so people simply swimming in the water for the fun of it – what’s that all about? Is it possible that a wet suit is not mandatory in the water at all times??
The lady above was calling Richard an overdressed wussy as you can see below:
It was interesting to see that the camera of choice was the trusty GoPro. However one “fancy pants” camera was on show and took a bunch of quality photos.
Here is the wielder of this magnificent camera and some other characters who turned up…
During the competition the conditions changed from breezy to extremely windy, rainy to complete downpour and just repeated continually. The diving though was largely unaffected – underwater it was actually quite peaceful and a nicer alternative to being battered by the wild weather on the surface.
Here’s Russell enjoying the serenity.
On average 8 species were photographed and submitted for reviewing & scoring which is typical for this area. There were actually quite a few fish about. These photography events are a great way to learn more fish species as taking a good photo is actually harder than simply spearing a fish.
Gerard 12 species – 1455
Richard 9 species – 1065
Luke 9 species – 1045
Nam 8 species – 955
Hayden 8 species – 930
Russell 5 species – 575
You may be wondering how we score a fish that’s been submitted? Firstly, is the fish identifiable? We then overlay some concentric rings over the photo and from this judge how centered is it.
The second exciting instalment of Geelong Freedivers Inc. Club Underwater Photography Challenge was scheduled to take place this Sunday, the 15th of April. After reviewing the weather forecast, we have decided instead to move the comp a day forward, and so we will be running the comp this Saturday morning (the 14th) instead, with the location set at the Springs beach at Point Lonsdale (turn left @ the BP as you’re coming into Point Lonsdale from the round-a-bout).
The Springs beach will offer us a good opportunity to explore a marine reserve whilst remaining protected from the strong northerly winds.
This is open to all AUF members, not just Geelong Freedivers members.
Arrive at the Springs beach carpark at 7:00am for a 7:30am kick off. The comp will have a scheduled finish time of 11:30am, before the worst of the winds arrive. As usual, there will be a BBQ to follow. Being a marine sanctuary, leave your guns at home.
Once again we have our monthly club meeting, we will have representatives from Victorian Fisheries Authority and VRFish to give us an update on the lobster tagging program. If you are interested in how the program is going and/or have any questions then come down and see how it’s been going.
11th April 6:30pm at the Sir Charles Hotham Hotel, 3 Brougham st Geeliong
On Sunday we held the final round of the Surf Coast Cup, this one being a shore dive. The week leading up to the comp was a nervous one that started with big swell and continued with gale force winds all week but the committee stood their ground and called it on and for Kennett River, and boy was it a good call!
Driving down the great ocean road in complete darkness we couldn’t get a glimpse of the ocean to give us any indication as to the conditions but we couldn’t hear the waves either so that was a good sign. We arrived at kennett along with the first rays of sunlight and were greeted by a dead flat ocean.
We had 13 people signed up for the comp including non GFD AUF members which was great to see and everyone was so keen for the comp they arrived a half hour early! This allowed us to suit up and have the safety brief and ready to hit the water by 8:15. With a big increase in swell predicted in the afternoon (which never came) we decided to call the comp shorter, closing at 1pm.
Divers had different strategies at the start of the comp with the majority of divers heading around the corner to the west and a few others hitting the bits of reef in the bay area. Viz was variable with mostly around 6m and up to 10m in other spots. Plenty of fish were around but they knew what we were up to and made things harder for us.
A few divers got out early whilst some spent the whole time in the water, getting out and back to sign off with minutes to spare. The extra time spent hunting was reflected on the scoresheets.
A big thank-you to the Kennett River Caravan Park for coming to our BBQ rescue when the clubs one suffered technical difficulties. It definitely made the BBQ and weigh in better having a proper cover from the elements with the local wildlife.
As we all made the most of the return of Kelly’s famous BBQ pork banh mi’s the weigh in commenced. Some great fish were bought in, a couple real big Banded mowies which unfortunately weren’t on the scoresheet this season but could be weighed in for theClub Spearfishing Championship, lots of crays which were the same as the banded, some nice snook and pike and some of the usual bread and butter species.
Leaving Kennett we were all amazed at just how good the water looked, so much for that swell increase and if we weren’t all too full from the BBQ there would have been more diving done in the afternoon.
Final points and the overall cup winner will be announced at the GFD awards night (details to come).
A big thank you to everyone who came for the event, despite no tuna being speared it was (in my opinion) the best comp out of the series. We seek any and all input regarding the event, the rules and the scoresheet so that we can continue to improve the competition for the next season.
For anyone interested in coming along to Kennett river tomorrow and just having a social dive and not competing in the Surf Coast Cup, we have just opened it up for booking. Remember to select the BBQ add on 😉