The Eden 3 Way competition was held this weekend and managed to coincide with some fantastic weather. It was a big turnout with over 120 individual divers spread out over fifty something boats/jetskis with a small number shore diving. Four members of the Geelong Freediving Club were there to ‘represent’.
The days prior saw quite a lot of scouting going on. There had been some reasonably big swell earlier in the week however by the Friday the majority of this had subsided. Visibility was the slowest to improve however it was definitely diveable with a gentle swell as a reminder that it was the ocean you were traversing.
The coastline at Eden is absolutely spectacular with many diving spots right at a cliff edge, headlands or adjacent to golden beaches. While scouting we were lucky to see a whale breaching not far offshore. Conversely the whale was also lucky not to be run over – it was a close call. Look closely in the following video to spot the whale.
After finishing scouting for the day a game plan was agreed upon for the competition day. We’d head ‘south’ stopping off at a few spots and then go beyond Green Cape. On the way back a few more spots would be checked. Quite a few kilometres overall, however Malcolm’s Edencraft would make covering the distance efficient and comfortable.
Competition day saw everybody up bright and early. The boat was in the water by 7:30am and we waited while a long procession of trailer boats waited their turn to launch. It was a bit chilly at 6 degrees however the water was a luxurious 16 degrees or so.
There was a flurry of activity just prior to the formal introduction speech as the quickly dropping tide saw a number of boats (including us) get stuck on the sand. Soon after the competition rules were read out to a mostly attentive crowd.
After the introduction and sign-on everybody proceeded to jump in their boats and begin the journey out into the bay. The idea was to line up and wait for a signal from the organisers and then race to the headland. I’ll let the next video give you an idea how much fun this was. Make sure you turn the volume up for the section near the end.
I found there’s a real skill in holding a handheld camera still while travelling at 80+ km/hour… and you’ll see my ribs almost breaking at the beginning of the race as Malcolm redlined the throttle – ouch! I think we were third out of all the boats however at the time all I could think was holding on for dear life with one hand and trying to keep the camera still with the other.
After absolutely flying through the bay we started on the game plan. The competition seemed to go very quickly. Visibility wasn’t great however there were a few spots around Green Cape where it was fairly good and the diving interesting.
After making our way back and signing off we watched all the other boats coming in. Many containers of fish were placed in the weighing area. It was very clear we’d been outclassed as some of the competitors had managed to get many more species including Kingfish which was impressive.
Fortunately our fish were weighed quickly due to being near the front of the line and we were able to leave early to wash the boat and clean our catch.
One of the local community assistance groups were hard at work as most of competition catch was donated to assist those in need. Anybody in this group who wasn’t an expert at the scaling, filleting & cleaning process would’ve been afterward.
The Eden competition was definitely a great experience. I’d encourage people to give it a go next year if possible.