Of course, we had some good survey dives at Port Stephens, and some not so good ones. The dates coincided with 6.5m seas and lots of heavy rain, so as you would expect, the viz deteriorated, and not even Rick recommended surveying on the Sunday! But following up my PS trip with 9 days live-aboard diving at the Poor Knights in New Zealand, caused me to reflect a little.
I guess those that regularly attend the RLS trips are pretty ‘hard core’ divers, who want to give back something in return for the enjoyment they get from the underwater world. Most of us probably average between 50-200 dives per year?
Anyway, on the NZ trip was a woman about to turn 70, who last year logged over 500 dives… and even the bloke who organizes the trips and is soon to celebrate his 50thyear of diving the Poor Knights, logged ‘only’ 263 dives last year. Both are of course incredibly competent divers, making me feel clumsy underwater! So I shrank a bit, realizing that there is always more we can do, or at least make room for, as we get older.
Our Sydney RLS activities will be invigorated with the addition of John, Luigi and Petko, and I urge our regulars to stay in touch with these guys and not to pass up a chance to dive with them. Or invite them on your dives. They are rarin’ to go, and it is great to have them join the larger RLS team!
Thanks to all for a lovely long weekend.
OK, back to Port Stephens. Our new RLS members included the incredibly keen Luigi and Petko, newly arrived from Italy and Bulgaria respectively, and Anna from New Zealand; as well as John. The rest of the team comprised Bill, Barb (honorary RLS safety officer), Kate, Margo, Ash, Jen, Tom and Nicola (and Rick). We all got on remarkably well, with John, Luigi and Petko coping admirably with the pressure to learn Latin names of the local fauna.
What else can I say? The house was great, and Margo did an exceptional job of keeping everything in apple pie order. The catamaran “Reef Dragon” was in town for the duration, supplementing the shore dives with day trips to the outer islands. Skipper Ian and first mate (and fellow RLS diver) Sam were most welcoming, and days on the catamaran were enjoyable days on the water.
Lots of data were gathered despite the variable weather, mostly thanks to the many diving options presented by the Port Stephens area. Gearing up (and down) for shore dives in heavy rain is something we won’t forget, but at least the water was substantially warmer than the rain. Fly Point and the like are capable of turning on exceptional dives, but provided somewhat muted experiences in the conditions. A highlight for me was seeing a flathead the size of a small wobbegong!