A Travellerspoint blog

Day 41: Friday 12th April 2013

Another Shark Encounter


We woke up early, with minimal travel time, of a 5 sec walk to the front, we were strangely on time. We got kitted up and headed out. We both took the obligatory travel sickness tablets, and took the boat out.

A few kit differences, we used the heavier wetsuits, because the water was so cold, a good 21 degrees, unlike the 28 degree of the tropical barrier reef. We also had weights in our BCs and not the traditional weight belt, very exciting for the dive minded. The dive site was famed for large fish and so we were excited to be going deep into the pinnacle.

We jumped in and headed down, we certainly felt the cold, but the wetsuits soon kicked in and provided that layer of warmth. It took a little whole to get down to the 30m bottom, which was even colder. But we were soon rewarded for our efforts. A big nurse shark about 3m cruised past and was soon met by another. We enjoyed the dive with these beautiful creatures and took some videos before heading off to see what else could find. It didn't take long before we had spotted a ray, a large cod and some Wollongong (small camouflaged shark like creature), who remained silent against the rocks. Our bottom time (time spent at 30m) was short be use you use more air at that depth, so 15m later we were heading back up to the surface.

A short break later we headed to another dive site, which was shallower and therefore should provide a good 40-60m bottom time. It was a different site, with rocks creating small valleys protected from the ocean. Protected was slightly overstated, as the current meant sometime you would be swimming hard but stationary and other times you would shoot forwards in a surge. The rocks where covered in a kelp like Forrest which meant cover for nervous sealife which might allow us to sneak up on them.

Sure enough we spent a good 45 mins enjoying the sealife, including a small turtle and numerous rays. Just when I thought the fish had disappeared I moved above a rock and kelp to look the other side and a nurse shark sailed overhead, coming in the other direction. it was so close I could feel the water displacement from it, it then causally swam off. I am not afraid to say that my adrenaline had kicked in a gear and I was rather awake at this point. It was a fabulous moment, but unfortunately happened so quick it was difficult to take any pictures. This dive however, took us both to 21 dives whilst away, pretty good effort.

After the dive, we ate lunch and then back on the road into Sydney. Another good 500km. Stopping at t excellent stop we had stayed in on the way up, we couldn't help feel our tour Australia was coming to an end, which it was. We navigated Sydney and managed to avoid the poor driving, dangerous lane changes and very uncourteous drivers; some things we won't miss. We settled into the cinema to pass a few hours and use the free cinema tickets we had. We watched the new Tom cruise film oblivion, a very weird concept. After the film and late at night we stayed in the local park, where I exercised whilst living in manly, since I had seen many campers there during my morning work outs, it was the perfect spot in a city which has few available.

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 18:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 40: Thursday 11th April 2013

Driving on Down

semi-overcast 20 °C

We got up earlyish and ate breakfast, packing the van to leave, the restful confines of our campsite pitch. We headed into Byron via the cafe, which had award winning coffee, a the Hobart awards no less, so we tried that before driving into Byron and back to the souvenir shop we had visited yesterday.

The shop was good fun and we eventually found a lovely plain wood varnish didgeridoo in the note of E. as well as a few other bits and bobs from Australia. We went back to the health food shop and had a 'I am beautiful' in vain wishful thinking. Sarah had an 'i am delightful'. Mine was better with Sarah's having a strange perfumey taste.

We headed off into the afternoon and made our way back down the coast towards our final destination. Just a short 600km drive. The distances in Australia are phenomenal, having said that there are rest stops regularly on route. Some are more extravagant service centres, most are small laybys, with compost toilets and parking areas. We have used loads of these to sleep in on our trip. One great initiative is the driver reviver, where they give free tea or coffee and biscuits to any weary traveller. Sarah laughs because I have my cup of tea in the reject shop thermos costing $3. Proper traveller eh? We even stopped at one and had dinner with picnic tables and scenic views.

We eventually arrived at or destination the small town of Forster. We had to find the dive centre for our diving trip in the morning and so toured town and eventually found the centre on the sea front. With a perfect car park outside for an overnight camper van stop. It was still earlyish (about 8pm) so we went to a local bar (or working men's club). The pubs in Australia are soulless compared to uk pubs, and this one was not an exception. A quick drink later we were snuggled up in bed getting an early night ready for the early dive start.

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 18:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 39: Wednesday 10th April 2013

Last Lazy Day

sunny 27 °C

Today was our last day in Byron. We were up early to follow our training plan: we were back to 'training splits' which meant running at different speeds- invariably fast with a short recovery time which is repeated, it was hard work to say the least...and probably a little late in the day to have a big impact for me: I have been a little relaxed with my training between races; I'm sure a week on Saturday I will be paying the price!

After our run Martin did some more if his workout by the van, despite the ground being pretty wet, I relaxed in the sunshine, after showers etc we wondered along the beach into town to check out a cafe/ raw juice bar we had heard being discussed on the local radio Martin was working out to, we shared a chocolate and beet root cake: we won't be repeating that one and a 'power juice' called 'I'm powerful. It was really tasty with all sorts of berries in it: we soon polished that off!

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 18:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 37: Tuesday 9th April 2013

Precipitation & Planning

rain 20 °C

We spent the day in and around the van venturing no further than the campsite BBQ kitchens, we made the most of the rainy day (despite the heavy drumming of the rain keeping us awake overnight) making plans for our return to the UK: with 6 weeks left the reality of returning home....to 'normal' life is hitting home with a mixture of excitement of things to come, and nerves for the unknown....how exciting!

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 18:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day 36: Monday 8th April 2013

Byrons Beaches

sunny 27 °C

We spent the first half of the morning relaxing at the van, in fact I was relaxing, writing the blog and checking the internet whilst Martin was doing his exercises in preparation for his tough mudder this weekend.

After a late breakfast we went for a walk along the headland to the lighthouse (the most easterly part of Australia's mainland....or so the sign said!) the sun was out and the undulating path hugged the side of the cliffs giving spectacular views of the coast.

After climbing the multitude of steps, most of which we covered on our midday run the previous day: what were we thinking, we arrived at the lighthouse. Dated 1901 it was practically ancient by Australian standards, it looked older in style than that, with hand gliders in the background souring in circles and a backdrop of beautiful blue sky it was picture perfect. After a quick look around the museum and a gander at the cliff top views we made rue way back down, stopping briefly to eat a quick snack on a peninsula just over half way back to camp.

We wondered along the beach and into town in the afternoon to stock up on essential supplies: I had run out of chocolate! We then spent the evening watching a film courtesy of our hard drive.

Posted by Jolley-Jarvis 18:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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