Monthly Archives: April 2013

Free Diving Cronulla – (Oak Park – Shelly Beach)

Finally … It’s been over two weeks and the weather in sydney has been good enough that it has provided decent conditions for some free diving on the south side beaches, in this case (Oak park and Shelly beach).

We spent the whole day diving on sunday starting at 8:30 in the morning all the way to 4.00 in the evening. I tried to get there early enough to take shots of the sunrise but woke up way to late so instead of rushing decided to just relax and arrive at a decent time instead of  trying to see if i could make it at the break of dawn risking double demerit points seeing as this was (kind of) a long weekend.

The beach was full of swimmers, divers and surfers and many of the people that arrive in the morning around the same time I did were still there until sun down ! I think everyone knows that this kind of weather wont be common again for a few more months specially as we are heading straight for winter here in Sydney so they wanted to make the best of the day.

Free diving at oak park was pretty nice today, swell was pretty low throughout the day, lots of scuba divers coming in and out and the visibility was decent. The only problem is the water is getting extremely cold and as a result we had to get out of the water every 30 minutes or so as Damir was starting to get cold. I was using a shirt that kept me warm so I didn’t really feel the cold. Will probably be buying a wet suit sometime this coming month so that should be even better in keeping me warm during winter dives.

For lunch we had soup, yeah …. Damir brought the pressure cooker from his house, that he used to cook the soup to the beach and we used a ladle to put the soup into Styrofoam cups so we could eat. People were looking at the two weird guys eating soup out of a pressure cooker on the beach but who cares, the soup was delicious and the perfect pickup during lunch before more diving after midday.

Didn’t get to take much pictures just the one video displayed above. :)

(Valentine Mashup Mix) – Awesome Bollywood Dance

Been so busy as of late I haven’t had time to catch any new movies and see whats new in 2013 though there are a few that I had heard about in late 2012 that I want to go and checkout. However I have been browsing the songs on youtube and found this absolutely awesome dance mix.

It has many of my favourite songs from the different movies up tempo’ed with a dance mix background. Awesome ! :) As of now it has about 2812 hits but its relatively new so I think it will definitely increase this year.

My attempt at translations below :)

यह मह मे बाहुत वयसत है तो नए हिनदि movies देखा नही है. लेकिन वह साल , कुघ आछी movies मे देख चाहते. Instead मे हिनदि music, सुन कार राहे है आैर यह नाचे mix पाया कार राहा है ! आरे वा ! मे बाहुत पासानद हौ totally awesome !

य़ह mix मेरा प्रिय songs है and the beat is awesome :)  अबी hits 2812 है लेकिन मे सोचता क्योंकि नए है.

Rainy day at the beach … but still fun

Rainy day at the beach

Rainy day at the beach

If you are like me and you love the beach because of the water, the smell of the salt and being just at peace when you are by the sand whether its rain, hail or shine (well maybe not hail), any weather is good to be by the beach. As long as you are not caught out in the currents in a dangerous situation if you have time to be by the water the weather isn’t a pre-requisite for being at the beach.

All week the weather has been great but starting today the weather has turned for the worse. Lots of rain, thunder and the air temperature started at about 12 degrees and has moved to about 15 (still pretty cold). However this crappy weather didn’t stop the usual cheerful folk who usually swim every morning. When I got to the beach there was only one person there. I thought that it might be a quiet day today seeing as it was really cold but sure enough the usual suspects started to make their way to the beach and do their daily swim.

Some of the guys swam for shorter times because the water was pretty cold, between 18 – 19 degrees depending on where you are in the rock pools but I managed to get my 2 laps x 60m underwater and then proceeded to do the 18 laps x 30m underwater. I was in the water for about 1hr in total taking into consideration safety breathe up breaks between each underwater swim.

The swell was pretty bad and it looks like diving tomorrow will be canceled unless there is a massive turn around in the weather. Rough seas, zero visibility and no company is all enough reason to not go this weekend. I might replace the dive with a long distance run in the rain though, nice way to get some distance running in there and get cooled off automatically while im running :) I love running in the rain, its really fun and soothing.

Anyway photo of the sea above, not everyday is a sunny day at the beach as this picture shows but everyday is certainly a good day to be a the beach whether its rain or shine !

Kurnell Sunset – (Sydney Australia)

The weather was perfect for diving yesterday ! The sun has been out all week, almost no clouds in the sky, I could imagine that the visibility was going to be great with the sun shining through the waters allowing me to see the bottom of the ocean and dive towards it.

New Dive Buoy DesignI had my mask ready, damir had his new mask, we had a new and improved design for the dive buoy that allowed us to roll the rope up and down for easy deployment and retrieval, we had a newer longer extended camera pole for better videos and it was an all round win.

We got to Oak Park and started to assemble the buoy we had designed. I cleaned both Damir’s and my mask with tooth paste and got my snorkel and camera cleaned. Mounted the camera onto the pole and headed towards the water. Waves were pretty big and choppy so we had to be careful not to get pushed up against the rock pool wall upon entry. I looked around the waters to see if there were other dive buoy’s but there were none, I saw a couple of scuba divers make their way into the water via the east side entry so I thought they were probably doing a track underneath and would exit back at the beach so a buoy was not needed.

I jumped in the water and it wasn’t good, silt was everywhere, visibility was no better then about 1 metre or so and in the very shallow 2-3 metre parts of Oak Park, I couldn’t even see the bottom of the sea. Ridiculous, we swam out a bit to see if it was clearer and still absolutely nothing. I dove down into murky waters to see if it was better below and the water became really cold at about 5 meters down. The transition from the cold to the warm and vise-versa was really noticeable, the current was also pretty strong. After a while we realised it was not a win and not a good day for diving (at Oak Park anyway) and headed back to shore.

Within 15minutes we paddled back and discussed what to do next. We were contemplating going to gordon’s bay again, then decided to try out some of the Kurnell dive sites. After some back and forth we decided to go to the Kurnel sites, first being “Boat harbour” then “The steps”.

We didn’t manage to get to “The steps” because according to google maps it was in a national park and that park was about to close at 6:30 – 7:00, we were already at about 5 oclock at this time and thought it wasn’t enough time to check it out, seeing as there was a fee on entry.

We then went to “Boat Harbour” and drove on some pretty dodgy dirt roads which made me think we were going the wrong way, however after following the road for a while we did end up at the right place. It seemed like it was low tide and there were some spearo’s there and some surfers, I was tempted to go in but the sea was exceptionally rough with large waves crashing onto the rocks and the spearo’s were about to get out so I didn’t want myself and damir to be the only one in the water with massive waves. We ate the lunch we packed and decided to turn back. The good thing was we learnt about all the different dive sites around the southern side of sydney so we will definitely be following up on those sites sometime in the near future.

Standing By The Sunset

In the end we went back to the Kurnell beaches, there was nothing else left to do, it was a sunday, weather was perfect and I didn’t feel like going home yet. I also remembered that I didn’t have any nice videos of the sunset so decided it would be a perfect time to capture the sunset and take a few snaps at Kurnel :)

So no diving videos this week, just that of the peaceful sunset over the horizon enjoying a nice cup of warm team from the thermos, taking shit, shooting the breeze (arguing about stuff as usual) and watching the sunset ! Enjoy …

Tea By the sunset

Another Beautiful Morning @ Shelly Beach (Cronulla) Sydney

Shelly Beach Sunrise Cronulla

Shelly Beach Sunrise Cronulla

Since daylight savings was reverted a week or so ago here in Australia, catching the sunrise requires me to wake up at about 5:00am in the morning so I can drive to shelly beach in time to catch it and do my usual morning swim. This post is dedicated to just that, watching the big ball of hydrogen atoms going through nuclear fusion, creating helium to produce the live giving warmth and light we call the sun come over the horizon. Its also a great time to say hi to the older, friendly folk swimming at shelly beach every morning :)

shelly beach pools

Steps down to the shelly beach rock pools for the older crowd to ensure they do not slip. There is also wheel chair access right next to the stairs

shelly beach sunrise sand

Sand on shelly beach where I usually put my gear before the swim when its not raining. Sometimes going for a dive along the side of the pool outside the barriers is fun to do in calmer waters

shelly beach sunrise walking down the path

Walking down the shelly beach walk way towards the pools.

In the image below, on the right hand side of the walk way there used to be a really old block of apartments which are currently being fixed up with a new coat of paint. They also seem to be replacing the old rusting metal balconies with more modern glass and stainless steel models barriers to suite the rest of the newer apartments in the area.

It is certainly going to look good after its done ! Hmmm makes me think … wonder how much rent will be there once its completed :P

It was a nice morning, got through my laps, sat on the beach and took in the fresh air for about 30 mins and now back home working on the final parts of the Android App soon to be released.

Enjoy the picture post !

Aqua Lung Falco Free Diving Mask – Product Review

I finally had the Aqua Lung Falco mask arrive in the mail few days ago and took it out for a spin the next day. This mask is a massive upgrade from my previous mask and feels so nice on the face that sometimes I forget I have a mask on. Im sure this feeling will wear of soon as I get used to the better quality products :P

I decided to buy the aqua lung falco mask because many people where discussing how the aqua lung sphera mask (that was also very highly rated and one that I felt was also very comfortable when I tried it at the store) would scratch easily because of the  plastic lens. I did some research and found that the Aqua Lung Falco was a similar mask except for the fact that it was tempered glass. I looked at the images to see if I could see any differences but wasn’t able to see it possibly because of the angles in the images (it just didn’t show the mask at that right angle). Many of the stores I went to didn’t stock the Falco and couldn’t tell me much about it.

It made me wonder why people didn’t buy the Falco when it was supposedly the same as the sphera but had tempered glass, which in essence would mitigate the easily scratched plastic so I decided to buy it, it wasn’t much $59 was the purchase cost. I finally got my hands on the Aqua Lung Falco mask and am now able to see the difference. Other then the fact that the lens is glass the way it wraps around the mask is somewhat different. All the materials used and the design of the mask which includes the housing and straps are pretty much identical except for the actual lens surface area (and material). The Aqua lung Falco has a straight lens with added plastic on the edges so it lines up whilst the Aqua Lung Sphera curls all the way around the mask. (The video shows a better illustration of this)

Check out the video to see the actual difference. Hopefully if you were ever confused about the differences like I was you can now see the difference in the two masks and it can help you decide whether you would rather have a plastic lens that does have better visibility but is prone to scratching or whether you would rather have the tempered glass lens which doesn’t scratch as easily but doesn’t wrap around the whole mask.

Anyway, check out the video above.

If your convinced that you would rather have the sphera with the plastic lens but has full wrap around then the cheapest I have seen it online is at amazon, though please let me know if you find it anywhere else cheaper and I will put links to those site also.

Click on the image below to be taken to the amazon page if your interested in purchasing the Aqua Lung Sphera.

$39.00 US and ships to Australia for $10.44 (this is where my friend has purchased his sphera and where I have purchased mine as a secondary mask). I think for the US customers this is free shipping.

$49.00 US for the clear aqua color at amazon though im not sure what the shipping price to Australia is because I didn’t purchase this one.

My Current Free Diving Kit

freediving-kit

Im looking at some new gear to buy sometime in the future and was just reviewing what I currently have. It’s nice to look at what I have bought, how much I have spent and to know for such little money and a bit of training I have been able to enjoy the ocean like I have never ever been able to before :)

I think the most important piece of equipment is to be safe and officially get the SSI or AIDA certifications which I plan to do soon. Only issue right now is im still deciding where to do it as I might have to reside overseas for a while and it may actually be a requirement that I get the training outside of  Australia. Currently my business might take me to Indonesia for a few months 2-3 (possibly) so if this is the case I have seen some really good places where I can go for 3-4 day certification training including accommodation in Bali that seems to come highly recommended. In the next few weeks I will know where i’ll be and if its Indonesia im gonna call the guys up in bali :)

As a result of not yet getting the full training and not yet having fins I kept my depth to something fun and challenging  but not going past it (about 15m max) and always wait for scuba guys or other divers to start populating an area before I start diving after my first mishap with the blue bottles some weeks ago. Reason being is, im sure the professional diving instructors can tell the conditions so I just chat with them before hand and follow them into the water.

With that aside I do have some equipment that I use to keep it fun, most of it is pretty crappy except for my new Falco mask which I really like. So currently my kit includes the following:

aqualung-falco-maskAqua Lung Falco mask. I got it a few days ago and going from my previous non free diving mask by TUSA, this mask makes it feel like im not even wearing a mask anymore. Its really comfortable and compresses nicely to the face. Previously the TUSA mask that I had would hurt around the face when I went deeper and after a days diving would leave marks that would last for a few hours. Just to be clear though, there is actually nothing wrong with the TUSA mask that I had previously, the visibility is great, its just not a low volume free diving mask that compresses nicely to the face.

Speedo snorkel :P . Yeah its a cheapo snorkel that I got when I bought those mask and snorkel kitsnorkel-and-camera may years ago. It gets water inside, purging requires me to blow really hard, the tube is really thin and make sit hard to get the air I want but hey, for now it does the job and lets me have fun. Out of all the equipment I have this will be the first to go and im testing out a few snorkels now. I found a few that I like and they can be bought on Amazon but for some reason those sellers overseas do not ship to Australia. The equivalent products can be found on Australia scuba sites and in the stores but are just 2-3 times more expensive in some cases (even including the shipping from overseas scuba sites) so I will hold out and wait a bit longer to see if I can find a better deal here in oz. If not I will just bite the bullet and buy it at the prices quoted here.

Intova camera. It’s the cheapest I could find on the market that had a decent depth resistance of 60M. Again I didn’t want to buy the best equipment without knowing what I was doing and this camera only cost me $160 and up to now its done a decent job. Now that I know more about the equipment I need, I somewhat regret that I just didn’t buy the GoPro for between $240 – $350. It’s ok though as I can use this as a secondary camera or something that I mount to my mask/head where the new camera I buy can be used to take long view 3rd person shots from the top or bottom.

camera-poleCamera Pole. I saw a few cool videos on youtube of people taking the camera down with them but using a pole instead of just holding the camera. It created really good videos of both the surroundings and the diver and I thought it was a good and easy way to make some good videos. My pole is pretty make shift though, I use a camera bike mount and attached it to an electrical wiring conduit that you see up against the walls. The pole is probably just over a meter long and pretty sturdy. I tested a few materials and found that this particular one floats, so if the camera ever fell out of my hands I know that the camera would float to the top instead of end up on the sea bed. The mounts cost me $6 and the pole cost me $5 so all up its $11 which I am pretty happy with.

vibrams-pantsVibrams. These were never intended for diving, I used them for jogging and walking about but I use them for diving because they work well in the water and are pretty sturdy. I mainly use them because in most of the dive sites you have to walk on lots of rocks and coral to get into the water. I know that people do lots of safe dives and end up cutting their feet and legs due to a wave washing them about just as they are about to exit so I thought to keep my feet safe and ensure that I dont get gashes on the soles of my feet wearing the vibrams would be a good idea. Also sometimes I end up doing some sea walking and you never know what is down there so covering up the feet is a good idea for this reason also. Soon however I will need to get some fins, need to do some research and see which are the best for me.

Nylon reebok pants. Yep my nylon reebok pants, im pretty sure they are fakes because I bought them for the equivalent of $5 but they work just fine. They dry up quickly are very thin and very comfortable to wear all day :) Though when the weather gets colder I will certainly need to replace these with a proper wet suite.

Toothpaste :P The cheapest and easiest way to keep the mask from fogging up. Works great, when I realised you could use toothpaste it made my diving experience 100 times better because I wasn’t fogging up anymore (probably the most important thing in my kit other then the mask and snorkel :P )

Over the next few months I think I will be purchasing upgrades as i definitely need them. I will start with snorkels, followed by fins and/or wet suite and probably a new camera. Its coming towards winter here in Australia and the waters might start to get colder so if it does a wet suite might end up becoming the highest priority.

Free Diving – Dynamic Apnea about 60 – 65 meters (no fins, no weights)

So today I decided to keep a record of my dynamic apnea swims that I have been doing over the last couple of weeks. When I swim in the mornings at shelly beach I usually do a few standard swimming laps (free style & breathe stroke) and then do some free diving laps to just improve on my apnea and distance.

I have been doing 33 yards (as the friendly custodian of the pools “The brass monkeys” tell me is the length which in metres is just over 30 metres) pretty easily for about 3 weeks and decided it was time to swim back and do 60 to 65 meters. I wanted to see what my stroke looked like so I asked Damir to spot me and make sure if something bad happens he is there on hand to help as well as be the camera man again.

I managed to do 2 x 60M today. The first attempt I felt was much smoother and much easier but the camera came of the pole when some big waves came over the pool barriers so we missed the whole dive. As a result I had to take another breathe up and attempt to do it again. It was much more difficult today then my first attempt about a week ago because the waves were big and causing a washing machine whirlpool effect making it difficult to swim without getting dragged backwards (you can kind of see the waves breaking on the surface).

I was happy with the effort though and the fact that I managed to do it twice in one session in very choppy and wavy waters is a decent effort for me :) I think looking at how the professionals do it and looking back at my stroke, there needs to be lots of improvement on the leg work, I don’t seem to get that stretch that I see when others do it.

Anyway, the next goal is to fix up the stroke and then attempt to do 3 laps, which would be more or less a 90M dynamic. I would be really happy with that !

Video of attempt posted above.

Free diving Oak Park – (Sydney Australia) – Near Cronulla

So today we went free diving at Oak park which is a small beach just east of the famous cronulla beach in sydney’s south coast. On saturday we were not sure if we were going to go diving at all because it had been raining all week and the dark clouds were still looming. We were ready to just go to one of the safe little rock pools and do some free diving drills but opening the windows today, it was a pleasant surprise to see the sun shining and hardly any clouds unless you looked really far into the horizon towards the south.

Oak Park Dive SiteDamir and I decided that today’s dive site was going to be one of 3 places we had been eyeing for a while. It was going to be either North Bondi Rocks, Gordon’s bay or way down south @ Oak Park. It was getting somewhat late (about 10am) so we decided North Bondi was going to be hard on the parking and we had done Gordon’s enough for the last couple of weeks. Also if it started to rain we wanted easy access to rock pools so we went with Oak park which is about 1km away from Cronulla and about 500 meters from Shelly beach (which has some really nice and safe rock pools).

The Dive at Oak Park was a new to us because most of the places we had gone to was within a closed bay. Oak park seemed more like the open ocean and was full of motor boats so we both kept our hands on the dive buoy and I was always keeping an eye on what was below the surface incase there were jelly fish or any other undesirables swimming close to us. Damir kept his head above water to ensure no boats zoomed by. I knew that if we had paddled out a few hundred meters and there were problems such as getting stung by blue bottles or getting caught in current it would not be an easy swim because we had no fins, so for this first dive we kept a safe but still decently far distance from the shore.

Entry was pretty easy in high tide, we just slowly put our buoy into the water on the left side of the rock pool and simply paddled out. Once we got out to the middle of the Oak park diving site the bottom was much more different then any of the previous sites I had gone to. There where lot of over hangs, lots of rocks and crevices, lots of different marine life and it was just more fun and interesting to dive.

As a result of this being our first time here, I wanted to get a feel for the underwater current and the sea life, along with what kind of obstacles were below so we pretty much stayed in 8-12 metre waters just to get a feel for the Oak Park dive site (Maybe next week we will try to conquer the 20 metre areas) . The Oak Park dive site was really fun and we met some friendly scuba divers so it was a great day with lots of others enjoying the Oak Park site. The over hangs were nice to see and there were many interesting fish swimming below them. When I get a chance to come to the site again I plan to dive in between the  crevices and the over hangs.

I also finally got a chance to try out my camera pole. By looking at the videos I think my pole was to short, currently its about 60cm but I think it should be at least 1 – 1.2 meters so I can get better videos. We also managed to learn how to take better shots without moving and jerking the camera around to much so we are learning lots of different things on each and every dive :)

Other then that, it was a great fun day, no major mishaps, just a small cut on Damir’s knee as he was getting out of the Oak Park dive site (slipped on the rocks upon exit because it was low tide).

Images & videos above & below are directions from main city of sydney to the oak park dive site:

sydney-to-oak-park