Travel: Winter Road Trips - Ep1

I love going for drives around our region during winter, it is the best time of year to see the region after the winter rains. Starting early we headed off from Canberra to Batemans Bay via Bungendore, Braidwood. The sun was bright over the green dewy fields of Bungendore followed up by a stop off at the Lolly Shop in Braidwood.

 

 

Winter_Road_Trip_Map

Lunch was on the waterfront with fish and chips in Batemans Bay followed by wandering around the marina looking at boats and slips for #ProjectSailBoat, just information gathering.

 

Heading back south heading through Narooma down to check out our favourite camping site at Mystery Bay, then south to Bega and up to the mountains through Bemboka (remember to stop off for a pie at the famous bakery) then up further into Cooma.

 

Just before dark we managed to make it back to Canberra having missed most of the first snow of the year but we did catch the trail end of the storm.

Were is your favourite road trip to?

 

 

 

Padi Dive Course Complete!

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What a weekend!

As you know I have been completing my Open Water Diver Certificate through INDEPTH Scuba here in Canberra.

The past weekend saw the second and final weekend component.  Heading down the coast on friday night with all our gear packed, my dive buddy and I arrived at the dive lodge to start fresh and early on saturday.

Saturday saw 3 dives, mostly concentrating on practicing and demonstrating skills we learned in the pool the weekend before. My biggest apprehension was the component relating to removing my mask in the water, and replacing it. This simulates your mask being kicked off and you need to recover it. I just could not calm down enough to process not breathing through my nose! Well in the open water (a 6m deep shore dive location at Bawley Point NSW) I nailed it. Taking it slow and not rushing.

The following day was the 4th and final dive was a boat dive at a location off Batemans Bay called ‘The Tunnel’ The current from the north was described by our boat captain along with our dive instructor and dive master was ‘ the strongest they have seen’. Descending the 10m down the boats anchor line to the lip of  ‘The Tunnel’ the divers looked more like a flags in a storm. But once crossing into the ‘The Tunnel’ it was calm. Reaching our max depth of 18m – the max depth of our PADI qualification – we saw a lot of sea urchins and the Blue Rass that love to eat their creamy insides.

Sadly I was unable to capture any video or images of the dives as they were learning dives and I wanted to concentrate on the actual skills needed.

Below is the group and our instructors.

PADI Open Water Diver Certification -Learning to dive pt 1

So its started!!  

I have been wanting to learn to dive since the PADI “discover diving” in Redang Island Malaysia. I found my local store here in Canberra offer a 2 weekend package that combines theory, “confined water dive practice” - code for swimming pool, and then finishing with a weekend demonstrating and exploring those skills in the open ocean to give me the base qualification of “PADI Open Water Diver”. For those that done know PADI is the Professional Association Of Divers International. Back in the early days of diving they set the standards and benchmarks for the training of new divers. They currently train 90% if the worlds divers. I have to say I didn't really have any understanding of the technicalities of this when I signed up.  One of the benefits of the standards is that if I ever want to go diving with a buddy ( you should never dive alone) if they have the PADI base qualification, I know they have been trained in the same safety procedures, same checks, same under water hand signals the whole works.

The process starts when you approach your dive centre to learn to dive. Mine is located in Belconnen, Canberra  - some 1 and a half hours from the ocean.  The intro night is where you meet, are talked thought the forthcoming course, measure up for wetsuits and other gear as well as the all important Dive Medical. No use getting down to 18m and realising your lungs are shot.

Starting bright and early the next saturday - the theory starts. Hardly arduous concepts but none the less it must be learnt.

The next day it time to put that knowledge to the test on the pool with all the equipment on. I have to say the most daunting thing isn't removing my respirator underwater effectively leaving me without air for a few seconds.. its the removing my mask completely - knowing to clear it I need to not breath through my nose until I need to breath out to clear the mask - oh sure that sound simple - but my body keeps wanting to breath in throughout my nose.  I managed to demonstrate the required skills to pass that section.

So that leads us to the open ocean. Today is Wednesday,  tomorrow evening I need to swing past the shop and pick up my dive gear as well as my buddy’s as we are driving down to the coast Friday night, to start mega early on Saturday in the real wet stuff!

Until then - keep thinking about me and not breathing through your nose!