Oct 102016
 
2017 Calendars

2016 seems like it’s only just begun and 2017 is already sneaking up on us. With the end of the year in sight, my 2017 calendars are now on sale. Calendars come in both cave diving and ocean flavours with lots of space to note your important dates for the year. The caves side features a number of beautiful shots from the Timorese caves with a good mix of local and exotic. On the ocean front this year’s calendar is dominated by big animals in blue waters – whales, sharks, mantas and more. The photo pages are A4 (approx 12″ x 8″) with the dates grid on the page below. The calendars are ringbound with a punchhole for hanging. Even better, prices [read more…]

Oct 042016
 
Stern of the HMS Southwold

The HMS Southwold was a WWII British destroyer. Built during the war and launched in late 1941, she was sunk less than six months later on March 24th, 1942. She was tasked with escorting the crippled HMS Breconshire to Malta after leaving the convoy. As she attempted to pass a line to the Breconshire, she hit a British mine. The resulting explosion in the engine room killed five people on board. With her back up generator fired up and crew working to plug the leaks, the Southwold was taken under tow by a tug. Shortly thereafter her hull began to split in half and the remaining crew were transferred to another ship as she went down. The split in the wreck means [read more…]

Sep 202016
 
Torpedos on the S-31 Schnellboot

Built in 1939 and sunk in 1942, the Motor Torpedo Boat the S31 had a short life. She had a thin metal hull with a mahogany wood coating, to assist her in slipping through mine fields. With 3 diesel engines on board she had a maximum speed of 38 knots carrying her crew of 24. In the early hours of May 10th the S31 was one of 7 MTBs lying in wait for the Welshman, who was expected to arrive in Valletta Harbour. The S31 had just finished placing a new minefield to the north west when she collided with a mine. Less than 30 minutes later she was underwater with 13 men still on board. The Schnellboot lies in [read more…]

Sep 132016
 
Tanks in Cocklebiddy

I spent last week off the grid, merrily moving tanks from one location to another and back again. By the end of five days on site we had relocated over a tonne of dive gear from the east coast to the Nullarbor, from the vehicles to the water, and from the water’s edge to over 4kms inside the cave. The cave of course, is Cocklebiddy. The quick trip had a goal – to return to Toad Hall with my Dad, nearly 34 years after he was the first diver to surface inside it. It was a family trip with Mum, Dad and I joined by Steve and Ryan and a film crew. You can see our documentary early next year on [read more…]

Aug 172016
 
Underwater tank wrestling through Elk River

Our Elk River supply trips are now down to a fine art. Each push trip requires two or three resupply trips – removing the empty tanks from the previous exploration, taking in full tanks, plus caching other gear as required. We are now using a lot of carbon fibres tanks for the longest swim through sump 7. The carbon fibres are much, much lighter than equivalent steel or aluminium tanks and can hold higher pressures. The drawback of the carbon fibre tanks is their buoyancy characteristics in the water.We have placed kilos of lead weights at the diving gear up spot. Each 9L tank takes 6kgs of lead to sink it. We are definitely not carrying this lead backwards and forwards. [read more…]

Aug 022016
 
Humpback whales

I’ve just got back from a magical weekend on the water. Packing light and leaving the dive gear behind we headed for sunny Queensland with snorkels at the ready. Light winds and flat seas made a nice difference to some of the ocean conditions out of Melbourne recently. We launched out of the Gold Coast and tried our luck both up and down the coast. We hadn’t been on the water for long before we spotted some fellow travellers. The humpback whales migrate north up the Australian coast at this time of year. They are moving from their cold water feeding grounds with full bellies, heading into warmer waters to give birth. With a big migration underway, there are whales everywhere. [read more…]