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Friday, February 29, 2008

LEAP

Had to do a leap year post! Since they only occur one in every four, here are four random things that happened in my world today:

  • There was a crow convention out the front of our factory this morning. At one point I counted 13 crows zooming about between the power lines & our big gum tree.


  • Yes, I then googled various combinations of crows, 13 & omens. All Good.


  • Just got back from the bank. As I walked in, a man walked out wearing socks! No shoes, just socks. I am used to moccasains (& not just on pension day) but SOCKS!?!!!


  • I won't be making any marriage proposals today :0)

& 1 Random Pic.

Me & Tess after her first ever gymnastic's comp last year in Ballarat

Thursday, February 28, 2008

BREATHE

One of my favourite Body Balance tracks from the release we are still doing is Breathe by Anna Nalick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPz3YaIJkjQ

Have a listen; the first time I heard it made the hairs on my arm stand on end.

Work has been crazy busy since fishing boy’s return last Tuesday. I missed my Wednesday, Friday, Monday & Tuesday night gym classes due to work commitments (sigh). I did make it to Pump & Attack Saturday morning & Pump & Balance last night. But most exciting of all, I met up with Ails, Ness, Linda & Ails friend Mandy for a hit of Tennis on Sunday morning.

I’d not met any of these girls before: they were most welcoming, friendly & not afraid to “take the piss” out of themselves (or each other)! Thanks girls, I had an absolute blast! My tummy muscles were almost as sore as my forearm from all the giggling; in particular Ness’s ball girl antics had me in hysterics with tears. Head on over to Ail’s blog for a full round up & Pics.

If anybody out there has been considering joining in on blogger activities, but has felt they wouldn’t be welcome, think again. Even if you don’t have a blog of your own &/or for whatever reason don’t feel you can leave comments on other blogs, give it a go. What do you have to lose? You might just find some likeminded people & make some new friends.

Went to see my chiropractor last night – she ROCKS! I had a couple of ribs out & needed adjustments in my usual places (between shoulder blades & neck). She works with V8 racing car drivers in her spare time & after a recent presentation to the institute of sport on what she does, has received funding to do more research with the view to make the sport safer not only for the drivers but the pit crews, official, etc. Very exciting!

I managed 4 AFD’s last week (Sunday – Wednesday) then caved Thursday – Saturday – fishing boy bought home a particularly lovely bottle of Margaret River Shiraz left over from the fishing trip (one of the fishing guys owns a bottle shop); am on track for 5 days straight this week. I do feel a lot more energetic this week & my sinuses seem a lot better. Please don’t tell me I’m allergic to Red Wine (sob). The ipod fund is growing & I recon I’ll be there in the next 2 weeks
: -)

The camera fund hasn’t taken off yet, fishing boy is to busy drinking the left overs from the fishing trip at the mo. I have looked into duty free options for both the ipod & the camera – can only get 10% off the ipod & some online sellers sell for cheaper than this anyway. Not sure about the camera yet – will have to shop around.

This weekend is shaping up to be pretty quiet – Zac is on call again, so no social activities. I really enjoy a weekend at home to chill & catch up on all those homebody activities. It will be the calm before the storm so to speak as we are away for the Labour Day weekend, then 1 weekend at home before Easter when my sis & niece are coming to stay. We will also have visitors from England Easter Sunday. A guy we met on one of our Boracay trips is coming to Australia with his Girlfriend for a holiday. It will be fun to see him again: he is a really funny guy – his blogging/internet “tag” is “Boganboy”. Will dedicate a post to him after Easter.

I fear summer has departed: the weather is very grey in Melbourne today – I have my heater going, my winter pants & proper shoes on. Boo Hoo.

Sorry about the disjointed post, wandering mind + work interuptions. Will leave you with a couple of Pic's. The first is of me & my cousin Jacki taken at my aunts in Laggan last March(?) & the second of me & my niece Tessa taken Xmas 2006/2007: we'd just had a hair & make up session. Don't even ask why I have blue eye shadow on my forehead & nose! Suspects Tess looks so unimpressed due to having to "share" me with her "stepsister".











Thursday, February 21, 2008

PLUMBING GIRL

Yesterday arvo I got to be plumbing girl**! Sometimes when things are dire I need to do deliveries to the plumbers &/or lend a hand. Yesterday we had a blocked sewer drain at one of our corporate clients head offices. We had to engage a jet truck to jet out the drain eventually as we were unable to clear the stoppage with our machine. I had to get one of our labourers to meet the jet truck guy on site, as all the plumbers were busy. The job wasn’t as simple as anticipated & a few calls back & forth between jet truck guy & Zac, we agreed to pull the pin & arrange a combined jet & liquid waste removal truck for the next morning. All Good. Then my labourer (C) radio’s in at 5 to tell me there is a bit of a mess.

Me “What sort of mess”
C: “Well, when we jetted the drain, the stuff spewed out of the pit”
Me: “What sort of stuff”
C: “Water & other stuff”
Me: “What other stuff – solids & toilet paper?”
C: “Yes”
Me: “Where” feeling like I am pulling hens teeth to get the information at this point!
C: “In the garden bed, do we have to barricade it or can we leave it til tomorrow?”.
Me: “No, it’s an OHS issue, we need to sort it out tonight. Do you have any tools on board?”
C “No I’m in the ute”
Me: “OK, let me think a minute”.

There was no-one left at the workshop, everyone else bar Zac had gone home, but Zac was in Cheltenham (which is miles away from the job). I could either make the labourer, who clearly couldn’t be bothered come back for what he needed & send him back to the job, or do the delivery myself & wait/help him to ensure the job was done properly.

Me: “OK, I’ll bring the gear down, what do you need”
C: “a shovel, lots of bags & lots of gloves & barricade & stakes”
Me: “OK”.

Luckily we had a spare van in the yard as I cannot drive the big truck (need a heavy truck license) & I didn’t fancy trying to fit all the gear in my boot. Now this site is quite large & you really need to do a safety induction before entering the site. Me, I’m in my office clothes & sandals. Can’t wear sandals on a work site. Ran upstairs hoping my blunnies were where I thought they were; success! Tossed my sandals & threw my boots on, leaving the rest of my office attire as was (knee length dress shorts, long flowing top with a short sleeve tied at the front cardie).

I’m driving to the job (5kms) with a vision in my head of Mr Hanky*** having a family reunion on this site & anticipate at least an hour of shoveling shit to contend with on arrival. GROSS!

Of course by the time I get there, the reception is closed & I cannot get in, nor can the labourer get out as neither of us have a swipe card & no-one is working the switchboard. Luckily one of the workers noticed the predicament (one company vehicle on either side of the gates & swiped me in before he left). Pull up in front of the labourer to see he has maybe a ½ square metre with a bit of toilet paper & nothing that I could actually identify as a turd. This guy is a hopeless communicator at the best of times, but sometimes he’s just ????! He didn’t even wear the long rubber gloves I’d bought down. I held a bag open while he shoveled 5 scoops into the bag. I then helped him bang in 4 stakes & put 2 rows of barricade tape around them to prevent the unlikely event of people walking over the garden bed until it had dried out, as quite a lot of water had come out of the sewer pit & onto the bed. 15 – 20 minutes work at best.

Then he says to me (worried about missing out on his dinner I suspect)

C “How are we going to get out?”
Me: “What else do you have to do? Because here comes a truck”
C: “Only put my boots on”
Me: “Well hurry up, I’m gonna stop the truck!”

I run across the car park in my office gear & blunstone boots waving my arms at 2 young guys in a big truck. They pull over & I explain our predicament (not sure If they were amused by me in general, my attire or the situation, but they were both grinning madly). “No worries” they say, “we hope our swipe card works”! So, we jump into our respective vehicles & into the convoy. Once we are all together, the truck guys swipe & we all race out after each other.

After all that excitement, I decided I couldn’t be bothered going to the gym, & deserved a nice hot bath instead. After all, it’s not every day I get out of the office to be plumbing girl.

**Plumbing girl: as opposed to being plumbing boy (all boy plumbers), or super plumber, where you have to wear your undies on the outside & work fast!

***Mr Hanky: the only episode of South Park I ever watched, featured a character called Mr Hanky, the Christmas Poo. Mr Hanky was literally a piece of poo who lived in the sewer, wore a bow tie & played a pipe organ from memory. Mr Hanky features quite heavily in work jokes around here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"ONCE"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YAKOnt68D8



I don't know how to put the utube page in here yet, but click on to this link to see Glen Hannsard & Marketa Irglova performing an accoustic version of a song from the film "Once".



Love it, Love it, Love it. Downloaded the album as soon as I'd finished watching the DVD. Hauntingly melodic, quirky, funny, heartfelt film.



Do yourself a favour. It's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FISHWIFE

Fishing Boy is due back tonight. I must say, the thoughts running through my head since yesterday morning have been somewhat fishwife “ish”. We’ve had a couple of major issues at work that require him, & him only for resolution; one I have managed myself, the other 2 jobs are running to deadlines: argh! I left a couple of text messages Friday morning (so as not to hassle him), as I knew they were putting the boat in the water (depending on hangovers) sometime in the morning & had faith that he’d respond by Monday morning, but no luck. It appears he switched his phone off on Thursday night & couldn’t be bothered checking for messages. I’d have called the other 2 peoples mobiles had I known. I knew they'd have no reception at their final destination, but thought he'd check prior to loosing all receiption. So, at the moment I am swaying between feeling relieved he will be back later tonight to sort out the shite & feeling mightily pissed off, running through all the possible things I want to say to him about being a selfish, irresponsible etc etc "FISHWIFE!!!". Best I resolve that before he gets home. We have a couple of friends who react this way & I don’t want to be in THAT basket. Sigh. Dear God, grant me the serenity accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can & wisdom to know the difference; & please please please stop me from being a bloody fish wife when he gets home!

While answering the phone 24/7 I managed Body Balance both Friday night & Sunday morning : -). Ran late to Attack Saturday morning (due to taking calls) but as only one other person turned up for the class it was cancelled. Plan B, tready. Got through my 5 minute warm up walk, but was busting for a wee, so off I ran with my phone, both toilets full, phone rings, back to the tready for my pen & paper (had left my gear still set up on the tready), take the message, race back to the loo, still engaged, phone rings, back to the tready, take message, back to the loo THANK GOD one was free! Back to the tready, get 5 minutes into my run, another call, 2 minutes tready, then another caller who needed pricing that I needed from the office. I gave up at this point, & came home.

Same thing happened on my shopping expedition to knifepoint; made it into myer for the moisturizer & foundation I wanted before I got a job which resulted in me having to go back to work to let the plumber in so he could pick up a hot water service! Not before I raced into the hair house warehouse & picked up a new hair dryer I’d been meaning to buy for weeks as my old one while still working (barely) the end keeps falling off & the vent bit keeps sucking in my (fine) strands of hair & trying to rip it out! Hehehe.

Gave up all outings after this. On the upside, I sorted out my bathroom! Threw out all the half used & out of date products & general shite accumulated. Plus lots of hair. I don’t have very thick hair at all, but it gets everywhere (maybe that says more about my cleaning schedule & its frequency). Spent the rest of the weekend on a cleaning frenzy : -) so much easier to clean without a grubby fishing boy messing it up as I go! Why do boys make so much mess?

Other random things:
  • I still don’t like raw pears. I bought some from the market on Saturday, my Mum loves them, but I just can’t get into them (unless they are in a roasting pan with a lovely loin of pork on top – beats apple sauce 100 to 1)

  • I’ve developed a plan to replace my ipod that involves AFD’s. Every day I go without an alcoholic bevvy, I donate $10-00 to the ipod jar! I inherited my ipod from my cousin when she got a new one; it’s not that I can’t afford to go out & buy a new one, but it’s kind of the principal as it is a luxury item & I figure I have to do something to deserve a brand spanker. So far I’ve gone 2 days in a row. Won’t take long at all.

  • Might see if fishing boy wants to do the same for the camera. I think the one we will get is the Olympus Mju 795SW.

  • My left wrist has been giving me grief: I suffered what I thought was tenosinovitis for a number of years, which eventually was found to have been a ganglion cyst putting pressure on my tendons. Chopped out cyst & TA DA, problem solved. My left wrist is feeling like the right used to so have had it trussed up all weekend. (I play tennis right handed so am still good for next weekend’s tennis!)

  • My heel is feeling much better & thank you Brooke for the idea of freezing a drink bottle & rolling said foot over it! Feels really really good (& btw, I agree with you, Natalie Basthingwaite (sp?) is spoiling dance! I thought it was 1st night nerves, but couldn’t believe it last night when as the judges were going back stage to decide who to kick of the show she said “enjoy”. Should that not have been "good luck", or "I don't envy your task"? How could they enjoy it? More nerves? )

  • I am happy we are back to summer weather in Melbourne town!
Edit: the fishwife has left the building!!! Halfway through body attack tonight, one of the girls came up to me & said that one of the guys wanted to know if I was single, to which she the said she'd replied to him, "I don't know, I dont know her" (which was why she was asking me) - I must have looked shocked or something because she said "don't worry, he's not here tonight." "Oh", says I. As I was leaving, she said with a smile, "at least he's tall dark & handsome." Now I've only been doing this class for the past 3 weeks (before that it was 12 months before I'd been to this gym, its the only class I do there). As far as I know there have only been 2 guys in the class, one turned 21 last week & is pretty hot, & the other I thought was gay, maybe in his early/mid 30's & is quite good looking too. How can I be cranky now! Someone recons I'm HOT! Mwahahahahahaha

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BANANA CAKE, FISHING TRIPS & DREAMS

Sorry for the lack of updates, been a bit busy: work hang over from our holiday & month end accounts & bit of social stuff.

  • Does anyone out there work with their partners? It can be challenging & rewarding, not always in the same day! Most times we work together quite well. But at the end of every month we have the same conversation (read argument!). I suppose every worker has a task they must do that always gets left to last. If anyone has any techniques to encourage their co-workers to complete these tasks, please let me know! He knows he needs to do it, he completely understands why, yet still the aversion, heel dragging & constant battle to get it done. Drives me insane!

  • Zac was supposed to go on a fishing trip last weekend, but it was blowing 50 knots around the back of the Prom where they were going (Refuge Cove). The trip was postphoned to this coming weekend. I always send him off with a homemade lasagna & a banana cake! I actually made 3kg of mince worth of lasagna the week before last & froze it in metal take away containers: that will keep him in lasagna for the next six months! I made the banana cake last night, baked it in 2 tins, then cut each into 2, so now I have 4 logs. He will take 2, one for the freezer & one to share at work today. I iced it with a combo of lite philly, marscapone, lemon juice & icing sugar, then dusted it with mixed spice. Who needs cake with that icing!

  • Because of said fishing trip, I’d lined up a few dates with my girlfriends last weekend. Some of them had stuff on this coming weekend so we still caught up last weekend as originally planned. I had breakfast (or should I say brunch!) with Brooke late Saturday morning at a beautiful cafe near her home. I had the biggest veggie breaky & it was awesome! We had a lovely time catching up & I was honoured to meet her beautiful furbabies Blackie & Poddie (oh & I also had the pleasure of meeting Miles too!). Thanks again Brooke for letting me into your life : -) Picked up my cousin Jacki after leaving Brooke. Jacki turned 17 last Monday & had coffee with her (she had lunch) & gave her her birthday gift. Then she decided she’d come for a sleep over & bring her homework. She is doing year 12 this year & figured she’d get more home work done at mine than hers.

  • Jacki, Zac & I picked up Terri Saturday night & went for dinner at Thalia Thai in Lygon Street East Brunswick. If anyone likes Thai I can whole heartedly recommend this place. It is more an eating house than a restaurant. You come, you eat, you leave. Not really a restaurant for lounging about at the table once you’ve eaten. The menu is simple with 6 or so entrees, a couple of noodle dishes, 6 different curries (choose your meat) & approx 6 different stir fry combinations (choose your meat); always with lots of fresh seasonal veggies. We shared satay sticks, veggie spring rolls, a lamb curry, a green chicken curry, a pork stir fry & a plate of Pad Thai noodles to die for. $69-00. Bargain. BYO booze & the staff bring you water without asking (& replenish your jug as you empty it). After dinner we wandered down Lygon Street, came across the East Brunswick Hotel & hung out in the beer garden for the rest of the evening catching up with each other. There was a band room, with a band playing, but the conversation was flowing & the urge to check the band out did not arise. Home & in bed by 2.30am.

  • I managed to make it to 4 gym sessions last week: 2 x Body Balance classes, 1 x Pump Class & 1 x Attack Class. This week I’ve already made 4 classes too: Friday night Body Balance, Sunday morning Body Balance, Monday night Pump, last night Attack. Tonight I’m hoping to get to Pump followed by Body Balance. With Zac away on his fishing trip it will be hard for me to go to classes as I have to answer the phone 24/7. Unless I know the instructor well, it is a bit rude & disruptive running out of class to answer the phone & dispatch a plumber to a job. I can still go & use the cardio equipment & free weights, but I am really into classes at the mo.

  • The 19 day tracking prior to my holidays revealed a couple of things to me. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was pretty much eating within the arbitrary weight watchers points each day. My aim was to see what I was eating (good & bad) & what was lacking in my diet. Of course weekends have always been my downfall: I think for me that my over indulgences on weekends should be made up with extra training sessions. I think I eat enough fruit & veg & protein. I was happy with my water intake, although my aim to drink some herbal tea failed. Perhaps I can try this again in the cooler months. Since I smashed my coffee plunger 2 weeks ago I’ve been off coffee altogether. The revelation that sticks out like doggie bits is the amount of alcohol I drink. I’ve known for a while I need to cut down. I pretty much drink 1 very large glass of red wine every night Sunday – Friday, & in excess of this Saturday nights. While things could be worse, I’ve not had regular alcohol free days (AFD’s) for a long time. I really like red wine & always have it with my dinner (although sometimes, if I have a bath before dinner, I might have ½ a glass in the tub, then the other ½ with dinner). I think I will start introducing 1 x AFD per week, aiming to increase this to 3 regular AFD’s per week. I think Wednesdays might be the place to start.

  • My new Aerobin arrived Tuesday. I have assembled it & am waiting on Zac to confirm where we can put it. It needs to be in the shade & level, & as can weigh as much as 800kg when full, it needs to be set up either on a pallet, or on something the forklift can access so that if it has to be moved it can be. I have made up all the signs for my other recycling receptacles & laminated them. I think I only need 1 more bin. We have a tool box meeting at the end of the month, so I will introduce it to the other staff then. Recycling is GO!

  • The weather is freaking me out at the moment. I have been sleeping in my winter PJ’s, today I am wearing winter pants & have my heater on. I have a short sleeve top & cardigan on, but am about to go searching for a long sleeve something as I am freezing! The sky is very very grey & ominous, the wind is cold & it feels like winter to me. Brrrr

  • Dreams: I have been vividly dreaming of late. Dreams of death & fear. I have done a little research & believe subconsciously I am letting go of something inside (the death) & the fear is of the change this will bring. I have a fair idea of what is going on, but can’t reveal just yet. I often have periods where I dream incessantly & vivid stuff, not always frightening, sometimes humorous. My Mum also dreams vividly & has her whole life. She always dreams bad stuff & wakes up with tears streaming down her face. I really wonder if she has repressed something that happened to her when she was quite young. If it were me, I’d look for answers, but perhaps she is afraid. I don’t know. She talks about the dreams, but brushes them off as TV or work influenced (she’s a nurse).

  • I still have no camera or ipod. Both died a couple of weeks apart. Not sure what is happening about the replacement of either. Not sure which I miss more! The lack of ipod is probably why I am into classes at the moment, I find it so hard to run without my choice of loud music! I really, really, really miss my camera though. Perhaps I will price them while Zac is on his fishing trip! I think the one he wants hadn’t been released when I broke mine.

Hope everyone is having a great week. Happy Humpy Day to you all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

WTF.

One of our suppliers holidayed in Thailand over Christmas & popped in this arvo to show us his photo's. There were pictures of him with a Tiger, the Tiger's head was in his lap.

I LOVE Tigers. I oohed & ahhed & said wow, isn't he beautiful. He must have been hand reared! I dunno, my supplier said, "it was sedated; they had to pick its head up & reposition it for each picture".

I looked him in horror. Don't think he saw the look on my face. I was speachless. I must be fucking stupid. I cannot beleive anybody I know would willingly participate in the expoloitation of any animal, let alone a fucking regal, majestic, beautiful Tiger. I wanted to cry.

Dumbfounded.

Naive.

Angry.

BOOKS & HOLIDAYS

I finished Nathans Run while I was away. It was probably the book I've had "on loan" for the longest, so figured that was a good place to start. A bit of a murder mystery & a bit gruesome in places, but couldn't put it down. If you like crime fiction, give it a crack!


Over the course of a week's holiday, I would usually read more than one book. I only managed to finish the one & barely started the second. This was a good thing.

I won't bore you with the day to day activities, but here are a few observations....


  • Undersea: the boat was approximately 50 metres long, with 3 levels, the capacity for 22 guests & 6 crew (just to give you an idea). I did have to take sea sickness tablets for the first few days as I am a sufferer & we had sea's of 1 - 2 metres. The crew were all lovely, very welcoming & helpful. My cousin of course ROCKS! Emily our Chef & photographer created the most awesome meals - we were 5 star dining at every meal: continental breakfast (fresh fruit salad, cereals), dive, cooked breakfast (eggs, bacon, crossants, omlets, quiches), dive, lunch (salads, sandwiches, dips, burgers, tortilla wraps, tacos, fruit), dive, arvo tea (freshly baked cakes &/or slices) dive, dinner (roast, fish, pasta, curry, BBQ)!

  • Researchers: we had 3 researchers on the boat for 2/3rds of the trip. We dropped them off at Lizard Island so they could continue their studies around Lizard for 3 more weeks. We were privaledged to have Bette Willis (she discovered Coral Spawning) & 2 assistants, who were studying the health of the coral, by taking transects; denoting the GPS locations for new sites & comparing transects from existing sites to measure the rate of health/decline in health of that transect of coral. What we did learn, is that the reef is quite unhealthy. I'm not so good with the technical aspect, but what I think in laymans terms is happening is that the coral bleeching makes the coral suceptable to viruses who are then killing the coral. I am stepping up the recyling at work. If everybody else does 1 more thing that is environmentally friendly, add them together & we can make an impact.

  • Fellow Guests: we had an interesting bunch of fellow divers, I suppose I can't mention names etc due to the privacy act, but we had a religious minister, computer programers & other technical people, a yatch salesman, a landscape gardener, a bank auditer & a girl who works with educating children around the world about great barrier reef. Basically, she dives in a big tanks at James Cook Uni wearing audio & visual aids, so that kids in classrooms all over the world can see what she is seeing & talk directly to her via a computer hook up! Of couse she does other stuff too, but what an amazing job!

  • Like I said, I only read 1 book: the quality of the conversation going on around me was far more interesting & at times, more entertaining than my book! Thankyou fellow guests! Plus I got to spend some quality time with my cuz!

  • Diving: I may have mentioned in an earlier post that the weather was not the best, the wind was blowing from the wrong direction for some of the better dive sites - they couldn't moore the boat without damaging the reef, so we dived the sites where the boat could safely park. As we have done bugger all diving in Northern Queensland, we had nothing to compare it with, so to us the diving was absolutely awesome! You know with some sports or activities, you have to concentrate on lots of things at once & you don't have time to really see what is going on around you? I finally found this trip that I was so comfortable with my gear & bouyancy that I really enjoyed every moment under the water & couldn't wait to get back in for the next dive!

  • While I love the tropical weather & lifestyle, I am not sure I could work in that climate. Asides the physical aspect of the heat & moisture, the recreational temptations may be too much! We jokingly talked about packing up shop here & shipping everything up to Port Douglas, my cousin recons we'd make a killing as they have to wait weeks for a plumber to change a tap washer! Maybe we could semi retire up there in 10 years?

  • Life is too short. I really want to take oppourtunities that are presented, & make oppourtunities for myself to really make the most of my life. Sometimes I look at something & say it is too expensive with out costing it out. Sometimes I need to weigh up the value of what I will receive for that money than discarding the opportunity without enough thought. Sometimes I look at things & say it is too hard to do, without considering again, what I will receive for putting in that effort. I know that I am luckier physically, emotionally & financially than others, we are healthy, have a double income & no kids: I am aware. That said, we do have the added stress & challenges running your own business can bring. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am able to go places & see things that others can't (not sure I am quite articulating what I mean here), but I also know some people choose not to go places & see things & would prefer to stay at home & watch Foxtell. The bank auditor on our trip travelled 27 hours from Germany, to spend 6 days on the undersea, followed by a week in Sydney; asides the cost, I recon that's a pretty gutsy effort for a 2 week holiday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

SCUBA

Beckie mentioned she would “love to go diving but was scared of breathing with just a tank (something to get over?)". Yes, Yes, Yes!

Breathing underwater IS quite unnatural at first! I’d never done much snorkeling either so I really found it quite strange. Once you do overcome it though, cruising around under the water with the fishies is quite amazing! Being able to observe marine life close up & personal, in their natural environment is incredible. It’s not for everyone, but have a look at the pictures I’ve been uploading from our trip!

I was lucky enough to learn to dive in the Philippines & was taught by someone who is now a good friend. Carlos is the brother of a friend of one of my besties (Kerryn). We did the Open Water (1994) & the Advanced Open Water (1995) courses together (with Zac too). We learnt our basic skills in the shallows of the beach (on a tropical island) – walked out into the water until it was up to our chest, then you put your mouth piece in & drop to the bottom. If you stress out or have a problem, you just stand up!

A lot of dive shops teach you the basic skills in a swimming pool using the same principal. Once you become familiar with your gear, using it & breathing underwater, you are then ready to take a “real” dive. You usually start out with something around 6 metes & work your way down. Open water allows you to dive to 18 metres & advanced open water to 30 metres. I’ve been quite a bit deeper than 30 metres, but basically there is no point diving deep if there is nothing to see, but at some dive sites, the best stuff to see is just a little bit deeper. Most of the diving on the barrier reef has the best stuff between 8 & 15 metres.

I would recommend learning with someone you know: you can compare “notes” so to speak: the good & the not so good experiences. Learning to dive is pretty much like any physical activity, practice makes perfect. It is fantastic having this activity to share not only with Zac, but also with Kerryn. We have experienced & have planned some fabulous diving holidays together. Next trip we are meeting up with Kerryn in May in the Philippines – our dive home away from home (this is where we have done most of our diving). We have a 6 night dive safari booked followed by 6 nights on Boracay Island. We can still dive daily on the island if we want to.
(BTW, if there are any keen divers out there who’d be interested in going for a dive here or in the Philippines…………)

Back to scuba: what happens when something goes wrong & you are 20 metres or so underwater? This is why you always dive with a buddy & preferably in a group. Without getting technical, each diver has a spare breathing mouth piece on a hose (octopus); if your primary air source (regulator) fails you can swap to this or snuggle up close to your buddy & use their air & octopus.

All the dive shops I had experience with have been very safety conscious & I have never had any serious problems diving; we are now at the point in our diving experience, where we have become more aware of what can go wrong & are actively working to overcome some of these obstacles: swapping air sources as common practice so if you have to do it in an emergency situation, it will be second nature for example. I am considering doing the rescue diver course in the next 12 months.

I find scuba diving very peaceful. Once you have mastered your buoyancy, you don’t have to move any part of your body to maintain your depth: you are suspended in the water. I can do it laying face down like when you swim freestyle; on my back looking up at the surface, lying on my side, standing upright & even standing on my head. When you breath in your rise a little in the water & when you breath out, you fall back to where your were (a matter of centimeters).

I have laughed under water; I have also cried under water - one dive when things weren’t going so well (inexperience + current + unfit person can make you worry you will get left behind!); I’ve coughed under water; I’ve screamed under water – the first time I saw a sea snake swimming – I came around the corner of a ships hull (shipwreck) & it was right there, gave me a massive fright, now I love them; sworn in my regulator underwater – that was this trip, we were on a night dive & I could see something in a cave on a bommie, but couldn’t quite make out what it was, thought it was a fish at first, when I realized it was the biggest MoFo ugly moray eel I’ve ever seen I said F#CK! Then tugged on Zac’s fin to get his attention & show him the ugly bugger.

I’ve never been frightened sharks; sea snakes no longer bother me, but I just can get my head around moray eels. They just creep me out! Not that they chase or attack you or anything, they are just fugly!

What creeps you out other than spiders or snakes? (I actually heard someone on the radio yesterday saying that meringue/pavolva freaks them out because they are like “not really there” just air. WTF?


My cousin Monique giving a dive brief


Nudibranch


Nemo (Clown Fish, living in his Anenome)


Pigmy Sea Horse (sorry, hard to see, but it is at the end of the finger tip, slightly lower)



Lunch!





Fishies (you could actually dive in amoungst them without them swimming off!)





Reef Shark (most sharks have to have water moving continually across their gills to breath & if remain stationary will drown. Reef sharks however dont have this problem & are often found napping in the sand)



Black Rip Reef Shark

Again, all photo's are courtesy of Emily @ Undersea Explorer.