As yugyug joined up for training and freediving with us last year, I’ve asked him to write a small report on his journey to Australia. Enjoy the story:
Hi Sanne, here is a little bit of news about my trip back to Australia over the new years break. It was really fun and I felt like I really needed it, coming from winter in Eindhoven. In fact, I went to the doctor for a medical check when I was in Sydney and was told I had low vitamin D in my blood, from lack of sun! I was determined to go to the beach as much as possible, but actually I never got very tanned , because every time I went to the beach I went spearfishing, covered up in a wetsuit… The Australian sun kills far more people from cancer each year than sharks anyway, so I probably chose the healthier option.
The spearfishing turned out to be a lacking in big catches though. I had been hoping to catch my first australian kingfish, and I speared a big one, about a metre in length on Christmas day, but the fish was actually too big for my gear. It fought like hell for a minute, bent my spear out of shape, then tore off. Damm! Fun, but a shame I didn’t land it. This was at Bondi beach, in Sydney. The photo of the spearfishermen with the kingfish is not me, but a guy I’ve been spearing with a few times in Australia, his name is Scubapete.
One of the nicest things about Sydney is that you can go spearing easily almost anywhere. Bondi and many other beaches are 10 or 20 minutes from the centre of the city, and you can even jump in and spear inside the harbour if you want. Mostly the conditions were a too rough for deep diving, so I was diving less than 15m, which is actually fine for most fish in Australia. Only once was the sea calm enough for me to feel relaxed enough to dive more than 20 metres, but I didn’t have a buddy so couldn’t really push it.
Later I went for a trip down south to the country town of Pambula, where I caught a fair bit of bream and whiting, including a rare blue morwong, which are very delicious, one of my favourite fish. Unfortunately I lost my camera a few weeks before, so don’t have many photos. My friend Oli took this one photo of my girlfriend and I in our wet-suits, just before we dived down the Pambula river, looking for flathead. It was pretty fun, we used the currents to take us down, and also take us back when the tide changed. There were lots of big sting rays around. I used FRC diving so I could drop below the surface silently by simply exhaling. Sinking down like this would not disturb the fish and was easy enough because were not spending energy swimming.
Oli and I made it all the way up the river to the lake mouth and relaxed until the tide changed, lounging around eating wild oysters off the rocks. But my girlfriend had gotten cold and got out halfway down the river to warm up in the sun. But the sun was hidden behind clouds and she couldn’t warm up. There was no way to walk back to the car as we were really far out in the bush. Freezing, she eventually managed to wave down a passing boat and they dropped her back at the river mouth. But then she discovered that her car keys, which she had tied to her wetsuit zipper, had fallen off in the river! So while Oli and I were cruising back down with the current, having fun eating oysters and shooting bream and whiting, my girlfriend spent the next 2 hours using an old piece of wire to open the door of her car. She was a bit annoyed when we eventually came back! But you can’t stay mad long when you have a summer night, a crate of beer and a bucket load of fish to enjoy 🙂