Brisbane from the 2nd to the 4th of September 2011
Friday the 2nd of September 2011
The usual in the morning. Packing up and for the first time I had to get my stuff in wet, because it was raining the whole afternoon yesterday. Then off to Manado. Got 4 hours in Singapore. After another failure of my lights I was done. I got new ones. So I went to the local dealer picked them up. Then had a quick beer with Rupan and Steve because they went to Singapore for 4 days. Then back to airport and off to Brisbane.
Saturday/Sunday the 3rd/4th of September 2011
My friend John picked me up at 7 am the airport. I really haven't slept a lot on the plane so I made it somehow through the day, but in the afternoon I crashed for a few hours. We organized some diving for the time when I come back to Australia. Had to resupply some stuff and needed to replace my worn out dive booties. The rest of the time we took it easy. Just catch up with each other's life since we last met in Palau.
Golden Dawn Liveaboard out of Port Moresby / PNG from the 5th to the 10th of September 2011
Monday the 5th of September 2011
John drove me to airport. Check-In Lady needed 30 Minutes to sort out whether I am allowed to come back to Australia or not. Then off to PNG. At immigration I waited another 30 to 40 minutes. Visa on arrival was 100 Kina, which equals 4,5 USD. Quite pricy. They picked me up and told me that I am the only guest till Friday and then they have a few Expats joining the ship. For the diving it is quite okay although it can be a bit lonely. Craig and his partner Camilla are nice, so it is okay.
Tuesday to Saturday 6th to 10th of September 2011
Diving around Port Moresby Bay. In the beginning it was a big change going back to "regular" reef diving again. First I thought I am in the wrong movie, after all these critter dives and small stuff. In Lembeh and Bali there was so much small stuff to explore, that I had to adjust. After seeing my first leopard shark for years the knot somehow untied and I really started enjoying it. I saw beautiful reefs with sea fans as much as 4 meters in diameter. Also some really big cod and a couple of sharks. The only downside was the water was just 24 degrees. It is really strange, I used to dive this in double shorties and I was fine. Now I am diving in 3mm with a lavacore underneath. I put my 0,5mm suit on top and still get really cold after 25 minutes. Maybe I am just getting old. The weekend with the expats was nice. Really interesting to hear their stories about the life in PNG.
Honiara / MV Biliki on the Solomon Islands from the 11th to the 22nd of September 2011
Sunday the 11th of September 2011
The usual procedure. Early in the morning to the airport. No extra baggage fee this time. Fly to Honiara. Although the latitude of Honiara is almost the same as of Port Moresby, it is much warmer. The water temperature supposed to be 5 degrees warmer than in PNG. Strange.
Monday the 12th of September 2011
I took my usual editing day in between and finished Komodo and started Bali. When I got sick of my Computer I walked around Honiara a bit. It felt that I am the only white guy walking (the rest is driving). Almost no hassling. Could move free. This is really appreciated. Looking forward to get wet again.
Tuesday to Thursday 13th to 22nd of September
The usual procedure on liveaboards. 4 dives a day. The reefs are pristine and intact here. I haven't seen such beautiful reefs in a long time if not ever. The boat is not brand new, but has everything you need. Never been on a bigger boat before. Heaps of space. The crew is outstanding. The little things, that they do without making a big fuss about it, make the diffreence. I met a group of Australians (Sonja, Will, Gary and Steve) whom I went diving with the most times. Two jubilees I had to celebrate. My dive number 400 on this trip and my 800th dive altogether. So I made more dives on this trip than the 9 years before. I still enjoy every minute "downstairs".
Brisbane / Byron Bay from the 23rd of September to the 3rd of October 2011
Friday 23rd of September 2011
Left the boat in the morning. Had two hours in Honiara, which I used to get updated. Then off to the airport. Sometimes I have the feeling that they get the people for Check-in right from the street. The freak needed half an hour to check my visa for Australia. And you are supposed to stay calm. John met me at the airport. We picked Bride up (we dove in Malapascua together) and off we went o Byron Bay.
Saturday / Sunday 1st and 2nd of October 2011
Saturday we dove the HMAS Brisbane. Old war vessel from the Australians that they sunk as an artificial reef in 2005. The wreck is close to the Sunshine coast. Really interesting what kind of life developed in just 6 years. Hard Coral, Soft Coral, Stonefish, Scorpionfish, Glassfish and so on. All found a new home there. Really interesting. In the afternoon we went to Rich (colleague of John) and watched the "footie" Grand Final of the AFL (Australian Football League). Sunday we watched the NRL (National Rugby League) Grand Final. Then there is Rugby Union, where the World Cup happens in NZ at the moment. Kind of complicated. For watching I like the AFL most. A lot of movement.
Cairns / Great Barrier Reef / Coral Sea from the 4th to the 12th of October 2011
Tuesday and Wednesday the 4th and 5th of October 2011
On Tuesday morning David took me to the building facility. He works for a company that builds tunnel borers. Pretty impressive to see a borer that can bore holes as big as 14 meters. In the afternoon I flew to Cairns. Today I walked around Cairns and loaded a couple of videos up.
Thursday the 6th to Wednesday the 12th of October 2011
A long time dream was to take a liveaboard in Cairns. 20 years ago I went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and it was time to dive there. You here different things about the diving here. Anything from really beautiful to mediocre. The week on the Spoilsport was great. The best weather and the ocean was flat as glass. Rarely I have experienced something similar. Weatherwise probably the best tour in months, according to the crew. I had booked a 7 day trip, but it had to be split into a 4 and a 3 day trip. Not enough people booked the 7 days. The dive industry seems to have massive problems with the strong Aussie Dollar. Divewise we had a good trip. I attended my first shark feed, which was interesting. I really liked Osprey Reef in the north. Everything is regulated in Australia, e.g. Queensland.. You have to be on the surface with 50 bar. To dive on my own they made me carry a pony bottle. Probably they have too many beginners in Queensland. It seems that every backpacker is doing his OWD here in Cairns. I had nice people on the boat, although just 4 people stayed the week. Monday we had 8 people get off and 4 people get on the boat.
to be continued here: Tagebuch