Dan and Justy Down Under


March 12, 2005

Dan or Justy

I injured myself three ways on Friday. I clipped a stationary object with our van. Two months of (mostly) flawless driving and now this, just before we leave. My pride was wounded, but not being satisfied with that, I slammed my open hand against the steering wheel in a juvenile venting of frustration. This did damage. I bruised the tips of my fingers, and the heel of my right hand. It still hurts. (I am writing this in early April, and it still hurts. I have been unable to type until now.)

We're sorry for the long ellipsis in our blog.

Oztek: Saturday

This weekend is the OzTek Technical diving conference in Sydney. OzTek was such a part of our agenda that we planned our travel dates around it. There is no other conference like it in the world. All tech, all the time. This year they had a main theme of imaging, and had many speakers known for photo and video work. Here's a small report on the goings on.

The conferece follows a normal tracked schedule and the chief complaint of attendees is that there were too many hard choices. It was a little easier for us, as we skipped the cave diving themed talks. Any other time I'd be interested, but I was already knee deep in conflict over my choices.

We watched Lamar Hires give a detailed rundown on the new Dive Rite Optima eCCR. Aside from learning about the particulars and getting a close look, I was most interested to watch Lamar, essentially a newbie CCR diver, field questions from a crowd of CCR experts. He held his own, but the unit may not end up appealing to harder-core explorers. The design is an amalgam of best practices from other units in the market. This should be a plus, but it ends up looking odd. Maybe that shouldn't matter, but it does. Some design choices are a bit unusual, if impermanent. The default tank sizes are just odd, but according to a defendable logic. Many of the head-scratching things will have modualar options to make them more mainstream, but not in the first year. I think it looks good, if funny, but I'm not making the eCCR jump just yet. If they keep the pricepoint, they will do very well.

Speaking of CCRs, we got to see the Sport KISS up close and get some facetime with both Gordon and Kim Smith. The Sport is a marvel of economical engineering. It's hard to imagine a more efficient combination of function, form and simplicity. The units are available now. I'm sold.

Many of the exhibitors were travel oriented: Captain Lance of the MV Thorfinn took time to give us a short tour of the wrecks of Truk Lagoon. The Thorfinn is the platform of choice for technically-minded divers visiting this most holy of wreck meccas.

Greg Doyle oriented us to the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, from the ill-fated Force Z. They were the first capitol ships in history sunk purely by air power. They were sunk in the South China Sea on December 17, 1941, prior to the capture of Singapore by the Japanese. Both battleships are divable, but nothing may be taken. It would take days just to see their exterior. Greg runs trips from Malaysia aboard the MV Grace, which looks like a huge, comfortable diving platform.

Our trip has been lightly planned around this dive conference in Sydney. We were both looking forward to Oztek4, and I thought Id have to pull Dan out a scuba-induced coma at the end of the day. The program had a series of interesting presetations from a variety of vendors, photographers and medics working in the field today. Dan was wxcited to see the various rebreathers on display, witha couple of them being displyed for the first time. I was thrilled to have photography and underwater imaging be a focus of this conference.

Needless to say, it wasn't Dan who was rocking and frothing at the mouth, it was me! Just as an example, when I was getting tired I decided to sit through an hour long presentatin on IEDCS or inner ear decompression sickness. I though it's be a good quite boring, and therefore a good rest. Dan left to go to another talk in another room. Quickly I realized how wrong I was, the presentation was lively, informative, and gosh darnit, even FUN!

Yesterday, I thought Id skip Sunday and go sight seeing. Today I knew that Id be coming back.

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

Digital Pix Courtesy of Shimmivision.com
More Digital and Film Pix Coming Soon.