I have been meaning to start a blog on the Sydney competition scene for a little while now however due to poor weather and myself being away I have only competed in two competitions so far this year and the most recent just being on this previous weekend.
The competition was held out of Gunamatta Bay which for us St George divers is our local ground which normally helps us feel more comfortable as we all dive this area quite frequently. The calls and msg's were going out early on in the week organising boat rides, checking weather reports and making sure our gear was up to scratch. I thought I was all sorted and went down to my garage to pack all my gear on thursday night. As i got down there the hard decision between the 3.5mm Torelli suit or my 5mm Beauchat suit and all the extra weight that is involved. I decided i would rather be warm then cold and grabbed the 5mm and the rest of my gear. When I turned to my gun I remembered i had snapped my rubber on my last outing bugger. So i quickly rushed down to my local dive shop and they sorted me out with a replacement. Thank goodness I didn't just grab my gear the day of the comp.
The day of the comp and the forecast had changed 50 times on seabreeze and as i headed downstairs and into the garage the wind was light and the rain heavy. I thought it was gonna be a hard days diving with crappy vis and not many fish. We met anthony at his house and got the big polycraft ready to go and headed down to Yowie Bay to launch the boat and put on our wetsuits. It was soo cold that my boiled water for my lube had already gone cold and i started the day off with a shiver and was glad I wore my 5mm suit. We were then underway and headed to gunamatta as we were rounding the corner into the bay we could see a couple of other spear boats racing in the same direction most notably "Lex's" new seydel craft. I must say I am very jealous the boat looks great however I think the seadevils are a sexy boat apart from adolphins one :P We then signed on and everyone got chatting with each other about plans and where they were heading and general talking shit. Its great to see such a large group of people all so passionate about a great sport. Lee eventually got the roll call underway and everyone was in their boats and getting ready for the rolling start. On the way out one of the e-tech's was a little sick not wanting to go over 1500 revs on our way past we said good luck but they eventually got underway.
The rolling start and everyone raced off at 8.15am with the majority of the boats heading south towards the national park we decided to head north. There were about 7 other boats heading in the same direction us as but most of them stopped short at the merries. We kept on travelling north to try for some whiting and flathead to help out the club score and there was only one other boat that had come as far up as us at that stage and that was the puckos. We pulled into our dive location and they kept on heading north to there eastern beaches spots. We jumped in to fairly clear water for this area and we decided to hit it up as it was the closest to the top of the tide we were going to get it so the vis would only deteriorate. However after about half an hour and only seeing one tiny flathead i thought this wasn't a good idea. I should have listened to myself and headed back to the boat but I thought to myself just a little bit longer as there might be the fish just up there. But nothing damn I quickly swam to the other two guys and said lets head back to the boat. On our way back I seen a whiting however as i dived on it, it disappeared into the murk and i took a shot to where i thought it was. Nothing agh so frustrating. I then looked up to notice another boat (I think Wade Koolis's) has had the same idea as us and was anchored in the same area even less reason to stay. On the way back i seen another thumping whiting rite near the other boat I dived and it spooked and rather then rushing a shot this time I waited for a good shot but it spooked and took off. Bugger on the way back to the boat I had nothing in an hour definitely not a good start to the comp. I scoped the shallow reef and on the way i managed to pick up a Luderick, Yellowfin jacket and a rough jacket at least it was something.
We then jumped in and headed to our next spot on the eastern beaches we jumped in with the current running hard from south to north and great vis an easy 15-20m the best I have seen in a long time on the East Coast. I was the first one in and on my first dive i had got a good reef jacket, swam another 20m and dived again and had my choice of king wrasse, trevally or solid lf pike. I chose the King Wrasse and by that stage the other two guys jumped in and i told them where the pike were. They both went down and shot a nice pike each and i was off chasing a nice goat fish. There were plenty of red mowies around so I figured I will wait till I see a big one. I headed off in search of a group of sawtail surgeons I knew frequented the area however I only found small ones. So I headed up into the shallows to get a Pig up close in the shallows the current was pushing hard and the swell was surging hard making the diving hard. There was lots of bait around with a school of gar's and heaps of yakkas but none that would weigh. I dived down in the deeper water 7-8m and crawled along the bottom as i got under the surge I had a school of Pigs swim straight towards me so I chose the biggest one and took it as I was over being in the surge. I then drifted with the current for a while checking out all the boulders for seargo's and red rockies however I didn't have much luck. I decided to head out deeper again and on my way spotted a shape on the rock's of a small seargo I quickly had it on my rig line and was hoping to find a few fish aggregated around where I burleyed earlier near the anchor. I did a dive down to 15m seen a n average red mowie as I didn't have one yet i thought i better secure it. On the way up i noticed a decent sized silver shape maybe another 10m to the south of me. I got to the surface quickly strung my fish and relaxed my breathing hoping it was a snapper. I slowly finned till i was over the top of it popped my snorkel and silently defended on it. On the way down I realised it was a blue morwong and a good fish to get in the comp I passed 15m and as I did the fish slowly turned to look up towards him and I aimed and fired he rolled over and I finally had a decent fish that should contribute to the club score. As i was stringing him up I decided on taking advantage of this clear water and went out a little deeper and i seen the fluttering shape of a leatherjacket in midwater. As I was about to dive i herd a boat motor so being safety conscious and inquisitive i decided to look up to see pucko's boat about 200m away further out. I dived and secured the deep body leather jacket and figured i better look at my watch at just after 12 I decided we should probably start heading back into the southerly wind and dive at one more spot where i had seen a decent wirrah the week before. On the way back to the boat i remembered the school of pike and had a dive and there was still one decent one left in the school i took aim lazily and missed wtf was i thinking it was the easiest shot of the day and I stuffed it up. All the Pike took off apart from the small ones so i jumped in the boat and went to grab the anchor and pick up the other two. Once we were in the boat and headed back towards our to be last spot we seen the puck's boat was right where i wanted to go so we decided bugger it and bailed for the weigh in so we could be early and get our fish weighed in quickly near the start.
When we got back there were a couple of other boats back to and everyone was discussing how they went and overall how pleasant the conditions had been in the water. The weigh in went smooth it probably helps with the bench's and big shed being there and there were some great fish weighed in. My pick for the fish of the day was definitely Jack Howards 12. something kg kingy dams i was jealous. I would rather shoot one of them then a bag full of species anyday. Rob Tierney had a nice blue morwong, Kaan Paydas and Luke Harris both had nice banded morwongs, young jack martin got a solid deep body jacket and a flathead that had been attacked by chinaman jackets and had no eyes left, Mark Harris also had a solid King Wrasse. Now we are just waiting for the results to see where we all placed and where the clubs placed lets hope St George got up there. It was a great social event and if anyone is thinking of doing these comps I highly recommend them as a great learning experience. I am still learning every time i dive and making the transition from WA to sydney comp diving.
If you have read this far thanks for reading and i will try and do one of these for all the Alliman's that I compete in if people would like me to. If anyone would like to share their pics from the comp or gets a good fish at the comp I'd love to get a pick of it and use it to help illustrate the day.