Port Stephen Camping Trip – March 2014

My whole family has been looking very much forward to this trip as the girls were promised dolphin cruise. The plan was to stay for two nights but we decided at the last minute (as often happens in my family) to leave on Thursday night instead. The car trip up was uneventful but trying to set up a tent in the dark with two overtired kids was a bit of a challenge!

The next morning a bunch of kookaburras woke us up very early (to the kids delight) and I found my nose blocked. Garghh… the kids have been taking turn getting sick in the past couple of weeks so I guess it is my turn now! We spent the morning of the first day on the dolphin cruise boat and saw heaps of dolphins frolicking around the boat. It was a beautiful sight and the girls were very excited as they’ve never seen dolphins in the wild before. The rest of the day was spent on the jumping pillow and swimming pool at our camping ground.

I was planning to text Michael and Janet after the kids went to bed but fate dictated that I fell asleep with them and overslept the next morning! So I missed the day’s dive but perhaps it’s for the better as my nose was giving me grief. It was nice to meet Michael’s family and other URG members who stayed in the same camping ground with us. On Saturday evening during the club’s BBQ dinner, the playground claimed a victim when Jonathan’s little girl fell off the play equipment and the ambulance had to be called in due to the nature of her head injury. She ended up having to spend the night in the hospital with Christine for observation but to our relief she was discharged the next day and was fine. Phew!

I felt much better on Sunday morning so off to meet Michael and Janet at Pipeline. I imagine the pipe to be big and you can swim through it if you wish (but perhaps shouldn’t). It turns out to be a really small pipe and in some places you can’t even see it because of the dense coral growth. Visibility was not great and there’s a slight surge but lots of wonderful marine life around. The nudies are HUGE, I have never seen nudies so plump before in my diving life. We saw baby cuttlefish, decorator crabs, pygmy leather jackets, octopus, flathead, wobbegong, and various mysterious soft corals (need to do more homework and consult my Edgar book for ID).

Half an hour into the dive, Janet turned back then started playing peek-a-boo with me. She closed both her eyes with her hand, make a “shark” sign then pointed under a ledge. She repeated this a few times and I could see there’s some sort of shark lying there but I could only see the back half of it. Definitely not a wobbie. Hmmm… Was she trying to tell me not to look at the shark? Was it a ferocious shark that would attack upon eye contact? I nodded my head acknowledging her warning, risked one brave quick shot with my camera (photo turns out crappy) and cautiously back pedaled to avoid any possible altercation with the so-called “don’t look don’t touch” shark. When we emerged from the water Janet asked, “Did you see that blind shark under the ledge?”. Aaaah… blind shark!

Thank you again Michael and Janet for organising the trip, we had a lot of fun and looking forward to the next one.

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 bulletin – [ddownload id=”285″]