- By Duncan Heuer
The start of the year was marked by unprecedented bush fires which ravaged the East Coast, and just as the ashes settled a once in a century global pandemic changed life as we know it. Despite this URG managed to grow its membership base and increase engagement via social media. The inability to continue our monthly socials and the restrictions on gatherings meant that activity ground to a halt for most of the winter season. Fortunately resilient club members continued to find ways to stay engaged.
The A big call out needs to go to people like Pablo, John V, Josh B and John T who have spent substantial amounts of their free time making sure that our new club boat is up and running smoothly. We are very pleased to share that some of the initial engine problems have now been resolved.
It is also encouraging to see club members like John V start to think about expanding the repertoire of activities that our club could offer to members who are passionate about exploring the marine environment in novel ways. 19 members expressed an interest in the opportunities that underwater ROV’s might bring and we’re expecting to see a sub-group develop off the back of this interest.
In November we had our annual Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraiser which brought in around $1800. Congrats to Rianti, Josh B and the other volunteers that made it happen.
Sydney’s annual sea slug census also happened in Nov and it was a great success. Read the full report on the URG website under the media>articles tab. Thank you to Rianti again for also driving this for us.
In other exciting news, while on the URG dive in Feb 2019, current club secretary Charlie spotted a red pipefish at Minmi Trench in Botany Bay. We took a few snaps and posted them online. A few days later Graham Short and Andrew Trevor Jones got in touch and asked us where we found the pipefish. They were in the process of writing a paper describing a new species. We are unwittingly the owners of some of the only images of a mating pair of the new species - Stigmatopora harastii
Read more about this discovery here:
Tomorrow, 12 Dec is our end of year club xmas social at Clifton Gardens. The plan is to meet for a dive around 8:30 and then BYO snacks and drinks from 11am. Now that COVID restrictions have been relaxed we look forward to catching up with both new and familiar faces.
Wishing you all a happy safe festive period and hopefully 2021 decides its time to step up and be better!