The 63rd hosting of the Canada cup was held on Sunday the 8th of March 2015 at the beautiful Terrigal Haven on the Central Coast of New South Wales . It’s always scary when your organising a comp wondering what the weather is going to do on the day. With large swells and strong winds leading up to the comp the weather gods came through and produced a perfect day with flat seas and light winds all day. It certainly is a relief to the event organizers when the comp can be run as scheduled with fantastic conditions where it’s safe and enjoyable diving for every competitor.
[caption id="attachment_721" align="alignright" width="228"] LOOK OUT Divers About logo from NSW Maritime Management Centre[/caption]
The current Dive Safe campaign by Roads and Maritime Services NSW “LOOK OUT Divers About” is to be applauded. The confusion surrounding the role of the alpha flag in Australia is slowly unravelling and now a distinct message is being sent to all skippers in NSW on what to look out for – Divers – on the surface – can be up to 100m from their float/flag. Steer clear.
Let’s jump back to the old argument of the “red and white diver flag” v “Alpha” flag and what they really mean. The traditional diver-down red and white flag was developed by divers (overseas) in 1957. Yet for many people in
[caption id="attachment_723" align="alignleft" width="150"] Alpha Flag (left), Diver Down Flag (right)[/caption]
Australia the “Alpha” flag means “diver below” yet this is what the red and white diver down flag means. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that the traditional red & white diver-down flag is intended to protect divers themselves, while the blue & white alpha flag is intended to protect vessels from collision.
Despite warnings on hyperventilation given by spearfishing clubs and their state association, the NSW Underwater Federation, near drowning from the practice still occur in spearfishing contests.
After making six deep dives during the Australian Spearfishing Championships at Ulladulla last Christmas, Ray Johnson, 18, of Kingsford, hyperventilated for about 45 seconds before making a seventh descent.
He swam down about 70ft. As the fish were “Spooking” – shying out of range – he decided to explore a cave, a rash act at that depth.
“I saw something at the back of the cave and tried to get a better look,” Johnson recalls “but realised I had been down too long”.
It was New Years Eve in 1995 when Mark Colys and Zane O’Brien phoned me up. They were camped at Park Beach Caravan Park, Coffs Harbour, for their annual holidays with family. Mark and Zane were keen for a dive on New Years Day.
I had met Mark down at the National Titles in Eden in 1994, one year earlier (which he won). It was over 1,000kms drive each way to the Aussie Championships, so I talked my good mate Wally Gibbins from Sawtell into accompanying me for some companionship.
I was living at Sandy Beach, NSW, and the long drive to Eden was one never to be forgotten with Wally as Co-pilot, and Ted Lehman from Sydney also. The stories that Wally told us in great detail of his adventures in the Solomon Islands - how he salvaged all the scrap bronze propellers he could from wartime wrecks, to how he and the natives collected tons of both live and dead ammunition from the sea floor for sale – seemed to be both adrenalin filled, and endless. Wally was to spear-fishing, what Zane Grey was to game-fishing – a pioneer sportsman, avid storyteller, and adventurer the likes of which we may never see again on the planet.