My adventures down under

The purpose for this trip was to present a paper at the Centenary of Flotation Symposium. It is my first publication. Of course, since the conference was conveniently located in Brisbane, there were many hidden agenda’s too…

I arrived in Brisbane on the evening of Thursday, 2nd of June. It still astounds me as to how I could lose a day in the travel, given that I left in the morning on the 1st of June. I was picked up at the airport by Thakor fua. It was really awesome how it immediately seemed that I had just been in Brisbane a couple of months ago, where in reality it was more like two and a half years.

I immediately made plans to go scuba diving on Saturday with Jenny, who is a work colleague. All I can say, is that it was an experience. That is, neither good, nor bad, and I just classify it as an experience.

As my first boat dive, I was not used to the whole get in a boat thing. It consisted of sitting on the side of a boat, holding onto a rope for an hour and a bit, with cold wind and the occasional splash of water, whilst only wearing a wet suit. Luckily the bay is quite sheltered, however when we left the bay, it got really choppy, and there were many waves.

When we eventually reached the reef, we diverted from our deep dive to the shallow dive, as it was raining, and conditions didn’t look too good. The skipper, who incidentally is South African made the decision that we would only do that dive if the weather cleared up, which fortunately it did after the first dive.

The actual dives were not as scenic as my dives here in Cape Town. The reefs seemed rather bare, and very dead. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing. The fish life, however was awesome. We saw some blow fish, many other colourful tropical fish, and what appeared to be similar to puffadder lazy shark (?). They had a weird name for it which I can’t possibly remember.

The shallow dive was down to about 13m, and the deep dive was down to 28m. I definitely felt some nitrogen narcosis a bit, however it was not pleasant, as has been described to me, I felt very paranoid. This paranoia may have had something to do with the fact that we dived in a very strong current – If it was wind, I’d describe it as gail force – where we had to descend holding onto the anchor line of the boat. The 5 minute 5 meter decompression safety stop was very not pleasant. I am thankful for my diving gloves!!

The return trip was even worse than the boat ride out. I really shouldn’t have had the soup in between the dives. Had a throbbing headache from the combination between diesel fumes and the deep dive. We had a pleasant stop along a sand bank on the way back, where I was thankful for ground. I made a less than elegant exit off the boat though.

On return from the dive, I felt shattered, and I have vague memories of Nisha trying to stir me up, and me falling asleep halfway through her efforts.

I was dropped off at my hotel, where I collapsed into my bed, only to wake up in the morning to the pleasant realisation that it was the best hotel room I have ever stayed in!! It even had a TV in the bathroom.

The conference and work side of the trip went really well. Needless to say that I was visibly nervous when I presented my paper. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The conference gave me an awesome perspective of Brisbane as a city. My hotel was about a 20 minute walk from the conference venue, which was rather pleasant. The awesome thing about my Hotel’s location was that it was right on the river, opposite Kangaroo point. Runs and walks in the mornings and evenings were stunning.

Steve, Nick and Katherine

On the Friday of the following week, I decided to go down to the Gold Coast with Steve, Nick and Kath from UMIST. This was great, coz even though it rained that afternoon, we swam. I realised that I had not swam in the sea, for swimming sake (ie. not scuba), for over a year, even though I live in Cape Town.

Myself, Aniel and Nisha

Luckily the weekend was a long weekend. Again I spent this at foi’s. Did some visiting to Ansoo bhen’s and Smita’s. Took it easy on Monday, and left to visit the JKMRC on Tuesday. That evening I visited Tara masi and family. It was great to see everyone again. Yet again, it felt like i had just been away for a couple of months.

Mithun, myself, Mikesh and Aarash

I was rather sad to leave Brisbane, however I did feel a bit meetinged out. It was a great trip, and I look forward to visiting there again.

Nisha should not be allowed near a camera






One response to “My adventures down under”

  1. Anita Avatar

    Hi Sam

    Very nice chronicle of your trip….sounds like you had an awesome time. Take care.