Sunday, 27 December 2009

Another Ripview Classic swim

It's that time of year again. Bit too close to Christmas I must say.

This year we swam into a decent southerly which pushed up an annoying confused chop.

Felt like a struggle all the way but my time and position was much better than previous years. Almost up to average pace!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ikelite housing upgrade

My upgraded housing has just returned from Ikelite.

They were offering the upgrade, which involved replacing the entire front section of the housing and swapping over all the hardware, at a very reasonable US$200 plus $60 for a full service.

The housing now has 4 port locks instead of just 2 and a focus light mount on top. Also got a free swap for the new 4 lock short port body including an anti-rotation lock for the 8" and they sent back my 3 leak alarms.

12th Dec
I have just discovered that this Fantasea LED 360 focus light has been discontinued. Apparently there have been production problems leading to flooding. Mine is still going OK but buddy Rich's has flooded.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

ex HMAS Canberra scuttled

Sunday 4th October.
This very exciting event drew crowds of many thousands to every vantage point between Pt Lonsdale and Barwon Heads. All carparks were overflowing from early Sunday morning.

However the actual sinking did not happen until 2.00pm well after many had given up and gone home. Luckily I checked my sources, here and Marg B, an OG local with views from her window, to find that rough weather overnight meant it would be delayed by hours.

Virg and I wandered down to Ocean Grove aroun 12.00, met Rich M, and Mary Malloy, and Kim and Josh in the dunes. After a pleasant 2hr wait the first orange flare was sighted. I hit record on the video camera and flexed my shutter finger ready to shoot.

Spurts of water shot up the sides of the Canberra and the boom arrived a few seconds later. Over the next 2 minutes she gently settled lower and lower then with a final whoosh of spray disappeared below the surface.

Depth is around 27m with the masts just 6m under the surface.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Poly pipe RC landyacht

Still no decent diving so here's the latest landyacht design.

This one is cheap and quick to build using poly pipe and shopping trolley wheels. It's the best yet. Fast, controllable and it fits in the back of the car unlike the previous version.

Friday, 28 August 2009

RC Landyacht

Here's another non-diving project that keeps me busy when weather and winter bugs intervene. It's also a way to go sailing without having to get out on the water.

You need a big open empty carpark somewhere to sail and nice steady wind.

This page describes how to make a radio controlled landyacht reasonably cheaply.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Using dioptres behind a dome port

Lenses used behind a dome port may require the addition of a +dioptre. The dome creates a curved image that sits 25 to 30cm out front and if the lens can't focus this close then a dioptre is needed.

My 18-55mm does work behind the 6" dome without a dioptre but performance improves with a +4. At the 18mm end there is less barrel distortion and the corners are sharper.

I never knew whether it also allowed you to get closer to the subject so some pool testing was required.

Adding the +4 brought the closest focus from 21cm to 13cm, and sharp corners only required f/16 rather than f/22. Of course you can use wider apertures if the corners are not critical.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Close focus wide angle CFWA

Here's another example of CFWA using the 18-55mm with a +4 dioptre.

St Leonards Pier again with better vis this time.

Short tailed nudibranch (Ceratosoma brevicaudatum). This is the most common nudi in Port Phillip growing to 150mm, which is big for a nudi.

Leaky shoulder valve this time! Got a cold wet left arm.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Drysuit leak

Amazing how a few grains of sand can ruin a dive.
The second I stepped into the water there was the dreaded cold dribble down my ankle.

The photo shows how little it takes to turn a drysuit into a not so drysuit.
I persevered with the dive and ended up with a very wet foot, leg and groin...yuk!

These ankle valves are not a great idea.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mares Puck dive computer

My Aladin Sport went "ERR" last week meaning a new battery is required. S'posed to last 10 years but ours have not gone much more than 5 years each. Problem is you have to send it away and pay more than $200 for the replacement. So, it was it time to upgrade.

I looked at, based in Spain, and found this Mares Puck for 158 Euro delivered. That converts to $289!! Locally you would pay $690.

This computer does Nitrox, Bottom timer and displays water temp. All features the Aladin didn't have.

Ordered it Saturday and it arrived today, 4 days, via Germany, London, Melbourne, Geelong.


Here's a short video of it's first dive.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Bad vis, Wide angle

A perfect flat sunny day above but sandy 3m vis below and I had the Sigma 15mm fisheye on.

Luckily this lens does excellent CFWA close focus wide angle.

Just have to hide the backscatter in a busy background or position strobes out wide. The problem then of course is getting light on that close subject.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Fantasea LED 360 focus light

Just bought one of these Fantasea LED focus lights to replace the flawed Nano Fix (every one of these I know of has flooded)

Anyway the 360 has 36 LEDs and an On/Off switch so hopefully will have a longer life.
It's much bigger and brighter but still has the "Auto Off during flash" function as well as a handy continuous flash mode in case you ever get lost at sea!

I tried the focus light under the deep ledges at Cottage Reef and it worked very well allowing me to focus quickly on a seadragon in the darkness. It would be an excellent night dive torch also.

Purchased from in Byron Bay for A$84.95 + $5.50 shipping.

Additional: Price has just jumped to US$81 from Fantasea or $140 from!

This light has now died (lasted 12 months). No obvious flooding but rust appearing around 2 of the LEDs. Buddy Rich's died a few months ago and the light is no longer being sold.
I'm back to using a Princeton REC 1 LED torch.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Squid-bait cam

Here's a bit of underwater video fun. Tweaked the Stingray housing so that I could leave it on the seabed with some bait dangling in front.

This 2 min video is the first attempt. Next time I'll extend the rod and position it to be more central.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Ripview Classic and Blue water Challenge

Virg and I competed in a couple of ocean swims recently.

The Ripview Classic 1.4km from The Springs to Pt Lonsdale and the Queenscliff Blue water challenge 1.2km around Queenscliff Pier to the Pilot Pier and back.

The Blue water challenge was a real challenge with very delayed starts putting us into bad current and whitecaps. What was the problem? No explainations given. It meant that many pulled out before and during the race but we struggled on and finished with times 30% longer than expected.

Here we are before a training swim around the sticks at St Leonards.

Friday, 2 January 2009

D90 in Ikelite D80 housing

It fits and is perfectly usable!

Dive buddy Richard bought a D90 so I mounted it in the housing to see what worked.
All my usual controls - On/Off, shutter release, front and rear control dials (shutter and aperture) and focus lock work perfectly.
AF, self timer/multi frame and exposure compensation also work.

You probably would be able to push Menu, WB, ISO and QUAL although they don't line up exactly.
The Mode dial knob just doesn't reach but a little rubber washer and some glue would fix that.

There is no access to the 4 way selector or OK button but that's no drama.

So that means this housing can outlast the D80 if disaster strikes down the track.

More photos here