Oz in Pictures

Australia's most iconic maxi-yacht, Brindabella had her first official cruise for members of the public and I was on it.

I don't get boat envy often, but I've always wanted to sail on this one ever since the 90's in which she was regularly competing for line honors in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. She won the race in 1997 and came second a further 4 times. Expectations were high for this cruise and it didn't disappoint. What a memorable afternoon! I have to say it ticked all the boxes and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's excellent value for money, the crew are friendly, knowledgeable and will make it a fun and safe experience.

If can check this new venture out by going to their website.

https://brindabellasailing.com.au

If you want to book onto a cruise just find their online shop and select 'Book a Sail'. From there it is a pretty intuitive process and you will receive an email with further instructions shortly after you have booked.

At the time of making this video there were 3 adventure cruise options but I'm advised that more are planned in the future so stay tuned for that. For this cruise I picked the 'Half Day Sailing Adventure'. Rather than me discussing it in the description box, just watch the video. Everyone who went on it found it memorable. Not even the rain could take away the smiles on our faces. One of South Australia's most unique experiences. Highly recommended.

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For all the camping I've done over the years, I've never actually owned or even slept in a swag! Given I was in the market for a lightweight tent I thought I might try a swag instead and see how I found it. For the first test I did an overnight camp in my front yard in the middle of our winter. This is how it went.

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This is one of my oldest cave diving videos. I put it together from footage I shot on my first trip up to Mount Gambier following my CDAA Cavern Sinkhole Course (which is now known as Basic Cave). I've added an introduction to it in which I discuss some of the more interesting features of the site. Some areas of this site are out of bounds unless you have obtained the appropriate permits and I have a real fascination with them.

These were explored and documented in depth by a team led by Richard Harris originally in 2008.

This is a link to his YouTube channel (which includes a video of the deep exploration of Piccanninnie Ponds):

https://www.youtube.com/c/DrHarryH

However, a better high-definition version of this specific video can be found on Harris's Vimeo channel here. Here's a direct link to it:

https://vimeo.com/10297243

Harris also wrote an article for Advanced Diver Magazine about the early stages of the exploration:

http://www.advanceddivermagazine.com/articles/piccaninnie/piccaninnie.html

I also recommend checking out his YouTube Podcast Channel "The Real Risk" in which he interviews other people pushing their limits:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgjYvHqch-7QNuxQx6VEFmw

Piccaninnie Ponds is a fascinating freshwater dive site. Notwithstanding that this was one of my earliest cave diving videos, shot back in 2013 it still shows how spectacular this site is. I wanted to go back and put a video together that did it even more justice but that project is on my list of to do things.

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Recently I took a friend of mine out on his first sailing trip. He featured in one of our earlier videos at Loveday 4WD Adventure Park. Given it was his first trip in a sailing boat I thought we would just go for a bit of a motor up the Port River but he took to it so well that we ended up over 4 kilometers out to sea, under sail in water that was a bit lumpy. It was a good day though. The boat felt good and my friend is looking forward to our next sailing trip.

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Finally we seem to have sorted out our outboard issues. So in this video we start with a few maintenance projects while the motor was getting fixed and then we took our Hood 23 'Manumitter' out for a kind of 'Shakedown' cruise in which we put the engine through it's paces, also sailing with a reefed mainsail for the first time on the open sea.

I then managed to nearly fall in the water as we were berthing the boat and much like my freediving mishap (in an earlier video) it too got captured on video! I considered whether or not I would include that but after reflection realized I'm sharing most things, the good and bad. It's all part of the journey and perhaps our viewers will get some amusement out of it. It was actually a pretty simple mistake. I leant back on the berthing line too much to offset the momentum of the boat but leant slightly to the right which led to me falling in that direction.

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I actually started videoing this before any of the other sailing videos on my channel because the first thing I had to do (before the boat had even settled) was assess what condition the trailer was in and get some work done to it. Since then I have gradually brought it up to a standard that should be sufficient to pass a proper inspection.

For the most part the trailer was found to be in good condition and most of the rust was just surface rust. Anything questionable was replaced. For the moment it remains at the club as a way to easily dry stand the boat. Before I use it to take the boat anywhere I would probably do a few more things but I'm happy with it at the moment and notwithstanding that this video has been several months in the making, I'm reasonably happy with the results.

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I'm sure we can all relate to going to the doctor because of some mystery issue and you get given something for it and then after no change you have to go back a few weeks later. Well that's what it feels like at the moment with my outboard engine. This video starts and finishes in the same way - with outboard issues! As before, I don't think they are serious but until such time as it's behaving predictably we can't go on long trips away. Having said that, recently we made use of a gorgeous evening for a short trip to a nice anchorage and that's in this video. I also did an underwater hull examination and some basic maintenance. We've had a few frustrations lately but it's just part of the journey.

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I got a Jetboil Flash after getting frustrated by how slowly my previous hot water boiling system was taking to boil water in cold windy weather. It's been a bit of a game changer on that front. I thought it was time I did a review on it. I'm not claiming it is a solution for all things cooking when you are camping. It has it's limitations, but if you want to boil water fast (be it for a hot drink or to add to a freeze dried meal) it ticks all of the boxes.

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Probably one of my best bit of camping equipment is my Trangia alcohol stove. These things have been around for decades. They are one of the most compact cooking systems available and as such are particularly suited for backpacking and backpacking. But they actually make a pretty good travel stove even when you are driving and have more space. I first got mine in 2007 after I did a trip with a friend of mine who had one and watching how much better it performed in a slight breeze than my stove encouraged me to buy one. They are simple, cost effective, will last for years, are really efficient in how they use fuel (normally methylated spirits but you can get a gas burner if you prefer it).

I recently started using mine again because I'm hoping to using it on my boat given the lack of space and was reminded as to how good it was. I thought I would do a review of it. Feel free to leave comments about your experiences with these stoves because I suspect many of you have them.

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This is a new version of this video originally uploaded to my old channel. This time I have included an introduction explaining what took place.

Whilst I was getting footage for my 'Freshwater Freediving' Video, I had the misfortune to accidentally hit my head on a rocky outcrop that protruded from the side of the dive site. As a result we had to cut short our videoing and visit the local hospital so I could get stitched up! I actually was recording at the time and from the angle of the camera pointing upwards, it showed what happened (although I didn't see it with the mask I was wearing at the time - I actually avoided one rocky outcrop but in the process hit my head on the one coming out from the other side). I left this footage out of the original video but months later decided that I would put a short video together featuring that particular dive.

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The Port River is the body of water that we most sail (and motor) on. That's simply because it's where the marina is located and in order to get to the sea, you have to steam for about an hour to get there. As a result many of the landmarks have become familiar. Many of them are actually interesting so for a while I had been thinking of doing a video focusing on the main points of interest on the river itself. Australia Day (26th January) 2022 had lovely weather and so it seemed like a perfect occasion to do this. In the evening however the weather changed and instead we had a large electrical storm!

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Fossil Cave is an underwater cave located in Mount Gambier, South Australia. It can be accessed by those who hold CDAA (Cave Divers Association of Australia) Cave Certification or higher.

The cave gets it's name from the large number of extinct animal bones that were discovered there in the 1970's whilst it was being surveyed. It's now more known for it's crystal clear water and interesting topography but you can still see the pickets around which the survey grid was attached.

There is also another small underwater cave at the other end of the sinkhole, which has some interesting features but it's mainly the south eastern cave that is dived. Divers enter one end of a crescent shaped surface pool but as the passages below curves around following this crescent, a greenish tinged light can be seen refracting through the water from above in many parts of the dive site. It's one of the more unique caves to dive in the region.

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A few years ago when we were planning to do a trip to Fraser Island we were looking for a kayak that we could use to solve a logistical problem. The problem was that we had very limited room on the car owing to the amount of stuff on the roof so a traditional hard body kayak was not an option. folding kayaks were not easily available in Australia and all of the inflatable kayaks I had used were like paddling a floating marshmallow and hard work against the wind. My local kayak shop suggested I look at hybrid inflatable kayaks that were made by Advanced Elements and that led us to one of their earlier designs, the Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak.

It's 3.2 meters long, 81 centimeters wide, and has a carrying capacity of 136 kilograms. At 16 kilograms it's not the lightest in their range but it was still significantly lighter than our other 'ride on top' kayak. This video shows some of the early tests I did in which I found out (to my relief) that the kayak performed comparably to a lot of basic off the shelf hard body kayaks. It's made out of a 600 denier polyester PVC laminate in a ripstop material and for an inflatable kayak it is surprisingly durable. It was a good call buying this kayak as it served our needs as a great travel kayak. So much so that if I was to get any further kayaks the first place I would look is in the Advanced Elements range.

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Gouldens Sinkhole (also known as Gouldens Waterhole) is a well known cavern rated site in Mount Gambier is frequently used for training for divers wishing to gain Cave Diving Association of Australia (CDAA) accreditation. It is an interesting site that divers can explore properly within a couple of dives but often choose to return to when fine tuning their skills. Full of numerous objects to secure guideline too and easy to silt out.

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This is a review of both masks I use for freediving. The Aqualung Micromask and Cressi Minima. Both are excellent. I use the Micromask for scuba diving too these days. Originally this was uploaded to our older channel so it may look a bit familiar!

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Recently we tried out our bigger mainsail that came with the boat. Unfortunately that's when we found out that unlike all the other sails this one was badly sun damaged and needed replacing. That let us to 'Bravo Sails' and Luke who made us a fantastic new mainsail.

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Happy Halloween everyone. The spooks are even haunting one of our local jetties.

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Our first club social even for our newly renamed Hood 23 'Manumitter' was the official opening to the 2021/22 race season. It's unclear at this stage what part we will take in the season itself as that will depend on a couple of other things that need to take place, however it's our intention to participate in a few of them and along the way we will happily get involved in any social social even that involves sailing.

Opening Day is a fairly light hearted ceremonial occasion in which members parade around the Port River in their boats and on passing the Flagship, pay their respects to the Club Commodore, guests and Flagship 'Bizzare'.

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We had always intended to rename our Hood 23 when we got it. But as anyone who has done this knows, sailors can be a superstitious bunch and in order to ensure you continue to have good luck, there's a ceremony to perform that has been around for many generations in order to appease the gods of the seas. As it turns out, I"m not superstitious but it's a bit of fun, a good reason for a few drinks and officially mark the point where we were able to refer to our boat by the name we had chosen months ago but kept quiet until this point. I am not aware of any other vessel going by this name (feel free to correct me in the comments section with evidence to the contrary if I"m wrong). The story behind the name is in the video and we hope you enjoy sharing our renaming ceremony with us.

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There are a number of videos already on our channel from our 2018 road trip to Fraser Island in Queensland, however we haven't talked in any depth about our experiences. It turns out that at the time we took a lot of 'throw away' footage using nothing more than our smartphones. This was uploaded onto a social media blog that we had at the time but have since deleted. As is often the case, there are some moments we captured at the time that gave a much better idea of the experience than some of our better quality videos.

Since we are going through a process of uploading some of our off road experiences, we felt that this footage should be put together in a video complete with a quickly put together commentary. Somehow despite the quality, this video works for me. It takes me back to our trip and makes me want to go back to Fraser Island again and hopefully we can in the future. We hope you enjoy sharing our trip with us.

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I made this video for our original channel some years ago and since then I've had a lot of positive feedback from the diving community about it. I thought I would upload it again to our newer channel 'Oz in Pictures' but with a new introduction in which I talk a bit about it. It remains the most watched video I've made to date.

Using a reel and guideline is an essential part of diving in overhead environments. With practice you can effortlessly integrate it into your dive. The wraps and tie offs in this video are not an exhaustive list by any means but they will give you a few ideas when you are starting off. In addition to use in overhead environments, reel skills can be also be useful to any diver as a tool in navigation, mapping and deploying various buoyant devices. If you enjoy this video and would like me to make more skills based ones let me know as I had always intended to do a series of them and just got a bit sidetracked. It may be just the motivation I need to get back into a wetsuit.

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Shortly after installing the centreplate we had our next challenge to deal with. This time our outboard motor as the starter cord jammed when we were at sea and for one reason or another we were unable to get it going at the time and in low wind ended up getting towed in by the Coast Guard! The moral to the story is when your gut is telling you to get something serviced, do it! That being said it was a rather simple fix with no real damage and we learnt more about outboards in the process so you might say it was a blessing in disguise.

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About 4 years ago we acquired an off road vehicle with the intention of doing some trips around Australia including hard to reach places. Since then we have used it quite extensively and have continually upgraded it to the point that we can now came independantly for a few weeks. However we haven't posted anything on this channel focusing on the vehicle itself or much about those trips. In order to tell those stories it's important to go back and talk a bit about those early adventures. This was one of the first. I've had previously had some limited four wheel drive experience but decided to extend that somewhat by testing the vehicle at Loveday 4x4 Adventure Park which is located in Barmera, South Australia and covers a wide area with plenty to occupy drivers of all levels for a weekend.

There's a wide range of vehicles that people take up there and some are looking to test their extensively modified vehicles to the limit. Ours is going to be used for long trips and needs to be efficient so we had no intention of modifying it anywhere near what can be done and our driving was intentionally conservative. Notwithstanding that I thought it handled the moderate obstacles quite comfortably and I felt the vehicle (which we affectionaltely call 'The Beast') could have done a lot more if we'd have stretched it but we're more than happy with it's performance at that time.

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If you are familiar with dingy sailing then you are familiar with using a centreboard, which is needed to sail effectively upwind. In yachts, the same role is normally performed by a weighted keel however in smaller trailer yachts there is a bit of a cross over and many also have retractable swing keels or centreplates. Our Hood 23 has a weighted keel of sorts but it's a shoal draft one (essentially the weight is in the bottom of the boat). It can be sailed without the centreplate but it performs significantly better upwind if it does have one installed. When we got ours although it came with a centreplate, it was not installed so from the outset our intention was to get a basic familiarity with the boat as it was and then install the centreplate. The previous owner kindly offered to assist with the installation.

Recently I had a 7 day holiday planned and instead of going away anywhere I chose to get the boat out of the water and do some work on it, including the installation of the centreplate. We some perserverence and creativity we got there in the end but as you'll see in this video, it wasn't without quite a few challenges along the way.

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So what do you wear to you protect yourself from the elements at sea? This is actually a huge subject and this video only really just scrapes the surface. We will no doubt re-visit it down the track. However I have some ideas from other outdoor activities that I've done that I believe are relevant and want to share. More than happy to hear what works for others, particularly in relation to minimalist sailing.

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Created 3 years, 4 months ago.

62 videos

Category Travel

Join with us in our travels around Australia (and occasionally overseas) as we share the vistas we see through the pictures and video footage we take. You can also visit our other channel 'Endurance Swimmer Australia' which we upload our adventure and activity based videos to.