Coffs Harbour Report: February 2010 by Mark Kallman

Weather gods

We continue to experience some of the most bizarre weather that anyone can remember. Southerly busters followed by howling northerlies with no break in between. This makes for some very frustrating conditions indeed. There have been some opportunities to get out and get some diving in but the conditions have been very trying indeed. as I sit writing this, we are looking into the teeth of a category 5 Cyclone! That should really srew up the diving if it makes it anywhere near the middle of the Queensland coast. Oh well when one looks at what the guys in good old RSA are facing, the weather is the least of our concerns.

Club events

In February, the club honoured members who had performed exceptionally in 2009. Michael Featherstone was crowned club champion. Perhaps the acknowledgement of the divers threw down the challenge to all the other divers and we have seen a spate of entries into our Best-of-the-Best competition. I was lucky enough to land the biggest Samsonfish this year, with a fish of 16.9kg. In addition to this one of the more experienced divers (read older) has presented the biggest mangrove jack, kingfish (Cape yellowtail) amd gold-spot wrasse. Then to add insult to injury he also added an 8.5kg Bluebar parrot to his tally. Geoff has a cobia on board with Kurt presented a fine Snapper. One of the new club members landed his first couta ever and placed solidly in the competition with a 27kg fish. There are some massive fish around with kingfish and cobia of over 30kg, so the opportunity to improve on what has been presented already is definitely there.

Coral Sea

My brother came over to visit and we made a pilgrimage up to the Great Barrier Reef. We had a fantastic time and I think all the divers took some spectacular fish. I think I must have landed about 16 new species including some barramundi which are an iconic species up in northern Queensland. We encountered schools of GT's in the 50+kg class. Real tackle busters but since there were much better fish to land, these fish went off untouched. We had a few shark incidents and one involving a feisty 3m tiger got the wind up a few of the divers and made for some very funny stories afterwards. It is amazing to lie on the surface and look into clear water and see anywhere in the region of 10 or 12 different species of good fish. The diving is remarkable and I hope to head up there again soon. I have included a short story of the trip too.

2010 Bluewater Freediving Classic

All of my attention and effort is being directed toward this year's Classic. We have a massive quantity of prizes and it looks as though we are going to get a huge group of divers attending the Classic this year. Our only hope at this stage is that we get good conditions for the Classic. Lots of Kingfish are being landed in addition to couta. Divers who are heading out to the FADs are finding numbers of Dorado too. There are schools of smaller pelagics around but eveyone seems to be concentrating on the larger fish for the moment. Wahoo have been few and far between but now that the warmer cleaner water is here that may change.