jeudi 4 décembre 2008

Royal National Park

Hey mates ! I didn't posted new messages for a couple of weeks sorry about that. I was actually making a lot of canyoning and surfing and I had notting really new to say..

However last sunday was awsome, we spend the day at the Royal national park in the south of sydney with some brazilian friends. Fouwtchebowl !

The plan was to go surf at Garie beach which is in fact a small piece of paradise with such nice waves... I'm a beginner so I couldn't take much profit out of this but it was lot of fun for sure.

Garie Beach

Surfin' :)

After that a BBQ was the perfect thing to do. And Brazilians know to make it right. Caipirinha & Chicken hearts. This reminds me my mate Dédé telling me back in Switzerland that the Brazilian people are always eating chicken hearts.. and here apparently it is mostly used for dog food so it's really cheap in comparison to Brazil !

I can add another bird in my list: the Kookaburra. It makes such a silly noise, in particular when you are camping in the middle of nowhere in the early morning ! If you're curious about that check it there

A Kookaburra

Finaly, to digest, we jumped some nice cliffs near the sea. In fact is a kind of like where the sea water comes during the high tide, very nice and the water is hotter than the sea..

dimanche 2 novembre 2008

Gaping Gill Canyon @ Blue mountains

Hey Mates ! Another week-end at the blue mountains... after bushwalking and climbing I wanted to try a bit of canyoning, again with the outdoor sports club ! We went for the Gapin Gill canyon. Nobody have already done it in the group and actually it was not much of a canyon: few water, wide, 2 abseils ! However it was nice, good fun and definitely a good day !

The vegetation was different from the kanangra area, probably because there is more humidity on these steep parts. The first abseil :

The second abseil, very nice:

After the canyon, a bit of hiking along the gorges:

And I can add animal to my list. The yummie (or something like that) which is a kind of freshwater lobster:

jeudi 30 octobre 2008

Diving @ Nelson Bay

Hey mates ! I didn't write since a while. The last three week-ends I was doing essentially only diving. I've got the open water license now and I went last week-end to a diving week-end organised by the university underwater club. It was at Nelson bay which is about 3 hours north from Sydney.

Nice weather, perfect house, nice people, good diving, what else can I say !?

The diving was not perfect because the visibility was low. However we saw a lot of fish, rays, and other. We even saw two small fish doing fights for territory... amazing ! Matt started to call me Jack (from Jacques Cousteau !) because of my very old school wet suit (+30 yr, from my father) was very fashion mwouahaahaha !

As the visibility was not at best we used the club's boat to travel from beach to beach with our organiser/captain Matt.

The bay is well know for dolphins watch. We saw them but they wasn't following our boat:

Paradise beach with a good pick-nick and a cold beer...

Very lazy pelicans waiting for the fishermans all day...

And finally we saw some whales from the coast.... very nice jumps ! One more great week-end !

mardi 14 octobre 2008

Diving @ Bare Island

Hey everyone ! Thanks for your comments, it is my primary "source of energy" to continue the blog !

After bushwalking and climbing in the blue mountains, the temperature went a bit warmer, it was time to buy a surf and to think about diving... Mission accomplished !

I surfed two times only but already catched a wave... I know I gonna like this !

Some of you will probably think about shark attaks. Half of the world sharks are in australian waters. However it is really unlikely to be attacked, just look at the total number of attacks between 1980-1990 (source australian museum, sydney) :


Total Deaths


Crocodile Attacks



Shark Attacks



Lightning Strikes



Bee Stings



Scuba Diving Accidents






Motor Vehicle Accidents



And over the last 200 year, in new south wales, the state of sydney (source taronga zoo) :


Total Attacks

Fatal AttacksLast Fatal Attack
NSW 256 73 2008 Ballina, Lighthouse Beach

Finaly we have an average of 1.28 attack per year, about 30% are deadly, and diving is more dangerous ! Humans are not shark's prey.

However last week-end I decided to do an ISS diving certification. This consists on 1 day in a pool learning to put out the water of the masks, using equipment, ... and 4 dives in the ocean. So far I've done the pool and two dives. During the first one we repeated the exercise and the second was for leisure already. The diving site is about 10 min by bicycle from my home and it appears that it is a really good spot to snorkel as well ! We saw a lot of fishes, a eel, a groper (also called "bluey"), a sea dragon... I didn't expected to see the later it it was a wonderful surprise.. look at the photos you will understand why ! The photos are not from me, a camera housing is quite expensive.

A bluey

a leafy sea dragon

The diving spot.. somewhere straight away is where captain Cook landed for the first time in Australia. Now the bay is a big industrial harbour and the international airport, but still some parts are beautiful ! It is very amazing to live in such a big city and have so nice shore sand sand beaches...

vendredi 3 octobre 2008


After the bush walking weekend which was a very nice introduction to the blue mountains, a climbing was plan with the outdoor sports club in the same area. As usual the evenings were spent on eating and drinking beers around a fire, but this time, thanks to Lars, it was self brewed beer, really interesting way of making good beer and cheap actually !

The first day we climbed in a very nice area with a small river and some good sand rock. Sand rock is quite abrasive and it reminds me some kind of granitic rock. however it is formed by deposition and you can easily see the stratum:

At the evening a really nice sunset. The colours were amazing, quite different from Switzerland...

On sunday I got a really good surprise. The plan was to do a multi-pitch classical route of the blue mountains, which is called Sweet Dreams. The cliff is c.a. 120 m high and the view from there was amazing. Exactly the kind of climb I wanted to do ! At the beginning of the route :

The next photo was taken from the third belay... really nice cliff !

Our experienced climber, Matt:

One pitch was in a trad. style so he has to carry a set of cams. & hex.. For the climbers there is something interesting about australia: some bolt plates are used and if you want to do some outdoor climbing you need to carry some... It happens that by cleaning the last pitch I lost most of our bolt plates... Ouuuuuuuuuh ! I was really tired at this moment, it was harder and I carried a big backpack... whatever.

Finally a photo of the cross in the middle of the cliff:

This was a very nice and aerial moment !

UNSW & Work

Sydney was the perfect place to do my master thesis. I wanted to improve my English, go far from Switzerland, and work in the field of solar cells. This is exactly what I am doing and I have no regret ! I work at the UNSW (University of new South Wales) which is located at the south of Sydney's CBD (Centre Business District). In the next photo you can see de campus, and the centre of photovoltaic and renewable energy engineering is on the right:

My office is located in the building next to it, I share a big room with other students of the same status. Marcelo from Brazil, Michael from china, Ute from Germany, Omi from Iran...A very serious bunch of people !

And just to prove that I'm working:

For people that are interested I work on third generation photovoltaics, which is more or less development of new concepts to improve solar cell's efficiency.

The campus is little more bigger than in Lausanne (if you don't take into account the Uni of Lausanne). There are a lot of Chinese people who come to study here. It's a bit hard for me to retain all the name (I never heard the majority of them before) but i guess it will be easier with the time...
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mardi 23 septembre 2008


The first thing I've done once I had my student status is to subscribe at the outdoor sports club of the University. You know that I like mountains and all outdoor activites ! So I went to the blue mountains with two nice people of this club,Steve and Su Li. That was definitly a good introduction to this area. The plan was to go a bit off-track along some ridges to a river, follow this river, camp there and return to the start place along another ridge.

We knew that we should cross the river few times, but at the end there was more water than expected. It means that we had to cross the river several times, to walk on dense vegetation areas during few hours. It was impossible to cross everywhere so we had to guess which side of the river would be better... The dense vegetation made our progression quite slow and I had the feeling that I'll become a part of the forest... we saw some nice black snakes near the river. It was more like an adventure than a standard hike !

The blue mountains are mainly covered of gum trees (eucalyptus), bushes, pines, and the area is really huge and isolated. In comparison to Switzerland, we saw nobody during two days and it is rare to have mobile phone network. By walking on the bushes, the gum tress, and the vegetation near the river I had different feeling and memory of Canada, Pyrénées, Indiana jones, and Into the wild ! Why are the blue mountains called so ? Just have a look on the next picture:

I don't wan't to get into details but with some distance a scattering of UV light effect give this grey/blue colour.

I saw there my first Wallaby, which is a kind of small Kangaroo:

There is many different specis of Kangaroos (eastern, western, red-Kangaroo) & Wallabies (agile, red-necked, rock-wallaby...). the rock-wallaby is kind of equivalent to our mountain goat I guess !

During the drive we also saw some wombats. It's quite a stupid animal, smaller than a pig. You can see some dead wombat near the road because they are walking quite slowly and seems not to be afraid of cars ! I don't know if they even run but when I saw one on the forest he was just walking out of my direction...

Finally we saw a possum crossing the road, a kind of small cat/rat, which tends to eat quickly your food when you don't keep an eye on it.

If you are still reading you may want to check this photo album.

lundi 22 septembre 2008

Hey Mate !

Hey mate ! How are you doing ? Welcome to my blog.

I finally decided to use a blog to give news about my stay in Sydney... It will be mostly in English and I will try to feed it with the relevant facts, photos of my trips & activities.

Let's start with the beginning: the plane. About 26 hours reading Bill Bryson, try to find a good movie and waiting for the next dinner, breakfast or whatever... I left Geneva on September 2 and arrived in sydney early on september 4.

Although the weather was not was I expected, I was really happy to be in Sydney, new town, new people to meet, new things to discover... new Outdoor activities ! My hostel was directly on Coogee beach, on the east of sydney :

I guess the hostel was not the best, but what a pleasure to see the beach from the balcony on a early morning... Just what you need when you spend days looking at internet ads to find an accomodation. That was certainly not a really good time... I visited some flats with two bunk beds on the living room and some rooms with a double bed to be shared with someone else. Accomodation are really expensive in Sydney, a bit like in London: you have to pay your rent weekly.

However during this time I also bought a mountain bike to explore the city and to look for rooms in a more efficient manner. Doing Bike in Sydney CDB is a bit dangerous for bike newbies, but then it is really funny I think. Not much people are riding bike and the danger is to get catch by someone opening the door without looking.

There is a lot of beach on the city coast. The university is on the south part, were you can find the well known Bondi Beach, Bronte beach (where I took the picture below), Coogee beach and finally Maroubra beach, where I live more or less, but that's another story.