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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