I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
Some views of my journal do not allow back-dating of posts. This entry should be dated 2005-10-07.
Day 3 4 Yongala; Magnetic Island
Woke at around 5:45am in order to make a 6:00am dive on the Yongala wreck. The Yongala is a ship that was tragically lost in bad weather near Townsville in 1911, with no survivors. Sitting in 28 metres of water, the wreck now forms an artificial reef, with an incredible number of species living on and around the debris.
The dive was indeed something special. Unlike many wrecks, the Yongala is incredibly well-preserved, and is easily identified as a very large ship. Masts, cargo holds, portholes, dining rooms, and other areas are easily visible. But one of the biggest attractions are the wildlife. On our first dive I was investigated by a bull-nose ray. We saw giant maori wrasse that were easily 150cm long. Friendly (and incredibly venomous) olive sea snakes lived about the wreck, and a large shovel-nosed ray passed us by with curiosity. There were more huge pelagic fish in and around the wreck than I could possibly look at.
After our first dive we had a modest surface interval before our second. Due to the depth and time of our first expedition, our second was limited primarily to the upper parts of the wreck. I would have loved a longer surface interval and a deeper dive, but unfortunately time constraints (and the very modest speed of the boat) did not allow this.
Having said that, the boat (the Sea-ester) overall was good, and the crew (from Pro-Dive Townsville) and food were excellent. I think that us vegetarians ate better than the rest of the passengers, and our two crew members with degrees in Marine Biology seemed to never tire of me asking them to help identify fish and other wildlife we had photographed.
Upon returning to land in the afternoon we caught a ferry across to Magnetic Island. Magnetic is a large island, with many permanent residents, shops, supermarkets, and other facilities one would expect in a moderately sized town. That's good, because it means we don't have to put up with the typical island-monolopy prices.
Unfortunately, it appears that Magnetic Island still thinks that "Internet" means "Web", which means that it's impossible to plug in a laptop anywhere; not unless you happen to carry around cable-cutters, a crimping tool, a long extension cord, and a small switch on your journies. That's a bit of a bummer when you need to send off some files to international clients, or want to catch up on e-mail securely.
We've spent some time in the island's bays snorkling, and found it disappointing. Perhaps we're going at the wrong times, but the visibility has been awful, at only 12 metres at most. I'm sure it gets better than that, as I keep hearing lots of good stories about how good the snorkling can be.
This afternoon we're going to be heading out on some walks through the rainforest, and enjoying some of the island's quite striking geography. Our plans for tomorrow include catching the ferry back to Townsville in the evening for a nice meal, more acceptable network connections, and an easier trip back to the airport for our flights.