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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

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.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Saturday January 13, 2007
08:00 AM

Away Diving -- Days 0-1

[ #32134 ]

Away diving - Day 0
Today (Tuesday 2nd January) we left for our big dive trip, and discovered that sometimes just getting places can be a little too exciting. It started with a late taxi (that's fine, we plan for such things), a huge queue at the airport (still okay...), our airline telling us that they'd overbooked the flight(!), and a free upgrade to Business Class for Jacinta. So far, so good.

Where things started to get exciting is that our flight to Brisbane was running late, and it connects with a second flight to Bundaberg where our boat leaves. At this time we discovered two notable facts: 1) even though we're booked for a connecting flight, there's no guarantee it will actually connect; and 2) the flight we're trying to connect with is the last one for that day.

Since our dive boat would be departing that evening, and would not return until a week later, we were rather concerned that our holiday wouldn't even start! Important lesson learned: when booking connecting flights, make sure you're not connecting to the last one.

After some worried phone-calls and significant time spent ingratiating myself with as many flight staff as possible, we were informed that the plane would be held for us, and we could all breathe easy. So we got to the boat with plenty of time to spare (the last flight still arrived many hours before the boat departed).

On the boat, we were told that the trip to our first dive site overnight would be rough, and indeed it was! I was prepared with sea-sickness medication, and was surprised that it did nothing whatsoever to help. I spent most of the early hours of the morning "feeding the fishes", as the local saying goes. Important lesson learned: bring really strong sea-sickness medication for the first night. Luckily, I've had not even a hint of sea-sickness since then.

Day 1
We had five dives today, from early-morning to night. We've seen some pretty cool things, the most notable being a huge olive sea-snake searching for food, and about four turtles that were bigger than me (as well as many smaller ones).

The down-point of today was that our back-up torches flooded during the night-dive, and are certainly not in any condition to be taken underwater again. Instead of them failing in the obvious way (a bad o-ring seal), they failed at the switches, which are not even mentioned in the maintenance manual.

The real failure with our torches was our own; as every good sys-admin knows, you should always test your back-ups. Dropping our secondary lights in a bucket of fresh water would likely have revealed bubbles, and alerted us to a problem with minimal damage to electronics. Important lesson learned: even when you're on holidays, you're still a sys-admin.

The high-point was seeing a beautiful olive sea snake, a thick as my leg, and twice as long! It was extremely active, searching for food in all the coral nooks and crannies. It also seemed to be completely unworried to have a couple of divers watching it. Unfortunately our camera batteries were flat, so no photographs.

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