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River Freediving in Oz

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Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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Spending Easter down at the farm in the Snowy Mts usually means a dry week, but this Easter, I came prepared.

Wetsuit, Mask/Snorkel and Fins were packed and a day out at the Thredbo River was organised. The Thredbo river originates in the Thredbo valley and feeds Lake Jindabyne. The temperature is some 10-12 degrees in summer.

I parked outside the Park Entrance, thus thinking to avoid the $18 entry fee and suited up. The weird looks started then. I trudged past about 10 line fishos throwing lures and flies, eliciting comments ranging from: 'You can't dive here" to "theres no scuba diving allowed in a river". Ahhh... gotta loved the bush laywers eh?

I picked a gravel bank, well a mud pile with rocks on it, and slid into the water... eh mud. After sliding across 10m worth of mud flats I reached a deeper part of the river and decended into its murky depth until I reached the bottom. My watch showed 0.8m.. which looked about right.

Trout fingerlings (10cm long trout) were everywhere, darting up to me, then scooting off. Larger trout around the kg mark simply ignored me. A comment was heard from the river bank: "That scuba diver is scaring all the fish". "Yes you clown", I thought to myself, "thats why theres a school of 10 brown trout around me, trying to nibble my camera". About the only thing scaring the trout were the thuds of lures hitting the water...

After 1.5 hrs of swimming up and down the river section, reaching the mind boggling depth of 2m, and having lost all feeling in my fingers I got out and went to my car to change. A fisheries 4WD arrived, looking for the spearo terrorising the poor line fishos. But they took one look at me playing with my camera and left again. Oh well...

On the way out I noticed a sign that stated that I had to pay the park entry fee even to park outside the park entry. NPWS is losing touch with reality of they think anyone will pay $18 to park somewhere for 2hrs...

Below is a pic of Brown Trout sitting in a snag near a weed bank. It ambushed several water beetles that came too close. It took off when I tried to get a close up of its eye and accidentally bumped it.

A good days diving, but next time I'd take a thicker suit. brrr *insert smiley for frozen solid*

Anyone have any ideas on how to avoid the problems associated with the poor viz in the rivers? I had to shoot with long exposure and high aperture to get decent pics. But a lot ended up wobbly due the length of the exposure...:hmm
 

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
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Good grief. Those stupid German Browns get around. We have em here too (in inland streams and the Great Lakes). I don't much care for the buggers because they compete with our native (more colorful / more delicious) brook trout.

Very nice shot, btw, shadow. Considering you are in a river!!! Most cold-water systems in the states are not diver-friendly. They are either too shallow, or too swift.

Brook Trout:
 
Last edited:

loopy

Deeper Blue Hypoxyphiliac
Oct 24, 2002
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Hey Sash - nice pic! I'm suitably impressed - what cam/housing combo was it? Your 5050?

Great pic!
 

Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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Originally posted by loopy
Hey Sash - nice pic! I'm suitably impressed - what cam/housing combo was it? Your 5050?
Of course, as I am now poor, I can't afford new gear, so my 5050 has to put the bread on the table.

Keep an eye out on the next issue of UWP mag!

For those who dont know it:

www.uwpmag.com

Its got a lot of good stuff for beginners and will hopefully have an article on freedive photography in the next issue. :)
 
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