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The following is less about me, more about my experiences with the ocean. It makes a much more relevant (and interesting) story.

When I was fourteen I spent part of my summer vacation at a place called Port Arlington, Near Queenscliff, situated on the lower Western arm of Port Phillip Bay. Snorkelling for me up to that time had consisted of desolate sandy bottoms and salt water up my nose, but this time was different. There was actually something to look at.
As I floated back and forth a few metres above an intricate kelp garden inhabited by a school of baby toadfish, I knew I was hooked.
The ocean was suddenly a new frontier, a dangerous unexplored wilderness where anything could happen. I read books by Ben Cropp and the like, and soon my head was swimming with visions of gold laden sunken wrecks and giant man eating squid.
It was clear to me that only a foolhardy madman would enter the sea unprotected, so when I returned to Port Arlington in April I proudly sported a handmade spear, which consisted of a broomstick, 4 nails and a box of thick red rubber bands, all neatly tied together. This would, I reasoned, both keep me safe from the unknown monsters of the deep and enable me to snare the odd 100-pound kingfish that happened my way.

The small schools of zebra fish and old wives were quite safe that Easter. Infact the only life threatened was my own, when an old wooden water ski I was using to get to a far out reef decided to sink!

At sixteen my friends, brothers and I were spearfishing around the wreck of the Cerberus, near Sandringham, on the mid Eastern side of Port Phillip Bay. The Cerberus was an old WWI warship that was scuttled in 3 metres of water off a beach called Black Rock. Because it was only partially submerged, it was possible to dive through portholes into the ship and swim around the spooky dimy lit holds.

I caught my first fish, a whopping 5 kg 'butterfish' or Dusky Morwong, on the reef a few hundred metres past the old wreck.We were keen in those days. The get into the water involved an hour and a half train ride from where I lived in Nunawading, followed by a two kilometre walk (carrying wetsuits, weightbelts, fins etc..!). At least we had no problems getting a seat on the train, what with carrying our spearguns and all.Shortly after my eighteenth birthday I did an open water scuba diving course, and earned my certifcate. Scuba diving in Melbourne centers mostly around the Heads at the bottom of Port Phillip Bay. Most of my diving took off from Portsea Pier. From this one place you could dive old shipwrecks, submarines, caves, and underwater cliffs. I had many great dives in this area, and continue to return every year.

Six months later my friend Boe and I embarked on an epic voyage up the East coast of Australia in his old Valiant One of the first places we stopped at was Green Cape, right on the NSW border. I remember checking out one the bays from a lookout and being moved by its isolation and wildness, wanting to be a part of it somehow, but not knowing how to accomplish that then.
Other places I remember from that trip are Byron Bay (with mountain goats), Mission Beach , and particulary Magnetic Island, off Townsville, where I spent a couple of months soaking up the sun.
When I returned to Melbourne I found it hard to find work, what with the recession and all, so scuba diving was out. My friends started spearfishing again, at a rough and ready place called Pyrimad Rock, halfway along Phillip Island. The place was so wild that we could only ever dive on the East side, as a near consistent 4 metre swell smashed into the West side. One time we made it right around, though it was a near thing for Boe.
I found it hard to get back into spear fishing. When you scuba dive, the fish tend to treat you as an equal, and I found it hard to slaughter them just for a dubious meal of fish and chips. My friends found this attitude hard to accept, and argued that a white pointer shark would not think twice about eating me, and as the waters around Phillip Island were crawling with sharks, the fish were actually much safer than I was. Although this cheered me up a little bit, my heart wasn't really into mindless slaughter anymore. So I concentrated on Abalone hunting.

 

Around 1992, shortly after I turned 21, my friends and I got interested in surfing. Work was still hard to find in Melbourne, so we ended up spending a lot of our time out on the waves. We learned the basics at Smith's beach on Phillip Island, then moved on to breaks such as Woolamai, Sutherland and Cat's Bay. On the West side we surfed Torquay, Jun Juc and Bells.

 
I got interested in scuba diving again when I picked up a second hand underwater camera. I started taking my diving gear on surfing trips, and managed to get in a few dives. My underwater photography effort was not fantastic, but I enjoyed it just the same. To finish off the film I started taking pictures of the beach. Soon I had quite a collection.
One of the main disadvantages to living in Melbourne is the long drive to get to a respectable beach. There was nothing worse than driving an hour and a half only to check out flat seas or wind blown slop. In December 1993 my friend Boe and I spent a weeks holiday in Sydney on Bondi Beach, where we had an amazing time (until I broke my board on a huge wave!)
Being able to walk to the surf from where we were staying was a different experience for us, and one we thought we could adjust to. The following winter we packed up Boe's HQ station wagon and moved to Sydney for good.
We lived in the Bondi Hotel for six months, with a great view of the surf. Soon we were working afternoon shifts, which left our days free for surfing. We surfed Bronte, Dee Why, Long Reef, Tamarama, Whale and Palm Beach. On the weekends, we travelled up the coast to Avoca, Forrester's, Terrigal, Norah Head and Newcastle or down the coast to Kiama. Our favourite trip away was to a beach called Crescent Head, just North of Port Macquarie. On a good day, the waves at that place run 200 metres. We always camped in the Caravan Park within walking distance of both the beach and the pub.
I started diving again, at Frog Dive in Maroubra (now SDA in Matraville). I dived Bare Island, Shark Point (near Clovelly Pool), North and South Bondi and Camp Cove. I became interested in wreck diving and did a deep diving course. Interestingly, one day on the way to dive a deep wreck, the Tuggerah in 50 metres of water, we came across an overturned speedboat. The young crew had already struggled to shore so there was not much left for us to do, other than notify the Coast Guard. They turned up and with our aid attempted to tow the wreck away from the rocks, where it promptly sunk. We went and dived on our deep wreck, then returned to do a dive on this new wreck!
On a dive trip to Eden in 1998, while admiring the local scenery, it occurred to me to start photographing the various beaches I visited, as by this time there had been a few. The following September I bought my first 'good' camera, a Pentax MZ-50, which I got duty free on a trip to the Solomon Islands. I was impressed by the quality a good SLR can produce and vowed that from then on, every time I visited an interesting beach I would take some photos.
I didn't have to wait long. That Christmas my girlfriend Meliana and I drove to Kangaroo Island, off Adelaide, via the Great Ocean Road, a 3000 kilometre trip. A few months later I bought a scanner, and my first webpage, which I called Beach Wallpaper was born. It averaged 100 hits per week. I was amazed that that many people were interested in my photos! (These days I average 3000 hits a week and with close to half a million picture downloads I'm even more amazed!
November 1999 I visited Norfolk Island where I had a fantastic time diving and photographing. This was the last time I used print film. These are the oldest photos on my site.
January 2000 I started using slide film and was extremely happy with the result. I have yet to buy a slide scanner, so I get my slides done when they are developed, and although the scans are sometimes a bit dodgy, the overall result is much better than photo scans. )
The only photo on my site from this time is the one of Bondi Cliff. It was also around this time that I renamed my site Beachtrek. I did this mainly because www.beachwallpaper.com was already taken.
April 2000 my girlfriend and I took the sleeper train up to Brisbane. I got some great shots of Noosa National Park, and she took a beautiful sunset shot from our hotel room.
May 2000 we stayed on the Central Coast where I took some pictures including a great shot of Terrigal Haven, this is one of my most downloaded pictures.
June 2000 I visited Melbourne for my father's 60th birthday. My brother Paul, a pilot, and I flew over the remote area of Wilson's Prom, the southern most tip of the Australian Mainland. This was my first attempt at aerial photography.
During the Olympics in Sydney, we had fantastic weather. I took a couple of weeks off work and spent a few days walking around photographing the beaches.
For my 30th birthday, my girlfriend Meliana gave me a Kodak digital camera (dc-290). After a family party in Melbourne, my brother Paul, his girlfriend Larissa and I drove up the coast to Sydney from Phillip Island. All the pictures I took on that trip were digital. I was also able to update my webpage each day by using a laptop computer. After Phillip Island, we drove along the coast to Mallacoota, then to Merimbula, where we hired a plane and flew out over Green Cape and Cape Howe. Although the weather turned bad, the pictures were acceptable.

 

Close to the end of our trip, we stopped at Pebbly Beach, just out of Bateman's Bay. Here I took one of my all time favourite shots, that of a Kangaroo playing in the surf. I like taking wildlife pictures, but it is a large field, and not my main passion. It helps though, if the wildlife takes a dip in the beach!
 
March 2001 I finally dragged myself out of bed for a sunrise shoot. I also got a new camera, a Nikon F90, as a gift from my boss. I loaded it with Fuji Velvia and got some fair shots, for my first attempt.
April 2001 I was lucky enough to visit Maylasia. I drove around the Island of Langkawi, then visited the Island of Palau Payar, where I took a great shot of a baby shark swimming close to the shore.

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