We have a frosty 17C watertemp on Protea Banks at the moment. That hurts....
The upside is that the water is crystal clear. Once we decend to the caves and see the Raggies , the pain is instantly gone. Although it is already late for the Raggy season, we still have 15 sharks in and around the caves and swimthrough.
Zero current has caused cold water from the deep to upwell onto the reef. There are no nutrients in this water and so all the fish have disappeared. The fishermen don't catch much and besides our Raggies all the other shark species like the Bulls, Tiger, Black Tip and Hammerheads have all gone for now.
This happens and won't last very long. Just another interesting mood of our beloved Protea Banks....
After a pretty long time we decided to dive the Northern Pinnacles of Protea Banks again today. The wind freshened up while we got ready. This usually adds a bit of stress because we don't need bad sea conditions if we have to find a cave the size of a garage in the middle of the ocean. Finding it is not the problem, rather getting everybody there safely... But today we were a small group of four and everybody dived well. As we drop in on the Northern Pinnacle we find ourselves in one of those breathtakingly beautiful situations best known on Protea Banks.
A majestic bull shark accompanies us on our way down. He is surrounded by 15-20 pilot fish ( not remoras ), clearly an excellwent provider. To us the picture of this shark with it's entourage is just perfect. Another bull shark joins the scene followed by a couple of black tips. As we get to the first cave we see 3 magnificent raggies, a fourth in the swim through. On our way up after a 15 mins bottom time we were accompanied by bulls and black tips while watching a small school of hammers swim past.
I have done 3210 dives so far and all but 500 on Protea Banks. I really have seen everything there is, yet a dive like this throws me over the line again. I feel like someone who has never seen this before and am totally and completely awed !!!
I knew it would be a good day today for diving Protea Banks. All boxes are ticked. Excellent vis yesterday. Tick. Light rain today. Tick. No wind at all. Tick. Strong current. Tick. One of the divers bails out. Tick-Tick. My sister Susi has her birthday. Tick. We really can't go wrong.
So we meet at the shop, have a relaxing sunday morning coffee and make our way to the base at Shelly Beach. We get ready, launch the boat and got to Protea Banks. The water is as blue as we can wish for. Beautiful. We put our bait ball in and bait up the area for 10 minutes. Then we enter the steel blue water and see the bottom of the ocean from top. On the bait we already see 3 zams and 3 black tips. They are circling below which means there must be a higher authority present as well...and there she is. A lovely tiger lady of about 3.5m Beaut.
She gives us 4 minutes of her day before she disappears. Then the zams and black tips take over. All in all we had 3 zams and 8 black tips and way over 1000 hammerheads passing by constantly. At some stage i swim after them and get myself nice and close to hundreds of those awesome looking creatures.
24C watertemp make it easy to spend a most memorable 80 minutes in the water. Definitely one of the top 10 dives for 2014 !!!
After a long wait of an entire weekend we finally managed to dive again since tuesday. The first couple of days were rather disappointing in terms of shark sightings. A few black tips , one or two zams and a handful of hammerheads was a lot. Since yesterday however the diving on Protea Banks is again brilliant. Visibility of 30m plus and lovely 24C water is once again fun. Karen did a Baited Dive yesterday and had 5 zams, 8 black tips and a school of hammers in the background.
Today we did two normal dives on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. We saw 5 schools of hammerheads, 2 zams, 2 black tips, 16 sandsharks and a devil ray.
Stunning conditions - happy divers.
The shop is almost finished now. But it will always be only almost.....it never ends...
Another blown out weekend. The Sou'Westerly is giving it sticks and whipping up the sea for the two days. The swells are standing at about 5m. We can see it when a passing ship takes a bow wave.
We have quite a few divers eagerly awaiting the day when they can see the amazing amount of hammerheads on Protea Banks. Hopefully tomorrow will be okay, else we might have to wait for tuesday.
In the meantime i used the free time to catch up with my Sardine Run bookings and my Mozambique Trip in March 2015. Never a dull moment.
I also added a number of new photos to the Mozambique page on my website.
The shop is coming on nicely. A few more pictures are coming tomorrow and Beulah has to put the price tags on the stock. I have a feeling she woul;d rather not sell anything so the good looks of the shop won't be disturbed.....
There is just not enough time in the day to do what needs to be done... We are busy diving Protea Banks again now and at the same time opening our shop. Work just never ends. It is a mission to find time for the internet and e-mails.
Diving at the moment is sensational. We have 25-30m vis and see 300-400 hammerheads, some zams, black tips and about 20 guitarsharks.
On the Northern Pinnacles of Protea Banks we had 8 raggies. On the way there we see whales and dolphind everywhere. Amazing !!
Our shop is also taking shape now. It is bursting full with diving equipment aqnd other precious stuff any diver and gadget enthusiast can wish for.
Outside the deck is finished and the pick nick benches should be installed by tomorrow. The best part of the shop is the signage. It is just too amazing for words. All made from our own pictures, some of it from our recent trip to Tonga, others are underwater scenes with sharks. Done classy and expensive, andt simply breathtaking......
I have neglected myEnglish side of the news report. Apologies for that. So much is happening at the moment.
There was a huge dispute between the Sharks Board and our Municipality which resulted in all the shark nets and drum lines being removed. The Sharks Board charges the municipality 7 million Rand for this ....
We were all happy and excited but the rest of the town freaked out. After all these decades of shark observation, research and statistics almost the entire world population is still completely scared of sharks... The fear of the unknown by theuninformed is prevailing and has let to protests and outcries everywhere. The beaches were closed, it was even televised. Everybody thought our impending summer season would be destroyed. No holiday maker would come to Margate if there are no shark nets. If anybody would see the nets though, they would understand immediately that this whole thing is complete nonsense. Nets and drumlines as they are cannot possibly protect a single bather or watersport enthusiast. It is all psychological. We believe what we are told.
Three days later the nets were back in the ocean...
The diving last week has been amazing. We had schools and schools of hammerheads, estimated to hundereds and even thousands on every dive. Visibility was mostly between 15 and 25m. Beautiful.
On our Baited Dives we saw the usual black tips, lots and lots of duskies, one zambezi and not long ago we had a tiger shark.