We made it again, the BOOT Expo in Duesseldorf is done. Like every year it was a full on success. Lots and lots of friends and aquaintances came to visit, lots of interest in Protea Banks and Sardine Run. Excellent platform to promote our business. Some of our loyal divers came a long way just to see us. What an honour it is...
As for the last five years - we will be back
The Day after
You have to picture this : The vehicle i spend most time on at home is probably my boat. The waterways are huge, no traffic and simple operation.
So, here in this crazy city i had to hire a car to get all the stand materials, luggage and shopping back to my parent's place in the south of Germany. So my brother rents me a monster car ( Opel Zafyra ) which can barely hold all our belongings,
I pick up this car on sunday and am clueless how to get back to the Fair ground. This car is huge, i have no idea how it works and don't know why it peeps all the time. Eventually i get the thing off the extra narrow ramp onto the road. I am stressed by now due to the damn peeping sounds , gear lever on the wrong side and so on. "Just stay on the right side of the road" i was told. " Its easy "
Off i drive, feel a bit like Mr. Bean - only in a bigger car - and at the first crossing i do a wide right turn. Oh damn !!! Every hooter in Duesseldorf went wild.
Lucky i can pull the car back into my lane and continue. But hell, i am shaking worse than when we have a bad launch with the boat.
Wrong side, strange place, strange car, lots of traffic, trams and pedestrians among , really bad weather, no directions....it was pure hell.
Eventually i get back to the Fair, don't know how.
Monday we are on our way south. Travelling was terrible due to terrible weather. Mostly rain, sometimes snow. Visibility bad. Still this car goes like hell.
The only funny thing here is the weather. Every now and then there was a flash but we never heard the thunder.........
The Expo in Germany is going very well. The day has a routine now and it feels just like a job. We get up in the morning - it is still pitch dark - and go for breakfast. By 8h00 we take the tram to the fair grounds. By 9am we are at the stand, do our mails and quotes and wait for 10am when the doors open to the public. People come and go all day which makes the time to go fast. I am on stage every now and then and the TV crew did an interview as well. Lunchtime we have our obligatory Bratwurst and a couplke of Alt beers. Afternoon passes in a flash and by 18h00m the day concludes. We look for a cute restaurant where we mostly eat Wurst and drink lost of Alt beers until Beulah complains.
Then we go home to our hotel, fall asleep immediately and dream of unnecessary equipment without which life can hardly continue for much longer.....
Yeah, we made it to Duesseldorf. I had one of my claustrophobic panic attacks on the plane but all passengers survived.
When we finally arrived after what seemed like tho longest flight ever done by humans we stumbled straight into the airport pub where we always start life in Germany.
Two days of chilling followed and yesterday the show started. And it did so with a bang. People wherever one looks. We hardly had a minute to breath. This is what we are here for. Lots and lots of interest in South Africa, particularly Protea Banks and Sardine Run.
If half of all the people who inquired yesterday come, the show was already worth it for us. And still 8 days to go...
Today i have to make an appearance on the stage. I am alrready dizzzy just thinking about it. Not the greatest public speaker, very shy, me !!!
My dad, 85 is complaining that i have not written a news report for so long. Life was not easy lately, but now i am sitting in the aeroplane to Dubai with plenty of time on my hands. It is 00:35 South African time and for 1 US $ i can get 500MB during the flight. Cool.
So the diving on Protea Banks turned pretty lousy just in time for a good break when business got quiet for a few days. Last saturday we went out to the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks where we saw way over 1000 hammerheads. Absolutely brilliant.
Then came the time to do last minute preparations for the German Show. Not easy when everybody is closed for summer holidays.
The biggest head spinner was the handover of the business to Karen and the staff. Karen looks after our business everytime we go away and knows the story well. But this time she too is going to Europe at the end of the month. And we will only be back on 9.2. Bit of a headache. But no matter how much one worries, sooner or later one has to let go. So today was packing time and we were on our way, finally. Or so we thought.....
A few months ago when we booked our flights we were told that we would fly on 12.1. Later we were told that because the regular flight was full they would put another plane into the air just after midnight. No problem for us. We knew we were on the flight and that was all that mattered
So what could go wrong ???
After running around like a headless chicken today it was time to cool down and get ready to leave. When i packed my camera i also took the print outs of our e tickets with me. It was hot as hell today but i suddenly froze.....
I looked at the print out and saw that our flight was leaving at 00:35 on 12.1.
If i remember what i learnt at school properly that meant that our flight was gone last night... Now we get into action. Good thing that men are so capable, so strong, so efficient. I phoned Beulah about ten times .,she was chilling at the panel beaters (otherwise known as Beautician ) Then i phoned the travel agent about ten times.
What are we going to do ??? Eish, what a mess. And the next flight was full too.
Omg. Disaster. The rental car is booked, the hotel in Dubai is booked and what about the Show which starts on Saturday ??? Jeez, what a mess.
But in the end we are sitting on the regular flight out of Durban..what can i say !!!
Men created aeroplanes, men run countries and win wars. Men organise and fix things....
We made it into the new year in one piece. New Year's day we took off and yesterday we started to dive Protea Banks again. The conditions are not the same as on New Year's Eve. North-Easterly winds brought cold and dirty water from the deep. Now we have the top half reasonably clean and warm with 24C and the bottom half pretty dirty and cold with 20C. Visibility is between 10 and 15m
We still saw plenty of hammerheads on both days, plus some bullsharks and black tips.
Yesterday we had a highlight of a different kind. As we drift around in murky water Michi suddenly gets all excited seeminly about a piece of seagrass. Me and his mate Philipp got worried about his state of mind when we realised that he is looking at a really rare occurance. A seahorse, all of 2cm in size. Who would have thought one meets a seahorse on Protea Banks !!!