All is going well at African Dive Adventures. We are really busy and don't stop.
The weater has been good for diving, the visibility always between 20m and 30m and sharks everywhere. It reallyis epic diving on Protea Banks this time of the year.
Our watertemp is lovely warm at 26C top half and fresh with 21C bottom half.
We see pretty much the whole spectrum of the summer sharks. Tigers comeand go, bulls are there in healthy numbers, black tips are always around, guitar sharks sporadic and even hammerheads are still seen on Protea Bank. In fact we see more Great Hammerheads than scalopped hammerhead sharks. Whenever we dive the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we meet our one and only Raggie who should not be here at this time of the year. Another four - five weeks before all the Sandtiger Sharks are due to arrive on Protea Banks.
Next week the famous Shark Expert Erich Ritter arrives with a group of 14 divers. We are looking forward to this privilege of hosting him. Erich is the scientist who was bitten in the leg by a bull shark in the Bahamas many years ago. He won't need to fear the bull sharks in South Africa. They are harmless and friendly...!!!
I really hope we have a bit of time to listen to his course and learn about sharks. Nobody knows more than Erich Ritter about these amazing predators.
Somebody had this stupid idea.....Our little shop is cute and sweet and barely five months old. Just a few more shelves, they said. Just a few more hooks for the caps... Today is day three in major building operations at the shop. And no end in sight .....i am sitting here and breathe dust and hear noise. Great !!!
In the meantime Protea Banks rocks. Yesterday, they had 4 (yes, FOUR ) Tiger sharks on the Baited Dive. Plus 6 Zams and 6 Black Tips. Unbelievable.
The people who witnessed this epic dive just have a permanent smirk on their face.
On the normal dive they saw Hammerheads and Guitarsharks. 25m visibility, 24C watertemp. And today it just carries on....
Right now it rains cats and dogs. A welcome change to the eternal sun....
We are exhausted but life must go on. Today most of our Mozambique Trip divers are departing. Actually we would love a break but new divers have already arrived.
We do a Baited Dive and get the two tigers again. Only one stays behind but it is the fearless lady.
Old JP has come for two days to visit and got roped in to do the dive. He got what he came for !!! Had to up close and personal with the striped lady...
As for the new arrivals...they landed on top of the world on the check dive !!!
14.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Last day today. We start with a baited dive. Unfortunately the tiger did not come.
But we see 4 zambezis and 2 black tips. two of the zams are really playful and give us a lot of entertainment.
As the last dive of our Mozambique Trip we choose the Northern Pinnacles of Protea Banks again. We want to look for shark teeth.
So we plan an 18 minute bottom time and a deco time of about 10 mins. This is a dive for people who know how to dive. We love this stuff...
And this completes the Mozambique Trip 2015.
We had an amazing time this year. Diving in Mozambque as well as on Protea Banks was absolutely out of this world. Simply brilliant.
The weather was excellent and kept our mood always on top. The land and the people in the three counties visited were sensational. We truly experienced the best of three countries. Tropical climate and diving in Mozambique, land animals in the bush of Swaziland and 6 species of sharks in South Africa. How can this ever be forgotten ???
We had the nicest people with us from three magic countries, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. 11 cool and relaxed people who were game for anything the trip and mother nature offered. What an amazing crowd !!!
Farewell is heartsore but we will see each other again next year for more Protea Banks and Sardine Run.
13.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Today we want to take a shot at the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. The caves is always a great dive. We have hardly any current left and with the lack of current the vis has gone down to 10m. No better place to dive than the caves.
Everybody loves the dive. We even see a sand tiger which is totally unusual for this time of the year. 2 zambezis and 2 black tips join in the shark count.
Second dive Playground. Although we did not get to the perfect spot on this reef we still ended up with 5 zambezis and a whole bunch of happy divers.
12.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Only one dive today with two boats. The wind is picking up and we have to beg the harbour master to let us go.
The visibility is still a happy 25m, but the wind is whipping up the sea quite a bit.
Our boat goes to Protea Banks Southern Pinnacle, the other boat baits.
We have a nice and easy dive with 7 zambezis and 1 guitarshark.
The baiting group has 2 tigers today. Absolutely amazing. They are screaming when they arrive back on the beach.
I am happy of course because now all divers at African Dive Adventures have had the most unforgettable encounters with tiger sharks. This is the reason for all to be here. Protea Banks has delivered.
11.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Today is the day we were all waiting for. Absolutely unbelievable !!!
We call it one of the top 10 days of 2015 and the crown on the Mozambique Trip.
Visibility 30m, current 3.5kn. To give an idea, in 90 minutes we do 10.5km !!!
Watertemp is a lovely 26C. First dive is a Baited Dive.
It all starts really slow with one then two black tips. Later one then two bull sharks. Those didn't want to play. it was a mission. Just as i am about to despair, we spot the tiger shark in the distance. Okay, i am thinking, at least we all saw a tiger.
But yes, and how did we see the tiger !!! It came towards us and did not stop. This animal is not afraid. It comes within centimetres of divers time and time again. Matthias even gets the opportunity to push him off...
By now we are full of adrenalin and enjoy every moment. After 85 minutes we leave our rugged tiger lady still swimming round and round the bait ball and divers.
Everybody is on top of the world. The Mozambique Trip 2015 is in the bag.
But we still have 7 dives for more action.
After breakfast next to our Dive Centre we get ready for the second dive. Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. To be honest, i don;t really expect too much. we had what we came for. so what. But i am mistaken...
As we hit the water we are surrounded by sharks. It is unbelievable. In the end we estimate 200+ hammerheads, 30 black tips, 4 zambezis, 2 guitarsharks, 2 eagle rays, 1 stingray and a school of barracudas.
Back on the beach everybody asks me what will we see after this check diving ???
10.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
After breakfast we leave Hlane around 8h00. The drive is long but it flows. By 16h00 we arrive at our Dive Centre in Shelly Beach.
Now the holiday is over. Tomorrow we start Shark Diving on Protea Banks....
9.3.2015 Mozambique Trip
Royal Hlane NationalPark is a place of peace and tranquility for us visitors. We go on several game drives with the ranger and in 2.5 hour we see lions, rhinos, elephants, buck and so much more. The rangers know their business. They explain things about nature and animals to us which no-one ever knew. Highly interesting.
We spend a relaxed day here in the bush without phones and computers. Tomorrow we have another 7 hours driving ahead of us. Then we start the third and last leg of our amazing journey.
8.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
At 5:00 sharp the wheels are supposed to roll. And who is missing ??? Beulah and Roland of course. As usual we are innocent in this delay. I set the alarm to 03:50 last night. What i did not look for was the damn 'am' and 'pm'.....
At 04:56 we wake up.
Everybody is waiting for us in the carpark. Not impressed as they get destroyed by sandflies...
At 5:10 we come screaming around the corner. Okay, i guess i owe them the next round....
After a thousand apologies we get going. We have to drive all the way to Swaziland, quite a trip. If possible we want to be there in time to catch the last game drive at 16:00
We drive well, not much traffic because it is Sunday. We stick to the speed limits and don't have any problems with the numerous speed traps. Not once are we stopped.
At 16:10 we arrive at Hlane National Park, the King's own game reserve.
The rangers bring out two game viewing vehicles and off they all go to the sunset trip.
Two and a half hours they get back excited. So much that all of them book the sunrise trip in the morning.
Buffet dinner goes down very well. Hlane has no electricity which gives the camp a special note of peace and tranquility.
We are visitors to mother nature here and one feels this very well.
7.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
And then comes the last day. Everybody knows not to miss the last day !!! The wind has calmed and with it the sea. I want to stay behind and film the launch with the drone from the air. It is possible to do the long trip to Manta Reef and everybody is more than keen. The aerial footage is spectacular. And so is the dive on Manta Reef. They drop onto a Leopard Shark who just got away in time. A Manta Ray does its rounds and shows itself to every diver in the group. They came back all smiles.
Breakfast and last dive in Mozambique. The choice falls on Giant's Castle.
Again i skip this one because i want to get footage of the lighthouse area.
Gusts and upward drafts catch my aircraft and i almost loose it. I am shaking all over but eventually get the bird back with amazing footage.
In the meantime the divers experience their best dive so far. Three Mantas and a Devil Ray. They come back ecstatic. Tips and beer are flowing big time at Barra tonight....
And this was Mozambique 2015. Tomorrow morning at 5:00 we are leaving for Swaziland, our second stage of this trip.
I am really sorry having to leave Mozambique already. We had such a good time here, enjoyed the land and its amazing people, the beauty of Barra, and the worldclass diving we had here. This year the diving conditions and sightings were definitely the best in a long time.
The accommodation has improved from good to excellent. The expected heat for this time of the year was kept under control by the steady breeze.
We managed to get all ten dives in without having to push any limits.
We had sunny weather pretty much everyday. Sometimes an hour or two of rain and clouds cleared up a bit later and made it all pleasant.
As for the people at Barra Lodge, they are simply just magic. They appreciate our support and make sure we are short for nothing and always feel more than welcome.
6.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
The wind is freshning up again. Our luck. We are still hoping to see a Manta Ray but where do we go ? The staff says, best chance is Giant's Castle. For some reason Giant's Castle doesn't have the happy feel like the outer reefs have. So we decide to give Sherwood a try. The sea was rough already. We were glad when we arrived at the dive site. The dive was brilliant. The usual Mozambiquan Magic. Fish and more fish.
We come back for breakfast, have our break til 12 and try again. By now the wind has slowed considerably and the sea is calming down. We definitely can go far.
As we have dived the best reefs in the area by now it is time to duplicate. Everybody votes for Office. Unbeatable.
We get out easy and once in the water see three reef sharks.
The dive was amazing and only three of us did not see the Manta !!!!
Apparently it came within a meter of the divers and gave them a proper show. The reason why us three did not see the beast is because we let everybody explore to their heart's content on every reef we dive. So we simply were not at the right place....but because we have a really nice group, we all join in the excitement and are genuinely glad for them.
As we are in contact with our guys at Protea Banks we hear all the stories of glory and bravery. The guys have seen Tigers for the last three days. Amazing. Besides Tigers they had Hammerheads and Zambezis. Looks like Protea Banks is awakening
5.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Today is the weather window to go to the far reef, Manta. This reefis the most beautiful reef in the entire area. It is a 26km boat ride which takes just under one hour. The dive is as always absolutely magic. Although we don't see mantas, the fish life is so thick that we have difficulties seeing our gauges !!! The guys are ecstatic.
This is definitely one healthy reef.
We make it back in time for a late breakfast which the hotel kindly delays especially for us.
Second dive to Reggies. This is a beautiful dive site near the Office and similar in many ways. We saw free swimming honeycombs, a giant potato bass, a leopard shark, a spotted eagle ray and a devil ray among many other species.
All round a very happy day.
4.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Today we decided to go out into the ocean. The horizon still looks a bit bumpy but definitely much less than yesterday. Office is the reef of choice. I have a special bond with the office as i have found it more than 15 years ago and named it. Susequently i have done over 50 dives on the Office and enjoyed every single one.
And so today. We see free swiming honeycomb moray, lots of reef fish and i am lucky to spot a manta ray. I try to call all the divers but nobody hears my hooter. This leaves me the only witness....everyone can imagine what i have to go through now...
Second dive Amazon. 13km out at sea. Another fantastic dive site which everyone enjoys
3.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
The wind was blowing all day and all night and we know that the sea is going to be rough to say the least. Despite this, we are told, we can launch. Great.
We start off the Mozambique Diving part at a nice and shallow reef called EN1.
It is really not a nice reef, but what we saw made it magic. A leopard shark was lying in the churned up sand. What a sight. What a first dive !
Seeing that we all can handle the diving we get a bit braver and try to drive around the lighthouse towards Giant's Castle. The plan is that if we are hit by huge waves we will turn around. Luckily it wasn't that bad. We got to dive the Castle. Visibility was great, water was warm. Lovely dive.
1.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
After breakfast we leave and make good headway. In South Africa the roads are amazing. We do an easy 100km distance an hour. As we get to the Swazi border the plan collapses. Some 300 church people from Swaziland are queuing right around the South African immigration building. Our hearts drop, we have to join the queue.
After Bout an hour the police pulls us out the queue and brings us to the front. 90 minutes later we have exited South Africa.
But the queue on the Swazi side is the same.....
At 16:00 we begin our journey through Swaziland. There is a 40km stretch with bad ass pot holes. No fun.
The Mozambique border is no problem at all. I am just concerned about driving at night in Mozambique. And we will have no choice....
As we cross the border it gets slowly dark. All hell breaks loose on the road in darkness.
It is almost impossible to see the road. You don't know where it begins and where it ends. Then there are cars without lights. Some are driving, some stop and some are abandoned in the middle of the road - not on the side !!!
As we get closer to Maputo the traffic thickens and people are everywhere. It seems as it the whole of Africa is meeting tonight at Maputo...
Then there are pot holes similar sizes to little graves, there are concrete blocks on the side of the road as well as in the middle. Some giant must have tried to play dice...
Cars come from all sides, on all lanes, with the flow and against it.ma red traffic light means you can go slow, a green one means you have to look out for the slow goers from the red side. Driving is done on any flat enough surface. No rules apply.
He who gets through Maputo at night wins.!!!
Huge roadworks has changed what we remembered from last year. It is great to see who much good work is being done. But it adds immensely to the confusion. There are new round abouts where people drive left way round as well as right way round...
Unbelievable, indescribable and unforgettable.
Four hours later than planned we finally arrive at Blue Anchor Inn, our stay over for the night. We literally stumble accross the threshold into the bar where old Paul can't open the 'ice colds' fast enough.
Long after i have gone to bed i can still hear the guys talking about today's adventure.
After breakfast we depart for Barra Lodge. The trip is easy and peaceful. Even the dreaded cops leave us alone. At 16:00 we arrive at the lodge tired and thirsty. The accommodation is nice and the food delicious. The only worry is the damn wind. At one stage it blew my cap right off my head - in the car while driving !!! And agerhard had his shoe blown off his foot when he was standing on the side of the road at Xai-Xai. Unreal...
Hopefully we can dive tomorrow.
1.3. 2015 Mozambique Trip
Eleven strong and fearless men have arrived. Beulah and i went to the airport to meet them. Of course we didn't know who exactly to look out for and asked the one or other confused passenger who came through the arrivals door. In the end it was very easy. All our guests had of course huge dive bags with Mares, Cressi etc written all over.
The adventure began already when five put of eleven were searched by customes. They were literally taken apart down to the toothpaste.,but luckily this did not take away the enthusiasm and excitement everybody feels.
Over a flood of beers and good food at the Cape Town Fish Market Restaurant all was forgotten. We drove to our lovely guest house in Umdloti and checked in right on the beach. In about an hours time we will meet for breakfast and travel briefing.
Then it is over to the road to Mozambique.....