February

27.2. 2016
Nice and lazy day today. We are off this weekend, actually until Thursday next week.
We wanted to sleep late but of course we have dogs n our bedroom. And when it gets light, our beloved animals wake up. Those who don't sleep on our bed jump up immediately to see if we are still alive...
So Beulah busied herself with researching our next holiday. We changed our plans from New Zealand to a log cabin in Alaska. All day, but really all complete day she was on the internet looking for the rght cabin.
Unfortunately, all the cabins i liked, the ones with flat screen tv and WiFi were thrown out cathegorically....
When i suggested that we should maybe spend the first couple of days in Anchorage at the Hilton so we could acclimatise, i was told to shut up....
I can see, i will be in for a culture shock.
Luckily we only go in September, and who knows what happens til then.

Tomorrow is sunday and huge, black clouds are moving in. Looking forward to another lazy day at home....
25.2. 2016
Epic dive yesterday. The guys had a tiger right in the beginning, then 6 Zams, 2 black tips and in the end a marlin spent time with then on the baited dive.
Visibility was 20m+ due to a strong N-S current of over 3kn. They drifted over 8km during the dive.
In the meantime i am organising all my equipment to be sorted out. Compressor should be finished next week, the boat Southern Comfort should be finished re=pontooning tomorrow, the boat Avatar will be finished today and for the time being, the boat Twilight hasn't got any significant problems. Therefore the blue Landcruiser has packed up as well now.
In this business maintenance is a daily job.
Sometimes i think i am just here to provide work and income for other people....

To stop myself despairing, i kept myself busy removing rubbish, rubble, refuse from the houses and the garages. Load after load was taken to the dump site. It is unbelievable what gets hoarded up over a period of time. Every now and then when i can't get the cars into the garages anymore i sort it out. It is often heartbreaking to chuck good materials like a perfect piece of wood or metal into the dump truck.
Guaranteed next week i look for it !!!!

We seem to have a small break now. The calm before the storm. Nothing wrong with that.
21.2. 2016
Life is good and we are enjoying good food and cheap prices in South Africa.
After returning from a month in Europe, one knows how good we live here.
A beer in a beach bar costs us one Euro. A real good plate of food goes for the equivalent of Euro 10.
Even an x ray of a foot in a private hospital costs as little as Euro 22.
We are getting everything ready for the next two months when the world's divers descent on Protea Banks.
At the moment, the diving is not the best and not the worst. We have 10-15 m visibility, warm water on the top half and colder 20C water on the bottom half.
Not a lot of sharks around this time of the year.
Yesterday we saw one bullshark on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. Just as we did our safety stop , the bull came to take a look at us.
Baited dives yesterday and today were better with 2 bull sharks throughout the dive and 4 towards the end. Looks like Baited Diving is by far the better way to see sharks right now.
14.2. 2016
We got back safely. Everything went well during our absence. Nothing broke, the diving was epic and all our staff were one heart and soul...
Friday on the Baited Dive the divers saw 2 tiger sharks and 3 bull sharks. All good. But that was the last good thing .....then came the catastrophe ...

During the second launch on Friday, the boat was caught by a wave and thrown into the trailer. The pontoon on the left side was split halfway open. Irreparable.
I wasn't too worried about this as we planned to have our boats re-pontooned this year. And this was the boat we were going to do first anyway. At least i can split the costs with the insurance...( i just didn't want it to come so soon, damn !! )
As this boat now needs to be towed back to the factory near Durban it was time to clean and re-grease the bearings on the trailer. This needs to be done regularly in order to prevent whole wheels to fall off. After 20years of towing boats we had our fair share. You look like a street kid when you sit by the side of the road with a broken trailer. Very embarrassing. Not to mention the danger a running wheel causes !!!
So in order to prevent this we take the wheels off, take the bearings our the hub, clean them in petrol and re-grease everything before assembling it again. We found out that the axel's threads were all but smooth and so was the castle nut which holds everything together. Lucky, i have a spare axel laying around...
In the afternoon i hear that Brian is very ill. I truly fear for his life. Brian has been with us for over 15 years. He looks after our shop and fills the cylinders. We can't afford to loose him and hope he will recover fast.
A little bit later he tells me that the second compressor now needs 40 minutes to pump a cylinder and uses a lot of oil. Here we go !!! Time for a major overhaul of the machine. Not a major crisis but a major cost . Major Damn !!!
Today i noticed that we don't have as many cylinders as i remembered. I heard that we lost quite a few of the older ones on the annual revision test. We usually take 3-5 cylinders at a time for testing so we don't disrupt the flow of the business. Every now and then i am told we lost one. I just never realised that this wasn't the first one...
With all the divers booked for March and beyond, i am in trouble and need to buy 10-15 more cylinders.
So, 'new' boat, 'new' trailer, 'new' compressor, new cylinders....there goes a proper holiday !!!!!
At home private
Unbelievably at home nothing went wrong at all. The dogs were very happy to see us again and even remembered us.
Smiley has gone a bit fatter than she already was due to lack of exercise and being locked up inside the home and garden for almost a month.
Thembi has almost doubled in size. She can now jump up everywhere and anywhere and is very excited using this new ability. Especially when it comes to edible stuff, there seem to be no place safe from Thembi.
And when there is nothing edible around, she steals he builders tools and carts them away into the garden. This went as far as a packet of tile grout going missing. The builders followed the spoor and found their grout hidden back in the garden.
And our poor old Fergie the Irish Setter is getting old fast now. Barely 8 years of age she struggles with oncoming blindness and with her back legs. Big drama coming there.....
For now we are looking forward to lots and lots of divers in March and beyond. We need to get organised, get all ducks in a row and put our heads down.
9.2. 2016 Protea Banks
Today i received the second Whatsapp message in as many days from the guys at home. Apparently they are seeing tiger sharks quite often now. Still lots of bull sharks on Protea Banks as well.
Karen is running the show there assisted by old Spike, young Kyle, responsible Josh, smiling Brian and misunderstood Shorty. What a team we have !!!
Visibility is 30m, water is warm, air is hot and humid. Below the water lots of sharks are playing with divers. I can't wait to get back and straight into the water !!!
Private
We are back from the Dolomites. We rented a log cabin up high in a valley famous for Biathlon.
The cabin was brilliant. Dead cosy and much fun for us. As we were at an altitude of 1600m we always had a good measure of snow. Loved it.
First day we orientated ourselves. Second day dad and myself went skiing at Kronplatz near Brunek. I purchased two tickets for the day. One for adults and one for seniors - over 60s. The lady at the till asked for dad's ID. We didn't bring it along and had all hands full convincing her that dad was indeed 85 years old !!! I think he loved it like hell !!!
She was going to make an exception today but asked us to please bring the ID along tomorrow..... Sure...
On the slopes the two of us ruled. After all we bring a combined ski experience of 139 years with us !!!
Of course we are old school and ski-ed without helmet. At first we were the only ones without helmet. Out of thousands of people, really. At a later stage we got very upset when we suddenly spotted another three skiers without helmet. Quite a cheek to steal our show !!! We have always been very proud to be the only ones.
There is a definite connection between helmets and skiing ability. After all, why would one wear unnecessary safety equipment if one doesn't need it ??
If only all divers were so safety orientated !!!
We had a wonderfully day with sunshine and excellent snow conditions. The view around the Dolomites was breathtaking, unbelievable.
There were more people on the slopes than hammerheads on Protea Banks, really. And still there was space for everyone. The skiing area is vast with lifts of all sorts and lengths around every corner. We could ski a different slope each time and take a different lift up a different mountain. Unbelievable !!!
On our second day we drove to Corvara. Oh man, what a place !!!
Corvara is part of the Sella Round. Here you ski where there is no tree. The area goes on and on. Anywhere, everywhere. Mind blowing. You just take a lift or cabin to anywhere and carry on. Brilliant.
Here you can be a helmet ski-er or a cap ski-er. There is ski for everyone.
The scenery is overwhelming. Serious. Sheer rock cliffs and majestic rock formations which came into existence 250 million years ago. No wonder this area is a world heritage site….thank god ISIS is not operating here !!! Jeez .
So if anybody owns a hotel or ski lift in Corvara and is keen to swop such for a great dive operation in Margate, please contact me urgently !!!!!
But like everything, Corvara also has it’s downside : 5 helmless ski-er initially spoilt it for us until we realised something : Dad and i started the new trend - without helm is cool - and our followers are growing by the day. That’s it.
The new Mauz fashion is expanding fast. We are convinced that by next year there will be a huge percentage of cool cap ski-ers.
Why are we mocking them ? It’s like diving with gloves….you touch everything…
The Dolomites continued...
So, while we oldies went ski-ing, Beulah and Mother went to visit the famous Biathlon stadium just up the road from our cabin. While we were in Dusseldorf they held the wold cup there at the valley of Antholz.. Magic place.
But we felt a little guilty because we had such a great time on the slopes while the girls could only move as far as they could walk. So in fairness we decided to spend the last day doing a scenic tour through the best of the Dolomites. Who could possibly complain !!
After breakfast we started out driving to Toblach. From there through the narrow rocky gap to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Then past Livinallongo to Canazei and past Corvara through to Brunek and our valley where the cabin was.
What a trip !!
The plan was great but the weather didn’t play ball. It was snowing like hell. Nobody in his right mind would have done this trip on this day, but…..it was an adventure , that’s for sure.
On this trip we had to pass four very high altitude mountain passes. Oh man, that was touch and go. The roads were covered completely with snow and the wheels were spinning more often than not. Some passes were damn steep, adrenalin flowing freely.
Lucky i insisted on chucking an axe and snow chains into the boot. Das tried his best to talk me out of it. But what’s wrong with being organised ? knowing that there is help in the boot of our SUV we could go for it.
Although we did not see much of the scenery, every now and then the snow abated and these crazy rocks showed their stoney face. Unbelievable. I can only imagine what we missed out on. What a crazy photo opportunity this would have been.
It is absolutely clear, we will be back !!!!
Tomorrow we return home
Tomorrow, 10.2. we are flying home. Unfortunately our flight leaves at 10am from Munich. This means we just get up at 3h30 and leave home by 4h30…I already put 2 red bulls in the car….
Besides the early departure they are forecasting snow again for tomorrow. Eish, i hope it starts after 10…
Dubai, overnight in the Airport Hotel, Heineken Bar, Durban the next day, Spur at the airport.
Just like always….
1.2. 2016
We survived the show once again. This year the BOOT was particularly good for us. Probably our best show since we started with our first stand six years ago. We had lost of people, lost of inquiries and lots of bookings. At some stage our stand looked like a cocktail bar with people waiting in rows for refreshing infos of South Africa and Protea Banks. Absolutely magic. We thrived !!!
Every day i was on stage with Christiane from ENOS. What a privilege. After initial outbreaks of sweat and rambling attacks i got used to it. Almost felt like a bit of a rock star... J When i tried to practise my singing at home, Beulah brought me back to earth very quickly. !!!
Like every year it was great to see all the old faces again. Too many to remember all the names. I enjoyed recognising all my great dive buddies.
A special thank you goes to my good friend Michael Supp for lending me his personal rebreather as a permanent decoration on our stand. It caused a lot of attention, interest and even one exciting group booking for later on this year.
This morning we then left Dusseldorf and headed for my home town of Burladingen. Luckily this time we dod not drive via Holland...
Tuesday we will spend with my parents at home and wednesday we are all heading for the mountains of Northern Italy. Dad and i want to do a bit of skiing while the girls will go for walks and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the southern Alps, the Dolomites a UNESCO world heritage site. Can't wait.
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