Excellent diving today. We went to the Northern Pinnacles of Protea Banks on both dives and had 13 Raggies and a Tigershark on each dive. On the first dive we also had a Hammerhead coming really close and on the second dive it was a Zambezi which followed us all the way back to the boat.
Visibility was 15m, water temp around 23C. Full sunshine all day with zero wind. Brilliant day.
That is if it wasn't for the damn cops who are targeting us for the past 8 days non stop. Some idiot had a fight with a traffic cop and now they are like a stirred up hornets nest. Nobody can imagine what is going on here in Shelly Beach with those cops. 30-50 men and women are just looking for boat trailers and every single person who gets stopped ends up with a hefty fine...if he is lucky. The unlucky ones end up with boats impounded and licenses withdrawn. It is complete state terror.
Lucky for us they are hunting the fishermen who are out early and so far we managed do dodge controls by coming to the base later. Sooner or later it will surely be our turn. And no matter what you do, if you go out to sea every day, your trailer, car and whatever else takes a knock.
This causes a tremendous amount of stress to everybody. Some of the fishermen can't go out to sea this busy long weekend because their trailers are taken away incl. boat. And these people depend on every penny they can make....
Needless to say that this stress leads to other mistakes we make in the smooth running of our diving operation. Often lately we looked like absolut beginners which is highly embarrassing.
It is time for a break.....
Never without my ENOS
After a long stretch of everyday diving we have hit a couple windy days again. The dives were magic. The entire shark spectrum was hanging out on Protea Banks.
Tigers, Hammerheads, Guitars, Bulls, Black Tips, Raggies....amazing.
Visibility was varied as usual. Anything from 8m to 30m Watertemps also ranging from 20C to 26C on one dive. Brrrr.
Today was one of those more forgettable days. We went out after we were not able to dive yesterday and did a baited dive. Vis was 15m and the guys had 2 bulls and 2 black tips. Not exactly very exciting for this time of the year.
Later this morning the wind changed from dead still to north east and whipped up the sea. Nobody wanted to go out for a second dive which seems to be the norm lately...
Tomorrow we will be back and see what mother nature has to show us.
Time flies. I don't have enough time in the day to keep this blog as much up to date as i would like.
Diving on Protea banks has been amazing. We have every species of shark we could ask for. Tiger Shark, Bull Shark, Black Tip Shark and tons of Hammerhead Shark. We have Giant Guitar Shark in the flats of the Arena and Sandtiger Shark on the Northern Pinnacles. Brilliant.
The visibility varies from good to not so good to better than not too good....
Mostly we have around 24C water temp but there are thermoclines with temps down to 18C. The colder the water, the cleaner it is. We don't mind.
Lots of divers still every ay. usually two boats needed.
I dive mainly rebreather and loving it. Getting very comfortable with it now.
As i am writing this report i am sitting outside in my garden . It is past 8pm and still hot and humid. Love the hot climate. Winter will be here all too soon for my liking.
Our days are filled to the brim. We get up at 5am and now, at 8h30pm still busy with work.
Got lots of trouble in the guest house with sewerage pipes blocked and fish freezers melting. The Diver Villa is full to capacity.
I am busy buying a new car which takes a lot of energy and causes a lot of worries.
We want to finalise our Sardine Run bookings which are looking good but are not yet guaranteed. Had a booking fixed for 8 divers which turned out to be nothing but a selfish blockage by an agent who did not manage to bring even one guest. In the meantime people who wanted the same slot were turned away......That's the tourism industry.
Protea Banks Marine Protected Area
While we are dealing with everyday problems, our authorities of the government is pushing ahead with declaring Protea banks a marine Protected Area. By March 2017 this will be cast in stone. Right now we have meetings of public participation where everybody, user or not can voice his or her concerns and suggestions.
I have been part of this process from day one. It affects my livelihood and supports my innermost interests in conserving our reef and our sharks. For all but 20 years we have been campaigning to protect the sharks in South Africa. We found this process to be tedious and slow with very little support.
But now we are standing in front of a historic break through. Protea Banks will become an MPA stretching about 40km along the coast and almost 100km out to sea.
In this area, no shark is allowed to be killed.
This is a huge leap for the marine environment. The image of South Africa in the eyes of the world will be propelled forward as a farsighted ,eco friendly move into the future. In total there will be 21 MPAs around our coastline.
My old friend and shark protecting pioneer Andy Cobb will finally see the fruit of his life's work. All his life he has fought for the protection of the sharks off our coastline. He has sacrificed his health and all. Now, living in Cape Town at the age of 78 ( or thereabouts ) Andy Cobb will have the privilege to know that it was all worth for the cause.
I slaute Andy. He is the father of our sharks in South Africa
His tireless efforts over decades and the genial foresight of our scientists like Kerry Sink and many others, the open ears and understanding of the urgency of our politicians-all of you are writing history and i am proud to have been part of it.
Weather is great, diving is great, sharks are everywhere. Life on Protea Banks is great.
We have our first two Raggies in the caves. Far too early, because usually they arrive at the end of April. So we dive the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks and enjoy excellent visibiliy in fresh, cold water of 18C. We stayed a bit with the Raggies and when they had enough of us we moved on and dived underneath the gullies and overhangs . Loved it.
The other boat went baiting. They had two tigers, ten bull sharks and about eight black tips. Our new divers are over the moon. That is exactly what everybody came here for.
And what a dive it was.!!! We had 2 tigers, 6 zams, 6 black tips and one dusky. The first tiger just had a quick look and must have told the second tiger that it was safe to come. This one stayed all dive long and played with us. This is just the best ever. These tigers are huge. They may only be about 3.5-4m long but the circumference of the animal compared to bull sharks and others is large. Its head alone would barely fit into a 200l drum. Huge. It could clean us divers up in a flash. Yet it is completely harmless to us.
Visibility was around 10m and water temp 25C.
Brooke joins our team
Brooke has started working with us on 1. April. She will be doing pretty much everything with the idea of helping mainly to take work and responsibility off Beulah's shoulders. She has been in a management position in Sodwana Bay as well as in Fidji. We are very excited to finally have somebody with the necessary experience and intelligence to bring a new wind into our business.
Her first two days with us have been an absolute pleasure. We are so excited about Brooke and know she will bring a huge relief to Beulah.
We have survived Easter madness !!! On some days we had 6 launches - all 3 boats going out twice a day. It was definitely stressful to organise everything and worry about the weather as well. We needed enough crew, enough petrol, enough cylinders to get the turnaround done in good time and definitely no break down. And we were lucky. All went well and our divers were all smiles.
Lots of sharks on every single dive. Hammerheads, Great Hammerheads,Black Tips, Tigers ( even on non baited dives ), Zams, Sandsharks, Eagle Rays, Barracudas and more.
Easter is always the best time for Protea Banks.
Yesterday Beulah did her usual first of April prank. This year it was not some super yacht we were supposed to buy at the show in Germany but Justin Bieber diving with us. Really ? Justin Biebertjie of all people ? If it was Roger Waters i would have been excited....
A number of people fell for it. Damn, you don't always think of the April 1. !!!
But now we can continue the rest of the year in full ernest.
I was a bit busy doing real work during the last couple of days. Now that everything is pretty much up to date again, it is time to tighten the hoses of the old rebreather and go floating.....Can't wait for tomorrow !!!!