April

© copyright by Supp Diving
© copyright by Supp Diving

23.4. 2017
Much has happened in the last week and a bit. After we lost our friend Leo the diving went really bad on Protea Banks. We tried to go out but chose to turn around twice in a row due to visibility of 3m on one day and 2m the next. We als had engine trouble on two boats and then the weather turned into a total nightmare. Everyday we had winds of 25-30knots which kept the base closed.
Everyday we got up early in the hope of a chance to go out but only found the base to be closed and the sea to be crazy rough. Watching the big ships to struggle through the sea was enough for us to understand that we don't belong there right now.
When we finally managed to convince the harbour master to let us get a chance on Thursday, we ended up with yet another engine in trouble and had to abandon out quest for a dive.
On Friday we got out finally. But we found barely 5/7 meters of visibility. Horrible and terribly disappointing. How could this damn water be so bad after almost a full week of south westerly wind which is essentially the right one ??!!!
We dived, twice even. But it was not great fireworks..
But today was supposed to be a special day....oh dear, oh dear...
Sunday 23.4. A very special day
Our local Search and Rescue Police wanted to organise one more large scale search for our unfortunate diver Leo. Although the conditions yesterday were less than ideal, we were going ahead with the plan.
At 6am this morning we all met at Shelly Beach. The Search and Resue Police with 15 divers from all over the province, the NSRI sea rescue, we with three boats and Aquaplanet with their boat. The base at Shelly Beach was teaming with divers. Beautiful !!!
It was an unprecedenced show of comraderie and like mindedness of people who love the ocean and of people who come to look for one of our own who was unfortunate. The atmosphere was electric, exciting. What a place this base turned out to be today !!!
We all went out to Protea Banks Northern Pinnacle and formed a huge line of divers. We descended to 30m and everybody searched in his own way for any possible remains of poor Leo.
The visibility today was 25m !!! The current was back to normal at 2knots. The weather was perfect and the sea conditions were calm. It turned out a most amazing day .
Unfortunately we found nothing. The sea is simply too large a place and ten day of relentless winds, waves and surge could have transported the remaind anywhere.
But we were here and we were looking for Leo and we all had a good time with Leo on our mind.
Second dive = a brilliant Baited Shark Dive
Our second dive of today was decided to be a Baited Dive. It started with a large Tiger Shark. Unfortunately this one did not stay very long and left us with a single Black Tip. But soon enough one became two became three and ended up being nine Black Tip Sharks. Then came the mother of all Bull Sharks. She was huge, unbelievable. And she loved divers...Another large Bull Shark came in and a school of Hammerheads. Wow, wow, wow. All this in excellent 25m vis and pleasant 24C water.
What an exciting day we all had at Shelly Beach today....
23.4. 2017
Much has happened in the last week and a bit. After we lost our friend Leo the diving went really bad on Protea Banks. We tried to go out but chose to turn around twice in a row due to visibility of 3m on one day and 2m the next. We als had engine trouble on two boats and then the weather turned into a total nightmare. Everyday we had winds of 25-30knots which kept the base closed.
Everyday we got up early in the hope of a chance to go out but only found the base to be closed and the sea to be crazy rough. Watching the big ships to struggle through the sea was enough for us to understand that we don't belong there right now.
When we finally managed to convince the harbour master to let us get a chance on Thursday, we ended up with yet another engine in trouble and had to abandon out quest for a dive.
On Friday we got out finally. But we found barely 5/7 meters of visibility. Horrible and terribly disappointing. How could this damn water be so bad after almost a full week of south westerly wind which is essentially the right one ??!!!
We dived, twice even. But it was not great fireworks..
But today was supposed to be a special day....oh dear, oh dear...
Sunday 23.4. A very special day
Our local Search and Rescue Police wanted to organise one more large scale search for our unfortunate diver Leo. Although the conditions yesterday were less than ideal, we were going ahead with the plan.
At 6am this morning we all met at Shelly Beach. The Search and Resue Police with 15 divers from all over the province, the NSRI sea rescue, we with three boats and Aquaplanet with their boat. The base at Shelly Beach was teaming with divers. Beautiful !!!
It was an unprecedenced show of comraderie and like mindedness of people who love the ocean and of people who come to look for one of our own who was unfortunate. The atmosphere was electric, exciting. What a place this base turned out to be today !!!
We all went out to Protea Banks Northern Pinnacle and formed a huge line of divers. We descended to 30m and everybody searched in his own way for any possible remains of poor Leo.
The visibility today was 25m !!! The current was back to normal at 2knots. The weather was perfect and the sea conditions were calm. It turned out a most amazing day .
Unfortunately we found nothing. The sea is simply too large a place and ten day of relentless winds, waves and surge could have transported the remaind anywhere.
But we were here and we were looking for Leo and we all had a good time with Leo on our mind.
Second dive = a brilliant Baited Shark Dive
Our second dive of today was decided to be a Baited Dive. It started with a large Tiger Shark. Unfortunately this one did not stay very long and left us with a single Black Tip. But soon enough one became two became three and ended up being nine Black Tip Sharks. Then came the mother of all Bull Sharks. She was huge, unbelievable. And she loved divers...Another large Bull Shark came in and a school of Hammerheads. Wow, wow, wow. All this in excellent 25m vis and pleasant 24C water.
What an exciting day we all had at Shelly Beach today....
15.4. 2017
We mourn the loss of our dive friend Leo Mairhuber who lost his life on wednesday 12.4. while diving Protea Banks.
Leo was part of the Shark School Group of Dr. Erich Ritter who stayed a nd dived with us for the past nine days. Everyday we dived in the morning and the group did course in the late afternoon. Erich Ritter's course is amazing, participants learn everything he knows about sharks in a lifetime of science and studies.
Last Wednesday we did our second dive on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks where we went to see the raggies.
The sea conditions were unusually good. Surface visibility was clear, there was no cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind, no current and the sea was as calm as a swimming pool.
Like several times before we all descended to the first cave where i did my first head count. Everybody was present. After a few minutes i gave the signal to move on the the swim through where we knew the raggies to be. There i counted again and found the group to be complete. We had around 15m visibility and guiding the group in front did not always allow me to see every single diver. Often several divers materialised out of the murky water once i waited to count them.
We stayed with the raggies for some time to allow every diver to film photograph and observe the sharks. When it was time to go i gave the signal and we moved on to the second cave. This is where we wanted to spend the rest of our bottom time before we started our slow ascend back to the surface. As we got there, i noticed that one diver was missing. After a while i asked other divers but nobody seem to have known his whereabouts.
We then immediately started to ascend towards the surface. At this stage i was not overly worried as it is not unusual for a diver to leave the group and ascend on his own for all kinds of reasons. having had excellent surface conditions , i was sure we would find Leo on the boat.
But it was not so.
We immediately started our search procedure. We went back to our drop off point and searched down the Protea Reef-line up to 5km. After a few minutes we asked other fishing vessels for assistance. We searched with four boats in a line all about 50m apart but found nothing.
Because the surface vis was excellent we were sure to have found our missing diver if he was at the surface. After about half an hour we called Search and Rescue and NSRI for assistance. They made sure fixed wing and helicopter were on stand by.
The longer we searched in vain the more we got convinced that Leo must have still been on the reef.
At 15h30 we organised an under water search together with the sea police and a couple of dive masters from our company. We searched the entire area where we dived before but found no trace at all. Suddenly we got called up by our boats.
We ascended immediately and know that something must have happened.
Leo was found, but he was not alive anymore.
When we got to the NSRI boats we were told they only found his remains...
His body was scavenged by one or several sharks.
Because nobody found anything for over 3 hours or intense searching we are all convinced that Leo either had a medical problem or got into difficulties which resulted in his disappearance and ultimate death while still under water.
It would make sense that a shark scavenged on a lifeless body, that's what they do.
I have done 3651 dives to date and at no stage have i ever experienced a threatening situation with sharks or any experience at all where i would not have been comfortable with these animals.
People who dedicated their life to the study of shark behaviour like Erich Ritter, Geremy Cliff from the Natal Sharks Board , us divers who spent 20 years diving on Protea Banks, our regulars and friends, our colleagues from Aquaplanet and colleagues from Aliwal Shoal, we are all 100% sure that poor Leo did not get killed by a shark.
Leo Mairhuberh was 68 years of age, a Master Scuba Diver Instructor with PADI. He had over 2700 logged dives, was in the possession of a recent medical dive fitness certificate and was a competent diver.
We deeply mourn his loss. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family in Austria.
Here some amazing pics taken by the Professional in March
© copyright by African Dive Adventures
© copyright by African Dive Adventures

© copyright by African Dive Adventures
© copyright by African Dive Adventures

10.4. 2017
My poor divers from Erich Ritter's Shark School are just so unlucky. Vis again a disaster today. Relatively clean on top, and bait bucket hang in thick soup. Two tired black tips floated around. Hardly keen to grab the bait i gave them.
Second dive was cancelled due to bad launch conditions.
Tomorrow i will take the guys and girls to the caves to visit the baggies again. This is always a brilliant dive which brings smiles to everyone's faces.
© copyright by African Dive Adventures
8.4. 2017
So we did practise and managed of course !!! The current is pushing straight inshore. So if we drop in line with the caves we end up going right off and have to fight our way back onto the reef. This is what happened yesterday.
Today we had a brilliant dive on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks despite the vis being barely 8-10m.
Three raggies in the swim through , 2 black tips, one zam and one tiger on our way up.
How nice to see a tiger again !!! We know they are watching us, but it is time we are watching them too now !!!

© copyright by African Dive Adventures
© copyright by African Dive Adventures
© copyright by African Dive Adventures

7.4. 2017
Conditions on Protea Banks are improving fast. Yesterday the sea resembled a battleground in the English Channel, today the water was blue again and we had a happy 15m vis.
We have the famous Erich Ritter, Shark Scientist from the USA here with a group of 10 divers who are doing his amazing shark school course. I love listening to Erich as he has studied what i have experienced over the last 20 years. Amazing.
Our first dive was a Baited Dive. We had 11 Black Tips and 3 Zambezis. It was really good, accelerated of course by the hugely improved vis.
Second dive on the Northern Pinnacle was a bit of a miss where we did not get to the caves and so missed the three Raggies we have there.
Tomorrow we will practise this one again.
4.4. 2017
I have to report this. After the cold water yesterday i was not keen at all to go diving today. But i had no choice, Steve was off and so it was me and Spike.
We had 6 hardcore divers and decided to do a Baited Dive. This way we could be almost sure to see sharks and we could probably avoid the damn cold water in the depth.
As we got to Protea Banks we just see brown, dirty water. It looks like hell....
Our colleagues form Aquaplanet are there and giggling at us. What's happening ? we ask and they tell us that there is no visibility and no shark near and far. Apparently they tried baiting north and south and found absolutely nothing....Oh dear !!! But it is AP who is talking, not ADA !!!
So we turf our bait ball into the soup and start our pre-bait procedure where we drive in circles around our baiting station throwing small pieces of sardines into the water in order to attract all possible sharks in the area.
When we are ready we go in. It is really bad...barely 3m - 4m. But as we get to the ball we can already see 2 black tips. So much for no sharks !!! Got to know what you;re doing boetie !!!
It wasn't long and another 3 joined up. Shortly afterwards 3 bull sharks mingled with the black tips and competed for the bait. It was an absolute show to have all the sharks so completely close, especially the zams. Man, what a nice dive this turned out to be - despite the ridiculous visibility.
After 70mins all 6 divers were still in the water enjoying themselves as did the sharks with us.
Back on the boat there was excitement pure. Steffi and Dieter, our regulars of 6 times thought this was definitely one of their best baited dives ever.... What can i say ??!!!
4.4. 2017
Yesterday 15˚....i am looking for a new job !!!
1.4. 2017
Hey its 1.of April and i am supposed to make an April joke. Unfortunately we are too busy for jokes. But this doesn't mean we're not laughing...
In the past days, weeks we were launching between 3 and 6 times a day
Divers are coming and going like on a railway station. All day there is something. Like nobody seems to be able to analyse Nitrox properly. I need to do it...!!!
Some people don't know how to switch lamps on and how to change globes. This kind of stuff and more keeps us on our feet from 5h00 until 21h00
As there is no end in sight until early June, we take one day at the time. We don't even think of what a day off must be like....
But it is our busy time of the year. June is looking less busy which will give us a bit of time for maintenance before the Sardine Run.
This is going to be the next crazy time for us . And when this is over on the 18.7. we are done for the year.
And a huge holiday is in the planning..
Protea Banks
Diving on Protea Banks has been up and down these last 10 days. Still no proper current and the vis is varying between 25m and 10m.
On our Baited Dives we see often tiger sharks. On one recent dive Steve had 2 tigers on the bait at the same time. Then we did not see tigers for 2 days and then again tigers on both dives, baited and normal.
What we also saw lots lately were Marlin. Amazing how many we have on Protea Banks at the moment. I hope with the upcoming Easter season the damn fishermen don't catch them !!!
In the caves we still have one lonely raggy. Very unusual for this time of the year. Always a welcome sight. Especially when we have no current, the Northern Pinnacle is really the best place to dive.
We went to check out the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks today. Although the water looked green at the surface, we still had a good 15m visibility. We had a family of ten stingrays flying overhead. It was a lovely sight, never saw them that high before. It looked as if they also enjoyed the sighting of a handful of weird divers...
For the rest of the dive, 3 black tips.
Our other boat went baiting and had the typical 10-15 black tips and 2 zambezis.
We love these dives for sure. And everyone is different. Nevertheless we really hope the the tigers are getting serious now..........
2.4. 2017
I must say, today was a special day of diving. Our first dive was a Baited Dive which turned out more or less average. We had 8 Black Tips and 2 Bull Sharks. Seems to be same, same pattern lately. No sight of a Tiger Shark.
The vis was around 10m and water temp 24˚C.
The next dive we went to the caves on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. With Spike as skipper i could go without buoyline. Love it.
We dropped in and swam to the first cave where we found one Raggy. The vis was 30m plus !!! BUT - the water temp a shocking 16˚C !!!
We knew it was cold so we came prepared. Also all of us on Nitrox and our bottom time was planned to be 20 mins. Magic !!
From the first cave we went along the wall to the first pothole. And right into the hole which leads underground to the swim through. Inside the underground area we found huge potato bass and rocked. A little further on we found another 3 Raggies. Everywhere we had thousands of Glassfisch and Goldies. The corals were shining in all colours. It was the most beautiful experience.
My guys from Aqua Active Agency who have by now done a number of excellent dives with me on Protea Banks have all rated this one the best.
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