Yes, yes, yes. When Protea Banks is good, it is amazingly good !!!
Yesterday we had 25m viz and over 70 Raggies on the North Side of Protea Banks.
It was paradise. I can't describe the feeling. So, so many sharks and still here this time of the year !!!
Tony, one of our old faithfuls and i are speechless. We just look at each other and shake our heads in awe...
Later at the surface Tony reckons, this was his best dive ever.
And hell, Tony has done a lot of dives on Protea Banks for sure
Usually this time of the year we have the last Raggies of the season. Maybe a handfull.
Not so yesterday. Wherever we looked there were Raggies floating around. Pretty cold water at 18˚ and no current.
This damn current is now gone for over two weeks. It messed up our shark swim at the beginning of the month, it messes up our hammerheads and bull shark encounters but luckily it delivered an unforgettable Raggie experience.
Hey, its me again. I know i am hopeless in writing my blog. Either too much happens to find time to write or too little. One definitely needs to be in the right frame of mind to write. I think, i had writer's block....hahaha.
Anyway, since mid November we were cooking. Divers everywhere and we were running all day to keep them all happy. We had two boats a day for weeks now. Great dives, crappy dives and blown out dives. What can you do. But one thing is sure : those who stayed here long enough got their share of Protea Banks.
We truly had some magic people here. To mention a few, Don, the reporter for X-Ray Magazine and Wetpixel was a treasure. He was with us for 2 weeks and became definitely the favourite of all of us. And Phillip who was here for a week for the second time. What a pleasure to dive with you.
Good old Marcel and his French/Belgian/Swedish friends were easy going and grateful for every dive we did. It is so much fun to dive with people who appreciate everyday no matter how it pans out.
Then we had the great adventure of the www.madswimmer.com
This is a group of totally mad guys and girls who just want to swim. Swim, swim and more swim. Lead by Jean Craven the founder and accompanied by amazing people from all walks of life. 21 swimmers, one from Spain and about 5 from Israel.
They already swam the Channel , right around Ibiza, from California to Mexico, the Dead Sea from Israel to Jordan, the highest lake in the world in the Andes and more.
This time it was the Great Shark Swim
The plan was to highlight the plight of the sharks and raise funds for children's charities.
To swim in the "shark infested" waters of Kwazulu Natal without any form of protection must show the world that sharks are actually not out to eat humans and destroy every person in their path.
This swim proves that sharks are completely misunderstood and need our protection rather than our decimation before it is too late.
So i got roped into planning a mad swim in the Agulhas Current which is apparently the world's fastest current. It runs down the East Coast of Africa.
Mad swimmers wanted to swim 100km in one day. The plan was to swim 3.3km and drift 4.5km and thus make the distance of 100km in 12 hours and a bit.
The planing was extensive. i drove 3 times to Durban and 3 times to Umkomaas for meetings. We had the Rescue Police, Medevac, Doctor, Support Vessel, several scientists checking the weather and current and a whole lot of unbelievably interesting people involved in the planing of this attempt.
For months it was a dominant part of our lives and towards the actual event date we had all hands full. Press conference, promotions and much more. This was a serious thing.
When the day arrived we launched our support boats at 3am about 100km south of Durban and motored out 11 nautical miles to meet up with the support ship.
Here we dropped the swimmers in the water as the sun rose behind some grotesk looking clouds.
The stage was set.
The guys swam and swam and swam some more, but unfortunately the current did not help them. In fact, there was absolutely zero current on that day. Damn current !!
Nevertheless they managed to swim 28km in just over 9 hours. !!! What an act !!!
But then the Blue Bottle Jelly Fish came and destroyed the poor swimmers.
Blue Bottles are extremely painful when in contact with humans. One's glands swell up and the pain of a Blue Bottle sting is excruciating. To us on the support boats it looked as if they were getting electrocuted.
And yet they didn't want to give up.
These people are extreme sportsmen. They go through hell to achieve their goals and quitting is not an option.
Some even needed medical attention and were banned from continuing by the event doctor. Hectic stuff !!!
In the end the Blue Bottle minefields became so extreme that they simply could not continue. Damn.
Still these people were heroes in every way.
If they had the damn current which is usually running they would have made their 100km. That's for sure.
We all learmed a lot in this event and we all understand that Rome was not built in one day. We will be part in a new attempt , hopefully next year.
And then we hope that all parameters which make this attempt possible will be met.
Good weather, calm seas, strong current and definitely zero jelly fish.
I was privileged to be associated with such a fine bunch of people.
And more than glad that i didn't have to swim so far.....