February

19.2. 2018
Last week we started to dive again on an almost daily basis.
We had very little current, green water at the top and ice cold but clear water at the bottom. As soon as we descended through the murky, dark layer it opened up at around 25m. But, hey, the thermocline was vicious. Brother, it was 17˚ at the bottom and on Saturday it was as cold as 15˚. Hectic.
We know that there would be no or very little current and therefore decided to dive on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
This is always a great dive site, no matter what we encounter there.
I could not believe my eyes when i saw still 5 raggies hanging out at the first cave. Not in 21 years of diving Protea Banks did i see raggies in mid Feb. Normally they are on their way sometime in December.
What a welcome sight it was though, and as we expected, the only site to dive in these conditions.
Sunday off due to a bit of wind blowing through.
Today it looked as if the current was back and we decided to go to the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
The current is indeed back at a rate of almost 2kn. This has also improved the visibility to about 15m and straight away the sharks are back again. Countless hammerheads, lots of them.
Still very cold water but i hope by tomorrow the current would have pulled the cold layer off the reef and replaced it with warmer water.
We will see...
12.2. 2018 Back online again
So i took a long break from reporting. Much has happened .
Right now i sit in Business Class on a flight from Munich to Dubai on my fourth glass of Veuve Cliquot. How did this happen ? I am not even sure myself.
As we have been doing for the past eight years, we went to the BOOT show in Düsseldorf mid January. The show was very successful for us. It always is.
It is just magic to meet all the many, many regular divers we have, friends, new divers and colleagues. The show is a marathon event at 9 days non stop but there is definitely no better platform to promote our business than this expo.
Number of South Africans there this year. Old Retief from Aquadivers/Mares, Dean from Durban Underwater World, Patrick chief of PADI nowadays, Fern from Nomads and old Ray who lives and runs a number of resorts in the Maldives for the past 30 years. Nice and humbling to see all.
After the show we went to visit my parents, both well into their eighties now. For this reason we made it a good two weeks instead of, as usual, a blitz visit.
We went to Oberstdorf, the southern most town in Germany where father and i went skiing while mother and Beulah went shopping. No place is as beautiful as Oberstdorf. Every house is a shop and every shop has unusual wares on sale. Lovely.
The old man and i still made a good appaearance on the slopes. We sure looked like old timers with our old caps we wore ( everybody else wore helmets ) but we could hold our ground when it came to zooming down the slopes.
Another five days at home afterwards and time to return.
While we were at home at my parent's house we started worrying about our luggage.
We got a lot, brother, a shit load.
Already on the way here we had trouble with the luggage. Emirates did not want to send it straight though to Düsseldorf because we stayed one day in Dubai. You got to collect your stuff in Dubai, they told us. The more we argued and begged them, the more subborn they became. Shiftboss and superviser, clerk and everybody. No way.
This put us in a huge predicament because we could not collect our luggage in Dubai without going through immigration. No visa and all the complications.
So we took a chance and decided to just leave our luggage unclaimed.
It would go round and round the conveyor belt and sooner or later be stowed away somewhere. Of course this could be a problem as we had a lot of show stuff with us like brochures, business cards , flyers, clothes and stuff we really needed.
The next day we checked back in on our onward flight and told the clerk to please make sure our luggage was on board. We still had the number stickers on the card.
Halleluiah, our luggage arrived on time in Düsseldorf together with us on the same flight.
We learnt a valuable lesson. To hell with those unfriendly and incooperative staff at Emirates Durban !!!
Now it was time to pack again for our return flight. If one comes from Africa, one has an allowance of 2 x 23kg suitcases plus one piece handluggage.
We borrowed a case from dad and bought a new one so we could fit almost everything in at exactly 4 x 23.00kg wow.
And then the handluggage.
We couldn't do with less than 2 pieces each. And this worried us tremendously. In Germany there is a rule for everythng and a rule is a rule here. Oh my god.
I phoned my well travelled friend Supp who told me not to worry. They are chilled in Germany , he told me.
Hard to believe, but worth a chance.
So we asked for an extra large Taxi from our Airport Hotel, the Novotel to the Terminal.
We were sitting on hot coals...
As we get to the queue in front of the counter everybody stared at us and our mountain of luggage. Nobody had as much as we did and we said to each other, this cannot end well.
So as plan B we decided that if the shit gets too deep, we upgrade to Business and pay the price. What the hell.
Closer and closer we get to the counter where our destiny will be decided.
We look like criminals when we finally proceed to the lady who holds the iron sword over us.
Like Supp told me, i apologised for the mass of luggage we have and told the lady that we come from Africa and were allowed 2 x 23kg each. The 4 bags of handluggage were kept low on the ground by my feet for nobody to see.
I was sweaty and shaky when the lady looked up and asked me where in Africa we come from.
South Africa i say with a smile.
Where in South Africa ?
Near Durban
Where exactly ?
Margate.
She knows Margate!! Unbelievable. I dare to relax slightly. How come she knows Margate, i wonder.
She is originally from Pretoria and ended up working at the airport in Munich.
The excitement is huge. Animatedly the three of us are chatting away in English now about South Africa and how lucky we are to live there. The lovely lady on the counter was clearly home sick. Bet she would have given a lot to come with us today....
So check in went most smoothly. Great.
But there is still the issue about our hand luggage.. Stresslevel still in the red.
We get to the security check and have to put all our belongings onto the belt.
What is this ? I hear the gentleman asking. Oh, it is my under water camera housing, i answer him.
So you are an underwater photographer, he asks.
No, not really, just trying to take some good pictures. Before long we are fully involved in an amazing conversation about what we do and how exciting our life must be.
I show him pictures on my iPad of me and the tiger shark. He is blown away.
Almost as friends do we have to part eventually.
While we sit and wait for our flight to be announced, Beulah gets a message from the Novotel.
' Get well soon Mrs. Mauz, from all of us at Novotel '
We are completely stunned by this caring gesture. We did ask the lady at reception yesterday where we could find a clinic as Beulah is suffering terribly from Sinusitis.
How absolutely cool of them to remember this and go as far as sending a message. !!! Unreal.
Time to board and this could be our last stumbling block. We join the queue and as we get closer to the gate we get more worried. Beulah's boardingpass gets put on the scanner and , möööhg , it hoots and a red cross comes up. Oh shit.
Stand there by the smalll counter please, says one of the ladies in a rough voice.
Now is my turn.
Brother, i hold my breath when this damn card goes into the scanner. And what happens ?
Möööhgh, it sounds and red cross. No go.
We are cooked. Done. Screwed.
We stand aside and watch as the other people curiously muster us. I can imagine what they think.
As we await our fate, the rough voiced stewardess says: you are upgraded to business class.
A ton of worries falls of each of us both. We cannot believe our luck. Why us two ?
What happened? We ask them but nobody seems to know.
We are sure, it was the angel from Pretoria at the counter who must have had a hand in this.
We are speechless, chuffed, happy beyond words.
A day which could have been a total disaster has turned into a day full of luck and good feelings. Nice people all around us, what a privilege to have had the pleasures of today.
This year is going to be a good year.....
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