February

17.2. 2019
Back on the grindstone. I have been running around all week to sort out stuff.
The worst was, that we took a wrong bag from the airport when we arrived on Tuesday. We got this bag full of second hand clothing from Susanne which we stuffed so full with additional stuff that it popped.
So we had it wrapped in cellophane at the airport. Thought it looked quite unique, in fact we were worried that it looked suspicious...
When it came along i grabbed it and once i had all the rest we left the airport.
I checked my phone only when we got home and saw all the desperate messages.
At first i thought it must have been a mistake as all my bags looked right. When i checked again the next morning i saw the disaster.
So Wednesday was spent driving to Umkomaas to drop off the wrong bag and on to Durban Airport to collect mine. Whole day in its Moer...
To lighten the pain, Beulah gave me her BMW to drive to Durban with. I took off the roof and enjoyed the ride.
Then i had to run around sorting out immediate accommodation issues with one of the local hotels where a group of japanese Divers were booked but never confirmed.
Anyway, its all part of a day's work...
Today was my first day back in the water.
We had a windy day with choppy seas. Zero current, vis 15m on the bottom and 10m top half. I was lucky to see at least 3 zambezies in these conditions.
If the divers would have dived again i would have gone to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks, but they were all battling with seasickness and so we finished early.
The Japanese arrived this afternoon and were kitted up for tomorrow's launch.
So we have 2 boats going out tomorrow and i must go with the third boat to do a project with the scientists.
Hopefully this wind will bring some positive changes....
This film made by my friend Supp explains it all...!!!!

14.2. 2019 !!! 30 Years in Africa !!!
Today is a very special day for me. Not only is it Valentine's Day today, but we have a very special celebration :

I am 30 years in Africa

In 1989 on 14.2. after i finished my studies, we left Germany for South Africa.
Beulah was studying through UNISA at that time. UNISA is and was a well known and unbelievably well organised correspondence university based in Pretoria.
As students we had no money, there was no internet and we could barely afford the most necessary books Beulah needed. Nobody to phone, nobody to ask, no forum, no google, nothing to help her.
So it was clear that we needed to get to South Africa for Beulah to finish her studies.
We first worked for 3 years in the hotel business. Pushing long and even longer hours for little money. After 3 years we decided , we might as well try to put all this effort into a business of our own.
We had no clue as to what this should be, but we wanted to live at the coast.
We ended up buying a bankrupt flower shop which turned into the greatest university we ever had.
We had to turn the ailing business around with no idea at all how to do that. But we learnt. And we learnt fast. In a business like this we had to have enough stock to attract people and yet not too much of stock which would die on us if not sold.
We had to learn that if we wanted to sell gifts, they had to appeal to the public and not necessarily to ourselves. We made plans to create stuff nobody else had and catered for our holiday apartment market with artificial plants and for our local people with nice flower arrangements. Beulah learnt the important dates of our regulars like wedding anniversaries , birthdays etc and phoned them in time not to get into trouble.
After 3 years of battling along we felt it was time for a new adventure and managed to sell the shop for 3 times of what we paid. For us this was huge...then. Today it was like pocket money ( almost )
We played around with a pressure cleaner my mother brought on one of their visits. It was the first of its kind in South Africa then. I went from door to door and cleaned a small area to demonstrate what this machine could do. People who liked it paid me to finish the driveway, those who did not want to pay, had a lovely clean spot to admire in their yard.
Then we got into our pool business which we still have to this day. The nice thing was that we were outdoors. We were free, outside and worked at our own time.
Nice business.
In 1996 we did that marriage thing and Beulah got us into diving. The diving went completely out of hand . We love this shit !!!
Yes, and today markes 30 years in South Africa and 30 years in Germany.
Germany is still home to me and so is South Africa.
Life has been an absolute dream.

Wonder what the next 30 years will bring.....
10.2. 2019
I am sitting in my lovely room at the Novotel on Munich Airport. We love it here.
Tonight we go the the Airbrew Restaurant for dinner. Beulah is mad about their Spinach Dumplings.
I am really sorry that it is all over and we are on our way back home without even a small holiday.
When i planned this trip it seemed important that we keep it short and sweet for the dog’s sake.
Now, three weeks later i am sad that we did not add a little holiday. I am sure, the dogs wouldn’t have minded…
Anyway, we don’t have much time to spare as we will be very busy soon now.
What i am hearing about the diving on Protea Banks is not overly encouraging. Few shark sightings…time i get back into the water and show these guys where to find them !!!!
We have arrived early at the Novotel in Munich today. Beulah needs to catch up with some sleep and i need to see that i finish the whiskey bottle…nothing will be left behind !!!
On Friday we left my parent’s place and were looking for a nice town to spend the weekend.
On our way Beulah found a cool place on bookings.com
It was called Hopfen am See and is absolutely brilliant.
It is just outside Füssen where the famous Neu Schwanstein Castle is situated.
From Hopfen am See we can see the castle slightly hidden in the mountains, the beginning of the Alps.
We take a lovely walk around the lake = 7km and enjoy food and beverages in the area.
We really liked it there and are planing to go back there next year with my parents.

Susanne and Manfred brought a huge bag of almost new clothing to our stand in Duesseldorf.
Beulah has a little charity where she collects second hand clothes for the poor in South Africa. People like Joe and Kaddi Lange, Manfred and Susanne, Andy Wilkens and others are supporting this effort regularly. Many poor people are helped greatly by this and walk away with huge smiles proud of their “new” clothes.
What Susanne however neglected was that i am a great shopper and have lots of loose and unaccounted Euros on these trips. Where on earth can we put 15kg of second hand clothing ?
After 2 weeks of debating and arguing we decided , it had to come with. So we tried to squash more stuff into Susannes bag until eventually it popped. Great !!!
So we had to go to the airport quickly to have the damn bag wrapped in plastic.
And the plastic dude had no end to his film, much to Beulah’s demise…she does not want to use any more plastic and here we take half of Munich’s …..
Round and round and round goes the bag inside the stand…Oh dear…
Okay, Beulah will use all this horrible stuff to stuff bags and shoes at home and in the shop. This way we will use and re-use this plastic and hopefully re-re-use it until it degrades…???
Right, my whiskey is now reduced to a reasonable level. Beulah is slowly waking up and getting cheeky again.
Soon we won’t be freezing again but sweating….

Nothing is normal in our life….
7.2. 2019
Unfortunately our time at home with my folks is finished.
Tomorrow we are leaving in direction of Munich where we want to spend a relaxing chill weekend .
Just me and Beulah, before we return to work and the mad-house ( dog house )
The show in Zurich was not bad. We saw a lot of our divers again like good, old Walter who spent most of Thursday afternoon with us discussing his upcoming visit to us.
We met with Marco, who will be coming in April, Urs and friends who were with us last year.
Peter and Susanne came past and so did our friends from Globetrotters.
Last but not least we saw our special friend Andy Schweizer who forced me to drink a beer with him at 10 in the morning !!! Naughty boy Andy !!!
Alone for this, meeting all these wonderful people , our participation at FESPO was well worth it.
Of course we also had quite a few new inquiries and met a whole lot of lovely people connected to our longtime partners Dive & Travel.
Also really nice to see Ray and Sabine again from Kuredo in the Maldives and Gabi and Marco from Kuba Inda Resort in Bali.
We really enjoyed Switzerland and its lovely, friendly people and will definitely be back to FESPO next year…..especially if we get the table right next to the draught machine again….
On Monday we drove home to my parents, about two hours from Zurich.
No rest for the wicked there either.

We are zooming around the area looking for stuff we need to take back with us and stuff which needs to be sorted out. Medication for one of our dogs, check with the bank if our money is still inside, visiting old friends and family. One of my aunts is turning 99 years old in a few days time.
The best day by far was the day me and dad went cross country skiing.
The weather was perfect, no cloud in the sky, ideal ski conditions.
The snow which capped absolutely everything was sparkling as if a giant had lost a whole lot of diamonds.
Hardly anybody around, complete peace and tranquility. Magic.
My 89 year old father still looking like a champ on his skis !!! How lucky i am…
Tonight i will have a few drinks with my lifelong friends. I am looking forward to seeing them. Always much fun.
1.2. 2019
Report 1.2.19

So here we stand at the Swiss Travel Show in Zürich....we come a loooong way.
As always we booked our tickets to go to BOOT in Düsseldorf. I knew we had a group of Americans booked during our absence, but I was hoping that it can be done without me and Beulah.
When I saw a mail where they were talking about 15 people wanting to dive together and taking pictures of sharks among the group, I immediately changed my ticket to Düsseldorf and stayed .
Glad I did.
One of the guys needed to be assisted on the dive, all of them were sea sick and after the first dive we were down to one boat.
Glad I was there...
As 'luck' would have it, we were in for a really bad weather front and unfortunately lost 3 out of the six dives planned.
The third dive was after a strong SW'ly cold front blew through. The water was crystal clear with 30m Vis and full of hammerheads.
In the beginning we saw a blue Marlin approaching the group. It came within 3m of the nearest diver. It was an absolutely amazing sight. At the same time there was one single Hammerhead on the other side. Everybody was watching the Hammerhead. No matter how I called , nobody wanted to look at the marlin. Even after the dive, all divers excitedly chatted about the Hammerhead and nobody mentioned the marlin.
That's how it goes sometime. I for one, loved the marlin sighting...best ever.
On Sunday, 20.1. I flew to Germany. For the first time in over 20 years I flew alone.
Man, i had to concentrate like hell. My brain was sore later..
In Dubai i had the privilege to use the business class lounge because I am a silver member of Emirates. What a pleasure to sit in a comfortable seat, eat and drink whatever you like at no cost at all.
4 hours later my flight for Düsseldorf left.
I was tired like hell. Normally we stay over at the airport hotel and chill. This time, I needed to get to the BOOT as quickly as possible.
I was so exhausted, I kept on falling asleep, wake up, fall asleep, wake up...on and on. Couldn't watch a movie or do anything. Totally cooked !!!
From Tuesday I was at our stand at BOOT. Couple of quiet days during the week and crazy hectic weekends with lots of business and lots of interest.
Like every year, we see so many friends and regulars at our stand. Always a big, exciting hoo haa.
At 6 pm the show finishes everyday. Beulah and I duck out immediately and catch the subway to our favourite restaurant. We usually get there by 7pm. Kenny's Restaurant, best place in Düsseldorf, we say...
After the BOOT we shot down to my parent's home in the South.
It snowed, it was cold , it was a long 5 hour trip in our rented car.
We stayed the night , caught up on the news from home and moved on to Switzerland the next day.
Same evening we were at a dive meeting organised by the largest dive and sport house Käser in Switzerland.
About 200 people attended the function.
We stayed in Interlaken which is a most beautiful ski resort town. Here we stayed in The Royal St. George’s Hotel. What a magic place. We loved it.
On Wednesday, 27.1. we stayed the whole day in our lovely hotel and chilled and caught up with e mails and so on.
Yesterday we drove two Zürich to be at our stand at FESPO.
We are part of our partners Dive & Travel
The show is from Thursday to Sunday and then we are done with shows for a while.
We will spend 4 days with the folks in Burladingenu and the last 3 days we will look for a quaint hotel near Munich.
Finally flying home again on Monay, 11.2.
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