Hectic times here. We have 31 divers and we are running...oh man !!!
Up at 4h25 and now, while i am writing this, it is 22h00.
Thankfully it is not always like this.
The diving is great. We have amazing vis with 25m and still warm water at 24˚
The last two days we had a tigershark on one of our numerous baited dives.
I am so happy about that even though i was not the lucky one seeing Her Majesty.
On my baited dive i had 7 Black Tips. Well, well.
BUT : when i did my second dive on the northern pinnacle of Protea Banks i had 12 Raggies and 5 Black Tips.
The Raggies did it for me, oh yes !! This means that the Raggie season has officially started. Great news.
We dived the Northern Pinnacles 2 days ago and found 2 Raggies. They buggered off when we x-rayed them with our cameras. Yesterday there was no shark in the caves.
And today, the first lot of many has arrived.
For us this is a huge event. From now on until the end of the year we will always have a place where we can definitely show our clients some sharks...phew...
A Rainy Day in Africa
I got to quickly write something before old April is also finished...
We had a hectic week behind us. One hell of an adventure - made in Africa.
Monday we did a baited dive. Visibility 30m and water temp 25˚. Paradise.
The weather gradually deteriorated and by the time we came out of the water, it was stormy and miserable.
No-one wanted to do a second dive and the base was closed anyway.
Tuesday the heavens opened and tilted the heavenly swimming pool out on us.
It came down like hell. 300mm they say. All in one day.
Man, there are countries which don't even get that much in a whole year !!!
Great damage was done all around. Streets collapsed, mud slides, people died.
Wednesday the real rain came.... Jeez...
Tuesday was only the practice run.
It came down like hell. If tuesday was a swimming pool, wednesday the heavenly dam broke....
Everything in the water's path had to give way. People lost their lives, their belongings , their houses collapsed , das washed away, hectic stuff.
Margate looks like it was attacked by aliens.
My divers were getting frustrated. Theur time was running out and they really wanted to get into the water.
We went to the base on thursday and looked at the beach. Everything was full of driftwood and rubbish which came down the rivers and creeks.
The water was pitch black and wild.
The divers wanted to bail out but i pushed for a launch. What will be waiting out there for us we will only know if we go look.
As the launch was bad, we decided to take 2 cylinders each. If the diving was to be good, we would not want to launch twice in this shit.
As always, Spike got us through the surf safely.
When we got near Protea Banks the water turned a deep blue. Wow...
We had 30m vis and still the same 25˚ warm water. Just as if nothing had happened .
The dives were amazing, Protea North first and Baited Dive afterwards.
We had the usual 8-10 Black Tips and a Zams on the bottom.
We know this pattern for weeks now. Always hoping for the elusive tiger shark, but no luck...
Still, we were all happy and glad we came.
Friday we had a break from diving. We needed the time to prepare for the crazy week starting tomorrow.
Saturday we dived with Marco and the 3 Austrians
Sunday, today we had already 2 boats out. 13 divers came and went all day.
The diving was great with a healthy variety of interesting sightings such as bull sharks, barracudas , guitar sharks, devil rays, black tips of course. Very nice.
This afternoon we had a further 16 divers arriving. So 3 boats tomorrow....
And tomorrow we get even more divers arriving.
It is great to have so much business, but i am dreading the hectic life, the lack of sleep, lack of rest, lack of time to talk to my divers.
Between diving and sleeping i might just habe enough time for 2-3 beers.....
Let's see how it goes. I have to be at the harbour at 5h30......damn !
20.4. 2019 Happy Easter
Diving on Protea Banks remains to be extraordinary !!!
Since the last week in March - almost 4 weeks now - we had more than 20m visibility Mostly more than 30m. Our water temperature is 25˚ consistently.
Yesterday, Easter Friday we had a brilliant diving day.
First dive on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks :
1 x Tigershark
3 x Great Hammerheads
17 x Guitarsharks
4 x Black Tip Sharks
Second dive on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks :
1 x Tigershark
1 x Bullshark
6 x Black Tip Sharks
Today we did a Baited Shark Dive. The SW'ly was blowing pretty strong as we briefed. By the time we got out of the land protected area into the open ocean, it was hacking
The sea was rough .
On our dive we had 13 black tips and a zam.
We couldn't do a second dive due to the strong wind conditions. Luckily the wind came from the right direction and will keep the underwater conditions on the reef in top state.
We're in for a lot of rain this Easter weekend. They warn of flooding conditions.
Let's see what comes...
Today i didn't feel like diving. I needed a break and had a lot of office work waiting for me.
After yesterday's strong SW wind i knew it will be good today.
When the boat left i felt an emptiness around me. Too strange to watch my own boat driving into the ocean without me. Not right somehow...
Little did i know just how good the day's diving would be !!!
All told, today was the best day in 2019 so far.
And i was not there !!! I can have a heart attack, damn !!!
Vis 40m, water temp 25˚
6 Black Tips
4 Great Hammerheads
11 Guitar Sharks
And a superpod of dolphins. Spike recons it were several hundreds and more...
Bar Brawl with a couple of Sharks
Today we dived the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
This is just the ultimate dive !!!
Although we did not see the first rage of the season, no wonder after we x-rayed him the other day he must have left Africa....
But we saw the usual black tips, a school of dolphins at the surface .....and....the TIGER SHARK. Yes !!!
Erich and i were joking about today being the tiger day. And in deed, the tiger showed his stripes.
Just as we passed the swim through i spotted the striper. Later again as we arrived at the second cave he was just below the surface. Far but lovely to see.
After we watched the tiger we ran out of time to go into the second cave and started ascending. Midwater we had a zambezi checking us out. Brilliant.
What a magic dive it was, sightings and visibility of 30m again today.
One more thing :
Holding hands on Protea Banks is not allowed. This ruins the image of this reef. Only if Frank wants to hold my hand we can make an exception.....
Protea Banks is amazing again. For more than a week now we had 30-35m vis. As we get half way out to the reef the water turns a deep blue and we know, it's gonna be a good day.
Nothing is nicer than plunging into crystal liquid !!!
We also have a good variety of sharks again on Protea Banks. On our baited dive we see nothing less than 10 black tips, often with a Zams or two circling at depth.
Tigers are still rare. I am hoping we will get them in a few weeks time.
On our reef dives we have gentle current and see a number of great hammerheads everyday. Today we also had about 15 dolphins, 3 very busy guitarsharks - looked like they were late for a gig.....??? and a lovely Zam
It was a dream day actually.
BUT it almost turned into a nightmare for me !!!
A couple of black tips wanted to eat me today. Damn right !!!
Man, they came for me as i was busy trying to bait the bull shark. Suddenly they shot at me and did not turn.
Jeez, i got into a real fist fight with the shits, hitting, pushing and kicking for my life.
At least it felt like that.
I really thought, today is the day...
Those buggers would not let go of me and kept coming for me. And suddenly, after a little eternity it was all over.
They buggered off and left me breathing like a locomotive.
I could not get enough air from my regulator to calm down. So i went slowly up to the surface and called my boat. I had to get out and calm down.
Lucky i had Martin my guide and Erich Ritter the famous shark scientist in the water.
I am sure, my end would habe been well documented. Everybody was so busy filming my fight that they had no time helping me.....tis the new age, man.....
After five minutes on the boat i was ready to finish my shift.
Good news on Protea Banks : The diving is getting better again.
Behind us lies a pretty tough time when it comes to happy diving on Protea Banks.
Often the vis was low, the water cold and if we saw 2 or 3 Black Tips we had to be happy...
As luck would have it, we were really busy right at this difficult time. Damn !!!
What happened to our beloved Protea Banks, we wondered ?
The one dive site in the world where we could always guarantee shark sightings all year round. Where we could guarantee an abundance to sharks and an abundance of shark species.
Where in the world can one see so many different species of sharks as we have here !!! And then they are gone.....
It starts with the fishermen moaning that they can't catch fish. this happens every so often, and in a week or so it is back to normal.
When the fish goes, the shark goes too.
They are a primitive life form. All the sharks need to worry about is to stay alive so they can keep their species alive. By doing so they have to eat, thus maintaining the ecological balance in our ocean. And make lots of babies... Nice life, very uncomplicated...
So if the food source disappears for unknown reasons, the shark obviously follows. And left behind are sad divers who see nothing....
But things are improving fast now and we are looking forward to every day this coming week.
We had some tough times with the weather which in turn made for great diving lately
Visibility between 25m and 35m , warm water 25˚ - 26˚. Lovely. !!
We saw lots of Black Tips as usual but also Zams coming back to the reef and even our first Raggie of the new season.
We had a school of 6 Eaglerays, we saw a Tiger Shark and 2 Guitar Sharks.
Martin and his guys had 8 Great Hammerheads on the second dive today while i only saw 4 Black Tips and a Zambezi.
We had really, really nice people with us. Work was fun again.
Today was the first day with Erich Ritter and his Shark School group. It is always a great pleasure for us to have Erich with us.
If one man knows sharks, it is Erich. He has a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience.
Erich is one of the top shark scientists in the world. And he loves Protea Banks !!!