I know, i quickly have to pull finger before the month is gone...
Will start with news from Protea Banks, afterwards private stuff for those who are interested.
We have left South Africa on 1.10. and are currently in Germany. So we depend on our infos from our staff who are in touch with us vis WhatsApp.
Our bookings for October were pretty regular although never a lot of divers at any one stage. So we decided, October is a great time for us, Beulah and i to duck.
As we hear from old Spike, Steve and Martin, more than every second day gets cancelled due to wind.
Our September wind has now moved into October, plaguing all seafaring folks with dangerous and rough conditions. Because safety is our priority, there are many days we have to cancel all diving activities.
But whenever it is possible, the reports are great.
At the beginning of October, the boys reported visibilities of just over 5m, cold water but always sharks.
As time moves closer to November, the conditions seem to get better.
They did a baited shark dive using our newly acquired whale meat and promptly got a tiger shark and several bulls on the bait. Naturally, the black tips where not missing either.
This whaleboat is worth gold for us and we guard it like a treasure. As soon as the dive is finished, the meat goes back into the freezers. Got enough to last us a year.
On the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks there seem to be a steady, healthy raggie population of 20 - 30 animals. Always a super dive, no matter which time of the year.
And on our Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks divers are enjoying 100 - 300 hammerheads on most dives
Watertemp is a chilling 19˚ - 21˚
The weather is mostly sunny , fresh in the mornings and pleasantly warm at noon.
The visibility has improved to a healthy 15m on most dives now.
All in all, pretty pointless for one-day-divers as we never know what the weather will be like from one day to the next.
For real divers however it is not a bad time at all. Those who make the effort and stay a couple of days are definitely going home with unforgettable rewards.
So we flew on 1.10. from Durban to Dubai.
We really wanted to upgrade from Economy Class to Business. We tried for weeks and checked for deals but our beloved Emirates Airline wanted a ridiculous amount of airmails to make us comfortable.
So we decided to sit on the wooden benches...
When i have a tough flight all i look forward to is having a few Heineken draughts at the airport. This kept me going throughout the night.
But as we arrived in Dubai, Beulah started to whinge.
I am tired and want to go to bed....
But Beulah, you know we have to go later to the hotel in order to keep our 24 hours.
Yes but ...i am tired and all...
I really want to go to .....
Shit, i almost lost my treat.
Eventually Beulah agreed, we can't go to the hotel before 8am if we don't want to check out before 8am the next day.
Okay, maybe we can have a cup of coffee somewhere then.
Sure, Schatz ( !!! )
Expertly i steered her towards the Hard Rock Cafe
I told my good wife, i didn't want to spoil my tiredness with coffee but rather chose a Heineken for a change. hehehe.
Suddenly in a surprise move, Beulah ordered Vodka/Coke. At this time of the day !!!
Before Beulah touched her first drink my second Hollander arrived on the table.
Jeez, this great plan almost didn't come together.
After some excellent sleep we jetted off to Cairo the next day.
Here we stored our Germany luggage at the Meridien Airport Hotel where we stayed before.
We had a few beers and some good food before we carried on to Hurghada a few hours later.
I need to tell at this stage that we have never been on a live aboard trip. Ever.
This is an experiment which either goes North (well) or goes South...
In Hurghada we were collected at the airport and taken to our ship,
the MY Excellence, one of the Sea Serpent Fleet.
Beulah and i have our cabin on the top deck where there is more space and more daylight.
Never been into suffering...
Evenso, it felt a lot like being in a caravan when we compared space and set up.
It wasn't bad bad, but we had to first get used to it.
Beulah had a few initial comments which i better not repeat at this point.
From day 3 onwards she loved the boat.
We were some of the first to arrive on board and as the others start arriving one sits in one's corner eying the new comers and wondering if we will have a good time together.
In the lounge we had two large tables and one small table for two.
Beulah and i quickly hogged the small table and made sure, This one is Ours.
It was respected as our table very quickly. hehehe
After a short time there were 3 groups on the boat.
Our group of hooligans who talked dirty and laughed out loud all the time, a more decent group and a group of upmarket Italians with their own guide.
We had fun without end.
We dived Safaga, Big Brother, Daedalus, Elphinstone and back to Little Brother.
The diving was out of this world. Man !!!
We didn't know it was the Shark Trip, we didn't really care. But sharks we had on most dives.
Of course, nothing like on Protea Banks !!!
On one of the days i was called out of my cabin. A visitor had come to our boat to see me.
Who the hell could that be ??
It turned out, it was Dietmar decker, one of my Protea Banks customer/friend.
What a great surprise to see him on our boat.
He told me some time ago that he would be in the red sea at the same time, but i really did not expect him to visit me in the middle of the ocean !!!
What a nice surprise, and - of course- my image on our boat rise instantly !!!! Hehehe
Beulah and i enjoyed the boat ride most when we had unsettled sea. We were thrown all over the place and had to hold on for dear life.
After a while you get used to it a bit better and counteract your steps to the motion of the sea.. Great fun, really.
Thankfully we were both immune to seasickness and could enjoy the movement and the food at the same time.
When we got back to land a week later, it took us a couple of days to walk normally again and not resembling some drunken sailors.
The crew of the MY Excellence was made for this boat.
Our guide Karim was probably the best guide i ever met in my life. Beulah and i are trying to find a way to employ him at our business in South Africa.
His colleague, Bavarian Claudia was right behind him. She spotted everything and anything worth looking at first.
And the captain with his crew were just amazing. They were always there for us, always friendly, always smiling and in a good mood.
Every one of these people knew exactly what to do and did their job wholeheartedly.
Needless to say, the tips flowed freely on the last day...
Our experiment Liveaboard was a full on success !!!!
The next one is planned.
After our liveaboard trip we flew back to Cairo where we spent 2 nights at the Meridien Airport Hotel. We love it there.
On 12.10. we flew to Munich. Because we did not want to drive into the darkness we decided to spend the night in the Novotal at the airport.
Actually , the real reason was that we really wanted to go to the Airbräu Restaurant to eat Weisswurst and drink Weizenbeer....
Absolutely magic !!!
And the next day we were on the road to Mother.
She had been on her own now for 3 months since my dad passed away.
I think she is alright or so...
Everything is a mission for her and she takes the word "Stress" to a new level.
My friend Supp sent me two diffusors for my underwater camera. When the parcel arrived my mother opened it and freaked out about the strange stuff. she thought it was lights and phoned her electrician who was just as perplexed as her...
Or she you,d put the refuse outdoor for collection. Then she thinks they already came at 5am and takes it all inside again. When the refuse removers arrive at 11am there is nothing outside our house...
I had to give back the rental car in a town called Sigmaringen. I had no plan how to get back as i did not want to bother my friends and family at work.
So eventually we decide i take the train to another town about 15km away from home where mother and Beulah would pick me up with the car. Mother did not want to drive further than that but this would work.
My train ride was a faerietale.
The perfect weather and the most picturesque views from the train int the colourful forests of deciduous trees and small country villages was a dream.
The little train took forever. It felt like one could run next to it.
Too sweet for words.
When i got to my destination, i saw mother and a visibly stressed out Beulah.
Oh, mother says, the drive was lovely. No cars on the road..
Beulah says, it was a horror trip. Mother drove all the way in the third gear with no less than 15 cars behind her from village to village, hooting and cursing and flashing lights....
We hope, nobody in the queue has lost any business in the process and sincerely apologise to all.