So, from Monday we are moving into phase 3
This means, almost all people have to go back to work.
Funny how these days this is something we are happy about...
I keep on remembering how so many people were looking forward to 2020.
A lot of folks had a shitty 2019...what do we say now...??? Damn.
Our pool staff has been working for the last 3 weeks already but from Monday we don't have to hide and worry anymore.
The dive business remains closed.
Sadly ,Steve has left us. I could not hold him at full pay any longer. Offered him half time at half pay so at least he could have put bread on the table.
But Steve hit the big luck. His girlfriends parents have a farm and they need to move to town for medical reasons.
So there is a farmhouse, equipment, stock and everything running and waiting for Steve to find his feet.
They got chickens, eggs and a couple of cashew nut trees.
Spike and i will potter around three days a week whereby we will get little jobs done which we never had time to and Spike will have something to eat and more.
So from Monday we go to phase 3.
We will still not be allowed on the beaches which worries me most. My dogs need to get out before they go mad.
We can buy alcohol from Mondays to Thursdays.
We get treated like children these days...
I can imagine the complete chaos next week at the bottle stores.
Luckily i still have about 4 cases of beer, 4 bottles of whiskey and several liqueurs, cognac and half full bottles of stuff.
I have plenty of booze left and will wait until the chaos calms down before i stock up.
Some interesting Fact
I have realised that my beard weighs 2.3 kilo. Yep. True.
On day zero i weight myself and had 90.4 kilo. Today i weigh 92.7 kilo
So 92.6 - 90.4 = 2.3 kilo weight of my beard.
Amazing, hey ??!!!
6 divers per group
lots of space
we will manage this
27.5. 2020 Lockdown Day 62
Yeah, this time the count is right. Monday was day 60.
Otherwise all good here.
Dogs and wife are spoilt properly. All 4 moan if i speis the day working away from home. Maybe they are right.
When we are all at home there is peace and happiness.
Not bad. Could live like this.
I have been out of the house a lot lately. We did a tremendous amount of work on the boats and on the Diver Villa.
The boats look like new. Absolute pleasure.
I think, even they are spoilt now...
And i love nothing more than when my boats are in order. I get totally depressed and sleepless if one or several of my boats look shabby or worse, if they are not in 100% operating condition.
Tomorrow and next week we will tackle the trailers. They need a lot of de-rusting, roll bars need to be polished, some of them extended ,others repaired.
Jockeywheels need to be re-welded and greased, rollers and trailer frames have broken loose in places and need a bit of heat.
Spike and Steve have worked in the garage of the Diver Villa.
Those of you who ever had the fortune to have a quick look inside know what it looked like.
I don't think an exploded hand grenade could have caused more devastation...
And now ? Man, it looks like a shop.
I could even imagine spending a couple of hours chilling in the garage there. Yeah.
And we are finding stuff again.
Usually we are always under pressure. If we need spares or tools we just go our and buy them. In the meantime we have everything double and triple we ever need.
But we don't have time to look for it and only stumble over it when we don't need it anymore....
Now we have order again.
Besides boats and garage i got quite a bit of work in the pool business i have kept going for the last 27 years.
I must say, fate has been good to us. Sure it is no fireworks and we won't go on an overseas trip tomorrow ( !!! ) but it helps paying a few of the endless bills.
This little business which was run by two of my guys with very little interference on my part is now all we have.
And i treasure it like hell.
No idea when we will be launching again. They say, i phase 2 only. And god only knows when we will be in phase two.
Besides this, when will there be a diver with a couple of bucks in his pocket to go diving again ?
I don't expect anything for the rest of this year...
But yes, we will go and dive for fun as soon as we are allowed.
Diving in Coronavirus Times
Of course we have to think how we can keep our divers safe in times of Corona.
This virus is not going away in a hurry, it will be uptown us to learn to live with it.
Beulah is busy doing a lot of PADI webinars and they are setting guidelines as to what we can do in our industry.
Of course the shop is easy. It will be marked out with distance markets, sanitisers and so on.
Our rental equipment will have to be disinfected with the right stuff and rental regulators come with a optional private mouthpiece at cost price .
Each diver will get his own wash up trough with his/her name on.
The boat procedure is more complicated.
We did mark out one of the boats.
We have six grab lines outside the boat which are ideal for one diver per line.
Accordingly we marked out six seating areas for a maximum group size of six divers plus guide plus captain.
Good news is, our dive groups will be nice and small.
Divers are requested not to vomit anymore and not to pee in their suits.
If anybody must spit, he is supposed to do so with the wind and not against.
Spike and i are just laughing...
Eight out of ten divers vomit and spit against the wind, no matter what we tell them.
On many an occasion we had to jump off the boat into the ocean to wash of secondhand peas and carrots....
Sure we won't be able to control it all perfectly but i think it is our effort which counts
Fresh soldiers ready to fight viruses
22.5. 2020 Lockdown Day 56 or so...
Lockdown just continues here is South Africa. Nobody knows what is going on and when things will get better.
Fact is, we don't have a lot of infections and comparatively few deaths.
I think we stand at just over 19000 infections and 369 deaths. Bad enough, i guess.
I must admit, it seems as if our police is very lenient here on the South Coast.
Nor myself, or Beulah or my pool service team have ever been stopped.
So naturally we all push the limits and do what we have to do.
The maid is coming twice a week, the gardener everyday and the pool guys are working .
The alternative is simply to retrench everybody.
This would mean, that if we can't pay one person, a whole family is left destitute.
We cannot put our people through such a tragedy, no matter what. Most of them have worked for us half a lifetime.
David, the gardener begged to come to work although we paid him for staying at home. He recons, he needs the work to feel human and get rid of too much energy which otherwise will end up on somebody's arse....through his shoe....in frustration...
Spike and Steve have been working 3-4 days a week on the boats and cleaning the Diver Villa garage.
If anybody has ever seen the garage, it was more than a war zone....
Now it looks like a 5star establishment. Yeahi...
I myself have also been out of the house all day everyday. Much to Beulah's criticism.
She loved our time at home and i must say, i miss it now.
I just turned 61 and enjoyed being 16 again recently.
I was very well stocked up with alcohol which is the biggest problem now in the country. Most people ran dry some time ago and are whingeing like hell.
Just as i was down to 3 cans of beer, getting ready for a life without the beloved liquid, my friend asked me if i needed beer.
What a question i told him. He said, i could have 6 cases.
Oh my god. 6 cases of beer.
This is like winning something. Jeez.
So i was to meet his brother at his office at 4pm.
Sure as hell i was there.
But how would i explain to Beulah that i needed to go out at this time of the day ?
I decided to tell her, the security company phoned and said that our alarm at the shop is not activated. Perfect reason to go.
We went behind the building but found the neighbour looking very alert there.
So, as we are now big time smugglers we decided to find a safer place.
The beers came in a dogwood delivery van, very inconspicuous.
We decided to go to my house to do the transaction.
That was child's play.
The real danger came from within....
How on earth could i get the Stoff into my house past Beulah.
Beulah is really trying hard to save money and not waste.
And here am i buying beers like hell...
All the cases were first piled into the garage and covered up with plastic sheeting and netting. Looks good.
But now this stuff needs to get into the fridges.
When Beulah was asleep i carried 3 cases upstairs.
When she went bathing i took another case to the pool bar fridge.
Of course she will see some of the beers so i told her, my friend gave me a couple of beers.
Over time she realised that there is beer everywhere.
She asked, did your friend give you so much ? Yes, he doesn't drink, i said.
Sometimes you get easier past law enforcement than the wife enforcement....
10.5. 2020 Lockdown Day 44
Time flies, even in house arrest.
My favourite dog Smiley dies a bit unexpectedly last month. We had to put her down due to cancer.
Of course we knew something was coming, but i was hoping we still have a bit of time with her.
It was devastating to say the least. I did write the story of Smiley on the German side of this blog but this finished me so badly that i could not write anymore.
Sorry guys. I miss that dog so much.
We found her almost dead in the Transkei on one of our Sardine Run trips in Coffee Bay. I think it was in 2013.
She was pregnant, had cancer then already, her ears so badly infected that they would just stand straight out. And she was riddled with mainge which made her smell really bad.
Our vet, Dr. Bruggemann rolled his eyes, then rolled up his sleeves and got my beautiful Smiley right.
She had a great life with us, at least we think so.
Sometimes i wondered, because she traded her freedom for safety and security.
The choice wasn't really hers, but i tried my best to let her run free whenever possible. All she ever wanted was going to the beach...
What would i give if i had just one more day with her on the beach.....
Since 29.4. when Smiley died i was not myself. It felt like having a blade inside your stomach and every time i think of her it cuts deep inside me.
In March we had to put Fergie, the Irish Setter down, in April Smiley.
It is enough now.
Of course our permanent lockdown is starting to work on everybody. People are running out of money, people are struggling to find food and people are seriously restless. I think the holiday is over and we all want to do something again.
We are worried about our swimming pool business. We have about 85 pools we service once a week. This means, cleaning, backwashing the filter and adding chemicals to keep the water nice and clear blue.
Now, six weeks without this service, its of pools are in a bad way.
We managed to get some kind of emergency permit but we better not get caught at all. Not sure if this permit will cut it...
So our staff is driving from pool to pool and trying their best to fix them.
Ducking and Diving is the keyword.
Also Spike and Steven are pottering around a bit.
On Thursday last week we moved all four boats from our parking at Shelly Beach to the Diver Villa. Now we have three of them standing nicely in the shade of the big tree at the villa and the fourth one up by the garages.
It was such a mission to do that because the boats only fired through the gate if we emptied the air on the tubes completely. Als due to the angle of the driveway, the long trailers kept getting stuck in the tar and the cars spun the wheels. So we had to find a way and we managed.
But it took us from 9am until 4pm to get it all done.
The next day we started all our engines and let them each run warm for a while. Also we turned the steerings to make sure the seals don't perish and the hydraulic liquid runs out.
Boats hate standing around...
Today we did a bit of de-rusting and greasing anything metal on boat , motors and trailer.
We start with the Southern Comfort and finish one boat at the time.
There are so many small and medium jobs to do on each boat. It never ends.
And now is the best time to get all that done.
These boats are most likely on longterm parking here at the Diver Villa.
It looks actually quite nice to see the boats under the tree.
It is funny to see old Spike. He is totally pale and looks sick.
I think it is just the lack of sun on the boat.
We all sure miss the ocean ...
Now would be the best time of the year to go diving. Our weather is absolutely perfect. Warm 28˚C days and no breath of wind.
The sea is as flat as a swimming pool.
Now is the time for Tigersharks. And all indicators where pointing to a whopping tiger season. Daaaamn
The Raggies will be there by now. They come at the end of April or latest early May.
By now there are at least 50 Magiers on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
They will love the peace there. No noisy fishing boats and no bubble makers disturbing them with hectic video lights and flapping all over the place.
They for sure enjoy their peace !!!
Our freezers are full of whale meat and bait fish. I recon, i got about 250KG Sardines
All ready for a magic baiting season with Tigersharks and Bullsharks.
Now i have to worry that the power in the house does not go off...
That would be a great mess.
Who knows how things will progress. By the looks of things we will not be doing much diving anymore this year...
At the moment i am mainly busy with load shedding. Now it is my turn, not Eskom's
My insurances are way too high, my wages are tearing on my shirt, too many fixed costs.
I can only see now what kind of moneys wend flowing in and out of our accounts.
Sadly, our Steve will be leaving us at the end of this month. Luckily he has a great opportunity to go farming on his girlfriend's parents farm. All is set up for Steve and Adele to start and take over a working business.
That gives me some relief of course, but i really hate loosing Steve...
Then it is back to the age old team from the early days.
Spike, Myself, Karen and Brian. We can handle two boats with a maximum of 20 divers . I don't think we will see these numbers in a long time to come.
Staring all over again...
But first we might have to eat our Sardines from the freezers......