We have had a great weekend with great summer weather. Since we had no divers we were at home all the time and enjoyed every minute.
I took my dear animals to the beach, what could be nicer than the great luck with the four-legged family to soak up the freedom and peace on the sea beach ….. ?????
HAAAAA >>>> ABSOLUTELY WRONG !!!!
There is no greater stress in life than being on the beach with 4 wild dogs.
It starts in the car until everyone has a leash around their neck. By the time all four are finally out of the car, the nerves are usually gone. Then we try to get the volumes on the beach for two without them wrapping us with the lines and bringing them down.
The situation on the beach is first checked in detail. No one should be far and wide, otherwise there will be rioting. Okay, everything seemed to be 100% and we let the dogs off the leash.
All good no problem. The pent-up energy has to go out. They run like savages, they obviously enjoy it and also us watching.
We walk comfortably along the beach, constantly sitting on the coals. Because I know if even a person climbs out of the bushes, he is done.
The responsibility is huge.
At the other end of the bay we see a few people approaching us. We go a little further and then turn around. I whistle the dogs and when they see that we have turned around they follow us. So far everything is fine but the pulse is still at 180 because something can go wrong at any moment.
We go back and turn around again. As we walk we keep looking in both directions just to make sure no one is coming far and wide. Back and forth a few times should also be enough to finally let the poor animals out of breath again.
We go back again and just as I look back to see if all dogs follow, I see a fisherman running wildly gesticulating towards us.
We have a problem, I say to Karen. let’s quickly tie the dogs on the leash.
The two boys were pretty easy to catch, the two older ones had their own program.
This crazy guy is still running at full throttle …
Dude, who’s running towards 4 dogs and screaming and waving ????
He commits suicide, I say.
Think quickly, I am insured. Everything okay.
Smiley and Tempi see the crazy man approaching us and go into attack mode. At full throttle they race towards him and bark at him like crazy, splashing foam from their mouths, teeth bared. AGE !!! Pulse now 250
I recognize the man. He is the fisherman with whom we have had a problem before. Smiley has eaten his fresh fish and it has ticked out ….
I call from a distance to stop and ask why he is racing in the middle of the dog pack? He is blind from anger and no longer has a clear mind.
He shouts that Smiley and Thembi have attacked him and that he calls the police. I say it’s okay for him to do it quietly, but I don’t see where and how he was attacked.
No, he said, we would have been with our backs to the dogs when they mocked him and she raced like two lions on the prey.
But they didn’t do anything except bark. He was more than pissed off that the dogs were not on the leash and he had to do this. I deeply apologized and swore I hadn’t seen anyone and would fasten the dogs as soon as anyone came near.
He didn’t want to calm down and while all the shouting was going on, Smiley and Thembi ran teeth bare and extremely barking around him.
The dogs were now in protector mode because their master is attacked by this wild man. Clear.
This struck with his fishing rod, hit the dogs and me too and we were all really pissed off now.
You couldn’t say a reasonable word with him. The dogs drove him closer and closer to us and with the shouting from him and his goddamn fishing rod the situation was hardly bearable.
Suddenly he came so close to me that the leash of the two young dogs was long enough …..
And Nuisance bit the guy in the leg …. Age …
Blood ran down the calf and seeped into the sand … dude …
His voice rolled over, the situation stood still for a long moment.
Police and lawsuit, court and whatever words came out of him just flew past me.
I’m sorry, grandpa, I said, but who runs at full throttle on 4 dogs, especially when they have just been “attacked” …..
Anyway, he said the next time he would have his gun with him and shoot the dogs. Then I told him I would take his own pistol and shoot him with it.
Then we walked the other way along the beach and all had to calm down first …
And out goes the October….tshook. I wished, my school days back then would have passed so quickly. But, hell, did those days drag on….
So much has happened again here in sleepy South Africa.
We had amazing dives on Protea Banks with all kinds of great sightings including Great White Shark.
Last Thursday was Stevens last dive. We made it a ADA family outing. Brian topped the boat and Spike, Steven, Carrie and i went diving to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea banks.
We all took Nitrox and did a 25 minute bottom time. Brilliant !!
I am sure, Steven did a little crying on his last dive…
From next week he is working for Nomads, a large company which does overland truck tours through Southern Africa. He will have to work properly there as part of the 2-3man crew per truck. Setting up camp, cooking, cleaning, solving problems and whatever comes along. Sure it will be a great adventure.
His replacement, Jazz lasted barely 10 days before he took a hike.
Too hard, too dangerous , too much responsibility …he described the job before he ducked.
I took this as a compliment.
Unfortunately this leaves me back at square one. I am now Steve , i have to get up extra early, i have to fetch the boats and get them ready for sea, i am kippy now.
But, on the other hand, it surely can’t hurt to be fully involved in the operation and get a bit of exercise as well.
…only the weather forecast for next week is absolutely terrible…..brrrrr.
In the meantime we have been busy renovating our shower/toilet at the dive centre. It will be completed next week and it will be state of the art !!!
Beulah and Carrie worked tirelessly on the diver villa. Every room has been improved on, new desks for each room, new bedding, new kitchen tools. There is nothing but nothing missing now. Ready for the new season.
And then came the best news ever !!!
Yesterday we got the news that our cabinet had approved the 20 recommended Marine Protected Areas along the South African coastline. One of them is Protea Banks.
This is the best thing that could have happened to our coast in centuries.
The area is huge and reaches from Port Shepstone to Trafalgar and about 65 nautical miles out to sea.
This will be a sanctuary for all marine animals, the future is guaranteed.
There will be limited fishing allowed with strict rules and much smaller bag limits.
Diving of course is eco friendly and has no negative impact on nature, so we are barely affected. Only our baited dives will have more rules and regulations but since we began we have done this extremely conservatively . We always only used a limited amount of sardines and not much else except for the occasional tuns carcass in tiger season. No problem at all.
The MPAs will be proclaimed in the next government gazette which is expected to come out in March 2019.
This means, the threatening oil and gas exploration is also pushed off our coast.
For months we were worried about the future of our coast and towns. With oil and gas lurking we could have lost everything. We ran from meeting to meeting to try and fight this shit, but those ruthless traitors tried every trick in the book to lead us up the garden path.
Sadly, most residents are oblivious of all of this. The lethargy here on the coast is a disease. Nobody cares and when it is all too late, everybody cries…
We worked on the proclamation of the MPAs for years. My friend Andi Wilkens got us a tremendous support from international NGOs and Environmentalists like Sharkproject, Seashepherd, Greenpeace, WWF, National Geographic, Shark Savers, Kika, Stop Finning, Seventh Generation, Ocean Global Net, Save Wildlife, Rette Den hai, Hai Stiftung Intl. and so many more.
Scientists led by Kerry Sink spearheaded the MPA identification process and put their finished product on the minister’s desk.
And there is stayed…and then the sympathetic minister died….and so did all our hopes…
Until a few days ago. And now everything will be alright !!!!!
Today, Sunday is now the second day blown out. We have a number of divers but they are now sitting high and dry in this miserable wind. It also has gone cold, barely 17˚ max temp today.
The sea is on it’s head, the harbour is closed, not even big ships are sailing past.
But the water is looking lovely. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s dive and expect the vis to be excellent.
So today is time to chill and walk the dogs…
Today we encountered another Great White Shark on Protea Banks.
Steve, our guide basically stood barely 4m away from a fairly large female. The shark was curious and checked the divers out nicely before she moved slowly on.
Lucky Steve had 2 Great Whites in barely three months, i saw 4 in 20 years.
I spoke to Graeme who worked for us some years ago and now lives in cape Town where he works for Pisces Divers. He recons, there are no Great White Sharks near Cape Town, Simonstown, Gaansbaai or anywhere in the area at all. Apparently Mosselbaai still has good sightings but the traditional spots have been devoid of sharks for quite some time now. If it had something to do with the drought lately ? Nobody knows but it is sad that Cape Town has lost this great attraction.
Hopefully it will all come right again soon.
And dive we did. Wow, what a divesite my Protea Banks !!
We did the first dive on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
We heard that the current was pumping and first needed to assess it before we tackle the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
We dropped in at the Southern Cave and – wow – the Vis was 20m+, temp 22°, current 2 knots.
The ocean was full of hammerheads. At least 150 – 200 estimated carefully. 6 black tips, 1 bullshark and 1 guitarshark. Absolutely magic.
We realised that we could dive the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks next. The current is manageable and the divers in our group are all capable.
So we dropped 150m up current of the first cave and drifted straight into the hole.
Here we are greeted by 9 raggies, half of them huge females as is typical of this time of the year. You see these large sharks drifting slowly towards you and you think they look just like Great Whites. Magnificent creatures.
From the first cave we went through the swimthrough and slowly to the second cave.
After the second cave we shot the buoy up. Steve’s line got tangled around his reel and the inflated Liftanlagen started to lift him up fast. He had no choice than to let go of the lot. He signaled to me what happened and before Spike follows an unmanned buoy I quickly pulled my deploybuoy out and inflated it with my octo.
Once my bag was full my octo would not stop free flowing.
No matter what I did, it blew like hell. I watched my air going down in a hurry on my pressure gauge. Time was running out to find solutions. I had to get out of the water and fast.
Within a minute and a bit I had to ascend from almost 30m.
To be safe I sucked a bottle of oxygen which is of course always on our boat.
The divers continued to finish the dive with Steve carrying my buoyline. They had several hundred hammerheads as they slowly ascended from the reef.
All good. Adventure has me back….
And tomorrow we will dive again. Man, i am looking forward to this. More than 50 days on our epic trip away from my beloved Protea Banks. Sure, i did a number of dives in Egypt, but no place is like home.
I am looking forward to 30m-40m depth.
I am looking forward to seeing deco on my computer
I am looking forward to seeing proper sharks and being on a proper boat, not these horrible rubber camels they had in Egypt.
Steve, our guide and skipper for the last two years has resigned. he is moving on and wants to put his ass rather into the African bush than into the ocean. We will miss him lots and hope he will every happy with Nomads Cross Africa Tours. I am sure, he will have lots and lots of adventures.
Steve has been replaced by Jazz Jacobs who is also a local dive guide and has just come back from Greece. Hopefully Jazz will like it here and stay as long as possible.
We have started to dive more regularly again on 30.9. Due to strong winds we have lost quite a few diving days, but the dives my guys did were otherwise. They had hammerheads and tigershark on almost every single dive. Bulls and Raggies and countless whales at the surface.
Last week the weather was so windy that our harbour was closed from Monday right through to Saturday. Unbelievable. The entire week !!
Next week is looking a lot better although there will be a couple of dodgy days.
We can only plan from one day to the next…
The expo in Southern Germany was successful. We got good bookings and lots of interest. Much better than expected. It looks like we will have to be back there next year….i am sure, my parents will love the idea.
After the show we spent 2 days in Munich and then flew out to Marsa Alam in Egypt.
This was phase 3 of our trip.
We stayed at the Hilton Nubian Resort. The hotel was nice, our room splendid, the food okay but the Hilton Guests are weird people.
We are sitting in the middle of nowhere. Dessert all around us, right up to the water’s edge. Nobody would greet or talk to anybody. Too weird for words. I hated them.
I did expect almost every person to be a diver. Who on earth would want to go to Marsa Alam if you are not a diver ?
The beach was dessert and then the reef started. If you wanted to go there you had to walk quite a bit in extreme heat. Quite hectic. For this reason there were 4 large swimming pools at the resort. So you did not need to make a caravan through the dessert if you didn’t want to.
The distance from our room to the dive centre was 1.5km ….all dessert and 38˚ already in the morning.
Once we were there, we found what we were looking for. Great staff, capable guides, a house reef like we never seen one before. Absolutely amazing.
We could just go there anytime we liked, take 2 cylinders and disappear as long as we liked. No guide was necessary. We enjoyed this most.
Once i went to Elphinstone and did 2 dives and once we went to Abu Dabbab 2-3 which we liked even better.
On Elphinstone i saw my first Longimanus. Most happy !!!
Everything at the dive centre was super except for their boats. They were in a shocking condition. I have never seen boats like that. Everywhere the pontoons came apart, no handles, i broke the last one off, no ropes. The motors were rattling and barely running at half their normal power.
I complained a lot about the boats. They are not safe and not comfortable at all but they charge a healthy rate if you use them.
After 11 Days in Marsa Alam it was finally time to pack our bags and return home.
We opened our driveway gate at 21h00 on 8.10. and were licked to death by our five dogs…..how did we miss them….