While Beulah and i are battling the african jungle , the heavenly gates open on Protea Banks.
Except for yesterday when the wind was blowing strong, the guys back home dived everyday.
The vis has been between 20m and 25m and the sightings they are reporting are blowing me away.
The manta we saw recently decided to stay around for a while. Our divers saw him almost on every dive.
On one of the baited dives they had a humpback whale coming right up to them.
As well they saw a tiger shark again. Raggies are always around and so are black tips.
Looks like the guitar sharks are coming back to sand shark gully.
And to crown it all : Today they had about 150 hammerheads….
I can have a heart attack when i hear this…
In the meantime Beulah and i are driving around for hours looking for animals.
Today we were having a braai at a pick nick area when suddenly we heard a funny noise. Sounded like a couple of vehicles were coming down the hill towards us.
Suddenly the noise sounded like 10 drones were flying overhead.
And then we saw them…
A swarm of African Killer Bees…
passed hardly 5m above us.
And we just stood there dumbfounded. These buggers could kill us in a minute.
We were lucky, they were in a mission to somewhere and not out of flatten stupid humans who braai wors…..
Had a bit of a tough time last night…
It began like this :
We lit the braai and made a lovely bush dinner.
Afterwards we had a couple double shots of single malts and enjoyed the absolute tranquility and peace in the bush.
Looks like it is always windy here at night. Usually wind stirs an uneasiness in me as it always means trouble in the diving…
But here it is part of nature. Keeps the insects away… still a bit uneasy though…
Around nine Beulah gets tired and goes to bed.
I am still wide awake ( like younger chaps are ) and decide to watch a movie.
Dirk brought me hundreds of movies on a hard drive . All in full HD . Whenever i have a bit of time i watch one on my computer. Love it.
After i am about halfway through i fall asleep on my keyboard.
When i wake up i decide it is time to go to sleep.
Close up the cottage and get into bed.
Before long i am fast asleep. Those single malts are amazing…
I sleep deep when suddenly a sharp pain wakes me up. My right foot is damn sore.
I look at it and see two toes are bleeding.
What the F…k ???? What just happened to me in the safety of my bed ???
I am freaked out.
Like a 20 year old i jump out of bed and check what is gong on.
Beulah is waking up and wondering why there is so much commotion in the middle of the night.
Maybe i shouldn’t watch all these movies ….???
I tell her what happened and we are both flabbergasted.
We pull off the blanket. Nothing.
Pull off the sheet. Nothing
But the fact is that i was bitten in my fourth and fifth toe.
What kind of animal has teeth which are about half an inch apart ???!!!!!!!!!
Yep. Naked fear is creeping up fast.
Is this my ultimate nightmare ? Could it really be ?
I am shitting myself.
Let us make a quick emergency plan.
We are in the middle of the game reserve, far, far away from any doctor or hospital.
I gotto monitor myself. If i was bitten by a snake it would not be long to feel the terrible effects of the poison.
Nausea, Exzessive Sweating, Pain, Trouble breathing etc. I am watching and waiting.
As we stand in the doorway we notice a bright orange ball in the middle of the room.
Is is a simple kiddies playable ? Or is it something gruesome ? We don’t know.
Why did we not see this ball when we went to bed or before ?
Thankfully time passes without me feeling ill. After half an hour we can assume, i was not bitten by a poisonous snake.
We close the bedroom door and go to the second bedroom.
After a thorough security check we declare it fit for habitation.
But Beulah’s curiosity has no end. She must see what it is that threatened and attacked us.
She opens the door to the snake infested bedroom. I stand in the doorway in a protective pose. If she needs my help i will jump in…( or out the house…)
We see nothing.
Our nerves are shot. No mention of sleep…
After some time has passed, Beulah feels a sinus attack coming up. She needs her tablets and they are in the car.
I offer to go fetch them but need my shoes for my bleeding feet.
And my shoes are in the snakeroom .
So again we open the door to fetch the slippers. One of them has a puddle of some liquid on.
Another huge question ???
Suddenly we see movement under the exposed sheet.
Something is moving under the tightly fitted sheet and it looks clearly like a long body with a head. Long as in close to a meter….
If that is not a snake, my name is Fritz !!!
Is this not everybody’s ultimate worst absolute horror nightmare ???
A snake in your bed ? W H A T !!!!! What the F..k ???
I am now totally freaked out. Ready to go home right this minute…
We go outside to look for Beulah’s sinus tablets only to find that they are actually inside… Jeeez, and what about all the snakes which are waiting for us outside ???
If you fear snakes, you loose the plot quickly…
Eventually we settle down in the second, now secure bedroom. Every light in the house stays on !!
At night everything is multiplied. The night is nobody’s friend. Everything seems exaggerated.
After some time we succumb to our exhaustion in the early morning hours.
When we wake up again it seems like a bad dream. But my toes are still pinging.
Beulah can’t wait to see what it was that caused all this upset. I am struggling to keep her out of the snake room. Already she stands in the doorway looking in.
I tell her we need to call the game capture people to safely remove the beast from our house.
And i want to see it gone with my own eyes.
They come and start pulling the sheet off. Then the mattress protector…nothing.
They think we were dreaming this up…
When the moved the beds away they saw the beast…
Thankfully it was only a rat….
Bad enough to have a rat under your sheets with you…still a scary thought.
And the rat must have beed so pissed off with me that it bit me twice !!!
Obviously my foot must have gotten into its space and scared it.
The orange ball was indeed a kiddies playbill and must have lain under the bed. When the rat decided to climb into my bed it must have touched the ball by mistake which probably rolled into the middle of the bedroom.
And the puddle on my slipper ? Guess even rats must have a toilet to pipi….
Give me the ocean anytime…….
Here we go.
And the shit already hits the fan…
I was supposed to get a real cool surprise. A liveaboard trip in the red sea. Our first ever !!!
We were scheduled to leave in 2 days time.
Everybody kept the secret from me.
My information system is non existent. Nobody tells me anything…
Maybe this is a good thing so i don’t worry about things i don’t know.
Three days before my birthday we found out that we have to attend a critically important meeting with all dive operators in South Africa and the authorities.
What a disaster.
Of course, Beulah had to tell me all about the trip and we had to do everything we could to postpone it for a later date.
There was no option about missing this meeting on 29.5. no way.
My disappointment had no limit.
I must have been the most unhappy person in the world…
( we did manage to postpone the trip at almost no extra cost…)
To soften the blow, Beulah organised a week in Hluhluwe National Park.
So on the grand day, we loaded our car full of toys and shit we always take along when we leave home. ( just about everything we own !!! )
We held on to our hats and shot off in style.
In Richards Bay we all but raided a bottle store and arrived at Hilltop Camp happy and thirsty.
I off loaded our car while Beulah unpacked.
When i was done i sat down, lifted my legs and cracked open a bottle of beer.
Then Beulah said : Where are the suitcases with our clothes ?
The car is empty….
I think, if it wasn’t my birthday Beulah would have hit me with a stick…
We, i overlooked two suitcases in my excitement and here we are with only the clothes on our backs.
We slept as we were and decided that our best option would be to go to Richards Bay and buy new clothes….
Shorts, Jeans, shirts, underwear, socks and so on. The trolley filled up.
People looked at me funny. Who has so much stuff in his trolley ? Something wrong…
I told Beulah, we need to get out. I was feeling uncomfortable. Everyone was staring at my trolley and then at me…
I told the guy at the till that we lost our luggage. Just arrived from Germany.
Half a fortune later – the guy on the till had his best day ever !!! – we got back to Hilltop in the late afternoon.
lost the whole day. No good.
We went to reception and extended our stay by another day.
The diving on Protea Banks is out of this world. Raggies wherever we look. In the last couple of days they were in midwater as well as at the bottom. Today more on the bottom. It is absolutely magic. Manta Ray came around twice yesterday, on both dives.
Today i saw a very special fish and managed to film it.
Does anybody know what this is ?
I will reveal it in my next post.
Beulah and i are packing for Hluhluwe National Park. Tomorrow we are off for a week to chill.
Should have been in the Red Sea on a live aboard. Was booked and paid for. All done.
It was supposed to be a surprise for me when suddenly the authorities scheduled a meeting for the 29.5.
This damn meeting is so important that i do not dare and miss it.
So we had to postpone our liveaboard trip for now…
I am not a happy chappy…..
Guess the game park will have to make up for it…
Wehhhh, the diving is amazing on Protea banks.
Although we have the most ridiculous conditions, we still have some of our best dives.
For the last 10 days we had reverse current and now we have zero current.
For us this usually means, few sharks, no vis…disaster.
We get out to Protea Banks and the water is as green as the lawn on Buckingham Palace. Damn !!!
We have no hope for any decent dive…
We drop into this mess and find ourselves in 5m visibility.
But as soon as we reach 20m, the water turns blue and clean.
And ridiculously cold….17˚
We dived on Playground first and everybody loved the dive.
Then we went to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
Steve and i had to exchange some listening stations and temperature logger for the scientists. So we parked our highly capable and experienced divers off at the first cave while the two of us went a bit further down the reef.
Here we sent the old station up to the surface with a lift bag and fastened the new station onto its anchoring devices. 10 minutes later we were back at the cave and found our divers having much fun with a cluster of Raggies swimming lazily in midwater.
The sight was epic.
We joined the fun and i cursed the fact that i left my camera on the boat…
Third dive we dropped on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks to exchange the listening station there.
Besides some Raggies we were visited by a curious Tiger Shark.
This time i had my camera with me, but the shark was too far away for a good shot.
We are seeing tigers lately everyday. Clearly the best month nowadays. It moved down from April.
Yesterday’s conditions were not too good. Bad vis all the way. I was a bit worried when i put my wetsuit on today.
As we got to the reef , the water is green..dreadful…
Don’t think too much, get it done, brother.
Due to the lack of current we don’t have too many choices of dive sites.
So we dive on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks which is always a winner.
We drop into the soup and slowly descend towards the first cave. The vis is terrible, maybe 5m
But as we reach 20m it gets really cold and the vis opens up.
18˚ on the bottom and 20m vis. Fair trade, i guess.
The best is that there were raggies everywhere. We carefully estimated about 70 animals. Hectic.
We are blown away by this amazing sight. Wherever you look there are sharks.
And then i see this machine…
It must have been twice as big as the raggies or even bigger.
I recognise the sickle tail fin.
Then i see the stripes…
Yes, it is my favourite animal of all times : The Tiger Shark.
I get so excited that i drop my camera ( on its safety line ) and go wild under water to get everyone’s attention. By the time i look back, my tiger is disappearing…
Only 2 divers saw the end of him…
That is the ocean wilderness……
Tomorrow we will do a baited dive and possibly dive on Playground second dive.
We were busy lately. Hectic.
Had a proper group of excellent divers from Japan as well as a nice group of German divers from Aqua Active Agency.
There were days when we launched 8 times, other days 6 launches.
Got up at 4am and fell into bed at 22h00 completely exhausted.
Although i really did not have the time and energy to write thies news report i still had to spend hours and hours in the office at night.
But , as we all know, don’t complain about too much work…
The diving since late April has been really nice. Mostly great 25m + vis and warm water 25˚
We had Tiger Sharks, Raggies, Black Tips and yesterday we were accompanied by a huge school of stingrays, 25 strong !!!
We still have reverse current which makes our diving life slightly difficult.
Got to do everything the wrong way round…
A week ago our Steven came back to us. He left us in October last year in search of a better job….realised , there ain’t no such thing !!! hehehe
We are more than happy to have him back.
Today Steve and i went shopping in Durban.
It is Sardine Run time just now and we are preparing hard for the great exodus.
The two of us did not shy from spending a small fortune today.
Every and all things we could possibly need for our sardine run and just as much we don’t really need but want !!!
There are things in life one can’t live without. Especially after a long run of hard work one needs rewards and stuff.
Just before the sardine run it is the time to stock up. My car was full to the ceiling.
It was fun
Tomorrow we have our annual seaworthy survey for two of our boats, Spitzbüble and Twilight.
Everything gets checked thoroughly and equipment needs to be serviced, medical checks done, stuff replenished which has expired, gone missing, was used etc.
It is a good thing to have this survey every year. It keeps us on our toes and all our boats in top condition.
Normally we do not fail as this is a matter of honour for us.
Let’s see what happens