30.12. 2020 Lockdown Day 279 Level 3
Yep, we have gone up to level 3 again since Midnight Monday. Our infection rates are hovering between 8000 and 14000 a day. There are 220 countries and territories in the world and South Africa has to have the new, super spreader variant of Covid !!!
Can you believe this !!!
Where in the world did we dig this one out ? And of course we have to have stricter measures straight away.
First thing : Bottle stores are closed again.
Second rule : All beaches are closed
Restaurants are not allowed to sell alcohol, curfew is extended from 21h00 – 06h00 and so on.
At first it was said nobody is allowed to launch a boat due to all beaches closed. So most holiday makers have left town and new ones have cancelled.
After two days, since yesterday we are allowed to launch and dive again. Happy about that, but not many divers around….
So we sit back, take it easy and wait for better days. As long as our fridges are full and beer is stocked up plenty life is good.
On 27.12. we did another Baited Dive. And it was again outrageous with crystal clear water 35m vis, we had 1 tiger shark ( unfortunately only distant ) 4 Great Hammerheads, 5 Black Tips and 3 Bull sharks.
It was one of those epic bull shark dives where the animals just fooled around with us .
With this amazing memory i go happily into the new year 2021 and hope it will be a good one for all of us and the whole, entire world.
Happy New Year
24.12. 2020 Merry Christmas to all
Firstly i wish you all Merry Christmas.
We are pretty screwed here now having our very own version of the Corona virus .
I tried my best to promote South Africa and the low infection rate we enjoyed til just now…
Man we had barely 1500 new infections a day and life was good. Now we dug out our very own Corona which we are exporting all over the world .
Infections jumped to 5000, then 8000 and yesterday already 14000. No-one wants us and noone wants to visit us anymore…
Life is still the same here. Everything is open and we are on level one restrictions. Besides a couple of days this year where the beaches are closed to combat super spreading we could not tell there is a problem. However personally i feel definitely more worried than before. Corona is everywhere and rumours don’t sound good.
Yesterday a home for disabled people came to get some Oxygen from me. Apparently there is no oxygen anywhere Hospitals are running out and most of the inmates of this home are sick. I donated the gas of course but also told them not to come again. The bit of O2 i have left now is for the ADA family in case one of us and ours should get sick.
For now we are not going to worry about the old virus but be merry over Christmas.
Beulah better has some serious presents lined up for me. I damn well need it !!!
Supp-Diving an Protea Banks
Just Africa Scuba an Protea Banks
20.12. 2020 Lockdown Day 269 Level 1
Our German group Supp Diving and our Belgian friend Bart have all left us again. It is sad, really because these days not many people feel like travelling overseas and others have been scared into submission by their various governments. Yes, we have our second wave of Corona now here in South Africa but we are in no way a High Risk Country !!!
Travelling to South Africa is easy and pain free. All you need is a negative Covid Test which one can do almost everywhere these days. Getting back is just as easy. A covid test can be done right here in town and get back the result reliably within 24 hours. Good to go home or elsewhere.
Anyway, our guests were rewarded big time as the pictures show. Diving on Protea Banks has been ab absolut pleasure. Hammerheads as many as stars in the sky. Black Tips curious and keen to play with us, Raggies in the caves on the Northern Pinnacle and Giant Guitarsharks on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks.
All this in warm water ( 24˚ – 26˚ ) and great visibility ( 25m )
Today we had our first Sunday off in December. Beulah and i started the day with a champagne breakfast. Just now i am going for a dip in the swimming pool. The weather here is hot and sunny like a proper summer is supposed to be !!!
15.12. 2020 Lockdown Day 264
So last night the president spoke and upped the rules a bit because people just don’t give a damn. They are organising stupid parties which end up with over 1000 infections . These infections are then carried into their private circles and spread there further. Sadly it is the same every where in the world. Renewed lockdowns and more restrictions are the price to pay.
So Eastern Cape Province and Garden Route had to close all beaches until after the Christmas season. This is a disaster for the economy and everybody involved.
For us and our Province of KZN it means :
Beaches closed on 16.12. / 25.12. / 26.12. / 31.12. / 1.1./2.1./3.1.
Luckily we will be allowed to launch from Shelly Beach and can go diving without further issues.
All restaurants must close at 22h00 daily , bottle stores are only open from Mondays to Thursdays. Curfew is on from 23h00 until 04h00 every night.
I see, the infections came down from 8000 two days ago to 5000 yesterday. Let’s hope it won’t get worse.
Protea Banks News
We have been diving pretty much everyday for weeks now. Just as the last group had left and i was getting ready for a little break i look in my bookings and see Russel is coming. And Russel is diving with a rebreather. So quickly forgotten were my chill plans.
I fired up my rebreather and with a few hick ups got it to work nicely.
Yesterday Russel and i went out rebreathing.
I cannot describe the magnitude of this dive !!!
It was definitely the best dive of 2020. Russ and i had Great Hammerheads barely 10m away from us, literally thousands of Scalloped Hammerheads. We had 12 Zambezis, seven of which followed us for quite some time. We saw three massive Eagle Rays, 20 Guitarsharks, Black Tips and one Dusky.
Visibility was 25m, water temp 25˚C
It does not get better !!!!!
Obviously having no bubbles and lots of time on the bottom helped tremendously.
13.12. 2020 Lockdown Day 262 Level 1
The Corona Situation in South Africa
Unfortunately and rather unexpectedly our daily new infection rates shot up from 1500 to 8000. Needless to say everybody is up in arms and rumours are running wild about new lockdown regulations and so on.
First and most importantly, i have stocked up my bar to the top of the roof. I am sorted !!!
On a more serious note, they are talking about closing the beaches in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces over the Christmas Holiday Period.
This is the time when people congregate on the beaches and go crazy. Parties from morning to morning, thousands of people mingling and standing on top of each other. And like everywhere in the world, people don’t give a damn about Covid. …
We call it Gatvol, sick and tired of Covid talk, restrictions and rumours. Until one of us catches the virus…then it is all tears and remorse…
Of course our country and our economy cannot afford any form of lockdown, hard or not so hard. We are cooked if we get any more restrictions.
Tonight Rampies, our president will be talking to his fellow South Africans and tell us what we get for Christmas.
Better news about diving Protea Banks
For a week we had Just Africa Scuba with us. These people were so nice and really inspiring divers. Even Spike said to me, he looks forward to working with this group everyday when he gets up early. Nice.
We had such good diving too. They deserved it well. Eight different species of sharks, Scalloped Hammerheads, Great Hammerheads, Raggies, Tiger, Bullsharks ,Black Tips, Duskies and Giant Guitarsharks. Pretty much all Protea has to offer.
The visibility was mostly great , around 20m but Friday when we did a baited dive we had only 5m vis. And then three Zambezies came to play with us. They were on the bait ball and in our faces. It was my dream. We did not have such a great Bullsharks dive in five years. No Black Tips it irritate, just slow and gentle Bullsharks. So, so nice.
On another day we got to the second cave and saw a massive Potato Bass. No matter how close we got to him, he would not move. This was really unusual and when i looked closer i found that the bass had a fishing lure stuck in its mouth and the line was anchoring him in the reef. Poor animal. How long was he stuck ?
Of course i took out mu cutter and severed the damn fishing line which held him prisoner. Immediately he swam into safe distance from us. There you go my boy. Hope the lure will rust quickly and fall out in a few weeks.
4.12. 2020 Lockdown Level 1
A quick word on our Corona situation in South Africa :
0We were doing really well with infections contained to about 1500 – 1700 a day since we are on level 1. But for the last week/10days our rates are going up again. First 3000-3500, now 4000 – 4300
Luckily for us the main hotspots are in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces, namely around Port Elizabeth/east London as well as the famous Garden Route.
Looks like the Eastern half of South Africa is doing alright for now.
People from all countries are welcome in South Africa as long as they have a negative Covid Test which is not older than 72 hours.
This rule will stay unchanged because there is nothing wrong with a healthy tourist and this country desperately needs tourists.
Recently my maid Prian and i were in our kitchen when we heard a weird noise. It sounded like mother’s tinitus, bsssssss.
We looked and listened and looked some more until we found a wasp busy building a nest in my momentarily disused coffee maker.
No way, Jose, you can’t build a house in my treasured espresso machine. We chased the bugger away and broke down her dwelling. Sorted.
A minute later i go to get a drink in my bar and there i see another wasp nest. This one was like a double story office block !!!
I called Prian as she had gathered valuable experience in dealing with unwanted wasp buildings.
She demolished it singlehandedly.
Then she called me to see what civilisation had already taken foot in this place. There were about ten larvae at home as well as 18 dead bodies of poisonous spiders.
We know that these spiders were poisonous because we recognised the relatively small, pitch black buggers which we fear worse than Corona.
So we think the larvae would eventually become little wasp babies which would feed on the spider bodies.
Sorry guys, can’t do in my house.
It is interesting though that the wasp together with probably her husband wasp has murdered these spiders. Probably stabbed them in the heart…Don’t know.
In any case i am grateful to the wasps for hunting the dreaded poisonous spiders in and around my house. One bite from these bastards gives you a whole lot of shit…
I realise these wasps are actually doing us humans a valuable service. I am glad we just shoed them away instead of zapping them. Unfortunately an entire generation of wasps was aborted in the process.
Sorry my friends
3.12. 2020 Lockdown Level 1
And cook, it is almost Christmas again. That how quick it goes, shitty year or not.
But was 2020 really so bad ? Sure, this Corona thing is a disaster, no doubt.
Our businesses, Diving Protea Banks, Sardine Run, our Diver Villa Guesthouse and our Pool service/repairs suffered of course greatly. We had to subsidise our life style with savings every now and then.
On the other hand i can’t deny that this year was an interesting year in every sense. The first 5-6 weeks we enjoyed a proper holiday in our own home. Our dogs couldn’t ask for better and are now spoilt rotten.
Then we got a dodgy permit for essential services and started our pool service again. 85+ pools were green and miserable….We did think a filthy swimming pool is a health hazard and our service is essential. luckily we never got checked..eish.
Shortly thereafter, by mid May we were allowed to dive again. How exciting this was !!! First we could only go privately, then with a half load on the boat and by June we were allowed the usual full boat load. Naturally there were not enough divers around to fill a boat in the early days but in the last two months we did pretty well considering the circumstances. We got good, local, South African support which helped us to keep our head above water. I guess even a bit of the neck sticks out at the moment.
In fact we had more local divers than we did in a long time. I think this is mainly due to borders being closed, most of all the Mozambican border.
The diving was excellent and i think a lot of South Africans have realised what a great dive destination we have right here .
December and January are looking good too. The whole area is very well booked for local holiday makers. People are covid tired and need to see and do something exciting. Hopefully we are on their bucket list.
Also the international market is slowly pushing through the grass. This Sunday a diver from Belgium is arriving and in ten days my friend Supp is coming from Germany with 4 friends.
For January i have a group of Ukrainians besides divers from JoBurg and Cape Town booked.
There is definitely hope for now. We will wait and see. These crazy times we plan from one week to the next. More is not possible.
One thing is for sure, life is full of emotions. Never a dull day. This uncertain situation forces us to think in small increments, appreciate small winnings and constantly nurture hope. It is definitely interesting.
If this is not a real adventure then what is !!!???