2021-04

Sardine Run 2021

The Sardine Run 2021 is going to happen. As it is extremely difficult to plan ahead these days we can see closer to the end of June and July and can say, unless there is a corona outbreak of note, we will be in Coffee Bay.

Our time is 25.6. until 8.7. at this stage.

We are receiving daily inquiries and bookings for our Sardine Run program. We will not ask for any deposits until 2-3 weeks before the start. This leaves everybody risk free to book and change his mind if so wished. Of course we will be very flexible and will not punish anybody who either has a problem or fears corona closer to this time.

There are video clips and reports of amassing sardines from False Bay to Algoa Bay as it has never been seen before.
This could mean that this year is the mother of all Sardine Runs.

Also we have not increased our prices since 2019 and we have special deals for South Africans which are not likely to be repeated again.

So if anybody ever wanted to see the Sardine Run, this year is the year !!!
Remember, it is NOT a scuba diving event. People do not have to be scuba divers to book with us. We are mostly snorkelling and freediving. Those who don’t want to get wet can get in on the action from the comfort of the dry boat.

Don’t miss this !!!!

The Raggies have arrived on Protea Banks !!!

27.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections Yesterday 849 - Incidence 14.7

Last Sunday, 25.4. i really wanted to see the Northern Pinnacles again. I had a feeling that the Raggies could have arrived. Usually they arrive on Protea Banks either in the last weekend in April or the first weekend in May.

Everybody said, aaah we want to go visit the tiger shark on the Playground but luckily i persisted and we decided to go to the First Cave.
Low and behold there were 26 Raggies in the First Cave…hahaha i was right after all…
Besides the raggies we had our tiger shark as well as three Zams and three black tips.
Vis was 25m water temp 25˚C top half and 23˚C bottom temp.

No-one complained, that’s for sure !!!

Tiger Shark
Raggies
Raggie

Yesterday, Monday the vis was 20m and the dives similar to Sunday’s dives. The current played silly buggers with us. First we had zero current, then we had reverse current and later North – South current. Weird…
And today we had strong current which we did not expect. So we were too slow to hit the First Cave and only found one Maggie in the Second cave. Later on we had one Zams and two Black Tips.

Tomorrow we go visit the Tiger Shark again….

22.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections Yesterday 1569 - incidence 14.1

Oh Man !!! Yesterday we had the Mother of all Storms !!! Nobody living here has ever seen such a massive storm…

We are sitting in our TV lounge and watching a movie. I see in the side window there is lightning. And lots of it.

It is intensifying as time goes by. Then we hear thunder way down in the South. It gets stronger and stronger until it develops into a massive thunder storm.
Out of nowhere a strong wind comes crashing in and this brings rain….and hail…and more rain…
A cloud burst would have been a walk in the park. This is more like a cloud explosion.

The lightning becomes extreme. Like millions of flickering light bulbs all over the sky. As if all the stars are suddenly flickering.

Water crashing down, thunder deafening. Almost scary.

I go upstairs to my room on the roof to have a front seat view while Beulah is shit scared and tries to hide behind the sofa..
I sit upstairs , ice cold beer in my lap and my dogs next to me.
One epic thunder burst plunges our entire neighbourhood into darkness.
Often lit up like daylight by these millions of flashes

Its loud and its angry. It is Nature in her purest form.
My dogs are stressed and i am wondering if the sea creatures stress as well ? What about the sharks on Protea Banks, the reef fish and pelagic fish ? Dolphins, Turtles, and all the others ? They will definitely see the crazy lightning, they will hear the scary thunder and the sound of ice and rain hitting the water’s surface.

What an experience….

21.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 853 - Incidence 14.2

All the time we had well under 1000 new infections a day here in South Africa. But nevertheless our incidence rate went up since yesterday.
Don’t get this…

Besides the damn corona it was time again to go for a dive on Protea Banks. And it was super !!!
We met leisurely at 8am at our shop and discussed what we were going to do.

Everybody said :

Let’s visit the Tiger Shark

Sure, this easily said. And so we went to Playground where we encountered so many tiger sharks during our time with Vicky and Tino in March.

We dropped on the right spot and dived down to 35m. Unbelievably but true, before we got to the bottom the tiger was already there checking us out. !!!
Our visibility was 15m, water temp 25˚ top half and 23˚ bottom. Magic !!!
Wayne took the buoy line and did the dive briefing as part of his dive master training and i was basically having pure fun.
The Playground is no doubt an amazing reef. I think we have re discovered this lace when we dived it so much recently. Before it was just our third option…how wrong we were…
We descended at the Canyon, went through it, past the Whale Fluke, Whale Tail, Clowns Head and on to the Cork Screw.
The bottom formations are out of this world.
In the end we went through the Cave at 39m
Awesome.

Looks like Renier is diving in Space…

18.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 1325 - incidence 13.7

Last week we worked on our boat Avatar. Spike and i are enjoying this as it gets really exciting to see how the boat is looking better and better after every day.
We have the time and we put the effort in. Its fun and who knows maybe the two of us could do this kind of work when we are on pension…???

Besides this we were commissioned by Beulah to be Renier’s first Freediving students. Couldn’t find some younger ones…
And how did we do ? Bloody marvellous !!!
Us two walking stomachs showed the little guy what we still have in us.
At first we had to swim 200m with free diving fins. Of course we managed although this was a bit strenuous.
Thereafter we had to dive one length of the pool = 25m.
Easy peasy.
Could have done another half a length.
Next was to rescue an unconscious free diver from a depth of 5m.
In the end we had to do static apnea, holding our breath at the surface for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

On my third attempt i managed to do 1 minute and 41 seconds. hehehe. ( of course i didn’t want to make Spike feel bad…)

Spike and i really enjoyed this

11.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New infections yesterday 1285 - incidence 10.2

Yesterday we all went on a family outing to dive in Hibberdene, about 30 km north of Shelly Beach. We go there especially for training dives if the conditions in Shelly Beach are not suitable. 
Unfortunately when we got there the visibility at Hibberdene was not good at all. We decided that we are here now and we dive. Any dive in any condition is an experience.
Underwater we had about 3m, sometimes maybe 5m vis. But everybody managed well and got valuable experience. He who can be comfortable in such low visibility conditions will only thrive in better times.

Well done to the students Ilse and Renier as well as Clive who wanted to get back into diving after many years

9.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 1366 - Incidence 9.3

We dived on Protea banks the last three days. The day the Russians departed we got two German ladies from JoBurg. With their dog.

Of course we liked the company of the lovely girls, but that dog…everybody was in love with Nala the rescued dog.
Especially because Naja owns a Toyota Landcruiser…Oh man, we all wanted Naja to stay forever !!!      

The weather has been amazing.   28˚C , blue skies, warm sun and almost zero wind. The water was like a mirror. Not a ripple.

Unfortunately below the water was pretty murky due to the lack of current. So we had barely 10m vis, temperature was 25˚ on top and 21˚ on the bottom.

This is not bad, but because we have been spoilt for weeks on end with blue, blue water, it felt like the conditions aren’t great.
Having said this, we saw a tiger shark on almost every singe dive. Especially on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks where the big tiger beast rules at the moment.
Besides tiger we saw black tips and even a great hammerhead.

5.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 463 - Incidence 11.0

So Sunday passed and Monday arrived and guess what happened ?
Yep, the sharks were back. It works like that !!! Everybody thinks i am superstitious but it is a fact that in all the 23 years of diving on Protea Banks, Sundays were always quiet days when it comes to shark sightings.

Anyway, today was a super day and i am not only relieved but downright happy for my great Russian group to experience today’s dive.
Vis 20m, water temperature 26˚C and current about 1 knot. The sea was huge with 3m – 4m swells but that was mainly towards the beach. So our launch was an adventure these people haven’t seen yet.
We call it Rough Sea Launching

We had the bait ball in the water for less than two minutes when we already spotted a tiger from the boat. Then the excitement started.
I love it.
We kitted up as fast as possible and dropped in the water. As we went down we saw the first tiger. Shortly afterwards came the second tiger. Ou man, that’s it !!!
Halfway through the dive the third tiger came in and out of view for the rest of our 75min dive time.
In the end we counted 3 Tigers, 3 Zams and 8 Black Tips.

Now our super short Easter holiday is over again. Our divers are departing tomorrow and we are waiting to see who else is coming.
As Europe is locking down again we hope for a bit of local business .
As long as we can keep our boats’ props spinning and cover our costs we should be good to get through this mess.

So, we keep on diving our beloved Protea Banks and i keep on reporting here.

4.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 777 - Incidence 11.9

Yeah, i pulled out all the stops like i promised but disappointingly we only had 2 Black Tips on the baited dive….
Luckily everybody was happy and enjoyed a warm dive at 26˚C with a visibility of 15m
After two days of westerly winds the vis should have been 30m. So this is an indication that the ocean is already in winter mode.
We do need more current to clean up further and bring the sharks back.
We will try again tomorrow.

Tony wearing the Danger Suit….

3.4. 2021 Lockdown Level 1 - New Infections yesterday 1273 - Incidence 12.9

Yeah, April has not yet started as well as March ended. I told Spike, there will be a price to pay for all the good dives we had since February.
Now we have a group of divers from Moscow and the poor guys have not seen Protea Banks at its best. The vis has been shocking at barely 5m. Having said this, when we went deeper we had a mean thermocline from 25˚ to 18˚ but the vis in the cold water was a good 20m+
On the first diving day we had 3 tigers. On the second day only 2 black tips and a Zams and on the third day we struggled to see one black tip. Got a manta too which made the day.
While i am stressing and pulling my hair out, my Russian divers are just happy to be here and to dive here.
Yesterday we had the Great Cooking Spoon go through the ocean in form of a big West wind. Today we cancelled due to rough sea and more westerly winds but tomorrow we will klap it properly.
I have already prepared my best whale meat, my best tuna carcasses and my best sardines for the Baited Dive in the morning.
I am completely sure we will pull in those tigers. My divers deserve it and so do i.

Watch this space

Couple of nice pics before the wind broke loose at Shelly Beach