30.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day 5

Today we got two boats out at sea. There is action all the time but we struggle to find a decent bait ball. Smaller balls seem to be everywhere but these little sardines don’t make it easy for their predators this year. The move fast and trick the hundreds of dolphins, sharks and game fish out of an easy meal.

We see super pods and mega pots of dolphins with hundreds and thousands of animals. Makes one wonder where they are when there is no sardine run ??!!

This is still an unimaginable experience. Makes you feel like you left planet earth. Shot.

Corona News :

13347 new infections yesterday. It surges like a dive on Protea with big waves. We get a number, then it goes backwards a few thousand, then it surges forward a few thousand more into a new level of infections.

The chaos in JoBurg continues . I think we are still good in the rural areas of the country.

Protea Banks News :

I have 5 divers tomorrow for baited dive and a reef dive. Because our two best boats are at the sardine run i have to use the third of our four boats.
I am worried about this boat because we did not use it for over two years. 
Spike and i renovated this boat recently in April. From top to bottom, but we did have a problem with one of the engines not performing properly. Spike took it for a test when we were in the game reserve and he told me, it was perfect. So i must believe it. Still nervous as i am basically on my own. 
I have a top man of course, but he is not permanently working for me . This is why everything falls on me.

I managed well to two the boat with our massive tractor from under the tree at the bottom of the garden up the steep drive way to the garages of the Diver Villa.
This tractor is another thing…it goes all over the place. Extremely difficult to keep it straight on the road when i took it around the neighbourhood block. Ou man.

When i saw the one wheel sitting at an angle not typical to what i am used to it dawns on me that we have a bearing problem here too…
I can’t believe we are working so hard to keep all our stuff maintained and we battle like this with bearings. It always comes in waves. One moment all starter motors break, next time all steering hubs leak, now all wheel bearings collapse…Bloody hell…

I had to call my friend Bart to come help me. If i tried this on my own i probably would have done more damage than good.
Should have become a mechanic when i had the chance and not an academic who can’t do anything.!!!

29.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day 4

I think today was one of those rare days when nothing went wrong….Gotto remember the date.!!

Spike and Renier drove super slow with the welded axle and arrived pretty late last night in Coffee Bay. I think it was around 21h00….the trip started at 4h00.
Yesterday the internet did not work. It only came back around 10am today. This is not unusual for Coffee Bay but it does cut off the whole area from the rest of the world.

Literally, as i got phoned by a worried spouse from Cape Town, a concerned brother from France and others. 
I guess not receiving any sign of life in a remote place like Coffee Bay, compounded with the ever present corona stress can make people worry.
But luckily it always gets sorted out and everybody can relax again.
Of course i did not receive proper info on the sardine run proceedings , neither did i receive any new photos. 

I am hoping Beulah will send me both a bit later and i can update my post.

Corona News :

Yesterday we had 12222 new infections of which over 8000 were recorded in Johannesburg. This seems to be a characteristic of the third wave. It stays on one level for a couple of days and then goes up a notch. It can come down by a few thousand and then go up again. Right now it came down from 18000 to 15000 to 12000. However this is no reason for hope yet. I am sure the wavelength will be at least two months.
So we go with the flow and are grateful that the new restrictions did not put us right out of business. Sure we lost a family of 4 from JoBurg . The poor family cannot travel out of the province. And they wanted this so, so badly…
For us it is a hole in the pocket but we don’t complain. It could have been much worse…
There will be another Sardine Run in 2022

28.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day 3

Spike and Renier left this morning around 4am. 
At 6am i get woken up by a phone call. They have lost that wheel !!!
Wheel gone, axle thread scarped broken by the road, nut gone. Crap !!!
It took them 2 hours to find the wheel in the bush…

In the meantime i phone my friend Bart who is a welder and engineer with his own business. He is a great guy !!!

His employees did not pitch for work today so he had to work his arse off to get everything ready to drive out to Spike and them. They are about 2 hours away from Shelly Beach in the middle of nowhere…eish…

Around 10am Bart gets there and welds and welds and welds some more. He cut off our end of the axle and welded the end of his axle he brought with . By 12h30 Spike and them are back on the road.

Only in Africa !!!!!

In the meantime i hear from Beulah that two guests were drinking beer at the airport and missed their flight to Umtata. And tomorrow they can’t get out anymore…
So they quickly rented a car and drove like hell. They hit a pot hole somewhere out of Umtata and trashed the tier. The damn vehicle did not have a spare wheel.
I have no idea and better don’t ask how they got to a hotel in Umtata at 3am…jeeeeezzz…..

Of course the pick up transport went to the airport for nothing last night which somebody must pay for.

But good news is that our boat made it out to sea this morning.
The helicopter is in the air and seemingly finding activity. Guests are doing flips and everything is okay in Coffee Bay.

Corona News :

While i am typing all this i hear on my TV that things in Johannesburg are beyond bad. People are waiting outside the hospitals waiting to be admitted. Somebody has to die or get better in order to free a bed space. It is total mayhem here.
New infections yesterday 15036 ( Sunday…) and incidence rate 178

The weather is a summer dream. Warm, sunny no wind. I don’t think people will stick to the new rules. Everybody is gatvoll…= afrikaans word for “really sick of it “
We have a small dilemma at the hotel: the restaurant is not supposed to be open and they don’t have enough staff to serve everybody in the rooms.
I looks like the manager decided to use the old restaurant which is stuck away and nobody can see that they are serving food there..

Day by day in Coffee Bay.

First Pictures of today from the helicopter. By Roy Terlien

27.6. 2021 sardine Run Day 2

Sardine Run News :

Although it is Sunday today, it was very clear that this would not be a holy day…oh dear…

In Coffee Bay the waves which were large yesterday became XL today which forced the crew to cancel today’s launch for the safety of all. Luckily the guests saw the conditions and were very happy that we did not force the launch.
Beulah has the task to keep them all entertained and happy. She organised a trip to Hole in the Wall at no extra costs at all to our guests.

In the meantime Spike and Renier have left Coffee Bay with my car at 3am en route to Shelly Beach. They lost 2 hours due to a horrific accident on the road but got to Shelly Beach safe and sound by 10h30.
Meanwhile i am having a grand breakfast and drive to Shelly Beach to organise somebody to bring our boat out of the parking yard onto the base where we operate from.
Before we tow this boat long distance we have to take the wheels off, wash the bearings in petrol, re-grease them and put them back.
We have to do this every now and then because these wheels mostly get submerged in sea water when the boats get launched. Under water the pressure forces the salt water and sea sand into the bearing cavity. Over time this combination causes the bearings and their casings to rust and get sanded until there is nothing left. If not replaced in good time we loose a wheel off the trailer…

But because we have lots of experience doing this it was expected to be a pice of cake. Sure….

Once this is done we have to go to the Diver Villa, put the large battery in the tractor , move Brian’s car out of the way and drive the tractor down the garden to the tree under which the other boats are parked. We then have to take one of these two boats out, put batteries, petrol, life jackets and safety gear on the boat , check the engines are running and take this boat to Shelly Beach . I need it by Thursdays 1.7. to dive Protea Banks.

No problem, hey ?

As the boat comes out of its parking we see that the left wheel’s bearings were totally disintegrated. Damn, they have to be replaced.

Spike arrives and sends me back to the diver villa to pick up the pelican case with all the old and new bearings in. I shoot down and forget the grease and some rags for greasy hands…damn.
While i am away the two service and grease the right hand wheel’s bearings. 
The left wheels’ bearings need to be replaced so i shoot to Port Shepstone where there is a spares shop which is open on Sundays. To be quick i take the freeway. Of course we have written down the bearing sizes and it should be easy to do the job.

When i came back Spike got stuck on a sleeve on the axle which did not want to come off. We phone `Melville who is coming to help us with the angle grinder. In no time the ring is off and Melville is gone.

The new bearing does not want to fit. It goes in up to a ridge where it stops. We hammer and chisel the bearing but it won’t move. AT some stage i take a spanner and hammer onto the spanner at full force. I slip up and hit the three of the axle. When we want to put back the nut, it won’t go on. 
Maybe just a few lines, let’s force it ..

Now we don’t only have the right bearing but also damaged the three of the axle and the thread of the nut. 
And it is Sunday.

I phone a friend who knows a guy who does exactly this.

And this guy arrives. Rethreads the axle and the nut and does a tremendously neat job. Most impressive. And his Sunday call out fee was more than reasonable.

But we still don’t have the right bearing….
Spike rummages around in the box and suddenly finds a bearing which fits 100%. Yes, it is old and rusty but once greased it runs smoothly. Looks like this could work.

Wheel goes back on and turns perfectly smooth, no wobble. 

By now the sun is setting…
We go to the shop to off load stuff from the boat and on load stuff which needs to go to Coffee Bay.
All good.

I get a bit stressed as my dogs are alone at home and the light is fading fast. 
When we finished Spike went off to his house and i rushed off to my dogs who were totally crazy. They obviously worried that i would not come back and they were hungry too.. Poor babies…

Ok, papers for the boat, some stuff out the garage, feeding the dogs and wind down a most hectic day…

For dinner i was too tired to make a big deal. Just had Brezel, Potato Salad and lots of beer…..

And then the whole country waited for the president to talk…for all we know i less than one hour everything could be over…

Corona News :

about 15000 new infections yesterday . Not very reliable on weekends. Testing staff is only skeleton staff…

The President has spoken :

It felt like a court case. One sits and listens as the big man talks with a sombre voice and explains in detail why he has to restrict our freedom.

The Verdict :
  • South Africa moves to lockdown level 4 from tomorrow.
  • no more gatherings allowed at all whatsoever. No funerals, no weddings, no parties no church gatherings or anything
  • curfew from 21h00 until 4h00
  • all alcohol sales prohibited
  • all restaurants closed
  • people living in Gauteng province are not allowed to leave the province unless it is for business. People are allowed to return home but can’t leave. Tourists are allowed to transit through Gauteng = Johannesburg. Airports are staying open
  • beaches are staying open but no gatherings are allowed
  • hotels and guesthouses are staying open
  • businesses are staying open
  • masks have to be worn at all times when in a public space

So for us this is not at all too bad. We can basically operate as usual except we have 4 people from Johannesburg who might not be able to come. This is bad enough but better than loosing everything. We will see tomorrow if they find a way to escape…

Au yeah, i forgot about the other boat we were supposed to get to Shelly beach….it didn’t happen….
So now i have three days to get this done by myself.
Should be a piece of cake….

26.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day 1

Sardine Run News :

Our first day at sea was alright, rather a bit mediocre. But that is how i see it from afar. Apparently our guests are not at all disappointed. Action was scarce today nevertheless.
Our helicopter found a bait ball and reported it to Spike on the boat but by the time they got there it was gone. This is not unusual…
Thereafter they had whales and a school of 3000 dolphins. To be in amongst such a crazy mass of dolphins is an unforgettable experience in its own right.
After all, whales and dolphins are an integral part of the sardine run activity. 

Later the pilot found a mass of sardines which was decimated by sharks. These were in a feeding frenzy and kept jumping out of the water. Again, the boat was too far away and the action did’t last long.
No worries, we will get this.

Of course Beulah and i are worried as we want full sardine action all the time. But this is not realistic… There are busy days and quiet days. Such is nature.

Spike and Renier are coming back to Shelly Beach tomorrow, Sunday. They are going to pick up a second boat for Coffee Bay so we don’t have too many people on each boat . Especially not during these miserable covid times.

The only reliable vehicle we have at the moment is my private Toyota Hilux. I hate it when my staff use my private car but in this case we have no option. Staff does not use your car as you do…that is just a fact.

Corona News :

It doesn’t sound nice. 
We hear, the president is going to have a Family Meeting how it is endearingly called when he talks to the nation.
And Daddy never gives us pocket money, he only gives us shit….

Everything and anything is possible. We don’t know what will happen when he talks and how it will affect our life and business.
All we know is that the numbers are going up dramatically and government has limited options available. They basically have to close parts of life down.
South Africa is overrun by the Delta Variant which arrived directly from India when a ship docked in Durban harbour. Great load !!!
Thank you for your business !!!

18762 new infections of which are 65% in Johannesburg and surrounding area….

And what about me ?

It is easier if one is in the middle of the situation rather than far away with bits and pieces of info.
Every time my phone rings – of course phones don’t ring anymore. These days are long over. My phone plays Pink Floyd , yeah !!!
So every time my phone plays Pink Floyd i have a little heart attack. What now ? is my first thought…
In the meantime Beulah sends me messages like : gotto talk to you but don’t worry, nothing bad happened….
That’s how bad it is….hahaha

And thus my kids and i make the best of the situation.... :

25.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day 0

Sardine Run News :

Today my stress levels broke through the roof. Beulah phoned me and told me the borrowed tractor had a broken head gasket and cannot be used. She is furious because tomorrow we are launching and to get our own tractor down to Coffee Bay would be a huge mission. Not only would we need a special heavy duty transporter at a huge cost but even to get the damn thing onto the truck we need to bring the battery back from Coffee Bay as well as Brian’s car keys to move his vehicle which is parked directly in front of the Tractor.
In other words , a disaster…
I am preparing for the heart attack which is coming and start packing my bag for a long stay at the hospital when five minutes later the hotel manager phones.
Don’t worry, he says, we will sort out your problem. 
Apparently he knows a guy who has two tractors in Coffee Bay and he will talk to him to give us a quote.
A few hours later they had a quote for six thousand for the whole duration of our program. This is one hell of a good price and of course we jumped at it.
Finally the tide seems to have turned and we are back on track as we usually are.
Good thing all went to Coffee Bay well in advance to sort out all that stuff before our first guests arrive later today.

Corona News :

16078 new infections yesterday. Incidence is 153.5
My TV is on permanently and if i am at home it runs in my background  so i can hear any possible news and / or changes in the covid mess.

They say, every third person in Gauteng is covid positive. Apparently this has been factually established and is not a mer estimate….oy oy, oy, oy…

24.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day -1

Sardine Run News :

All our crews including our photographer and helicopter have arrived safely in Coffee Bay.
Spike, Marco ( directly from Switzerland ), Brian, Renier, Aaron the pilot and Jason our photographer arrived with 8 boxes of film and photographic equipment. 
This man is a pro. I have done some work with Jason on Protea banks and know, he takes his work seriously.
He also gets featured on CNN.

The chaos of the past days is settling down. Spike installed the big battery from our tractor in the borrowed tractor and for now this seems to work well.

The heli is parked in the middle of the hotel yard. It looks so, so cool !!
Tomorrow the guys will take the boat to the Mapusi river mouth from where it is launched everyday. We have 2 guards watching it over night.
I think we are ready for the Sardine Run 2021

Beulah had a great idea today. She thought it would be best to bring a second boat down to Coffee Bay in order to accommodate everybody on a boat without over loading. Also this would spread the load on each boat and make the ride a lot more comfortable for all.
Excellent idea !!!
So `Spike will be coming up on Sunday and take the second boat to Coffee Bay on Monday.

Corona News :

17500 new infections yesterday. Incidence 146
Our sardine Run Program is seriously threatened if the government make any further restrictions. 

Our stress levels are top ceiling. Any more and i will have a heart attack…
But we can’t think what might happen and what might not happen. We gotto stay positive and corona negative…
Fuggit, the third wave is salt water !!!

Protea Banks News :

What a dive !!!!!!!!!
We went to Protea North. The plan was to do a long deco dive on the two caves and ascend slowly back to the stop zone.
The weather was not nice. Rainy, windy and miserable. 
When we descended to the First Cave we saw the raggies all over the place. Wherever we looked there were raggies. Like trees in a forrest. Unbelievable !!!
the further we dived the more sharks we found. The place was teeming. I estimate at least 200… What a sight !!!

We spent 28 minutes at depth and most computers showed around 15 minutes deko.
We did our stops and surfaced after almost 50 minutes dive time.
The vis was about 10m so i did not switch the camera on…sorry.

23.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day - 2

Sardine Run News :

After the troubles with the transportation of our boat and borrowed tractor is seemingly coming to an end and the drivers with their chicks and family are on their way back i realise that i shot myself properly in the foot with this episode. It is costing me more than if i had commissioned a professional heavy load transporter besides damaged nerves in all involved.

It also looks like i overlooked a couple of bookings which creates a whole different problem.

This happened simply because we could not plan this expedition properly as we usually do. This damn corona situation did not allow us to plan further than a week ahead.
Now, with the Third Wave upon this country we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow…

Almost all our people have paid us by now but this money will not be touched until it is earned. I have not paid any deposits with this money and my promise to my guests stands that if anybody has to cancel on short notice due to covid i will refund the full amount. Obviously once the guests are at the hotel there will be no more refunds.

So i suggested we take a second boat to Coffee Bay just to accommodate all people without over loading the boat. Also this will create more space on the boat if we can split the people. Brian and Renier are the second crew and they are in Coffee Bay anyway. 
Brian was supposed to have a holiday and Renier was meant to help Beulah for a couple of days with the set up and then come back to man our shop.

As i don’t understand Beulah’s fancy cash register system there is no point in me breathing out the oxygen in our shop area. I therefore employed young Annika from the fish shop next door to keep the shop open.
Not my thing !!!

Anyway, Beulah did not like my idea of taking down a second boat and wants to wait for Spike to get there to discuss the situation. 

Second boat is not an option.

Corona News :

We had about 15000 new infections yesterday. Anything is possible. People talk about shutting down the Gauteng Province ( Johannesburg and surrounding ) or better even the whole country.
All we know is that any more restrictions could severely impact our program to the negative. We are walking on a knife’s edge right now.
Everybody knows one thing : South Africa cannot afford to lock the country. Our broken economy would completely collapse. Besides this, our people will not comply unless there is serious force….Police and Military would have to be ruthless to manage a further lockdown.
We are all sick of it. All of us in South Africa.!!

Protea Banks News :

Playground, visibility 8m top and 25m bottom. Bottom temperature is 20˚ and still zero current.
We saw 1 x tiger, 3 x zambezis and about 20x raggies
Second dive Protea North. Here we saw another 20+ raggies and 2 Zams.
A real great day on Protea Banks.

This was supposed to be the last day diving for the month. All my crews are leaving first thing tomorrow morning after curfew.
My German guests want to do another dive tomorrow. eish… The weather will be rainy and cool, i have no skipper and am not sure if i can manage this.
But then again, these lovely people have gone through a lot of troubles to come to us all the way from Germany. How can i not go through a bit of trouble to get them diving ?!!
I managed to find a top man and off we go to Protea banks tomorrow.

22.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day -3

Sardine Run News :

The car which towed our boat is still without brakes. The driver and his girlfriend will have to stay until spares and a mechanic arrive.
The tractor arrives a few days delayed but it is here. Unfortunately it won’t start. Is is a battery problem or is the alternator not charging ? Nobody seems to know but they are doing some work all day. In the end they swop the car battery with the tractor battery and it seems to work….for now.

But Beulah is not happy with this. She is seriously worried that we won’t have a working tractor and our whole sardine run program is at stake.
We load our big tractor battery and the battery charger on Spike’s car to take down.
It is a crazy time at the moment. Stress is absolutely palpable. We took a chance and tried to avoid our huge tractor which requires expensive transport to take down. Looks like we shot ourselves in the foot….
But we still have a couple of days to sort all this out. Let’s see…

Corona News :

Yeah, we have around 15000 new infections and this is just adding to our logistical stress. Everybody talks about a stricter lockdown being necessary but this could put a sudden stop to our sardine run over night.

It is total madness to work like this. We have already incurred serious costs and did not even start. It is impossible to plan even one single day ahead. Nobody know what will happen with this goddamn corona….
For the first time in a decade i am watching South African News….mess…

Protea Banks News :

Playground 20m vis and still zero current. The Raggies love these conditions. We saw about 40 plus 2 x bulls.
Second dive Northern Pinnacle :
2 x tiger shark !!!!!
50 x raggies
3 x zams
1 x striped Marlin
Hohoho, happy days on Protea Banks.
And as sonn as we are back on land we see people with masks on their faces. Out at sea there is no corona. Nobody thinks about it and nobody talks about it. 

It is a different world, our beloved Protea Banks…

21.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day -4

Sardine Run News :

Beulah and Renier are working hard to get everything unpacked and in its place. This is quite a job. And Beulah wants order on her sardine run.!!!
She is telling me about the Ocean View Hotel and the area around it. It has been hit hard by corona. The people are battling and the hotel is empty. It is almost a miracle that it hasn’t closed down yet. Clearly visible that there is no money to upkeep a good maintenance program but at this stage of the game it is acceptable if there is paint missing and screws loose. Main thing is to keep the door open.
The staff is sharing the work. Everybody works a couple of hours a week and so everybody gets a little bit of money. Just enough so everybody survives.

How absolutely cool is that !!!

We are truly glad that we can contribute our small share this year to help these amazing people and their lovely hotel.

Corona News :

Yesterday we had a bit over 9000 new infections. I am sure it is because Sundays there is no normal testing. Only weekend staff on duty. So no hope…

Protea Banks News :

Although my ear is still swollen closed and i can’t hear a thing i had no option but to go diving today.
And straight away things were different again.
The visibility on top was a low 5m and after 20m it opened up to a happy 25m .Weather is amazing, the sea is completely calm, mirror smooth.
And on the bottom the Shark Soup is cooking !!!
On the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we had 1 x Tiger Shark, 3 x Bull Sharks and around 20 Raggies.
Second dive we did on Playground where we had a good 60+ raggies.

What an amazing sight that was…


20.6. 2021 Sardine Run Day -5

Sardine Run News :

Beulah and Renier drove to Coffee Bay today. It is a bit early but she wanted to avoid the heavy truck traffic during working days.

I am stressed to the hilt because in 60 odd years of life i have not learnt that when something is too good to be true it is always , not sometimes, always not true.

So there is this lovely colleague of ours in Shelly Beach .Really nice guy with all the toys anybody could wish for. He also has a heavy duty low bed truck to transport heavy machinery like tractors, boats , dozers and so on. 
Last year he mentioned to me that we would be welcome to make use of his truck when we take our equipment to Coffee Bay for the Sardine Run. We would only need to cover the fuel, he said.

So we took him up on his offer and 2 days before departure he said, the truck requires special permits and that would cost us a huge amount of money. We abandoned the truck option and my colleague offered to help take our boat down in his private SUV. He also offered for us to borrow his smaller tractor which would be easier to transport and easier to handle. I jumped at this offer and together with Beulah he sent his assistant with our boat in tow.
The youngster has never been out of the region around Shelly Beach and was very nervous. He drove super slow which we appreciated. Unfortunately he did not know how to tow a heavy load for a long distance and as the trip is pretty hilly he stood on his brakes all the way until they burnt out. Great !
He managed to get our boat safely to Coffee Bay and need to wait for another guy to bring the borrowed tractor and spares to fix the brakes.

In the meantime the driver ( with girlfriend by the way !!! ) stayed at the Ocean View Hotel at our cost. Great. !

Corona News :

The third wave is definitely in Africa. We hope it does not turn into a Tsunami…
New infections yesterday were over 13000. The 7 day incidence has crossed the 100 mark with 119
I hear our Gauteng Province, the area around Johannesburg is pure corona hell. People are getting sick there big time.
Obviously this is the densest  populated part of the country and the coldest right now.

We are worried to death about our sardine run program. Anytime we could end up with further restrictions which could jeopardise our program.

Protea Banks News :

I have three Germans with me at the moment. They are here for the Sardine Run and are diving with me on Protea Banks ahead of going down to Coffee Bay.
The diving here has been very good. Vis is 15m , no current at all and the water temp has dropped to 22˚.
I am battling with an ear infection and had to stay out of the water unfortunately. The divers went twice to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks and each time encountered about a dozen raggies.

16.6. 2021 Lockdown Level 3 - New infections yesterday 8436 - Incidence 96.1

Life is carrying on . So far so good. All seems normal and acceptable but we all know there is trouble lurking…

Today we did a Baited Shark Dive. It was spectacular.
The first 10m were a bit turkey with a visibility of about 10m. Then the vis opened up to a cool 25m. WOW !! Watertemp 24˚C and zero current.
Before we even entered into the water the Black Tips were buzzing the surface. It was a good indication that this dive is going to be epic.
We had 3 Zams and 5 Black Tips. And man, they wanted to play.
Renier saw a tiger shark. He reckoned it was barely 3m away from me but i was busy filming a Zams and did not see the tiger.

Our Sardine Run Program is going ahead. This year with Helicopter

15.6. 2021 Lockdown Level 3 - New Infections Yesterday 5548 - Incidence 89

Corona News :

Today we had a Family Meeting as it is called when the President of South Africa speaks to the nation. 
The third wave is definitely happening here. Two Thirds of the infections are happening around Johannesburg and Pretoria at the moment.
Our area is not too bad yet it seems.

South Africa has been put on Corona Alert Level 3 as from this evening. We have a weekly average of around 7500 new infections.

Lockdown Level 3 means we have curfew from 22h00 until 04h00 which most of us appreciate. Only the burglars are pissed off about that one. hehehe.
The bars and restaurants have to close by 21h00 but are otherwise allowed to continue trading as usual.
Bottlestores are only allowed to sell alcohol from Monday to Thursday. 
Outdoor meetings are restricted to 100 and indoor to 50 people at a time. In public we have to wear mask, distance and sanitise.
That is do-able

Sardine Run News :

So the above is not good news but it does not affect our Sardine Run Program at all at this stage.
We are going ahead

Beulah and Renier the appy are driving to Coffee Bay on Sunday , mainly to avoid the weekday traffic and of course to start with the set up of our satellite dive centre at the Ocean View Hotel.
On Monday the Flatbed Truck is going down with the boat and the tractor.
Wednesday – tomorrow in one week – Spike and the crew are travelling to Coffee Bay as well as the helicopter.

I am sitting on hot coals here. It is unbelievable how fine this line is between make or break.
We have put so much effort into this Sardine Run Expedition and still we have no idea if it will go all the way through. Damnit !!!

Protea Banks News:

Yesterday i went diving alone with Karsten, the lonely German. He is here for the sardine run and is spending two weeks with me on Protea Banks ahead of the time.

Because we were only two i decided to take my big camera after a very long time of absence. Of course i had to start learning under water photography right from the start again…
Karsten films and i take stills. Karsten does not see anything and he does not hear anything under water.

So we dive on the Playground and this Tiger comes around. I scream my head off and make the most ridiculous movements just to alert Karsten to the sighting, but in vain.
Few minutes later the Tiger comes again. Same story.

Then again and yet again. By now i can have a heart attack because i am still his guide although i have a serious camera with me. On the fifth time the tiger was barely 3m next to this guy and no matter what i do, he does not look up.
What word rhymes to that ?!!! Yep.

So i think, to hell with that, let me take a pic of the tiger. But my camera’s autofocus is not working in this instant. Great.

Despite this dilemma we had super dives.
Yesterday 20m vis, today 25m. water is still pleasant at 24˚ top and 23˚ bottom.
Today we – i – saw a Tiger again, a Marlin, 10 Raggies, 3 Dolphins and 3 Black Tips.

Who complains ?!!!!