22.8. 2021 - Lockdown Level 3 - New Infections Yesterday 13235 - Incidence 142.3

We dived on Thursday. The weather was sunny but a cold breeze blew. Hardly 17˚ air temp.
The water was 20˚C. It is cold actually, although it was warmer than the air. What I'm trying to say, I froze my butt off, period.
I don't know how to sort this out, I can't do it anymore ...
We had two ladies with us. They both dived in a shorty. Incredible. I envy people who don't feel the cold. I came back ashore and immediately called my friend Supp and asked him to buy me a new Semidry suit ... psychology ...

The diving was amazing I have to say !!! We were both times on the north side of Protea Banks, had a choppy sea and 20m visibility with zero current.

On the first dive we saw 25+ raggies, a few single hammerheads, a school of about 30 hammerheads, a tiger shark and 3 black tips. I have to say, that warmed me up ... just around the heart.

During our 60 minute surface break, I was thinking all the time about how to avoid the second dive. It was clear that it was going to be cold. Then I pulled myself together, told myself, I'm not a Sissi, switched on my heated vest and off we went into the depths of Protea Banks.

We had 3 bull sharks who were particularly interested in us and came very close. Then 20 sand tigers in and around the caves and two more bulls and 4 black tips when we got to midwater. Brilliant !!!

No pictures from such a dive?

After a dry period of four weeks, I charged my GoPro on Wednesday, cleaned the O ring, charged video lamps, checked everything

and then forget ....... age .... 🙄🙄😤
Life has been typical for our winter break. Everything is dismantled and put away what is not broken and everything broken is being repaired.
No day goes without adventure, something is always going on.
Last week Spike's wife died of Corona which shook us all to the core. Melville is now sick. Anyone who knows him, he often helps us out on the boat or mostly with handyman work, welding, carpentry repairs. Sent him a bottle of oxygen today. Hope that helps...????

Beulah and I have been fully vaccinated since July. We lose patience with people who still refuse. Although every person has their own freedom of choice, this has been very limited with my employees. I don't care what they say, either they go vaccinating or they can go into business by themselves.

Bullshit will no longer be tolerated !!!
The winter days are lazy. When we wake up, around 7 a.m., Beulah first brings coffee to bed. We then sit up straight and look out to sea while we enjoy the coffee and watch the whales hang around, breaching and swimming past our view in groups.
It is a privilege to live like this.

Our winter has been cold for us so far and should be even colder. In any case, September is always the coldest month for us with constant winds either from the southwest or from the northeast.

Next week we have to clean up the aftermath of our sardine run.
We still have a tractor and boat in Coffee Bay ....
View from our bed
That was the biggest plunder that happened to me this year. And now I have to pay the school fees.

Every year we hire a well-known company to transport our tractor and a boat to Coffee Bay. That costs around € 2000 and it hurts a lot, but it works smoothly and safely.
This year a new colleague promised me to use his special truck and only have to cover the fuel costs. Who would turn that down ?? !!!

When the time came and I asked them to bring the truck for loading, there was suddenly a problem: He suddenly needed a special road permit that cost around € 4000 and that would not cover the fuel costs.

I was of course not enthusiastic because that was just a wrong excuse anyway.

My colleague then said that he had promised me his help and that he would keep his promise. He sent me a boy with a land cruiser to take the boat to Coffee Bay. The boy had never been out of the province and was totally panic stricken about how to get to Coffee Bay.

He also had his girlfriend with him, which was really a joke.

My colleague came personally with another 4 x 4 car and a trailer for the tractor. We met at our shop at 5am. The trailer was much too small for the tractor. I asked him why he came with this trailer at all and he said is,he was surrounded by idiots ...

At this point I should have called everything off immediately, called the transport company and, as always, had everything professionally brought to the place. Yes, I should have done it !!!

But the chaos continued. We were then at least smart enough not to let the boy go alone with his girlfriend. Beulah drove on the same day and so he had to wait for Beulah and drive in front of her.
Beulah, who really doesn't drive fast, gave up after an hour and drove on ...
He made it to Coffee Bay with an undamaged boat, but the brakes on his car were done. And so he couldn't go back.
In the meantime, as long as they were waiting for new brake pads, the two of them lived at our expense in the Ocean View Hotel and had the best time of their lives. (where they work they live in a shack without TV, without bathroom, toilet and everything)
We indulged them.

Of course, my colleague couldn't find another trailer on the same day - it was Sunday !!! - and so more stressful days passed until he finally rented a trailer and drove off. At least we were told. However, whoever arrived in Coffee Bay was anything but my colleague personally. At short notice he found a terrible fisherman who urgently needed a vacation, especially if it was free ... He then came straight away with his wife and child. Age !!!
This fisherman - whom we don't like at all - also broke his brakes and had to wait another two days for spare parts with his family.
In the meantime he enjoyed a lot of brandy and cola for our health .... gulp!

The tractor drove a kilometer, stalled and died a gruesome death. Cylinder head gasket.

All for nothing !!!

Besides the costs, this chaos also caused a lot of stress, of course. The stress was actually much worse than anything else

But we were still able to successfully carry out our Sardine Run program.
just when I wanted to send down our own tractor - our tractor is too heavy for a trailer and needs a special transport - Beulah found a local with the help of the manager of the Ocean View Hotel and he made his tractor and driver available every day for very little money .
Sometimes you're just a little lucky.

When the Sardine Run was over we brought most of it home and had to leave a boat and the broken tractor behind.
After that we first had to go on vacation and now it is high time to get the rest back.

This is an ideal opportunity to get poor Spike out of the house. The corona death of his wife dealt him a bad card. He has a 12 year old daughter who now needs his full attention. In addition, his wife brought a good wage into the family, which is now missing.

Anyway, the plan was to bring the things back from Coffee Bay. I wanted to rent the trailer for the tractor and use it to haul Spike's 4x4 to Coffee Bay. There we would first replace the ball bearings on the boat trailer before one of us tows the boat and the other the tractor.
Good plan until I talked to my mechanic.

He almost had a heart attack and said we would ruin two cars and put our safety at risk if we did that. Although we haul boats to Coffee Bay every year, such a trip is tough for any car and the tractor is twice as heavy as the boat and requires compressed air braking aids to drive safely on the road. As a result, both of my colleague's cars no longer had brakes.
Enough mistakes have already been made and so I took the advice of my mechanic to heart and called my transporter to take the tractor and boat to Shelly Beach for me.

On Tuesday Spike and I drive to Coffee Bay, replace the ball bearings in the boat trailer and meet the transporter for the store on Wednesday morning.
Maybe we'll stay another day for fun or drive home after the transporter.

That costs 300 euros more than if we had done it all ourselves and who knows what can happen when you drag heavy loads.
I am happy and relieved that at least one person has some common sense ...

15.8. 2021 - Lockdown Level 3 - New Infections Yesterday 13020 - Incidence 121.3

I have to get back to you briefly. Not much is happening in the diving business at Protea Banks right now. The windy, cold season is here. The wind blows every day, from the southwest and then from the northeast. It's really cold here, a maximum of 14˚ during the day. We are mostly at home, sitting by the fireplace and talking about the future ... hahaha ....

The situation in the country is very calm. No protests, no riots, but also almost no tourists in the country.

As always, South Africa is open to all people from all over the world. The only thing you have to have is a negative PCR test.

Everything is open, pubs, inns, pubs, shops and public buildings. And more pubs.
Alcohol is available in all restaurants and bars from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bottle stores are open Monday through Thursday. We have curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. It doesn't affect us old people anyway. We party through every night! No problem. Don't have to go to work the next day hehehe

This week Spike and I have to go to Coffee Bay and get the boat and tractor back. We left them down with a few more things so that a trip is really worth it. We will certainly do three days so that we don't have to rush and can still take a mini vacation.

Spike needs to get out of the house urgently. He recently suffered a very bad stroke of fate ... bad.

After that, we have to take two of our boats through the seaworthiness test, always a fuss every year. This is, so to speak, the TÜV for the boat and always depends on the mood of the inspector. We have never failed and yet I am always stressed out. Damn.

Yes, at some point we have to dive again and report what it looks like at Protea Banks. But to be honest, we had 2 days of rain and real cold and I can not imagine at the moment that my feet get wet when I push a boat into the water, let alone that I get completely wet ..... uuuuiiiihh

Beulah and I want to come to Germany in September. We really have to see my mother again. She's not the youngest either ... how time flies, dude !!!
I want to try to make it so that we can visit the InterDive in Friedrichshafen as guests.

But the old Corona is going up steeply everywhere and if there are again restrictions and we cannot travel to Germany we go back to the Umfolozi National Park for a month.

That would be my dream ...

9.8. 2021 Lockdown level 3 - New Infections yesterday 9978 - Incidence 130.2

So we’re back home on the contaminated side of the world.
We stayed at Mpila Camp in Umfolozi National Park for 10 days. The park is actually called Hluhluwe / Imfolozi and has a size of 96,000 hectares. It is the second largest national park in South Africa after the Krueger.

And it’s a world of its own …
We were in total nature, total calm. The camp consists of around 25 houses and 35 safari tents. It is powered by a generator. This will be switched off at 10 p.m. Perfect !!!
There is no internet, no cell phone signal, no television.
The camp has an elephant fence, otherwise all animals can walk in without any problems. It’s actually a dream …

The best thing was that we were just away from all the news, troubles ,Corona and all the problems that exist everywhere else in the world.

We cooked, grilled, read, slept and drove around a lot to see animals in nature.

Umfolozi is very dry and animals are not to be seen on every corner. We often drove for a long time to see little.
Or so it seemed to me. At the end of each trip we made a mental list and were often surprised at the variety of animals we encountered.

The problem was always cats. We just didn’t see any lions, leopards, or cheetahs. The latter are so rare anyway that you shouldn’t even expect them. But there are probably 120 lions and we just didn’t see any. We didn’t know what we were doing wrong. Often we talked to other people in the cars or with neighbors and little by little we were the only ones who didn’t see any lions.
That started to really annoy me. I didn’t want to drive anymore because there weren’t any lions for us anyway. Man…
It was really desperate.
Then we saw two wild dogs. Jou. This is something rare and so we weren’t quite the idiots who don’t see anything … But still no lions.
We were unlucky. This is also the case with diving. There are the lucky divers like Björn Kapoor. When he comes, diving is always good. And then there are divers who are unlucky. There is simply nothing to see as long as they are here.
This time it seems that we are the unlucky ones.
And the longer that lasted, the worse the mood got …
But there is also a strong connection between mood and luck. Every time I’m in a bad mood while diving, I don’t see anything. It was the same in the park.

In the evenings, Beulah and I always sat outside on the veranda. We covered ourselves up super warm and looked at the starry sky. Grandpa !!! What a starry sky. !!! We saw no less than ten shooting stars per evening. I wished for everything. From wealth to long life, a lot of love, good business, always full refrigerators, no corona, no falling out of teeth, always full tanks in the car, excellent health and of course lions.
God damn lions.
There were so many shooting stars that one ran out of wishes. Wishing the same thing twice is stupid too … but if you don’t see any lions at some point nothing works anymore. Even if the sky falls on your head …

And then luck turned. On the eighth day we saw eight lions.
Everything was fine again. Jou.

That’s just how it is in nature. Who drives a lot sees a lot! It took us eight days to finally see our lions. It’s not that extreme when it comes to diving. But if you only have 2-3 days, you have to be lucky. Just like that….