We seem set for a week of pleasant conditions. That rates as a good early Christmas present in my book. On Saturday and Sunday we will launch from Simon’s Town early to finish a few Advanced and Nitrox courses.
On Monday we will do shore dives to continue with Open Water courses, and the rest of the week will be for fun diving. Let me know where you want to go and when you’re free, and I will see if we can make it happen.
Stuck for Christmas presents? Check out our 2015 gift guide. It’s still pretty fresh, but to it I would add Into a Raging Sea, by Andrew Ingram and Tony Weaver, commemorating 50 years of the NSRI. Available at all good bookshops!
First up, merry Christmas (to those who celebrate it) and happy new year (to all of you who adhere to the Gregorian calendar). I hope the new year brings you all you wish for, and some good diving.
The past ten days or so have been hard times for Cape Town divers as huge swell, howling winds and lousy visibility have meant a lot of days that feel wasted -after all mowing the lawn or painting the house are hardly substitutes for diving. A handful of people have dived various sites without any reports of decent conditions. We drove from Chapman’s Peak to Millers Point almost every day watching and waiting for a change in the conditions.
They have finally started to change. For most of the day we have had a light south westerly wind and for the next few days there is more west (in the very light winds) than anything else. Although it won’t turn the viz into 15 metres, it will improve as the weekend and early part of next week progresses. Its not the time of year for 20 metre viz but the water is 20 degrees in False Bay and if the visibility is 5+ metres then diving is quite enjoyable!
We are spending the next few days diving in False Bay. We are going to finalise the boat diving sites on the day as it is difficult to be sure where the best conditions will be. If you want to dive, make your selection from the top of this newsletter, and reply to this mail or text me.
We are turning our minds to travel plans for the next 12 (and a bit) months. In June we plan to go to Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique, to dive the reefs there, which teem with life. Dates for this trip will be confirmed in the next few weeks. In the mean time, start saving! For this trip, you will need to be a confident boat diver.
Sometime in the first few months of 2016 (a stretch, I know) we plan to do a Maldives liveaboard trip with dive guide Becky and her husband Al from our last Red Sea trip. We will do this trip on the same basis as our Red Sea trip in 2013: we will tell you the dates we’ll be on board, and you book your own berths. Dates for this trip will be confirmed not earlier than the end of March, but you can start budgeting in the mean time. To get the full benefit from this trip you will need to be an Advanced diver with a Nitrox Specialty under your belt.
Both the Atlantic and False Bay have been great during the week. We had 8 metre visibility on an Atlantic charter on Wednesday, and today’s offshore winds have flattened False Bay nicely, and cleaned the water significantly. The water temperature on both sides of the peninsula is similar, 10-12 degrees, and the visibility is around 8 metres. I feel that if the water temperature is a single digit the viz needs to be double that, but we don’t always get what we want! False Bay will be the best option this weekend so we will plan to launch on Sunday, at 9.30 for Atlantis and for Tivoli Pinnacles at 12.00.
Please diarise our open house on Saturday afternoon, 13 December. Proper invitations to follow.
On Sunday while out on the boat we passed by the prototype shark repellent cable at the end of Glencairn beach. This is a non-lethal approach to keeping humans and sharks separate, and is in the testing phase. You can see how the cable is lying with electrodes on each side of the centre cable, the electrodes marked by orange buoys on risers that stick out at low tide. There’s a description of the cable here, and we’ll have some more photos on the blog next Wednesday.
This is a great project with a potentially significant impact on the relationship between humans and sharks in South Africa. The cable was developed at the behest of the KZN Sharks Board, and is being tested in co-operation with Shark Spotters and the City of Cape Town.
We had a dry weekend last week as we spent three days at the CTICC participating in the Cape Town International Boat Show. We met a lot of new people, some old friends and a few really cool dogs. Many of the visitors to our stand expressed an interest in diving and asked to be added to the newsletter. To new readers we say welcome and hopefully we see you all soon in the water!
The south easterly wind has been hectic all week so theoretically the Atlantic should be crystal clear. I drove home along the coastline today and there are huge patches of clean water and huge patches of darker water. It looked very clean around Llandudno so I think the Romelia is on the cards for the weekend. I doubt False Bay will be good as apart from the wind, the swell is in a southerly direction which does not improve conditions at all.
Saturday looks like the best option for diving, and Sunday a maybe. If you want to dive, reply to this mail or text me. Sunday’s launches will be confirmed late on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday: launching from Hout Bay at 9.00 and 12.00. I have mostly students so we will look for clean water around the wrecks of Maori Bay and the Romelia wreck area.
Sunday: conditions permitting, we will be launching from OPBC at 9.00 for a double tank dive. We will look at the viz around the wreck of the Cape Matapan, and if it’s not clean there we will dive the pinnacles at North and South Paw.
Congratulations are in order
for Shane and Odette, who got engaged this week. Wishing you all the happiness! Also congrats to Brian, who has just completed his Divemaster course in… wait for it… Hawaii! Brian is starting an Instructor Development Course this week. Good job!
I’ve had my Suunto D6 dive computer for three years, and while wearing it I’ve done 150 dives for a total of 90 hours underwater. I’ve also been a remarkably good girl, diving within my qualifications (PADI Deep Specialty) for a maximum depth of 38.6 metres.
I discovered that my Suunto D6 needed a new battery while waiting at the airport to board a flight to Durban, on the way to Sodwana for three days of warm water diving. Tony had suggested more than once that I check it prior to our departure, but NO, I was too busy and important to do THAT! Fortunately a spare dive computer was on hand, so I dived with one of Tony’s Suunto Zoops on the trip.
(As an aside, the D6 won’t download dives from the computer into the MacDive software when it has low battery. It goes into data transfer mode when you plug it in, but refuses to download – I got error code -7. Once the battery is changed, downloading is again possible.)
Changing the battery on a dive computer can be a fearsome experience – at least in South Africa. Unless you can change it yourself (like the Mares Nemo Wide), it often entails sending the computer to Johannesburg to the agent who imports that particular brand. Then, in a kind of awful lottery, you wait for one of three possible outcomes, all seemingly equally likely:
after the agent acknowledges the safe arrival of your dive computer, a few weeks pass and the agent swears blind he hasn’t seen one of that make for the last five years (this happened to Tony in January)
the battery is changed, the computer comes back, the first time you use it it floods, and you have no recourse to anyone
the battery is changed and the computer works just fine (phew!)
Fortunately Duncan at Orca Industries in Claremont is able to change Suunto D6 (and other) batteries. I think he’s the only person in Cape Town who can do the Suunto D series. (It’s a ten minute process, but mine took five days because the computer ended up under a shelf somewhere for four and a half days before Duncan was told about it!)
Overall I am extremely pleased with my D6. I have minor quibbles. These are chiefly related to the intricacies of doing an air dive after a Nitrox dive, and the fact that it weighs as much as a fully grown labrador retriever, so isn’t suitable for most ladies to wear as a watch. I also don’t trust the compass very much, for no particular reason other than it’s digital. It’s great to dive with, though, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.
We were boatless last week so could do shore dives only, but by Friday the boat was back after repontooning.
This week we have been blown out most days, but today we headed off to Diaz Beach inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve with a group of very tough and brave swimmers that swam from Diaz Beach to Buffels Bay, a distance of approximately 8 kilometres around the tip of Cape Point. The swim was called Swim for Hope and was in aid of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.
Each swimmer had a support boat and each boat had a shark shield, but there was nothing to shield them from the cold or the huge shore-break they faced at the start. Once round the Point the wind eased and the swell dropped and it was far better. Our swimmer, 61 year old Richard Child, swam tirelessly and had nothing more than a few swigs of hot chocolate on the way. He started with a stroke rate of 70 strokes per minute and ended on 68. Very impressive.
Tomorrow is a good westerly wind, this will improve the viz inshore so we will do two dives tomorrow from the boat and then a night dive at Long Beach. There is a fair swell this weekend so I think Long Beach would be the best option . Saturday we launch again but it will be really early as the wind is set to pump from midday. On Sunday we are staying home while 35,000 very energetic cyclists compete for space on the peninsula road network.
On Monday we are also launching, and the first dive has not yet been decided (if you book first you get to choose!) but after lunch we will run down to Pyramid Rock to see the cowsharks.
I tried very hard to get a picture of one of our cats wearing a Santa hat for this newsletter, but failed. Sorry.
We will be launching from Hout Bay or Oceana Powerboat Club, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Text or email me if you want to do some cold water diving.
So December is almost over, all that’s left is a few presents to open, lots of food to deal with and to get some diving done. We have had some serious wind this week but it is set to slow down for the next few days. I doubt False Bay will offer up much but I could easily be wrong. If the wind drops the water is surprisingly clean given the wind and looks far better than it did last weekend.
Last weekend’s diving
We dived False Bay last Saturday and Sunday and had really calm seas but really poor viz. On our way back from Shark Alley we stopped to visit the rays at Miller’s Point, and counted twenty snoek fishing boats in the queue to use the slipway. On days like that I’m grateful for False Bay Yacht Club!
I do think Hout Bay will offer up the best options for the next few days but Table Bay also has the potential to deliver good viz after so much south easter. For the next ten days we will play it by ear and will most likely launch every day as the weather permits as I have several Open Water, Nitrox and Advanced students to get dived.
We won’t plan to be closed on any specific days during this period as we have enough days of loafing when the weather is poor, so if the sea is good we will dive.
You may already have won a prize
Congratulations to Matthijs who has won himself a Nitrox course in the November boat lucky draw. One diver who is on our boat this month will also win a Nitrox course, or two boat dives if they’re already Nitrox certified. All you need to do is show up.
Wind, walkers and waves will mean we are diving on Saturday in False Bay starting real early, i.e. 7.00 am at the Yacht club. We plan to dive Atlantis and the Brunswick.
On Sunday there will be way too much traffic and road closures to make an early start possible and I don’t think the wind will allow anything later in the day. I am really keen to do a double tank dive to Justin’s Caves or to dive North and South Paw, but will make that call on Saturday afternoon once we have a better idea of the wind (which looks iffy) and the viz.
The last week has been spent driving instead of diving as all our cylinders were due for their annual medical examination. We did cancel last weekend’s dives due to the wind being a little stronger than I like to launch and dive in, but the guys that did go out reported really good conditions.
We are just home from a really good night dive and all in all we were 19 divers. We dived below and around the jetty in Simon’s Town and had passable viz and a great deal of jellyfish to contend with. Thanks to all those folks from far and wide (including OMSAC!) that joined the fun. The aim with Diversnight International is to have as many divers in the water at 2013 as possible, world wide, and then to eat cake. The numbers since this event started are:
2005: 351 divers in Norway.
2006: 889 divers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
2007: 1859 divers in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and also Svalbard.
2008: 2183 divers in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Egypt, Indonesia, France, Spain, Faroe Islands and Belgium
2009: 2749 divers, 218 divesites and 20 countries
2010: 1700 divers, 175 dive sites and 22 countries
2011: 2577 divers, 196 dive sites and 24 countries
2012: 2322 divers, 231 dive sites and 25 countries
If you think the water is cold here, you should feel it in Scandinavia in November, where this event started!
Congratulations to Bianca, who won two boat dives in the Diversnight lucky draw this evening! Also congratulations to Esti who has won a Nitrox Specialty course in the October boat divers’ lucky draw.
We will have another draw for boat divers in November and one in December. To enter, come for a boat dive. You’ll win a Nitrox course, or, if you’re already Nitrox certified, you’ll win two boat dives!
Sometimes I have students and former students who want to sell some gear secondhand. If you’re looking for gear, let me know and I might be able to put you in touch with someone. The details of the transaction are up to you! At the moment I know someone with a Suunto D6i dive computer and a regulator set for sale. If you’re interested drop me a mail and I’ll hook you up.
I think the picture of our boat all covered and ready for possible rain and gale force winds tell the story of what I reckon the weekend offers. No diving. Sadly, too much wind and some rain on Saturday and again way too much wind for Sunday mean we will skip diving this weekend. If you cannot go without a fix try Indigo Scuba… Deon is chairman of the Good Diving in Gordons Bay Club, and if he says it’s good, then go dive!
The good news is that the weekend brings the Cape Town Boat Show with a few interesting talks and of course lots of interesting goodies. I think it would be a good idea to attend, so that you can get an idea of the range of items that will be on my 2013 Christmas list.
The week’s diving
We have had a good week diving wise and Tuesday saw a trip out of Hout Bay with really good viz (6-8 metres at Duiker Island), no swell and no wind. Wednesday and Thursday we dived Advanced and Junior Open Water students. Summer does look like it’s on its way and it’s been a warm and sunny week. Summer does also mean humping south easterly winds and that’s what we are in for over the next few days. This means that from Tuesday next week the Atlantic will be clear as gin so we will launch Tuesday and Wednesday from Hout Bay. You might consider taking a day off work…
Prizes… just because
At the end of each of the next three months (October, November, and December) we will do a lucky draw from the names of everyone who has done a boat dive with us that month, and the winner will either win a Nitrox specialty course OR, if the winner is already Nitrox certified, the prize will be two free boat dives.
This annual event happens on the 7th November this year. Last year we had 20 divers in the water and we hope to have more this year. Where we dive is still to be decided but we are open to suggestions. Last year we dived at the jetty in Simon’s Town, but we’ll have to check whether we can get permission to do it again, and whether the tides are favourable. Diversnight is an international event with a bit of background available here. Note the bit about the cakes – we missed that out in 2012, must rectify in 2013! This year there will also be some prizes, so watch this space. The aim is to have as many divers as possible in the water at 13 minutes past 8 pm (2013). Sign up here and stay informed!
Hi divers We launched in Hout Bay on Tuesday and had good viz, lots of seals and did some “myth busting” underwater with eggs and golf balls. It has been reported that there is currently 20-30 metre visibility on some sites in the Atlantic. Sadly the howling southeaster forecast for the weekend means we will have yet another dry weekend. I can’t in good conscience take either students or paying divers out when the wind is so strong; the potential for accidents is huge, and the boat ride and surface conditions are unpleasant and dangerous.
Gary and Oscar are very close to completing their Divemaster training. We have also done some Open Water and Advanced training in the last few weeks but have not had too many good weather days. Tomorrow I’m doing a DSD and Open Water training at Long Beach.
We are planning a night dive for next week, conditions permitting, mid week. We will meet at 7 pm at Long Beach and start the dive at around 7.30 or 8.00 pm. Let me know if you want to be notified of the day.
Bad weather days
There are options for bad weather days or evenings if your DSTV is dysfunctional. I am going to run an SDI Equipment Specialty for few evenings over the next month. Learn all about how and why your gear works, how to service it and give it the required TLC for it to outlive you. We will cover cylinders, pillar valves, inflators, regulators, BCDs and a whole lot more. After this course your corroded regulator will not get stuck half on a cylinder just before a dive! The Nitrox course is also theory-based and is fantastic to have if you plan to do any warm water diving, particularly.
We’re still working on the Aliwal Shoal trip, and it looks as though we might switch it to Durban and spend some time diving with the guys at Calypso Diving. More information next week… The Red Sea trip is still quite far in the future but we are saving already! regards Tony Lindeque 076 817 1099 www.learntodivetoday.co.za www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/Diving is addictive!