Cape Town Dive Festival (day two)

Grey day at Miller's Point
Grey day at Miller’s Point

The second day of the dive festival dawned grey and cloudy, with a north westerly wind blowing. This flattens the sea in False Bay, but it was quite strong and made for some slightly choppy surface conditions.

The dives in the middle of the day were almost blown (and rained) out by a squall that swept down False Bay like a banshee. Several boatloads of intrepid divers ventured out, and were rewarded with good visibility and even some rays of sun breaking through the clouds. One of the divers who went down to Batsata Maze around 1130 told me he know knows how the seamen on Deadliest Catch feel! At the dive control desk, I was receiving the skippers’ lists of who had been on their boat. Some of them were returned pristine and dry, while others looked worthy of conservation in a museum.

Dive and Adventure setting off to launch
Dive and Adventure setting off to launch

By the third dive session, beginning around lunchtime, things had cleared up considerably.

The prize giving was held at 5pm, and was very well attended. An impressive array of prizes were offered, and there were some very happy divers after the event! The efforts of the photo competition have been published on the CTDF facebook page, as well as the names of the other prize winners. The sponsors donated very generously, making this aspect of the festival very rewarding to the participants. One or two lucky individuals won more than one prize… Lucky is probably not the right word – in order to win prizes, you have to make the effort of entering the competitions, and these folk certainly did that!

Boats queuing to load up with divers and gear
Boats queuing to load up with divers and gear

After prizegiving, Bellville Underwater Club served chicken potjie, and many divers lingered over the hot meal. I went home and slept like the dead.

Shooting the breeze on the grass
Shooting the breeze on the grass

Now that this event has passed, I am enjoying having free time to spend as I wish, sleeping a lot, and trying to rid my body of the excess of cortisol that has built up steadily since March. Also, unpacking the boxes at home (we moved house a week before the festival). The festival will be a bi-annual event, with the next one in 2014. I hope to do a dive or two at the next one, and enter some competitions!

Cape Town Dive Festival (day one)

Cape Town Dive Festival
Cape Town Dive Festival

The Cape Town Dive Festival was held on the weekend of 8 and 9 September, at the Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club at Miller’s Point. My role was mostly to take bookings, which in most cases was a pleasant experience. By the time the festival rolled around I felt as though I had a whole bunch of new diving acquaintances, and it was a pleasure to meet them at registration where they collected a t shirt and lanyard with a lucky draw number on it.

Loading the BlueFlash boat onto its trailer after a dive
Loading the BlueFlash boat onto its trailer after a dive

The format of the festival was similar to the Port Elizabeth dive festival. Eight dive boats, two hundred and something divers, 45 boat launches and four shore dives to Shark Alley in total over the two days… The festival sponsors donated a range of fabulous prizes, and with a variety of competitions and lucky draws everyone stood a chance to win something. The participating dive operators, clubs and sponsors all had gazebos on the lawn around the clubhouse, and a festive atmosphere was ensured by Matt and Monty, who handled the music and announcements throughout the day. OMSAC provided catering from the club kitchen, keeping us all well fed on boerewors rolls and other treats.

Dive briefing
Dive briefing

The weather on the Saturday was picture-perfect, and visibility was excellent (but, strangely, not at the deeper sites). After the boats returned from their third launch, a cannon race was held just off the slipway, which provided much entertainment. The race, arranged by False Bay Underwater Club, required teams of five participants (two on scuba) to lift a concrete “cannon” using a lift bag, and swim it around a buoy and back to its starting position. An element of gruesomeness was added to proceedings by some snoek fishermen who washed their boat on the slipway, sending clouds of fish guts and blood into the water.

Sponsor and participant gazebos
Sponsor and participant gazebos

Throughout the day SURG ran a species identification competition, in which participants had to photograph as wide a range of marine animals as possible. Peter Southwood and Georgina Jones headed up a small but diligent team of fish-ID experts who combed through the photographs and reference books to judge the entries.

Here are some more of the photos I took on the day…

Ship’s cat

Mini shows her best figurehead pose
Mini shows her best figurehead pose

Mini came to live with us to be a friend to Fudge. She is immensely curious, performs routine inspections of the entire house on a daily basis, and likes nothing better than to explore the back of my car and inside the boat. Here she demonstrates that she’d make a fine figurehead, posed on the bow of our rubber duck, Seahorse.

Mini has a change of heart
Mini has a change of heart

Later she realises that the life of a ship’s (boat’s?) cat is not as easy as it may seem when the boat is trailered in the driveway…

Cape Town Dive Festival – first look

Here’s a bit of aerial footage taken on the first day (Saturday 8 September) of the Cape Town Dive Festival. Footage is by Active Ice Studio.

You can see the sponsor and participant gazebos behind the clubhouse, some divers emerging from a shore dive at Shark Alley, and the boats lined up around the clubhouse, ready to receive divers and gear. If you look carefully you can see divers rinsing their kit, and hanging it up to dry behind the clubhouse. You can also appreciate what a magnificent weather day it was, and the beauty of the False Bay coastline.

The guy filleting snoek was not part of the festival! The look on his face when the camera flies up to him is priceless!

Newsletter: The season begins

Hi divers

Last weekend the first ever Cape Town Dive Festival was held at Miller’s Point. We could not have asked for better weather on Saturday and the entire event was a huge success. All the local dive centres, training schools and boat charters pulled together and made this an event not to be missed. Every little detail was covered. We even had hot showers on the slipway for cold divers. Well done to all that participated and a big thanks to all the divers that supported the event.

Flat calm seas on Saturday morning
Flat calm seas on Saturday morning

The season has kicked off in a big way for us we and we have been running courses almost every day for the last two weeks. The conditions in the bay are great right now despite the water fluctuating between 13 – 15 degrees. We are expecting 25 degrees air temperature this weekend so summer is most definitely around the corner. For those that still need to do a few dives to complete their courses started before the cold set in, dust off your manual, and give me a shout so we can get going. There is a long weekend around the corner so if you do not have plans to go away, go diving.

Sponsor gazebos at the dive festival
Sponsor gazebos at the dive festival

Relocation

Finally we have relocated to the South Peninsula and it now takes 3 minutes to get to the beach… Less if you speed (which I can’t really, and specially not towing the boat)!

The new classroom is taking shape and the equipment we use is now no longer tucked away in boxes every day, it is instead all neatly stored and easy to access. Pictures to follow as we make progress. We are very happy here already. Please feel free to follow us home (not like a stalker please) after your dives to check the new place out!

Sleeping seal at the slipway
Sleeping seal at the slipway

This weekend

Tomorrow is not technically weekend but we are doing two dives tomorrow for Advanced students, Nitrox dives on Saturday for the Nitrox Specialty students and starting a new Open Water course on Sunday.

I will launch both days this weekend and Saturday will be a deep dive followed by a wreck dive, while Sunday will be Partridge Point and sevengill cowsharks.

On Monday we will launch and go to Outer Castle and the Pietermaritzburg, Tuesday to Outer Photographer’s Reef and Photographer’s Reef.

regards

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The very first Cape Town Dive Festival

Hi divers

As the weekend approaches we are glad to see favourable weather for the long awaited first ever Cape Town Dive Festival. The first date was a weather disaster and the decision to postpone was a good call as it was a weekend of really foul weather. For those renting gear from me for the festival please make sure you mail me the details of your requirements before midday tomorrow. We will have all the gear in the gazebo which we are sharing with BlueFlash.

Family of Egyptian geese at the pool today
Family of Egyptian geese at the pool today

Over the last few days I have been out, on, or in the water almost every day and must say it makes me very happy watching the mercury creep up towards to 20 degree mark (air temperature, that is). We have done a few double tank dives to the cowsharks and seals and they never ever seem to disappoint. The bay is also full of snoek, whales, and dolphins and these are all good signs we are heading for a good summer season.

Training

We are busy with a few Open Water and Advanced courses and will be doing some Nitrox training dives during the festival. Congratulations to Mark who completed his Divemaster course after practising his teaching skills on an extremely difficult pair of divers called Christo and Maurice!!

Next weekend it is International Coastal Cleanup Day. I will be in touch with you regarding that during the course of next week.

regards

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/

Diving is addictive!

Storm chasing

Grey day at Muizenberg
Grey day at Muizenberg

The weather forecast for the (long) weekend of 9-12 August was grim – and this after a series of winter storms that made Tony and I wish we’d scheduled our trip to Denmark to visit family for July, rather than December! The weekend was notable for being the dates on which the Cape Town Dive Festival was originally planned to take place, but the predicted wind (gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour), swell (up to 9 metres late on Saturday), low temperatures and heavy rain led the organisers to postpone it to 8-9 September instead.

Simon's Town yacht basin looking grim
Simon’s Town yacht basin looking grim

Tony and I were keen to see what the storm would do to False Bay. Also, he had a bad case of cabin fever, having been trapped indoors with the cats for days by the weather. We thus took two drives down the peninsula, on the morning and late afternoon of Saturday 11 August. There are a number of pictures from that day here, and this post contains some more.

Muddy water at False Bay Yacht Club
Muddy water at False Bay Yacht Club

Runoff from the mountain had made many of the inshore sites spectacularly muddy. The yacht basin outside False Bay Yacht Club looked like milky tea, with a distinct line further out (just visible above) marking the boundary of the murk. As we ate breakfast at the yacht club we listened to the sailing race scheduled for that day being cancelled – the wind was so strong that the sailors feared breaking things off their yachts!

Froggy Pond, Miller’s Point, and many sites in between suffered the same fate. The picture below was taken during a vicious hailstorm. I sacrificed picture quality for camera integrity.

Muddy water around the slipway at Miller's Point
Muddy water around the slipway at Miller’s Point

The venue of the dive festival, the Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club, was waterlogged and battered by strong winds and hail when we stopped by. The lawn area where the sponsors’ gazebos were to be erected was soaked. Shark Alley, where shore dives were to have taken place, was the colour of Coca Cola.

Tony paddling on the lawn outside Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club
Tony paddling on the lawn outside Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club

This picture was taken the day before (10 August). The swell was fairly large. The extremely large swell promised by the weather sites did not materialise at all in False Bay, although the sites on the western side of the Cape Peninsula did experience some swell that day. The direction was very westerly, which perhaps spared the bay from the full force of it.

Big swell at Shark Alley on Friday 10 August
Big swell at Shark Alley on Friday 10 August

Late on Saturday afternoon Christo alerted us to a deep sea trawler, the Andromeda, sheltering in Smitswinkel Bay. She joined at least two other (much larger) ships hiding from the storm near Muizenberg, with a Smit Amandla tugboat to watch over them.

The Andromeda III shelters from the storm in Smitswinkel Bay
The Andromeda III shelters from the storm in Smitswinkel Bay

Newsletter: The week that was

Hi divers

The conditions are pretty good right now. We have had some really good diving this week and we had 10-12 metre visibility at the sevengill cowsharks yesterday. As for weather calls, I have been driving to Miller’s Point almost every day to check conditions before collecting the boat as the forecast weather seems seldom as predicted. False Bay is stunning right now: we have seen whales almost every day, the viz is good and the surf has been great. We also have another brief resident ship in the bay, an oil tanker of sorts.

Fish Hoek this morning
Fish Hoek this morning

The weekend

Tomorrow we will have some more serious wind with wind speeds of around 50-60 km/h but this tapers as we go into the weekend. However, a 4.5 metre swell arrives with this wind tomorrow evening and lingers most of Saturday so the plan is to skip Saturday and launch on Sunday. Please let me know if you want to be on the boat. I will do a double tank dive if possible as its better in the morning than the afternoon. Hopefully by next weekend we will be able to start doing a few more shore dives for those that prefer shore entries and for the students waiting to complete their training.

Cape Town Dive Festival

Remember the dive festival next weekend (8-9 September). There are still a few spots open if you’re keen! Visit the website for more.

CTDF Final Poster New Dates
CTDF Final Poster New Dates

Short newsletter – we are moving house tomorrow!

regards

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Not-much-news-letter

Hi divers

The weather has really been out of whack recently and I have not found the predicted conditions matching the actual conditions more than once over the last two weeks. Despite the cold, wet and windy conditions there have been some good days and I have had the boat out as often as possible.  Last weekend was really busy at the Yacht Club as the Lipton Cup was due to start , a week long regatta, so there was a hive of activities in preparation. The slipway at Miller’s Point has also been extremely hectic as the snoek are running in the bay, so every boat in Cape Town seems to have been launching there every day and some days it has been difficult getting into the parking lot!

Yacht being removed from the water in preparation for the Lipton Cup
Yacht being removed from the water in preparation for the Lipton Cup

Yesterday we dived at Partridge Point and then with the sevengill cowsharks and the water was 13 degrees with 6-8 metre visibility. During the seal dive the viz was far better at depth and a little further out but closer to the rock it dropped off  to about 2 metres. The was a fair bit of surge.

Miller's Point on Monday morning
Miller’s Point on Monday morning

This weekend

Tomorrow will be a flat, calm, sunny blue ocean day in False Bay, but it’s Friday and far too many people seem to want to be at work. I will dive at Long Beach with students and will then have some idea of the conditions closer to shore as all the dives we have done recently have been off the boat.

Saturday will once again be a howling 50 km/h windy wet day but it’s from the right direction to improve the viz, and the swell is around 3 metres which is just bearable.  Diving will be best on Sunday as the wind drops off somewhat and it’s north westerly so the bay will be flat.

I will make a decision on Friday evening whether we launch on Sunday once I see an updated weather forecast. If it’s going to be too windy we will dive at Long Beach or A Frame. Let me know if you want to do a shore dive or a boat dive, so I know who to contact about diving on Sunday once I’ve seen the weather.

This cowshark appears to have been tagged
This cowshark appears to have been tagged

Training

I’m currently busy with Open Water and Advanced courses. And Mark is one Discover Scuba Diving short of completing his Divemaster course!

Cape Town Dive Festival & International Coastal Cleanup Day

There are some spaces available at the festival (taking place on 8-9 September), and the reduced rate of R100 for dives applies until 31 August. Visit the website for more information.

The following weekend, on Saturday 15 September, is International Coastal Cleanup Day. We plan to support OMSAC at their cleanup dive in Kalk Bay Harbour – more information here. These cleanup dives aren’t always scenic, but they are always interesting, and it’s a very worthwhile project to be involved in. If you’re interested in participating, either chat to me or go ahead and register directly with OMSAC. Clare and I are  moving house next week and will only have headspace for more admin after that!

regards

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Rollercoaster and cappucino

Hi divers

For the last few weeks its seems like we have been on a rollercoaster of wind, sun and rain.

The rollercoaster of wind on Windfinder
The rollercoaster of wind on Windfinder

Sadly the lows on the rollercoaster – good weather days – have fallen midweek for the most part and there has been no weekend diving. Luckily this weekend it’s almost the opposite and you can see we are in for at least two good days, tomorrow and Saturday. OK, lets call it one, Saturday. The wind, of which we have had lots, is from the right direction to clear the bay, but the run off from all the rain makes the inshore sites dirty. I drove along the coast today and although the water is not crystal clear close to shore, it looks really good further out and the further south you go the better. The swell is from the south west so it is not affecting the bay much.

Storm clouds over False Bay
Storm clouds over False Bay

Last weekend the wind strength and the rain put paid to the Cape Town Dive Festival and the dates are now the 8th and 9th of September. If you missed out on your chosen dives book now as there have been some cancellations from the up country folks and this has made space for those that hadn’t booked.

Shark Alley on Saturday - muddy!
Shark Alley on Saturday – muddy!

You can see the rain and wind had a profound effect on the mountain and it started leaking cappucino.

Froth coming off the mountain on Boyes Drive
Froth coming off the mountain on Boyes Drive

This weekend

I am planning two launches on Saturday and will aim for the warmer day time temperatures so we will launch at 9.30 and 12.00. I do always prefer to have the sites to be the divers’ choice so look on wikivoyage and pick something southish… Like Atlantis, Partridge Point, Batsata Maze, etc., and text me your choices with your desire to dive (for some I know this is very high). I am going to be out on the bay tomorrow and will have a look at all the sites I have time for to make sure the visibility is good for Saturday.

Sunday may be an option for a launch, but it’s looking windier than I prefer and rainier than Saturday, so at this stage I’m unsure. If you have a burning desire to dive on Sunday give me a shout and I’ll see if I can make it happen.

Froggy Pond with muddy mountain water running out into the sea
Froggy Pond with muddy mountain water running out into the sea

Training

The only training I have done in the past couple of weeks has been “how to use an umbrella”. Sadly its not a diving course but you do get wet. I have an Open Water course starting this coming week – at least conditions in the pool are not weather dependent!

Clare at Fisherman's Beach on Saturday after the storm
Clare at Fisherman’s Beach on Saturday after the storm

I don’t watch too much Youtube stuff, but Christo sent me this and I have not stopped laughing for days. If you or someone you know has ever not quite understood how a new piece of technology is meant to be used, watch this.

regards

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/

Diving is addictive!