Newsletter: Here today, gone tomorrow

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Early morning double tank dive, location to be confirmed

Conditions last weekend were pretty good. Not much wind or swell and decent visibility. The wind and swell for the weekend ahead look great with very little of either. False Bay, on the other hand, looks a little messy from some humping south easterly wind today.

False Bay this morning
False Bay this morning

The wind dies tomorrow and stays away for the weekend. I don’t doubt that both False Bay and the Atlantic will offer decent diving if you take the time to check before you choose. I plan to launch on Sunday as early as possible for a double tank dive somewhere clean. I have family arriving at midday from abroad and want to be done by then. If you are up for a early dive let me know and I will add you to the list.

Great news

The Shark Spotters mobile app is available – search for Shark Spotters in the Apple app store or Google Play store and download it for free!

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Blooming tides

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Launching at 6.00am from Simon’s Town jetty for a double tank dive

Coral display at the aquarium in Copenhagen
Coral display at the aquarium in Copenhagen

The water is really doing its best to limit diving right now. It is either murky green or way too windy for decent diving on a regular basis. At some point it will change, but I doubt it will change in time for the weekend. There are areas in False Bay that are clean and free of red tide, but you need to go and look for them.

Saturday has pretty strong south easterly wind and a fair amount of swell, Sunday is not looking much better. I have students who require shore and boat dives so I will launch at 6.00am on Saturday for a quick look and double tank dive, and plan the weekend around what we find.

If you’d like to be notified of diving plans that may materialise if we find suitable conditions, let me know!

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Giant short tailed sting rays at Millers Point

Giant short tailed sting ray behind the boat at Millers Point
Giant short tailed sting ray behind the boat at Millers Point

Giant short tailed sting rays reliably appear in the warm, shallow waters of False Bay during the summer months. They are seen frequently at inshore dive sites such as Long Beach, but mostly during the warmest months of the year.

They can be seen fairly reliably year-round, however, near the Millers Point slipway. As with Parrie the ray at Struisbaai harbour, the rays at Millers Point have figured out that the discarded fish guts thrown overboard by the fishermen returning from a day on the bay are a steady source of snacks.

Here’s some fly by traffic coming past the boat one November day near the slipway, where we paused between double tank dives to change cylinders and de-gas.

It is illegal to feed these rays or to bait the water to attract them (or anything, if you don’t have a permit), but a short cruise in amongst the fishing boats queuing for the slipway will cause them to come and investigate. Snorkeling or diving this area is very risky because of the boat traffic, so take care.

Newsletter: Different strokes

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Friday: Launching at 9.00 am from Simon’s Town jetty

Saturday: 6.00 am double tank dives from Simon’s Town jetty

Dive conditions

Same again is not a phrase we can use for December this year. Last December was appalling by comparison and although we are only 10 days into the month, we have already done twice the number of dives we did in the whole of December last year.

Conditions this past weekend were great and they have been the same all week. The westerly wind today has made things even better and tomorrow and Saturday should be pretty good… In False Bay. The Atlantic looks a little dark and the water temperature is 16 degrees Celcius, which doesn’t herald good viz that side.

Leaving for dive two on Sunday
Leaving for dive two on Sunday

Dive plans

We are launching tomorrow and Saturday, but I think Sunday will be a little too windy for diving. The forecast is for it to blow hard from midday on Saturday, so we will launch for a double tanker at 6.00 am on Saturday from Simon’s Town jetty.

Freebies

Remember our free try dives in the pool until Christmas eve. We have had some bookings and the pool is warm! It’s a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to scuba diving. Get in touch if you want to bring someone over – booking is essential.

Action required

Please have your MPA permits up to date – you can get one for R94.00 at the post office. Take along your ID document.

On the subject of Marine Protected Areas, please read this and send in your comments about the imminent opening of the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing. Allowing fishing in a marine protected area is a bit of a contradiction in terms, so I encourage you to read about the proposal and let your voice be heard on the subject.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Try it out

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: 6.00 am on Simon’s Town jetty for double tank dives in the Roman Rock vicinity

Saturday: Dives from Simon’s Town jetty at 9.00 and 11.30 am, sites dependent on conditions

Dive conditions

We had good conditions last week; they held for the weekend and then kept going at the start of this week. Yesterday and today, however, the viz took a bit of a nosedive and is possibly going to settle into the summer visibility groove of a warm 4- 6 metres, depending on your eyesight. There is very little swell or wind in the forecast which will help.

I doubt there will be too much difference between Saturday and Sunday so the plan is as follows: a screechingly early double tank launch on Saturday (6.00 am on the Simon’s Town jetty). On Sunday we will meet for 9.00 am and 11.30 am. The sites will depend on what we find on Saturday.

A Cape long-legged spider crab
A Cape long-legged spider crab

This Cape long-legged spider crab hitched a ride to the surface on one of the divers’ booties this week. Isn’t he a handsome chap? He is back where he belongs!

Try diving in the pool

In the month of December until Christmas, we are offering Discover Scuba sessions (try dives) in our pool, free of charge, every Wednesday and Thursday after 3.00 pm. If you have a friend that needs a little persuasion to qualify as your future dive buddy, then bring them along. Booking is essential. Get in touch if you want to reserve a slot.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Purple and orange, and Minions

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Meet at Simon’s Town jetty at 8.00 Fan Reef and 10.30 Atlantis or Outer Photographer’s Reef

I photographed this (recently deceased) backspine cowfish after retrieving it from the surface just inshore from Roman Rock, last Friday. This was an unusual opportunity to look closely at this not often spotted little chap. There was a visible plankton bloom in the area with a few other dead fish floating on the surface, too.

Backspine cowfish (deceased)
Backspine cowfish (deceased)

Both WindGURU and Windfinder have used their purple and orange crayons for the forecasts again which means the wind will blow harder than most people find enjoyable. Fortunately these colours are confined to Friday’s forecast, and by the weekend we are back to low wind conditions. The wind direction tomorrow will improve the already very good visibility in False Bay, so that is a good thing. The downside is it that might rain and it might be cold, but then again it might not. And you’re going to get wet anyway!

Saturday looks to be the warmer day so that will be my choice for boat dives. We will go to Fan Reef at 8.30 (meet at 8.00) and Atlantis or Outer Photographer’s Reef at 11.00 (meet at 10.30). We may do these as a double tank dives, in which case there will be no getting off the boat in between. There will be hot chocolate on the boat in my new Minion cups to make it worth your while.

Shore diving for the out of practice

We are planning a shore dive next weekend, on Saturday if the weather plays along, for everyone who needs to get back in the water and dust off their confidence and buoyancy skills, so make a note in your diaries and I’ll confirm the details in next week’s newsletter. Winter is a great time to dive in False Bay. The water is generally clean, and the prevailing winds flatten the sea. With this in mind, how about a trip to the post office next week to renew your permit to dive in a Marine Protected Area?

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: In the net

Hi divers

Weekend plans

For a change the weather looks good for the weekend. I cancelled last weekend but that was a mistake as the conditions turned out to be good (loud self inflicted slap). The wind won’t be too strong, and the swell is from the south east which means flat sea along the Atlantic seaboard. I would like to dive North and South Paw on Saturday from OPBC and possibly do a double tanker to Justin’s Caves on Sunday. Text or email me if you want to dive.

Last week’s diving

Wild wind and grumpy sea in False Bay has had us on the Atlantic coastline most of this week. We have done a few trips to Duiker Island and spent an afternoon just off Oudekraal. The water is cool and clean.

We did manage a warm(ish) dive in False Bay on Tuesday when we were fortunate to take two media people for a dive along the new shark exclusion net in Fish Hoek. It was spring low tide so we could almost have walked out to the end of the net, but the idea was to get some photos and a positive story out on the merits of the net, the work involved in deploying and retrieving it and the conservation efforts behind it all. An article appeared in yesterday’s Cape Argus – you can read it here and see some photos from the day on facebook.

Over-under view of the exclusion net at Fish Hoek
Over-under view of the exclusion net at Fish Hoek

Sevengill cowshark project

There is a huge amount of work going on to try and establish a photo ID project for the sevengill cowsharks that hang out at Shark Alley. Its a dive most people really enjoy and very little is know about their movements and habits. Please go and like the project’s facebook page and if you have anything to contribute… info, stories etc… please do so! All the information about what is required for the project can be found on the facebook page.

Pool deck at home is complete
Pool deck at home is complete

Festive season diving

Lots of public holidays and annual leave happening over the next few weeks means we will try and schedule more weekday diving than normal. I will send out text messages if I schedule dives in between newsletters – let me know if you don’t usually get texts from me (and want to), and I will add you to the sms list.

Things are looking so good at home now – we just got the pool deck finished – that I’m looking forward to spending some time doing confined water skills with my Open Water students too!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Dig a big hole

Hi divers

Our garden, before...
Our garden, before…

So, the week has been a bit hectic – hectic wind and and hectic rain, but today was mild, sunny and mostly dry so we dug a hole in the garden and filled it with a pool.

After... the pool comes through a gap in the fence
After… the pool comes through a gap in the fence

Last weekend

Last weekend we were lucky enough to have two days of excellent diving, both the Atlantic and False Bay were good. We had good viz and a calm, flat sea with almost no wind. We did three dives on Saturday and did some exploring on the outskirts of Maori Bay. In False Bay we dived the cowsharks and Photographer’s Reef. Monday was just as good and we did a double tank dive to cowsharks and the Pietermaritzburg.

Diving with the cowsharks last Sunday
Diving with the cowsharks last Sunday

Weekend diving

This weekend looks like more of the same stuff. Its a tough call on what side of the mountain to dive. Water temperature in the Atlantic today is 15 degrees, False Bay is 13 degrees. Warm Atlantic often means less than optimal visibility. There is some south east wind tomorrow so I think it will clean up. So the plan is, a few wreck dives and a visit to Atlantis!

Saturday

Hout Bay: the Katsu Maru and the BOS 400. Meeting in Hout bay at 8.00

Sunday

Atlantis and the Pietermaritzburg. Meet at False Bay Yacht Club at 8.30

Training

Currently I have Divemaster, Rescue, Advanced and Open Water on the go.

Travel

We’re doing the Red Sea liveaboard thing from 17-26 October.

We’ll be checking out Durban’s wrecks from 17-21 June!

Let me know if you want more details… The warm water beckons.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Say good bye to the octopi

Hi divers

Six hundred experimental octopus traps have been sunk in False Bay, in an attempt to create a new fishing sector.

Sea Freeze, a Hout Bay-based fishing company, last month deployed seven exploratory octopus long lines between Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek.

Each line is about one kilometre long, with two main buoys on each end. The buoys have radar reflectors and lights and are visible about 500m from the shore.

Ropes weighed down with cement drag the lines down vertically. The traps are placed horizontally along the lines, far beneath the surface of the water.

The above info courtesy False Bay People’s Post. I can only wonder at the risk of entanglement for whales and other large ocean creatures!

Two stroke engines may smoke, but not as much as this navy ship
Two stroke engines may smoke, but not as much as this navy ship

On a lighter note…. Weather and ocean this week have not been too diver friendly and the southeaster blew so hard yesterday I could hardly get out of the harbour in Hout Bay to test the new motors on the boat. The water however was clean and the viz good.

Today I was out in False Bay and the water looked a dark greenish brown colour, very patchy and not great surface conditions. At Photographer’s Reef I could not see the top of the reef when the sonar said it was 4 metres deep. The same at Atlantis and the Brunswick.

There is some northerly and westerly wind coming, but not a lot so I doubt we will have anything better than 5-6 metre viz in False Bay. There is also a little rain in the forecast to contend with. Hout Bay will probably stay clean as the air temperatures for the next few days barely bump the 20 degree mark.

Fitting the new motors to Seahorse
Fitting the new motors to Seahorse

The weekend

There wasn’t much diving last weekend or during this week but there was much boat work to be done and we have replaced both motors, been out twice to test them and I am happy to say all is well again.

We will do a double tank dive on Saturday really early, as I have a family in Stellenbosch expecting me there late afternoon for training. On Sunday we will do two launches, both shallow. Whether it’s False Bay or Hout Bay depends on the conditions we find tomorrow and Saturday.

Back home with fully functional motors!
Back home with fully functional motors!

Travel

We are heading to Durban on the long weekend of 16 June, and staying a few days of the following week. If the weather is favourable we will do a day trip to Aliwal Shoal and if it’s atrocious we will dive the aquarium. We plan to dive some of the interesting wrecks and reefs that Durban has to offer.

We’re booking our Red Sea trip next week. If you’re interested in “accidentally” ending up on the same liveaboard as us, I’ll give you details as soon as it’s finalised…

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

* If one wants to be pedantic, the plural of octopus is not octopi… But it’ll do!

Newsletter: Wind, waves and whales

Hi divers

We have had a mixed bag of weather this past week with windy days, and flat calm days. We have seen whales so close to shore you could almost reach out and touch them. Visibility has also been good and on Monday there was top to bottom visibility as far north as Photographer’s Reef. Sites this close to Simon’s Town don’t always have such clean water. The water temperature this far into winter is also better than expected at around 13-14 degrees celcius. Surfers have also had some stunning days and Muizenberg has been “piping hot” as they call it on several day of late. Generally surfing days are not good diving days but we all share the same stretch of coastline so its nice to know somewhere someone is in the water enjoying the ocean irrespective of the weather.

A small broadnose sevengill cowshark approaches
A small broadnose sevengill cowshark approaches

The pictures in this week’s newsletter are from a dive we did at Shark Alley last week in very calm conditions with good visibility.

Weekend diving

Urchins on the reef near Pyramid Rock
Urchins on the reef near Pyramid Rock

This weekend? Hmm, well the wind scheduled to blow tomorrow will improve the already good visibility in the bay. Saturday will be a great day out on the bay as there is little or no wind in the forecast but Sunday will be a morning only event as I think the forecast shows the wind to be picking up from midday and howling by late afternoon. The plan is then as follows:

Saturday: Launching from Miller’s Point

0930 SAS Pietermaritzburg

1200 Batsata Maze

Sunday: Launching from False Bay Yacht Club

0900 Double tank dive to Maidstone Rock and Ark Rock wrecks.

I want to be done by the time the wind starts blowing. Remember we can only take four divers on a double tanker so book quick if you want to do this.

A hagfish swims away at Shark Alley
A hagfish swims away at Shark Alley

Night diving

There are a few people chomping at the bit for a night dive. We will do a night dive next week either on Wednesday or Thursday evening. We will most likely do this at Long Beach but I will dive there during the day before then to see the conditions are right.

Permits

Please make sure your permits are up to date and that you bring them with you when you dive. There was a large permit check last weekend at Miller’s Point. Be prepared!

Dive festival

The Cape Town Dive Festival is next week. There are still dives open, including some shore dives to Shark Alley (which happen to be free of charge for divers who register to attend the festival). Visit the festival website for more information.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!