Newsletter: Transformation

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Boat dives at 9.00 and 11.30 from Simons Town jetty (maximum depth 18 metres)

This week we launched on Monday, Tuesday and again today. Monday and Tuesday were pleasant as there was no swell or wind to worry about, however the visibility was pretty lousy. Mostly pea soup around Roman Rock and a little further south and 4-5 metres in Smitswinkel Bay.

One day of westerly wind, not even that strong, and False Bay transformed. On the wreck of the Princess Elizabeth this morning the visibility was 20 metres plus. It is quite astonishing how quickly things change.

I think the viz will remain for the weekend and Saturday is probably going to be the best day. There’s less wind on Sunday but a lot more swell and therefore surge to deal with. I have students to qualify so both dives will be to a maximum depth of 18 metres. Most likely to Alpha Reef and the northern part of Roman Rock.

Gathering around the shot line in Smitswinkel Bay
Gathering around the shot line in Smitswinkel Bay

Shark Spotters fundraiser

Get the details of the next Shark Spotters fundraiser, happening on Wednesday 31 May, here. Book directly with the Two Oceans Aquarium. Greg Bertish, author of The Little Optimist, will talk about his adventures, and about the early days of the Shark Spotters program. We have donated an auction item/lucky draw prize!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Business as usual

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Launching from Simons Town jetty at 9.00 and 11.30 am

Sunday: Launching from Simons Town jetty at 9.00 and 11.30 am (suitable for Open Water divers)

It is the time of year where we have more decent days for diving in a week than we experience during the windy summer months. This weekend looks pretty good for both days in False Bay. Not much wind or swell, and while it is doubtful this visibility will be in the double digits, it should be decent.

I will launch from Simons Town jetty at 9.00 and 11.30 am on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will be for qualified divers, and you get to choose where we go. Sunday will be mostly students’ qualifying dives so max 18 metres, suitable for Open Water divers.

Musselcracker at the Two Oceans Aquarium
Musselcracker at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Shark Spotters fundraiser

Check out the details of an upcoming Shark Spotters fundraiser here. It promises to be an inspirational and enjoyable evening.

regards

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

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Newsletter: It is a weekend

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Shore diving at Long Beach, meeting at 10.00 am

Sunday: Boat dives from False Bay Yacht Club at 9.00 am, to Roman Rock and the wreck of SAS Pietermaritzburg

It is certainly going to be the best weekend in a while, as far as diving goes. There has not been too much of that recently! There are light winds and a 3 metre swell, but it is a westerly swell so I don’t think it will affect False Bay too much.

We are shore diving at Long Beach on Saturday, and boat diving from False Bay Yacht Club on Sunday, to Roman Rock and the wreck of SAS Pietermaritzburg. If you’re keen to dive, let me know.

Huddle around the buoy
Huddle around the buoy

Dates to diarise

Next Sunday, 12 March, is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, so don’t make any plans to move around the city unless it’s by bicycle…

The following week(end), 17-19 March, is the SA Navy Festival in Simons Town, so we will try to schedule dives out of Hout Bay that weekend.

Don’t forget…

… to download the Shark Spotters app for updates on shark and other marine wildlife sightings, beach conditions, and more. You can find the app in the Apple app store, and the Google Play store.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Getting started

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Shore dives at Long Beach

Sunday: Boat dives from Simon’s Town jetty (maximum depth 18 metres)

The weather for warm, sunny diving is here – almost! As I’m sure you noticed, we had a day or two of temperatures in the high twenties which is my kind of weather. False Bay has been pleasant this week, with some visibility and not much swell to go with the sunny days. It won’t be quite that warm this weekend but conditions will definitely be worth diving.

View north from Long Beach, Simon's Town
View north from Long Beach, Simon’s Town

We will shore dive at Long Beach on Saturday and launch for boat dives from the Simon’s Town jetty on Sunday. Both boat dives will be to a maximum depth of 18 metres as they will be first boat dives for a few students. Sites will be chosen on the day.

Out and about

Don’t forget that the crowdfunded Shark Spotters mobile beach safety app will be launched on Thursday 13 October with music (The Rudimentals) and comedy (Rob van Vuuren) at the Earth Fair food market. It should be good fun, and it’s a good cause. Book your tickets here!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Home stretch

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday and Sunday: early launches (around 7 am), location to be confirmed

I am working through some student dives as we enter the final quarter of the year, so am planning launches for both Saturday and Sunday. They will likely be early double tank dives, around 7.00 am, because the wind is forecast to pick up later in the day. The location – Hout Bay or False Bay – will be confirmed tomorrow afternoon when it’s clear which of all the contradictory weather forecasts are accurate! Want to dive? Let me know.

Diary

The usual Shark Spotters sign at Glencairn
The usual Shark Spotters sign at Glencairn

Check out last week’s newsletter for links to info on the Oceans of Life photo exhibition (6 October – 25 November) and Diversnight (7 November). Also, the crowdfunded Shark Spotters mobile app will be launched on Thursday 13 October with music and comedy at the Earth Fair food market. Book tickets here.

regards

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

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Article: The New York Times Magazine on animal tagging

Staying with our informal theme of the last few weeks’ (admittedly sporadic) posts, let’s look at a recent article from the New York Times Magazine. Not solely focused on marine animal studies, the article explains how technology has enabled even the general public to directly observe and learn about the migrations of birds, sharks and other animals. The utility of this kind of information is obvious:

By discovering the precise routes animals take during migration, scientists can assess the threats they face, like environments altered by habitat loss and overhunting.

A white shark with a satellite tag
A white shark with a satellite tag

The article’s author is brilliant nature writer Helen MacDonald, who wrote H is for Hawk, and she goes on to muse about the meaning of the relatively few individually tagged and named animals which become icons of their species as they appear to transverse a simplified, borderless planet in solitude. (The OCEARCH sharks on their satellite map refer!) It is easy to lose sight of the rigours of the environments they move through, but easy to become invested in the future of particular individuals.

Erik Vance’s article on great white sharks for National Geographic covers tagging, and he elaborates on his blog about how tags can facilitate population estimates. You can also read about whale tagging, tuna tagging, and the tagging study taking place on False Bay’s cowsharks.

What a time to be alive. Read the full New York Times Magazine article here.

Two ways to count sharks

Did you pick up the July edition of National Geographic to read about great white sharks, or read the article online? (Pro tip: you should.)

The article’s author, science writer Erik Vance, contributes to a blog that I follow called The Last Word on NothingI was delighted to read a follow-up he posted to his National Geographic feature, explaining how scientists count sharks. At the heart of the method is a beautiful piece of statistics (a model) that allows scientists to draw conclusions about the size of a population – some of whom are tagged or marked  – based on only a sample of the individuals, and what proportion of those sampled individuals is tagged.

A dorsal fin breaks the surface
A dorsal fin breaks the surface

Why is it important to know how many great white sharks (or cowsharks, or whale sharks, or or or…) there are? The most obvious answer relates to conservation: if we have a baseline population estimate, we can then determine whether it is increasing or decreasing over time. What is the status of the population? Are these animals endangered, or flourishing? Are conservation measures necessary? Are they effective?

Go and read about counting sharks here. An important thing to pay attention to when you are reading any scientific model is what the underlying assumptions are, because they will show you the circumstances under which the model will fail.

And for some hot off the press South African research on a related subject but taking a different (genetic) approach, check out this press release. The study’s author, Sara Andreotti, spoke on the topic at the SA Shark and Ray Symposium in 2015.

Help Shark Spotters create a free beach info smartphone app!

The signs and Shark Spotters flag at Glencairn
The signs and Shark Spotters flag at Glencairn

Shark Spotters have been keeping bathers and surfers safe, and providing groundbreaking research on Cape Town’s white sharks, for over 10 years. They are currently developing a smartphone app that will provide information on sightings of sharks and other marine life, sea conditions, and other information pertinent to the Shark Spotters program.

The app will be available free of charge, but there are some development costs that have to be raised before it can be launched.

Click here to donate – every bit helps!

Newsletter: Diving 9 to 5

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Shore dives at Long Beach

Sunday: Boat dives from Simon’s Town jetty at 10.00 to the wreck of the Brunswick and 12.30, site to be determined on the day

Liam and Christo near the Brunswick
Liam and Christo near the Brunswick

The cold front seems to have passed by and the second one that was meant to arrive tomorrow seems now to be giving us a miss. We had 40 mm of rain at home on Thursday, for which we are grateful. The break in the weather means there is a good chance some diving might happen this weekend!

I am going to shore dive on Saturday at Long Beach and launch on Sunday, the first dive being to the Brunswick, meeting on the jetty in Simon’s Town at 10.00am. The second dive will be at 12.30, the location weather and viz dependent.

If you want to dive, let me know!

Support Shark Spotters

Don’t forget to donate to help the Shark Spotters complete their beach info smartphone app! Also, there’s an auction and comedy evening (with Nik Rabinowitz!) at the Two Oceans Aquarium on Wednesday 27 July, also in aid of Shark Spotters’ research. There’s more information about the event here.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Wishing winter away

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Boat dives from Simon’s Town jetty to Photographer’s Reef and Roman Rock OR shore dives at Long Beach

I know we are barely past the halfway mark of winter, but the last few warm and pleasant days have got me wishing summer was here.

Some swell and lots of south easterly wind are in the forecast for Saturday, so Sunday will be the better option for diving. We will aim for a later start to see how well False Bay fares during Saturday’s onslaught. If we decide to launch the boat it will be from the Simon’s Town Jetty at 9.30 and 12.00 and the most likely sites will be Photographer’s Reef and Roman Rock.

If the conditions aren’t boat-worthy on Sunday, we’ll shore dive at Long Beach.

An app for beach lovers

The Shark Spotters centre at Muizenberg
The Shark Spotters centre at Muizenberg

Shark Spotters, who do pioneering beach safety work and shark research in Cape Town, are crowdfunding a mobile app which will provide information on beach and surf conditions, shark and other marine animal sightings, and whether the Fish Hoek exclusion net is currently deployed. The app will be available free of charge. Watch this video for more information about the app, and give your support by donating here!

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

To subscribe to receive this newsletter by email, use the form on this page!