The orca-tracking hound

A bustling orca-watching industry exists around the San Juan Islands off Washington State in the north western United States, and it is here that researchers are making use of a dog to locate samples of orca scat in order to collect it and study the orcas’ diet and overall health. The dog, a labrador mix called Tucker, is able to smell the orca faeces during the brief time that it floats, and then direct the boat towards the scent so that researchers can collect samples. He’s rewarded with some playtime with his favourite orange ball.

Read the full article here – it’s heart warming! There is a slideshow here.

Supporting Romeo’s Wish

This year, Learn to Dive Today has donated a Discover Scuba Diving experience as a prize in the Romeo’s Wish raffle, to raise funds for DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group) in Hout Bay. We love dogs and cats (all creatures except mosquitoes, actually!) and are happy to contribute towards making a difference in the lives of some pets that would otherwise be neglected.

You can read more about Romeo’s Wish here, here and here. Details on how to buy a ticket for the raffle are below:

Romeo's Wish

Dogs of Long Beach: The aristocrat

Not all the dogs of Long Beach are big and fierce, but even the small ones can have great dignity. This little fellow came quite close to check us out, all the time pretending that he wasn’t REALLY that interested…

Dogs of Long Beach: Scuba pooch

Scuba pooch swims out to sea
Scuba pooch swims out to sea

This gorgeous dog visited us out in the water one day at Long Beach, on a day when the water was clean green. He swam out to us on the surface, inspected all of us thoroughly, and when he was finished, returned to shore.

Dogs of Long Beach: Peanut

Peanut and his owner often come to walk at Long Beach, so that Peanut can perform much-needed beach cleanups.

Newsletter: Who is a lunatic?

Hi everyone

Diving is often called an extreme sport, why, I don’t know but if you think diving is risky look at these options (photos taken by me, this week).

Surfer braving an 8 metre swell at Muizenberg
Surfer braving an 8 metre swell at Muizenberg
Mysterious lawnmower attached to a parachute over Kenilworth
Mysterious lawnmower attached to a parachute over Kenilworth

Two weeks ago I was raving about the fantastic weather and just to exclude me from a career in weather forecasting the ocean put me in my place and delivered this, a grumpy sea with an 8 metre swell and strong winds… Waves larger than the Clan Stuart eliminating any chance of a casual shore dive!

Big swell covering the Clan Stuart
Big swell covering the Clan Stuart

Without the option of diving and stalking creatures underwater I decided to stalk a few creatures on land instead.

Oystercatcher at Long Beach
Oystercatcher at Long Beach

An oystercatcher and a squirrel having their lunch… A mussel and a guava, respectively.

Squirrel eating a guava in our garden
Squirrel eating a guava in our garden

A goshawk (I think) looking for lunch…

Little African goshawk (I think) in our garden
Little African goshawk (I think) in our garden

And one of the local dogs at Long Beach doing a cleanup by helpfully removing all the kelp from the ocean.

Peanut doing a Long Beach cleanup
Peanut doing a Long Beach cleanup

The weather and diving this weekend

NO COMMENT!

However…

Saturday looks (text removed to protect my ego) for shore diving, somewhere along the coastline and I will decide where early on Saturday morning once I have seen the sea with my own eyes. Sunday we will be on the boat, three launches with Long Beach pick ups (Grant will decide where when he has seen the ocean with HIS own eyes).

be good and have fun

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

Diving is addictive!

Best friends

Given the “each man for himself” mentality that pervades nature, it appeals to me to find a pair of similar marine creatures who appear to be friends (however naive that assumption may be!). Here are some of the highlights of the last few months. And don’t tell me that a golden retriever doesn’t count as a “marine creature”… When he’s this wet, he does!

Pooches at Long Beach
Pooches at Long Beach

I’ve only seen button crabs once, so I don’t know if this is how they usually sit, but I find this pair very endearing! I love the way the grey dude is holding onto the brown one.

Embracing button crabs at Long Beach
Embracing button crabs at Long Beach

Here are his and hers sea anemones, right next to each other at Long Beach. I don’t often see two as close together as this, and I thought the juxtaposition of colours was gorgeous.

His and hers anemones
His and hers anemones

We do sometimes see large groups of starfish feeding. These two, however, appear to be holding hands.

Friendly sea stars
Friendly sea stars

I have struggled endlessly to photograph the orange-clubbed nudibranchs at Long BeachMy camera seems to want to blow out the white whenever I point it at one of them, but the other day, in decidedly inclement conditions, I found two feeding on their favourite meal of bryzoans on a piece of kelp. You can see the particles in the water around them – insidious backscatter – but I was quite happy with this shot. You should see how bad my previous efforts were!

Orange clubbed nudibranchs at Long Beach
Orange clubbed nudibranchs at Long Beach