Newsletter: In the windy city

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth
Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth

We’re in Port Elizabeth for a long weekend, so I won’t be running any dives. If you do go out, be safe and don’t go deeper than the bottom!

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!

Baboons on the beach

Baboon on the beach Baboon on the beach

A recent low tide visit to the beach at Platboom near Cape Point, on the Atlantic coast of the peninsula, enabled us to watch a troop of Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus)  foraging for limpets, mussels and other marine snacks on the rocks at low tide. The baboons bite the tops off the limpets with their formidable incisors, or pry them from the rocks intact to get at the protein-rich flesh. They also eat mussels.

Baboons foraging for seafood at Platboom Baboons foraging for seafood at Platboom

This foraging behaviour is extremely rare among primates. In baboons, it is only observed on the Cape Peninsula and in one other species in Somalia. Matthew Lewis studied this troop of baboons as they foraged around the Cape Point nature reserve, and his thesis makes for fascinating reading. (Wild Card Magazine also featured Matthew’s research.)

Baboon on the beach Baboon on the beach

The amount of time the baboons are able to spend foraging on the shore is largely determined by the height of the tide, and by weather conditions. As a result, the amount of time the baboons spend seeking marine food sources is small compared with the time they spend looking for roots, bulbs, insects, berries, and small animals.

Low tide at Platboom Low tide at Platboom

These baboons are part of the Kanonkop troop which ranges freely in the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park and whose home range does not bring them into conflict with humans (or, as a rule, allow them access to any anthropogenic food sources). They were completely uninterested in us and our vehicle, unlike the baboons we see further up the peninsula around Millers Point, for example.

Concentrating baboon Concentrating baboon

Newsletter: Sorry, kids

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

The weather forecast for the weekend is wild and windy, and definitely not diving weather.

Diversnight 2017 at Long Beach
Diversnight 2017 at Long Beach

We had a great night dive last Saturday evening at Long Beach. It was calm but crisp, and we spent a lot of time watching a vast array of fish and invertebrates marauding around on the sand, hunting for their dinner. Clouds of fish fry, so thick that at the beginning of the dive we couldn’t see our feet, provided food for an array of predators. There were a lot of divers in the water, and it was great to see the dive clubs take ownership of this community diving event. Watch out for Diversnight 2019!

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!

Newsletter: Diversnight ahoy

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Night dive at Long Beach – meet at 7.00pm

I took a look at Hout Bay as well as False Bay today, and neither look all that great. There has been big swell and strong winds this week so it’s a little messy. Saturday is a calm, quiet day with neither swell nor wind, so this should help settle the ocean enough for a decent night dive on Saturday evening. It is not inconceivable that very early boat dives could work on Sunday, however that’s a decision that can only be made late on Saturday.

Biscuit skate at night
Biscuit skate at night

Diversnight

Diversnight is this Saturday, 3 November. We plan to meet at Long Beach (the tide is against us for a jetty dive) at 7.00 pm. My plan is to start the dive just on 8.00 pm. There are several groups and clubs doing dives for Diversnight so there will be several shore-based people around to keep an eye on the cars.

If you are joining us please let me know sooner rather than later (it makes cake baking easier), and if you require any gear!

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!

Newsletter: Playing the odds

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Boat dives, location TBC

The odds are good that diving will be sort of okay on both sides of the peninsula, on both days of the weekend. We had 3-4 metre visibility yesterday in False Bay with lots of red tide patches. Strong south easterly winds tomorrow should push the red tide a little further into the bay.

The weekend has very little swell and although the wind does fool around a little, I think Sunday will be the best option. Hout Bay or False Bay I cannot say but will decide that on Saturday. If you’re up for a dive, get in touch.

Gannets at Bird Island in Lamberts Bay
Gannets at Bird Island in Lamberts Bay

Diversnight

Next Saturday, 3 November, we’re night diving at Long Beach. If you’re keen to participate in Diversnight, we’d love to see you. If you are going to need gear, let me know sooner rather than later.

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!

Newsletter: Three strikes

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

Neither the wind strength and direction, or the swell size, period and direction translate into anything close to great diving conditions. I won’t be diving but you may get lucky with some visibility in the cold Atlantic.

Succulents in Lamberts Bay
Succulents in Lamberts Bay

Reminders

I mentioned these last week, but here we go again:

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!

Newsletter: Pick a side

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Boat dives either from False Bay Yacht Club or Hout Bay

Odds are that Hout Bay as well as False Bay will offer some decent diving on Saturday. I was out on the boat on Tuesday and Wednesday in False Bay and it was decent.

Hout Bay today was very green. A forecast of howling south easter for tomorrow may clean things up, but I think its best I decide where to go on Saturday after a look tomorrow afternoon. Let me know if you’re keen to dive.

Gull in Lamberts Bay
Gull in Lamberts Bay

Diversnight

Diversnight is on 3 November. It’s a night dive with a difference – learn all about it here. We’ll probably be at Long Beach this year to avoid the tricky conditions at the jetty at low tide (squelch!)x – here’s a facebook event to remind you of the date, and where you can post any questions you might have.

Shark Spotters / Little Optimist fundraiser

Monwabisi Sikweyiya, the original Shark Spotter and real-life hero, is participating in a race with a difference, having just learned to sail. He’ll be racing an tiny sailing dinghy against a host of other luminaries at the V&A Waterfront on 20 October. Sponsorships of Monwa will be split between Shark Spotters, who keep False Bay’s sharks and people safe, and The Little Optimist Trust, which assists ill and needy children to survive and thrive. Both very worthy causes! Donate here if you’re keen to lend a hand.

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!

Muizenberg’s marine street art

Public art is one of the things that can define a community’s ethos. In the seaside suburb of Muizenberg, there’s a lot on which to feast the eye. What follows is a small tour of some of the most prominent marine-themed artworks I’ve noticed around Muizenberg. I’m ignorant, but I know what I like to look at, and here’s some of it.

Rhodesia road whale pair

Whales on Rhodesia Road
Whales on Rhodesia Road

This humpback whale mother and calf pair feature prominently along the wall of a residential home in Rhodesia road. They were created by Sergio Rinquist (Serge One of the One Love Studio).

Killarney Road fish

Fish on Killarney Road
Fish on Killarney Road

You might have seen these five colourful fish peeking out of Killarney road, visible on your right as you drive along Atlantic Road towards the Main Road. They blend true-to-life forms with colour and playful designs, and are worth closer examination.

Fish on Killarney Road
Fish on Killarney Road

They are also the work of Serge One – the One Love studio is responsible for a lot of the beautification of Muizenberg through their vibrant murals. See his instagram page here.

Rustenburg Pharmacy whale

Humpback whale by Chris Auret
Humpback whale by Chris Auret

It’s definitely worth popping into Rustenburg Pharmacy at 52 Beach Road to check out the massive humpback whale mural by Chris Auret. He calls it Health and “Whaleness” on his website!

If you want to find any of these murals on Google maps, search for the road name and the suburb. None of the roads are very long so you shouldn’t have to look hard to find the artworks. There are also many more incredible public artworks in and on buildings in the Muizenberg area.

If you go exploring on foot, the usual disclaimers associated with movement in a big city in South Africa apply: be aware of your surroundings, don’t flash your valuables around, go in the daytime, and take along a friend or two if possible.

Newsletter: Summer’s due

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Monday: Boat dives from Hout Bay

Big anchor at Noup
Big anchor at Noup

I do wish for summer to arrive long before it’s due… For many reasons, but mostly because I’d like to reacquaint myself with my slip-slop collection. Along with summer comes the south easterly wind, and it is around this weekend. But I fear it’s too little too late to clean the Atlantic, and a bit too much for great False Bay conditions.

We will therefore have a dry weekend but will most likely launch from Hout Bay on Monday. If you can accommodate some weekday aquatic therapy, let me know.

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!

A visit to the Vasa museum in Stockholm

I never got around to sharing some of the maritime components of the trip Tony and I made to Sweden (for adventure) and Denmark (for family) in July-August of last year. I trust you will indulge me as I intersperse these recollections with our (not always so) regular programming.

When I do trip planning I tend to gravitate towards attractions and places that have something to do with maritime history and the marine environment – these subjects tend to make both of us happy. I became obsessed with visiting the Vasa Museum a few years ago, and when the opportunity arose to route our travels through Stockholm, I made it our first priority on our first full day in the city. If I had to provide a single reason for why we went to Stockholm, the Vasa might be it.

The Vasa museum
The Vasa museum

The Vasa was a Swedish warship that sank on her maiden voyage, within a stone’s throw of land and inside the collection of islands that makes up Stockholm, in the summer of 1628. She went down suddenly and quickly, and was lost until the 1950s, when the wreck was discovered in 32 metres of water in brackish Lake Malaren, just outside the harbour of Stockholm. The lake is connected to the sea, but the water is not salty enough to accommodate shipworms (Teredo navalis), and the absence of this wood-muncher contributed to Vasa‘s preservation. An extensive salvage effort culminated in 1961, and in 1988 the ship was moved to a dedicated museum on the island of Djurgården. The masts on the outside of the museum building aren’t original, but they show the height to which Vasa‘s actual masts would have reached.

Stern view of Vasa
Stern view of Vasa

Both the story of the Vasa‘s construction and sinking, and of her recovery and preservation, are remarkable. (I’ll leave you to discover why she sank.) I did a guided tour of the museum which provided some colour regarding the ship’s history before walking around on my own, but Tony preferred to explore independently from the beginning. The salvage process is well documented, as is life on board, characterised by some grim realities!

State of the art 1950s diving gear
State of the art 1950s diving gear

A team of engineers works constantly to preserve the ship, which is closely monitored for structural and chemical changes, and kept in a strictly climate-controlled environment. The fruits of their research have assisted in the preservation of other historical vessels such as the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, and the parts of the exhibit related to the preservation of Vasa are fascinating in and of themselves.

First view of Vasa
First view of Vasa

I can’t adequately convey what it was like to walk into the museum for the first time and see a full-sized 17th century wooden warship right in front of us. Vasa is colossal, and breathtaking. So much of what I know about what life was like centuries ago has to be supplemented by imaginative reconstruction of things I’ve never seen before (like a wooden warship), or ambitious mental deletions of the industrial and agrarian features of almost all the landscapes one interacts with in developed countries. Seeing the Vasa was like a smack in the face from the past. Most of my photos are no good, because you’re so close to the damn thing, and it’s so enormous, that cameras just don’t do it justice. But your eyes do. If you’re anywhere remotely near Stockholm, get thee to the Vasa Museum. I promise you won’t regret it.