People: Errand Girl

One of our divers, Bernita, has started a small business called Errand Girl, and we thought we would give her the opportunity to tell you a little about herself and what she does:

I consider myself an avid diver, although I’m sure Tony will tell you otherwise as I’ve not been in the water much of late!I started diving in Honduras in 2003 and have more or less been hooked ever since. In 2005 I traveled to Thailand where I did my Advanced course and fun dive after fun dive. Eventually my Thai visa expired, forcing me to travel to neighboring Malaysia, where I found the most beautiful rustic island I could have imagined (the Perhentian Islands) and set up home base there. I did my Rescue and Divemaster courses and worked as a Divemaster for two years. Finally I decided to take the next step and become an Instructor (I did my IDC at FloraBay Dive Center). I spent the better part of 6 years in South East Asia, working in the industry, or going on dive holidays (some people call me a “dive-dork” but I don’t mind, ‘cos it’s true).

I decided though, in June last year, that it was time to move back to Cape Town, mostly to be near to my family. I still wonder what I was thinking, giving up a life filled with beaches, sunshine and diving, but nonetheless, here I am.Initially I returned to the advertising industry, but recently decided that an office job was just too much for me to bear. So I decided to start a small business that would keep me on my toes and take me out and about. Hence, the birth of Errand Girl.

Here is some information Bernita’s business:

Errand Girl is a lifestyle management and concierge company. We aim to give you the ultimate gift: more free time to do with as you please! We offer a helping hand, making sure all those to-do’s get done, so you don’t have to think about them again. If you don’t have the time or inclination to attend to a task, we will take care of it entirely.

The list of services we offer is vast and tailored to each client’s needs: Errand Girl can drop your lawn mower at the repair shop, pop into Woolies for the forgotten groceries, gather quotes for that long awaited irrigation system, collect a birth certificate from Home Affairs, meet the plumber mid-morning to repair the burst geezer, find a fairy for your daughter’s birthday party, pay your traffic fines – we can send, phone, research, find, quote, arrange, meet, collect and deliver – you name it and we’ll do it.

Errand Girl charges an hourly rate for services rendered (excluding expenses incurred and petrol outside of the Cape Town CBD area). We send you a monthly statement reflecting how and when your time and money as been spent. We do not charge a commission on purchases or services sourced.

If you are interested to learn more about what Errand Girl offers please go to my website, www.errandgirl.co.za.

Bernita checks out a wall in the chilly Atlantic
Bernita checks out a wall in the chilly Atlantic

Bernita also told us about some of her favourite diving in South East Asia (which makes me want to pack my dive gear and hop on a plane right away!). Here are her recommendations:

I wanted to tell you about a couple of my favorite Asian dive spots, but its too difficult to name just one so here’s a short(ish) list:

  • Malapascua (Philippines): Here they have almost daily sightings of thresher sharks and regular visits from manta rays and eagle rays. There is also great macro diving there, although the fish population is small and coral reefs have fallen victim to dynamite fishing.
  • Apo Island (Philippines): A very well managed marine park with huge populations of fish, sharks and rays and pristine reef.
  • Coron (Philippines): This place is unique in that an entire fleet of World War II Japanese ships was sunk in this bay so this is a wreck diver’s dream destination. The dive operators there allow full wreck penetration and the ships still have a lot of equipment and artifacts to see. There is also lots of fish life at these wrecks. Also very cool is Barracuda Lake (which houses no barracuda or other fish for that matter?!) but is cool because the top 6 metres consists of cold fresh water, then from 6-18 metres is warm (28 degree) salt water and below that from 18-30 metres is hot (37 degree) salt water. At 30 metres the water turns literally black- if you stick your hand below the 30m mark it disappears. I found it cool to see the thermoclines in otherwise clear still water and to feel the heat on the way down and the cold on the way up (I would advise definitely not to wear a wetsuit). You do however have a short climb up a limestone rock face, dive gear and all in order to dive here. I thought it was well worth it!
  • Komodo National Park (Indonesia): “Wild” diving with some crazy currents but amazing sightings. Loads of sharks (black tip reef, white tip, grey reef), dolphins, manta rays, as well as excellent macro dives. Another great thing about diving in the area is the opportunity to see Komodo dragons in the wild. I did a liveaboard in this area, which I can highly recommend as land based diving here requires long boat journeys and grotty hotel accommodation.
  • Bali (Indonesia):  Bali has a lot of good and varied diving to offer. I dived the USS Liberty wreck in Tulamben. This dive sight is great as its only 30 metres off shore and max depth is 30 metres. The visibility is generally 15+ metres and the wreck is home to a huge variety of life from pygmy sea horses and ornate ghost pipefish to giant barracuda and schools of surgeon fish. I also dived off Nusa Lombongan and was lucky enough to see quite a few manta rays and sunfish (mola mola).
  • Lembeh Straights (Indonesia): if you like hunting for the weird and wonderful, it just does not get better than this! Lembeh has huge numbers of nudis, wonderpus, flambouyant cuttlefish, blue ringed octopus, pygmy sea horses, bobbit worms, hairy frog fish… the list is literally endless.
  • Sipadan (Malaysian Boreneo): Clear warm waters (visibility of 20+ metres), pristine reefs, loads of fish, turtles and sharks, lots of schooling barracudas and bumphead parrot fish.

(If you’re if heading to Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines or Malaysia and would like advise on dive spots, places to stay, food or other, please email me on bernita@errandgirl.co.za I’ll be happy to help if I can.)

Bernita now braves the relatively cool Cape Peninsula waters as often as her (busy) schedule allows. Why not check out the Errand Girl website to see whether she can help free up some of your time… To go diving of course!

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Tony

Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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