The underwater braai in action

An underwater braai with Jan Braai – part II

The braai at the slipway in Hout Bay
The braai at the slipway in Hout Bay

Yesterday I told you about the test run of Jan Braai’s underwater fireplace. Some repairs were necessary after that day, as the glass had cracked during the test run. The designer added a few improvements and upped the suggested amount of ballast for the final attempt. Weather days just were not playing along so we ended up in the harbour at the Hout Bay slipway on a very grey day. I had Seahorse for boat support, and Craig and Mark were there to assist in-water.

Sinking the braai in Hout Bay
Sinking the braai in Hout Bay

The water looked good. The viz was not amazing, but certainly a good few metres for decent underwater footage. With a cameraman from Atlantic Edge Films, a cameraman from Jan Braai and GoPro and a further three or four GoPro cameras, we were ready to hit the water. Jan packed the unit with wood, firelighters, a grill a lighter and some wors (for foreign readers: boerewors, wors for short, is a type of South African sausage that is typically cooked over a fire) and then shut the rear panel. This panel had glove holes with gloves attached inside, like a chemistry experiment or hazardous materials unit, so the activity in the box underwater could be managed from outside.

We wheeled the underwater braai into the water and swam it out to the buoy and anchors we had placed at the right depth beforehand. Sadly the required ballast had once again been miscalculated, and the centre would not sink to the correct depth. Back to the slipway we went, and the team added rocks and a few hundred kilograms of sand in plastic bags. We swam the braai back out to the required depth and this time it was a success.

The tide was so high that the jetty in Hout Bay was submerged
The tide was so high that the jetty in Hout Bay was submerged

Once the unit was submerged Jan, on scuba, with two safety divers in attendance, inserted his hands into the gloved openings, took the lighter, lit the firelighters and got the wood burning. The stack had an extractor fan to draw the smoke out and pipes to draw fresh air in, and once the flames took hold of the very dry well prepared wood the smoke was visible above the water.

The underwater braai in action
The underwater braai in action

Jan then surfaced and waited a while for the wood the burn to coals. He then descended again and started the world’s first ever underwater braai. It took around 20 minutes before he surfaced, claiming the wors was ready for consumption. The unit was winched up to above the water line, Jan then removed the rear cover and proceeded to eat the first piece of meat cooked underwater.

The cooked (and some uncooked) wors in the braai after the event
The cooked (and some uncooked) wors in the braai after the event

All in all the idea masterminded and executed by Jan Braai was a resounding success and was done to celebrate National Braai Day on the 24th September. The program showing the execution of the idea was broadcast on Kyknet on Friday 27 September 2013.

There’s been a bit of press coverage – no one has done this before, as far as we know – and there are a couple of videos on youtube documenting the event. Check out a round-up of media coverage here, if you missed it.

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Tony

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

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