Newsletter: Conflicting signs

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Boat dives at 10am

The forecasts are conflicted as to whether the weekend’s wind will be manageable or hectic. Saturday looks like the better option and it is too early to rule out the Atlantic. Currently it is green off Long Beach in Noordhoek and the CSIR buoy shows the temperature climbing – not good prospects – but if the south easter picks up it will change.

Heron in the Simon's Town yacht basin
Heron in the Simon’s Town yacht basin

My plan is to launch early on Saturday as I have a Junior Open Water diver who needs to get a handle on backward rolls before vacation time. I will most likely hide in the yacht basin for that. Thereafter we can go anywhere we choose… If the weather permits. So, if you are on the list you will get an update from me at around 7.30am on Saturday, and if its a go, we will leave from the Jetty at 10.00am. Want to get on the list? Let me know!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Weekend of diving

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Shore dives at Long Beach from 9.00 am

Sunday: Boat dives, meeting at False Bay Yacht Club at 9.00 am

Things are looking good for a weekend of decent diving without too much swell or wind. Based on the forecast I think Saturday will be better for shore dives and Sunday (which has a longer period swell) will be the best day for the boat.

On Saturday we will be at Long Beach at 9.00 am. On Sunday we will meet in the car park at False Bay Yacht Club at 9.00 am. I am out on the boat tomorrow so I will have a better idea of the visibility and will choose Sunday’s sites accordingly. There are students on the boat so the depth will not be greater 18 metres.

Olifantsbos on a calm evening
Olifantsbos on a calm evening

Diversnight organisers reported a total of 1,780 participating divers from around the world. Thanks again to all who were part of this event in Cape Town two weekends ago!

regards

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

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Newsletter: On the rocks

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Shore dives at Long Beach at 9.30 am / Diversnight at the jetty in Simons Town at 7.30 pm

Sunday: Boat dives from the jetty in Simons Town at 9.30 am

False Bay is rather pleasant at the moment and Saturday looks to be an ideal day for student dives at Long Beach. We will start at 9.30 am. Sunday has some south easterly wind but I doubt it will be enough to spoil the conditions, so we will launch at 9.30 am from the jetty in Simons Town.  Let me know if you want to dive.

CV24, one of the yachts participating in the Clipper Race, aground at Olifantsbos
CV24 (team Greenings), one of the yachts participating in the Clipper Race, aground at Olifantsbos

Diversnight

Diversnight is this Saturday evening. It’s a night dive, free of charge (unless you need gear), and we are diving at the jetty in Simons Town. We’ll meet at 7.30 pm and get into the water at about 8.00 pm, as the aim is for divers around the world to be underwater at 20:17 (get it?). This year, so far, there are 135 dive sites registered, in 22 countries. Clare might even bake something for when we get out of the water. Join us!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Whether the weather

Hi divers

We ventured out to Long Beach last weekend and found the conditions to be less than ideal: surgy, especially for a 10 year old student, and with 3-4 m visibility. Winter diving is around the corner and we look forward to improved conditions.

The forecast for the weekend is not that great. The visibility is reasonable, but there is currently a 17 second period swell in False Bay and that won’t do much to maintain the viz. Saturday looks to be the best option for boating, but an early start is needed as the wind picks up around midday. I will make the call late tomorrow afternoon as to whether we have launch weather or not. Text, email, call, or Whatsapp me if you want to dive.

Strepies at Long Beach
Strepies at Long Beach

Cowsharks

It’s been an exciting week at Shark Alley, unless you’re a cowshark. Several dead cowsharks have been found this week, and no live ones have been spotted. The dead cowsharks appear to have been skilfully predated upon by orcas! We observed a similar phenomenon exactly a year ago. There’s some more information and a photo of one of the sharks on the Spot the Sevengill Shark facebook page (and a further update on the dissection results here).

This is also a good opportunity to remember what a privilege it is to dive with the cowsharks by viewing a video Jerrel recently compiled from footage taken at the site just over a year ago. We have a cowshark diving protocol as a reminder of how we approach this amazing dive.

Dive gear sale

Monty of Scuba Culture is having a stock clearance sale, so if you’re in need of a hose, a cutting tool, or something else shiny or cool, contact him to find out what he’s got available.

MPA Permits

Please remember to bring your permit to dive in a marine protected area with you when you come for a dive. Ideally they should be on the boat with you when you come diving (as that’s where they’ll get checked). If you don’t have a permit, the post office can help. We also have temporary permits available, valid for a month, but not very cost effective.

regards

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

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Thinking of learning to scuba dive? Read this!

Student dives in Maori Bay
Student dives in Maori Bay

This blog has been going for a while, and there’s some content that I’d like to revive – all in one place – as a handy guide for people who are considering learning to dive.

Once you’ve made the decision to learn to scuba dive, you may wonder how to shop for a dive course. If you’re doing it just on price, I think you’re doing it wrong. Scuba diving is a sport with inherent risks, like paragliding or rock climbing. Do you really want to base your decision purely on how much it costs…?

Should you go and buy yourself a full set of dive gear before you do your course (or worse – I made this mistake – as a package with your Open Water course)? Read about whether you should or shouldn’t buy gear, and if you do decide to go ahead, there are some tips on shopping for dive gear that might be helpful.

What’s the difference between the Scuba Diver and Open Water courses? There is a difference, and you should be aware of it!

Many people ask whether children can learn to scuba dive. The short answer is yes – from the age of eight, in the swimming pool, and from age 10 in the ocean. More information can be found in this post about scuba diving for kids.

We also have a bunch of other frequently asked questions, some of which might help you on your way:

Does one need to be a good swimmer in order to scuba dive?

Which certification agency (PADI, NAUI, SSI, SDI, etc) is best?

Should one learn to dive before going on a dive trip, or on the trip itself?

Can one scuba dive in winter?

Isn’t it too cold to dive in Cape Town?

 

 

Scuba diving for kids

Underwater exploration in the pool
Underwater exploration in the pool
  • Are you looking for a way to keep your family busy during the school holidays?
  • Do you enjoy being outdoors and exploring the beautiful environment around us?
  • Would your child benefit from the sense of achievement that comes from mastering a new set of skills, and the enjoyment that comes from spending time in the ocean?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, read on!

It is a little known fact that children as young as 10 years old can qualify as scuba divers, allowing them to dive with a certified adult diver or scuba instructor. It’s often easier for children to learn the new skills that are associated with scuba diving, because they listen and imitate well, they usually don’t have a lot of built-in hang ups and fears, and it’s really exciting for them to be learning something new.

Kids aged 8-9 are too young to become certified divers, but there is a choice of programs available that allow them to experience breathing underwater in the safe, controlled environment of a swimming pool. If the bug bites, they can complete the course to become fully qualified Junior Open Water divers once they turn 10.

Scuba diving is a great activity for the family to do together – I have taught family groups comprising parents and children, and it’s always a lot of fun. Alternatively, if your kids are keen to dive but you would rather sunbathe on the beach or go for a run with the dogs, that’s also fine! I conduct childrens’ dive course with a high ratio of supervisors (Instructors and Divemasters) to participants.

The confined-water (swimming pool) part of all our dive courses is conducted at our pool in Sun Valley, and the sea dives (for courses with participants age 10+) are usually conducted from Long Beach in Simon’s Town, and off our boat, Seahorse, launching from False Bay Yacht Club or Hout Bay depending on the weather conditions.

Ages 8-9

The PADI Bubblemakers and and SDI Future Buddies programs are for kids aged eight and up, and introduce scuba diving in a swimming pool environment. The PADI Seal Team program is available for the same age group, and involve some basic scuba skills and underwater missions to further increase diving competence.

Ages 10 – 15

SDI Junior Open Water or PADI Junior Open Water course is for wannabe divers aged 10 and up. These courses qualify kids to dive to 12 metres while with a certified adult diver or instructor, and when they turn 15 it is possible to upgrade to a regular Open Water qualification.

Age 12-15

From the age of 12, youngsters can earn the PADI Junior Advanced Diver (qualifying them to dive to 21 metres while with a certified adult diver) and Junior Rescue Diver qualifications.

To see all the dive courses we offer, visit our website. For more information about scuba courses for kids or any other diving related enquiries, use the contact form below to send a message:

Newsletter: Closed for the weekend

Hi divers

Weekend plans

I think the picture of our boat all covered and ready for possible rain and gale force winds tell the story of what I reckon the weekend offers. No diving. Sadly, too much wind and some rain on Saturday and again way too much wind for Sunday mean we will skip diving this weekend. If you cannot go without a fix try Indigo Scuba… Deon is chairman of the Good Diving in Gordons Bay Club, and if he says it’s good, then go dive!

Junior on top of the boat cover
Junior on top of the boat cover

The good news is that the weekend brings the Cape Town Boat Show with a few interesting talks and of course lots of interesting goodies. I think it would be a good idea to attend, so that you can get an idea of the range of items that will be on my 2013 Christmas list.

The week’s diving

We have had a good week diving wise and Tuesday saw a trip out of Hout Bay with really good viz (6-8 metres at Duiker Island), no swell and no wind. Wednesday and Thursday we dived Advanced and Junior Open Water students. Summer does look like it’s on its way and it’s been a warm and sunny week. Summer does also mean humping south easterly winds and that’s what we are in for over the next few days. This means that from Tuesday next week the Atlantic will be clear as gin so we will launch Tuesday and Wednesday from Hout Bay. You might consider taking a day off work…

Mini cat checks the gear
Mini cat checks the gear

Prizes… just because

At the end of each of the next three months (October, November, and December) we will do a lucky draw from the names of everyone who has done a boat dive with us that month, and the winner will either win a Nitrox specialty course OR, if the winner is already Nitrox certified, the prize will be two free boat dives.

Diversnight

This annual event happens on the 7th November this year. Last year we had 20 divers in the water and we hope to have more this year. Where we dive is still to be decided but we are open to suggestions. Last year we dived at the jetty in Simon’s Town, but we’ll have to check whether we can get permission to do it again, and whether the tides are favourable. Diversnight is an international event with a bit of background available here. Note the bit about the cakes – we missed that out in 2012, must rectify in 2013! This year there will also be some prizes, so watch this space.  The aim is to have as many divers as possible in the water at 13 minutes past 8 pm (2013). Sign up here and stay informed!

regards

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

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Newsletter: Deep dives, Sodwana, and octopus don’t eat sweets

Hi everyone

Weekend diving

The weekend was not ideally suited to diving and Saturday was too windy for diving. Sunday saw a strong southeaster which dictated the only option for diving, OPBC.

Violet spotted anemones at North Paw
Violet spotted anemones at North Paw

Close to the V&A Waterfront, the boats launched from there and we went to explore a pinnacle close to North Paw. Almost directly in front of Lions Head there is a North and a South Paw, rocky ridges that resemble the lion’s paws.

Cuttlefish at North Paw
Cuttlefish at North Paw

Maximum depth was 25 metres, visibility around 10 metres and chilly water, 8-9 degrees celcius at the bottom. It is a newish dive site so we were lucky to find all sorts of creatures that had never seen divers before. It also looked like lobster country with hundreds of them, all different sizes, all over the place.

Rock lobster at North Paw
Rock lobster at North Paw

Fun with octopus

On Tuesday last week I spent 30 minutes with a video camera and an octopus. I had previously seen this same octopus become very excited at the sight of my brightly coloured weights some time ago. We were doing a peak performance buoyancy dive and when the students placed the coloured weights on the sand near the octopus it became very animated. I spent some time with this octopus last week and gave him some liquorice allsorts to play with. After tasting them all one by one they were spat out. Most entertaining. Watch the video here.

Night light sea jelly with Tony in the background
Night light sea jelly with Tony in the background

Deep Specialty

This weekend we start a Deep specialty course. As a deep diver you are qualified to dive to 40 metres, this makes many of Cape Town’s wrecks accessible for exploration (including those in Smitswinkel Bay, most of which are deeper than 30 metres on the sand). Experience an emergency decompression stop, navigation at depth and breathing from a hang tank. You will learn more about nitrogen narcosis, how to plan a dive using a dive computer and the use of dive computers. Drift diving and wall diving will also be experienced during this course. You will also learn proper deployment of an SMB. If you’re interested or want to discuss this course with me, drop me an email.

Cecil checking his computer at a safety stop
Cecil checking his computer at a safety stop

Congratulations to…

The following students have attained their qualifications since 1 January – welcome to the world of diving!

Open Water -Arieh, Michelle, Andrew, Lukas, Jamie-Lee, Danelene, DC, Sarah (all grown up)

Junior Open Water – Shira, Josh (nearly grown up, 10-15 years old)

Seal Team – Abby (9 years old)

Advanced – Oscar, Mark, DC, Cecil

Nitrox – Cecil

Tony, Cecil and SMB on the surface after the North Paw dive
Tony, Cecil and SMB on the surface after the North Paw dive

Plans

Wednesday and Thursday I am doing some Rescue training and an EFR course, a prerequisite for Rescue.

We will be finalising the arrangements for the chamber dive this week, and I will contact those of you who have expressed an interest in a separate mail. If you’d like to take part and haven’t let me know yet, or want to know more about it, please email me.

I’ll also be in touch about Sodwana (16-20 April). If you’re still on the fence or still need to pay your deposits, get moving and confirm whether you’re in or out.

And finally, permits – if you don’t have one, go to the post office NOW and get one!

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Diving and travelling

Hello everyone

I am sure you have all enjoyed a vacation and are dying to get back to work… Hehehehe!

Permits

Every diver must have a diving permit. For those that don’t, please rush off to the post office armed with you ID book and get one for the princely sum of R94. Keep it handy, it is meant to be ”on the boat” with you. At some point you will be asked to produce it and failure to do so could result in anything from a fine to the donating of your scuba gear to the government… Jokes aside, its law, so get one. Almost every dive site in south Africa falls in a Marine Protected Area and these are the people who are meant to protect these areas from harm… They need your money.

Recent dives

December has come and gone, the sun has been warming the ocean and we have 18 -19 deg at the moment. Sadly warm water often means less visibility, but the dives we have done have still been fun.

We saw two tiny devil rays at Long Beach just off the concrete wreck near the harbour buoy, a massive short tailed sting ray and a few small playful seals.

On Sunday, in 3 – 4 m visibility Clare took these pictures of a klipfish and an octopus having a disagreement, two students with good buoyancy on their first sea dive and…

Stand-off between a klipfish and an octopus
Stand-off between a klipfish and an octopus
Open Water students on their first sea dive
Open Water students on their first sea dive

… these two orange clubbed nudibranchs were on the kelp near the wooden dinghy wreck at Long Beach.

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

Sodwana

I have attached the details and costs of the planned trip to Sodwana. This picture shows a few divers from the last trip doing a navigation swim in 25 m visibility. Did I mention the water temperature was 24 degrees celcius? and will be 25 degrees in April. If you are keen let me know, we do not have to pay anything until middle of February, so stop, think, and book…

Starting a dive in Sodwana... Look at that visiblilty!
Starting a dive in Sodwana... Look at that visiblilty!

Low Season Prices 2011

Boat dives

I am hoping to get us all out on the boat this weekend. I have a few Advanced students needing to do their deep dive as well as Nitrox students. Just remember, if you book a boat dive and cancel less than 24 hours before the launch, I get billed (and hence, so do you).

See you in the water soon!

regards

Learn to Dive Today logoTony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog
Diving is addictive!

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076 817 1099
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<em>Diving is addictive!</em>

Seal Team

PADI has an amazing program for young kids. It is called Seal Team and it is a program in which 8 – 10 year olds can learn to dive.

Abby giving an OK sign
Abby giving an OK sign

My latest junior dive star is nine years old. Abby, on vacation from the UK, wanted to learn to dive with her older brother and sister plus mom and dad. The five of them spent two days in the pool and in these sessions Mom, dad and older brother and sister completed their confined skills for Junior Open Water and for the parents, Open Water diver.

Abby writes on a slate underwater - look at that buoyancy
Abby writes on a slate underwater - look at that buoyancy

Abby completed five dives and five Aqua Missions thus resulting in her being certified as a PADI Seal.
At the age of nine her buoyancy was excellent, she swam through hoops , cleared a flooded mask, recovered her regulator and used an alternate air source.

Writing on the wall
Writing on the wall

We also played games with hoops and slates and she used an underwater camera to take a whole lot of paparazzi photos of her family while they were all diving! The Seal Team crewpack contains a DVD and a manual/logbook with quizzes, puzzles and lots of information. It’s definitely not a Mickey Mouse course – and it’s a lot of fun both to teach and participate in.

Seal Team manual/logbook
Seal Team manual/logbook