Newsletter: Training and travel

Hi divers

It has been a hectic period and we have dived almost every day for the last two weeks. Gary, Oscar and Dineo are doing their Divemaster course and the weather has not been too hectic. Last Sunday we had amazing conditions in Hout Bay (facebook photos here) and again on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday we did shore dives in the morning and boat dives in the afternoon. Today we dived with the sevengill cowsharks and the visibility was 6-8 metres, far better than we had on Outer Photographer’s Reef (2 metres) on Tuesday.

Christo near the shot line
Christo near the shot line

Weekend dives

Once again we approach a weekend full of expectant divers and reading and deciphering the forecasts is a little like Russian Roulette. The weather websites (the nine I check) forecast a south westerly wind today but I can assure you the wind blew north north west the entire day. It kind of makes believing in the weekend weather a little difficult.

It is going to be a play it by ear weekend so please text me your preference for Saturday or Sunday and I will text you by 7.00 am on the relevant day if it’s on. Why you ask? Well the current Atlantic water temperature is 21 degrees which most often means green dark no viz diving. Also, the forecasted wind is extremely strong and not quite from the right direction to clean things up in the Atlantic. But we might get lucky.

Data from a weather buoy on the Atlantic side of the peninsula
Data from a weather buoy on the Atlantic side of the peninsula

There may be an option of False Bay diving as the wind today made some improvement to the water colour and the temperature has dropped to 18 degrees…. Most often good viz in False Bay means cooler temperatures.

Michael and Christo ascending
Michael and Christo ascending

Training

I am currently busy with SDI Open Water training, and PADI Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Nitrox and Divemaster. Next up will be Research Diver, Equipment Specialty and Deep Specialties. As usual I am available to chat about training if you want to extend your diving qualifications.

An unusual view of the boat
An unusual view of the boat

Red Sea trip

We are 90% certain that we’ll be taking a week long live aboard dive trip to the Red Sea in October. The company we will use is probably blue o two. You can see package prices on their website to get an idea of how much you’ll need to set aside (note that not all costs are included – click on “Availability” to get the detailed timetable of trips, and under package details “Click for more details” to see what isn’t included). We will make a booking early in April. I won’t be doing a group booking for this trip; Clare and I will just let you know which itinerary and dates we plan to do, and you may book the same ones if you’re keen. We might be able to assist with finding you a cabin buddy if you don’t have one already, but the booking is completely up to you. You’ll need to be Nitrox certified and an Advanced diver to make this trip worthwhile – you will have the opportunity to do four or five dives a day, and if you’re on air they’ll be extremely short!

Aliwal Shoal trip

Our planned dates for this trip are 26/27 April to 1 May. Worker bees will need 2-3 days’ leave for this. If the weather at Aliwal Shoal is too rough for launches, we can do some dives at the aquarium in Durban and possibly off the boat or shore there. I will have more information on this in next week’s newsletter. You’ll need to be an Advanced diver and confident on boats for this trip. We’ll fly to Durban and drive about an hour south to Umkomaas.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

 

Newsletter: Clean, cold Atlantic

Hi divers

We dived the Atlantic last Saturday, out of Granger Bay, and were rewarded with clean and cold water. Visibility was 15 metres at least and the water was 9 degrees. Christo completed his Advanced course – well done! Sunday was a pool day and on Monday we did Open Water dives 1 & 2 and a Navigation and Search and Recovery dives for Advanced students at Long Beach with surprisingly decent visibility.

Straight cuts through the granite
Straight cuts through the granite at North Paw

The wind has been humping a bit the last few weeks and it was only today we managed some diving again. We dived the Brunswick and the concrete wreck just off Simon’s Town, and had 6 metre visibility and 18 degree water. The southeaster is not letting up so it is going to be an Atlantic weekend again. My guess is Saturday will be best as the wind is less: it’s still blowing, but less than Sunday. I will take a look at the ocean colour tomorrow and decide if we launch from Hout Bay or Granger Bay. Either way, reports of top to bottom viz both sides of the hill are promising. Text me if you want to be on the boat.

Tony and some brittle stars on a boulder
Tony and some brittle stars on a boulder

Changes at Learn to Dive Today

I have recently completed a crossover course to another international scuba diving training agency, namely SDI/TDI. Scuba Diving International and Technical Diving International are pioneers in technical diving and are also approved by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). I will be offering SDI recreational scuba courses in addition to the PADI ones I already teach. SDI offer a whole range of additional courses, for example, Research Diver and Solo Diver. These two courses have interested me for ages and I am now able to offer them together with a range of others. More details will appear on our website and in our newsletter shortly. You can read more about SDI here.

Christo & Tony at the safety stop, at the thermocline
Christo & Tony at the safety stop, at the thermocline

Training

We currently have Open Water, Advanced, Nitrox, Rescue and Divemaster on the go.

The holidays are closing in and if you have a few days with not much planned, give me a call and let’s see if we can get you in the water.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The wild side

Hi divers

We had really good conditions last weekend despite the gloomy forecast. Saturday was spent at Long Beach doing dives one and two for Open Water students, and Sunday we dived the Brunswick and then Photographer’s Reef. The visibility was good at the Brunswick apart from liberal quantities of bread in the water (thanks to one of the local grannies feeding the birds!) and around 5-6 metres on Photographer’s but worse in patches.

I dived Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in False Bay, doing Refreshers, some Discover Scuba Diving experiences and Rescue dives, and had 6 – 8 metre visibility with 17 degree water. There are several rays at Long Beach already.

Clare took this picture while chilling on the boat on Sunday
Clare took this picture while chilling on the boat on Sunday

Weekend dives

We are diving Roman Rock and Outer Photographer’s Reef tomorrow but I think that will be it for the next few days as there is a big swell arriving tomorrow evening and it lingers for several days. The forecast wind and swell will turn False Bay a little wild and the only outing available for the weekend will be Dungeons, where the big wave surfers will treat you to some spectacular action. The last time we were out there the speed at which some of those waves build was quite amazing. I will go out on Sunday for a few hours, if you join then warm clothes, cameras and cling wrap are to be packed with the coffee and chocolates… Don’t forget the chocolates.

With students at the Brunswick
With students at the Brunswick

Courses

We will be doing Drift and Deep specialties as soon as the current Rescue course is completed. I am also starting Open Water, Advanced and Nitrox next weekend.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The patchy bay

Hi divers

Southern right whales in False Bay
Southern right whales in False Bay

The diving last weekend was a bit of a washout. The wind predicted for Saturday arrived at twice the strength and we stayed out of the sea. Sunday was not too windy, however there was not too much clean water around and we went as far as the southern end of Smitswinkel Bay without finding much better than 5 metres. Christo explored an area we have not dived before and found a low reef and nice kelp forest.We did get to see whales on the ride down to the dive site, at the dive site and again on the way back.

Whales can have freckles too
Whales can have freckles too

The week has delivered mixed conditions with 6-8 metre visibility on Tuesday and 5 metres today. There are vast patches of different shades in the bay with some having clean water and some not.

The weekend does look reasonably good for Saturday. Sunday is a bit windier than I like but we could possibly have good conditions for shore dives.

Right whale putting on a show for us
Right whale putting on a show for us

So the plan is:

Two launches on Saturday: first launch maximum depth 30 metres, and the second launch maximum depth 18 metres. Where? well I think it best we go and look for the clean patches and decide out there. If you want to boat dive send me a text and the same goes for shore diving on Sunday.

Coming up for air
Coming up for air

Training

Nitrox, Open Water and Advanced on the go, with some Specialties in the pipeline. The southeaster will arrive soon and send us off to the Atlantic. I will run Deep, Wreck and Nitrox specialties once we hit the Atlantic as the Aster, the Katsu Maru,the BOS 400,and the Maori all need to be dived again to see what the winter storms and swells have done.

Curious seal says, "Are you my mother?"
Curious seal says, “Are you my mother?”

I will also run a Rescue course later this month and we will use the really windy days for pool training.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The season begins

Hi divers

Last weekend the first ever Cape Town Dive Festival was held at Miller’s Point. We could not have asked for better weather on Saturday and the entire event was a huge success. All the local dive centres, training schools and boat charters pulled together and made this an event not to be missed. Every little detail was covered. We even had hot showers on the slipway for cold divers. Well done to all that participated and a big thanks to all the divers that supported the event.

Flat calm seas on Saturday morning
Flat calm seas on Saturday morning

The season has kicked off in a big way for us we and we have been running courses almost every day for the last two weeks. The conditions in the bay are great right now despite the water fluctuating between 13 – 15 degrees. We are expecting 25 degrees air temperature this weekend so summer is most definitely around the corner. For those that still need to do a few dives to complete their courses started before the cold set in, dust off your manual, and give me a shout so we can get going. There is a long weekend around the corner so if you do not have plans to go away, go diving.

Sponsor gazebos at the dive festival
Sponsor gazebos at the dive festival

Relocation

Finally we have relocated to the South Peninsula and it now takes 3 minutes to get to the beach… Less if you speed (which I can’t really, and specially not towing the boat)!

The new classroom is taking shape and the equipment we use is now no longer tucked away in boxes every day, it is instead all neatly stored and easy to access. Pictures to follow as we make progress. We are very happy here already. Please feel free to follow us home (not like a stalker please) after your dives to check the new place out!

Sleeping seal at the slipway
Sleeping seal at the slipway

This weekend

Tomorrow is not technically weekend but we are doing two dives tomorrow for Advanced students, Nitrox dives on Saturday for the Nitrox Specialty students and starting a new Open Water course on Sunday.

I will launch both days this weekend and Saturday will be a deep dive followed by a wreck dive, while Sunday will be Partridge Point and sevengill cowsharks.

On Monday we will launch and go to Outer Castle and the Pietermaritzburg, Tuesday to Outer Photographer’s Reef and Photographer’s Reef.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The very first Cape Town Dive Festival

Hi divers

As the weekend approaches we are glad to see favourable weather for the long awaited first ever Cape Town Dive Festival. The first date was a weather disaster and the decision to postpone was a good call as it was a weekend of really foul weather. For those renting gear from me for the festival please make sure you mail me the details of your requirements before midday tomorrow. We will have all the gear in the gazebo which we are sharing with BlueFlash.

Family of Egyptian geese at the pool today
Family of Egyptian geese at the pool today

Over the last few days I have been out, on, or in the water almost every day and must say it makes me very happy watching the mercury creep up towards to 20 degree mark (air temperature, that is). We have done a few double tank dives to the cowsharks and seals and they never ever seem to disappoint. The bay is also full of snoek, whales, and dolphins and these are all good signs we are heading for a good summer season.

Training

We are busy with a few Open Water and Advanced courses and will be doing some Nitrox training dives during the festival. Congratulations to Mark who completed his Divemaster course after practising his teaching skills on an extremely difficult pair of divers called Christo and Maurice!!

Next weekend it is International Coastal Cleanup Day. I will be in touch with you regarding that during the course of next week.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Wild and windy

Hi divers

The pictures in this week’s newsletter were taken by Georgina Jones (author of A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula – if you dive locally you should own it), who dived with us on Wednesday. We took the boat out to Roman Rock and Photographer’s Reef, and had decent (about 8 metre) visibility. At Photographer’s Reef the visibility was actually top to bottom, but a large swell was rolling in which led me to cancel the afternoon’s snorkel with seals at Partridge Point.

Fiery nudibranchs mating
Fiery nudibranchs mating

Last weekend was very much the way this Saturday looks to be: atrocious weather leading to equally bad sea conditions. I am as sorry as you are! We will not be launching on Saturday but I will be launching on Sunday as it is forecast to be almost windless. We will need to go to the sites a bit further south and offshore or to Hout Bay if we are to have reasonable visibility, as the southeaster is going to blow very strongly for the next two days. If you’re interested in a Sunday launch, conditions permitting (as usual), send me an email or text me. We will make a final call on Saturday evening.

Brittlestars
Brittlestars

Coursewise, this is a good time of year to do some theory-rich material like the Nitrox Specialty, or your EFR course in preparation for Rescue Diver. Working up a sweat giving CPR to a plastic dummy will also help to stave off the cold. If you are keen to further your training or to discuss options, you are most welcome to get in touch.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The vibrant bay

Hi divers

The pictures today are all from our Mozambique trip, as Clare hasn’t taken any new photos since we got back. I hope it’s not too much hardship to look at turtles and potato bass!

Potato bass at Doodles
Potato bass at Doodles

False Bay has been alive this week with thousands of dolphins, orcas and sea birds. A record tuna weighing 107 kilograms was also caught in a fishing competition just off Cape Point. Sadly it wasn’t released, but it just goes to show how little we know of what is out there. I spent Monday in the bay on the boat and went from Cape Point to Muizenberg marking and finding waypoints – and there is just so much life in the ocean.

Loggerhead turtle at Drop Zone in southern Mozambique
Loggerhead turtle at Drop Zone in southern Mozambique

The weather has yet to settle into real winter diving mode and we have still not seen any 10 metre plus visibility diving as yet but I do think it’s close. We had 5 metres today and 15 degrees despite my expectations after the wind yesterday. Tomorrow blows a little harder in the right direction and I think both days will be good this weekend.

Weekend dives

We are going to take the boat out Saturday and Sunday and plan to do double tank dives both days.

You will get to choose the sites from this very short list: Atlantis, Photographer’s Reef, SAS Pietermaritzburg, Ark rock wrecks, Boat Rock and the Glencairn Barge or even seals (Partridge Point) or cowsharks… Majority rules apply!

Honeycomb stingray at Texas in southern Mozambique
Honeycomb stingray at Texas in southern Mozambique

Training

Currently we are busy with Nitrox, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster as well as a few Open Water courses. This weekend would be a good time to start an Advanced course so mail me if you are interested.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: The same, but different

Hi divers

The last few weeks have been eventful for the marine world in Cape Town. For some thoughts about chumming, which has been very much in the news lately, you can click here and here, and for some general thoughts you can read this blog post. The ocean is a complex and ever-changing place, but it’s the same old ocean that we dived in a month ago. There’s something new to see every day – don’t let political drama and media hype put you off!

False Bay seen from Boyes Drive
False Bay seen from Boyes Drive

Back to diving… or the lack therof

The picture above shows the patchy and murky waters of False Bay. Our diving plans for this entire week have been on hold as the weather, water and wind have not been of a nature typically required for diver training.

Christo and me on the boat with the BOS 400 in the background (picture by Maurice)
Christo and me on the boat with the BOS 400 in the background (picture by Maurice)

We did venture out last Saturday and dived the BOS 400 in very misty conditions. The visibility was around 15 metres but there was a huge fog bank hanging about so we decide to skip a second dive. I had cancelled shore dives for the weekend but believe it was a bad call as reports of great visibility and flat seas served to remind me that weather forecasting is best left to the experts.

We took the boat out today and dived with the cowsharks at Shark Alley and the seals at Partridge Point. The conditions were more windy and choppy than the weather forecast predicted, but the visibility was an acceptable 6 metres at Shark Alley and about the same at the seals, but very surgy.

On the boat in Maori Bay (photo by Maurice)
On the boat in Maori Bay (photo by Maurice)

Weekend plans

Friday

We will launch from Miller’s Point and do a double tank dive or just one dive (I’m not taking the boat out of the water in between dives, so you can’t do just the second dive), maximum five people, dive site(s) and depth dependent on who books and how many dives you want to do.

Saturday and Sunday

Shore dives for training and Discover Scuba Diving.

Monday and Tuesday

Back on the boat for a double tank or a single dive (weather permitting) – sites on at least one of those days to be suitable for Open Water divers.

If you would like to dive, please let me know your preference for what day, and if there’s a particular site (False Bay side) that you’d like to visit. No promises, but your input is important!

Cape Town Dive Festival

This is going to be a big event, to be part of it you need to go to www.ctdf.co.za and register and book your dives. I cannot book for you, but you can do the dives I have booked if you wish. Or if you are tired of seeing my fins, pick any of the options available providing they are within your qualification.

Mozambique

Booked and paid for and we leave on Monday 7 May returning on Saturday 12th. So no diving with me that week, here, but you can still join if you’re tired of the office.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: On the surface

Hi divers

What a windy week, or weeks we have had. Last weekend a bunch of us braved the rain… I don’t mind getting wet but there is just something unpleasant about kitting up in the rain – weird I know – and dived with Alistair from Underwater Explorers. The first dive was a deep dive to the SAS Good Hope and the second to a site called Outer Castle. The water was warmer than expected, around 17 degrees, but there was a fair amount of swell and the dive was somewhat surgy and the visibility for both dives was around 6 metres. The photos in this newsletter were taken above the surface because our official photographer last Sunday, Maurice, is in hiding.

The people looking at the camera are our divers!
The people looking at the camera are our divers!

There is nothing to talk about regarding diving this week as I have not been in the water at all. The southeaster has blown consistently and made the conditions less than appealing. I have put the week to good use and done some work on the boat, primarily upgrading the electronics as the stuff that was fitted to the boat would have given us a 20% chance of finding any of the dive sites.

Mozambique

This trip is booked and we have negotiated a really good rate for the diving with terrific accommodation on the beach. There is still space if you act really quick… As quickly as Chuck Norris…

Divers on board
Divers on board

Cape Town Dive Festival

Grant has put a huge amount of work into this project and with help from many of the dive centres there are really good sponsors on board and great prizes. The bookings have started to pick up and one dive centre in Johannesburg has made a really big block booking. Don’t wait too long, better you visit www.ctdf.co.za and book the dives you want to do. We will be doing the following dives (there’s already a small group) if you want to join us:

Friday 10 August

Saturday 11 August

The dive boat heads towards Smitswinkel Bay
The dive boat heads towards Smitswinkel Bay

Training

I have a new Open Water course starting this weekend, Rescue and EFR next week, and a Nitrox student in hiding! If anyone sees Maurice, tell him to call me… Detecting a theme here!

We had plans of boating this weekend as well as continuing Open Water students but alas this is not going to happen. The bay is a mess as we speak and is only going to get worse before it gets better. I reckon Tuesday next week will be the first day the ocean will see me.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!