Newsletter: Wreck diving weekend

Hi there

The past week has been great for diving and other than Sunday we were in the water every day. The temperature on Friday was 18 degrees on the Clan Stuart wreck. We were lucky to see rays three days in a row at different locations. A truly remarkable creature, this one was a good metre and a half across. We found this beauty at Long Beach in 7 metres of water. We also saw one on Thursday at the upturned yacht wreck near the yellow harbour buoy as well as one sleeping in the wreck of the Clan Stuart on Friday.

Raymond the ray
Raymond the ray

The summer winds are here and most of the boat launching will move to Hout Bay. The wrecks of the Atlantic are awesome and the viz this last weekend was 25 metres on the Maori wreck.

Kate swims with a golf ball on a teaspoon
Kate swims with a golf ball on a teaspoon

Starting this weekend I will be running one of my favorite series of courses being Nitrox, Wreck and Deep specialties. I am also doing a Night diver specialty over the next week or so and have two Open Water courses starting a week apart. I also have three Rescue and Divemaster students and different levels so there are lots of opportunities to get in the water. All dives this weekend will be boat dives and if you just want to tag along as a fun diver please remeber I need to book by Thursday midday.

Enriched Air

Nitrox, or enriched air increases your bottom time. Diving to 30 metres on air you have a maximum dive time of 20 minutes but on Nitrox 32% you have 30 minutes.

Deep diving and wreck exploration go hand in hand with a Nitrox certification and this is how it works:

Nitrox R 1650 (course can be run in the evenings)
Wreck R 1950
Deep R 2050

If you sign up for either Wreck or Deep you will get the Nitrox course for R1250. Choose both specialties and Nitrox will only cost you R950.

Wreck and Deep both require four dives. All four dives will be boat dives and all will be Nitrox dives if you have done the Nitrox specialty.

Klipfish getting his chin tickled
Klipfish getting his chin tickled

Best regards

Learn to Dive Today logoTony Lindeque
076 817 1099
Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Time to get in the water again…

Hi everyone

I have been enjoying a busy week with a British Zero to Hero candidate, who has just completed her Open Water course and is well into Advanced. Today we did a peak performance buoyancy dive, swimming through hula hoops positioned at different depths. At first Kate collected a lot of hoops on the back of her cylinder, but soon got the hang of it and swam through them like a pro. The weather has been very pleasant, and today at Long Beach we saw lots of puffer fish, box jellies, and a big octopus who was clinging to a piece of kelp and pretending that we couldn’t see him.

Last weekend Long Beach was very festive, with a paddle ski race on Sunday that drew hundreds of cars into the parking area and all the way down the beach. My Open Water students had lots of spectators watching their every move!

Long Beach in Simon's Town
Long Beach in Simon's Town is never this busy!

The weather for the weekend is not looking very good, but Long Beach or the Clan Stuart will be suitable for the training dives I need to do for my Open Water and Rescue students. If you would like to tag along as a casual diver on one of these dives (Saturday and/or Sunday) give me a shout and I will let you know times.

If anyone is keen for a night dive on Saturday, let me know – and we will definitely be doing a Halloween night dive next Saturday evening (perhaps even with a pumpkin to tempt the fish…)

Hope to see you in the water soon!


Learn to Dive Today logoTony Lindeque
076 817 1099
Diving is addictive!

Newsletter: Sodwana in pictures, diving this week

Hi everyone

Sodwana weekend has come and gone. We stayed at Coral Divers, a large dive camp quite close to the beach. The accommodation was in safari tents and wooden cabins, and the camp site was filled with monkeys who watched our every move – especially during meals! Dives in Sodwana are done via surf launches, so we had to help push the boat into the water, and then jump on before the skipper took us through the waves.

Sodwana reef formation
Sodwana reef formation

The reef we spent most of the time on, Two Mile, is a short boat ride out, and has the most incredible coral formations and colourful tropical reef fish. We were lucky to see a white tip reef shark on the deep dive. A few of us managed to squeeze a third dive in on Saturday and were lucky to see two huge turtles. We also had about 50 odd devil rays swimming in formation overhead on the last dive on Sunday.

Coral in Sodwana
The reef life is incredibly diverse and colourful

To everyone that made the trip I would like to say thank you. The diving was great, the drive and flights entertaining thanks to our resident clowns and jokers and we all had fun. Congratulations to Gerard, Tami, Sophie and Justin, who are now all pretty much done with the Advanced course and qualified to dive to 30 metres.

Justin and Giraffe set off on their navigation swim
Justin and Giraffe set off on their navigation swim

Several awards due here.

Strangest behavior award: Fritz for struggling to adjust to the water in his hair (never dived without a hoodie before)

Musical award: Gerard AKA Giraffe…  for singing “how to throw up” songs for the seasick passengers

Where is my weight belt award: Sophie, for forgetting her weight belt every day

Picasso award: Tami, for changing my fin colour to pink seconds before the dive

SMB perfection award: Justin Gootman for sitting at the safety stop with a perfectly inflated and stable SMB on the first attempt.

Best hair band award: Mariaan… for having a hair band wider then her head.

Gaudy wetsuit award: Justin J for the brightest wetsuit on the beach.

First lady of chum award: Clare, however this was closely contested by Tami, Mariaan and Justin G

Group photo on the beach
Group photo with Dean the Divemaster right back, on the left - me the only well behaved one - with Justin, Gerard - no sorry Giraffe - Fritz without a hoodie, Justin in purple being supported by Sophie, Clare, Mariaan and Tami in front.

We will definitely be organising more trips like this in the future, possibly the first week in December so keep an eye on the newsletter for more details.

Diving this weekend

I have an Open Water course running this week with an Australian pair, and a new course starting on Saturday for a Swede, plus three students doing their qualifying dives this weekend. Saturday morning we will slot in a Discover Scuba diving group of three so there is one spot left. Saturday night I will do a night dive if the weather permits.

We will also continue the Rescue course this weekend so if you see me flailing around in the water looking like a panicked diver… It’s practice… Don’t rush in and rescue me unless you have coffee and doughnuts!

Thursday we have a Zero to Hero course starting for a British student. This is a diver doing all the courses from Open water all the way to Divemaster, including sixty dives in 60 days. So you can be sure of finding us diving almost every day to achieve this.


Learn to Dive Today logoTony Lindeque
076 817 1099
Diving is addictive!

Pyjama catsharks… in their pyjamas

We’ve seen a handsome pyjama catshark at Long Beach on a night dive before – about 75 centimetres long and gorgeously striped in white and blue. These small sharks are nocturnal, and during the day apparently like to sleep clustered together and even lying on top of each other in rocky gullies.

We often peer into the ends of the pipeline, looking for octopus (or whatever else is interesting). Lately we’ve been seeing the shape of a large fish in there, but it’s been too dark to figure out exactly what we were looking at. On Sunday morning Tony stuck his video light into the pipe, and his small Sony digital still camera, and took a picture. It’s not the most outstanding photograph ever taken, but we’ve clearly discovered where the pyjama catsharks like to hide during the day!

Pyjama catsharks
Pyjama catsharks having a snooze

What’s in my dive bag

I have travelled around a bit and dived in some very remote places, miles from a dive shop. Over the years I have collected an array of gadgets. Dive shops are full of shiny things you had no idea you needed until you saw them for the first time. There are some very important basic add-ons to your standard battle dress, things that no self respecting diver would dive without, and then there is a range of nice to have items, and then the usual ”not required but I have it anyway” list.

Must have items

DAN medical insurance

DAN tag and spare O ring
DAN tag and spare O ring hidden on the hose protector

Attach the red DAN tag to your BCD or regulator so that in an emergency your rescuer can get you the help you need. DAN will cover you for the expensive possibility that you need recompression in a chamber if you have a suspected case of the bends, as well as for any other diving-related medical emergency treatment that your medical aid refuses to cover. An ordinary medical aid will probably not pay for recompression treatment. Visit the DAN (Divers’ Alert Network) website for details.

A surface marker buoy (SMB)

Reels and surface marker buoy (SMB)
Different sized reels and surface marker buoys (SMB)

Reels come in all shapes and sizes, with thumb reels, small reels and large reels. I use a small reel on shallow dives and a large reel on deeper dives.

In a rough sea or poor conditions an SMB makes you far easier to see than a head and shoulders dressed in black bobbing on the surface. You should not dive without one in Cape Town.

Dive Knife

This should be big enough to cut fishing line in case you or your buddy get tangled up (or need to rescue something or someone). Not to be used for stabbing sharks, or your dive buddy! You can buy huge dagger-type knife, but it may be an overkill, unless you have aspirations to be a pirate. Small cutting tools that you can wear on your gear are more practical.

Dive torches and a handy-sized knife
Dive torches and a handy-sized knife


This should ideally be small enough to keep in a pocket, unless you’re doing a night dive and need some serious light.

You don’t necessarily need a torch only on night dives – you may want to see something that’s hiding in a dark environment, or it might be an overcast day. On a deep dive, a torch is essential because the colours can look so washed out.


Knowing where you are going or where you came from is quite useful at the bottom, as on land. Enough said.

Dive compass styles
Dive compass styles

Dive computer

There are many different styles. Some can be worn as everyday watches, and others are only for diving.  Here are three variations:

Dive computers
Dive computers in three styles. The two on the left can be worn as dress watches.

Signalling devices

Signalling devices
Signalling devices, from left to right: shaker, air horn, whistle.

A whistle is required for the surface (many BCDs come with one attached – you may not have noticed it as it might be helpfully coloured black to match the inflator hose). An air horn works above and below the surface and a shaker works best underwater but can be used on the surface.

You can also use a hard object like a dive knife to rap on your cylinder, which will be audible to your buddy underwater, but don’t necessarily rely on having something suitable to hand – or having the presence of mind to look for it – in an emergency.


Dive slates
Dive slates: the one on the left is useful for compass navigation. The one on the right is a wrist slate (note the mysterious arm it’s mounted on).

Underwater slates come in all shapes and sizes. A wrist slate can be pleasant as it’s always close by but easily accessible. Flat slates must be clipped to a D ring – and don’t forget to secure your pencil!

DIN adaptor and O rings

DIN adaptor and O rings
DIN adaptor and O rings. The little blue cylinder clips to your keychain and can be used to store spare O rings.

Some resorts only have old style aluminum cylinders and if you have a DIN regulator they don’t fit as there is no removable insert. Here you will require a DIN adaptor so make sure you enquire as to type of cylinders available when you book your vacation, if you intend using your personal regulator.

It’s also handy to have an allen key to remove the inserts if you routinely dive with your own regulator.

Nice to have items

Clipping things to your BCD is a surefire way to ensure they do not become lost property. There are many different types of clips available. No matter what I take underwater, it will always have a clip attached that will enable me to clip it to my BCD if I suddenly need both hands for something.

Cyalumes, mouthpiece and spare finstrap
Cyalumes, mouthpiece, clip and spare finstrap

Spare mask and fin straps are nice to have particularly if you have a odd type of fin or mask.

Spare octo clips are handy as well as a few cyalumes in the event of an impromptu night dive.

If you travel to remote locations in your own 4WD you may find yourself with a puncture, so a tyre inflator is a handy addition to the dive bag. Deep divers know the benefits of Nitrox and the risks involved in diving with the wrong mix so a Nitrox analyser helps you to double check the reading reached by the dive store. If you find your reg breathes with difficulty, or you second stages constantly leak, checking the system pressure with your own handy pressure gauge will give you an indication as to the root of the problem.

Nitrox analyser and pressure gauge
Nitrox analyser (top) and pressure gauge

Night Diving as a Specialty or a fun dive

Tony and I do night dives quite often. We love it – there are creatures that only come out at night, and there’s something very exciting about going somewhere familiar and seeing how different it looks at night. We’ve seen something new on every night dive we’ve done (latest: white sea catfish at Long Beach). Besides, I LOVE cyalumes (for the uninitiated, those are the awesome little light sticks that you snap to release a chemical and then they start glowing) and all things glow in the dark.

I admit that I found my first night dive a little bit scary, and I still find I have to be more deliberate about relaxing in the water and not letting my imagination run wild. But it’s a very good discipline, forcing yourself to breathe deeply and be calm, and very quickly you get distracted by all the creatures that are either attracted to or hypnotised by your torch.

A lot of fish will swim right up to your torch, giving excellent photographic opportunities and time to examine them in detail. I specially like the beaked sandfish – they only come out at night (when I dive Long Beach during the day, I always wonder where they are). They’re long, thin, shiny, cream-coloured fish with translucent fins like dragon fly wings, and they use their pointy noses to dig themselves into the sand when they get a fright. But most of the time they gather together in little groups, milling about langurously on the sand. They love to check out torches and are not shy unless you make sudden moves or try to touch one.

I’m busy doing the PADI Night Diver Specialty – since we do so many night dives, and since I’m hungry to learn more at the moment, it seemed like a good idea. It’s not a demanding course at all, but I’m enjoying it. The manual covers night diving techniques in a lot of detail, and has a very useful section on choosing a dive light, and the relative advantages of different types of light and batteries. Most of it seems to be common sense, like remembering not to shine your light in people’s eyes, not going into any overhead environments (because there’s no daylight for orienting yourself) and making sure you have a backup light. However, it’s the kind of common sense that one needs to be reminded of or have specifically pointed out – I would never have thought about the danger of going into caves or penetrating wrecks at night, and would probably have gotten myself into trouble without giving it a second thought.

The practical section of the course involves three dives. There are a couple of navigation tasks, and on one of the dives you have to sit on the bottom for three minutes with the lights off. It’s surprising how light it is underwater at night. We did a night dive at Long Beach on Saturday, and even though there was cloud covering the moon, the ambient light underwater from our cyalumes and from the city lights was not inconsiderable.

If you enjoy night diving, or want to challenge yourself with something new, different and unusual, this is a really cool specialty to try. You can also do a night dive as a fun dive with an Open Water Qualification, or as an Adventure dive towards your Advanced Open Water diver qualification.