Newsletter: That summer wind

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

It has been a windy week and neither False Bay or Hout Bay look particularly appealing. There is a chance the Atlantic will clean up a little more, but the wind forecast for Saturday and Sunday is a little more than our boat enjoys. We have no diving planned.

Table Mountain seen from Sunset Beach
Table Mountain seen from Sunset Beach

Diarise

The year is winding down, but there are still good things happening for ocean lovers. Next weekend (14-15 December) features an exhibition of photos and paintings, and two morning talks, one by False Bay’s pre-eminent shark scientist, and another by the lead author of a recent multi-disciplinary study of the bay. All the information you need is here.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Guests from the south

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Boat dives from False Bay Yacht Club

Sunday will most likely be the better diving day in False Bay despite the swell forecast. The Atlantic temperature has dropped 5 degrees in the last 24 hours so there is a chance that Oudekraal would work on Saturday if you need to get wet.

I will plan launching from Simons Town, early on Sunday and both dives will be in the vicinity of Roman Rock. Let me know if you’re keen.

Flagellar sea fan at Roman Rock (and very respectable visibility)
Flagellar sea fan at Roman Rock (and very respectable visibility)

Penguin at large

There’s a king penguin currently visiting Buffels Bay in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. These animals are found on the subantarctic islands and the Antarctic continent, so it’s a long way from home. This is a rare chance for you to see the second largest species of penguin.

They aren’t rare (there are 2-3 million of them in the world), but they are highly threatened by climate change, and we’re very lucky to see one in Africa. This bird has no fear of humans, so be cautious and respectful if you go and see it. SANParks is guarding the animal to make sure it’s kept safe.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Moist

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Possible False Bay dives

There are a few very wet days heading our way, which is fortunate as this month has been very dry.

Diving-wise the odds are 50/50 that False Bay will have some clean spots, however it will depend on just how much of the forecast rains fall on Friday. If it is as much as predicted (25mm from some forecasts) then run-off may be an issue.

I will take a look late tomorrow and make a call. If we do dive it will be an early start, at 7.30 am. Let me know if you’re keen on rising with the sparrows for some in-water time.

Strawberry anemones
Strawberry anemones

Things to do

Jelly Night at the Two Oceans Aquarium is an opportunity for you to learn from some of the world’s foremost jellyfish experts, at a public event as part of a symposium on jellyfish blooms. Read more and find a link to ticket purchases here.

Bookings for the Wavescape Film Festival are open. See all the events here. There’s a lot to choose from, but the ones we have our eye on are the Seaside Scavenge, Beneath the Surface, and Oceans Alive.

regards

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

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Newsletter: Atlantic

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Boat dives from OPBC

There is not much doubt that the best option for weekend diving activities will need to be from Oceana Powerboat Club in Granger Bay. The next two days of southeasterly wind should clean things up there after the really insane (almost 9 metre) swell that passed through last night.

The swell, if it lingers at 3 metres won’t be great so I will decide late on Saturday whether we launch or not. The water temperature is currently around 16 degrees so some cleaning by the wind is still required.

Octopus at the Two Oceans Aquarium
Octopus at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Diversnight

One more reminder to put Saturday 2 November in your diaries. The dive clubs are hosting this year, and it’s going to be a great event with lucky draw prizes, the works. Here’s the facebook event. Not sure what Diversnight is? Read this.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Rolling on

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Boat or shore dives in False Bay

The weather has certainly started warming up a little as we roll towards summer. A few days of north west winds will have helped improve the visibility this side of False Bay, however there is some swell heading our way. The swell doesn’t always arrive as big as it is forecast, so I am going to plan dives for Sunday (the better day swell-wise at this point). Depending on what False Bay looks like late on Saturday, I will then decide whether we launch the boat or do shore dives. Let me know if you want to join.

See through fish at the Dubai Aquarium
See through fish at the Dubai Aquarium

Dates to diarise

  • Don’t forget about Shark Night at the aquarium this coming Tuesday – details here.
  • Diversnight this year is on Saturday 2 November, and the dive clubs are hosting. It’s a super fun evening of night diving, and I suggest you put it in your planner. Facebook event details here.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Back in Town

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving The weekend is too windy for good diving, with strong south easterly winds starting on Friday evening. We won’t be diving, but I’ve got a boat launch tomorrow and I’ll share the conditions on facebook.

Jellies at the aquarium in Dubai Mall
Jellies at the aquarium in Dubai Mall

Worth your time

New Moon beach clean

This Saturday at 9am is the monthly new moon beach cleanup at Surfers Corner, run by The Beach Co-Op. Event details (facebook) here.

Shark Night

As part of this year’s Shark and Ray Symposium, there’s a public event on Tuesday 8 October  at the Two Oceans Aquarium that’s ALL ABOUT SHARKS. Looks awesome. Get more info and tickets here.

Talking Trash

As part of First Thursdays, on the evening of 3 October there will be a series of short talks about how waste is managed in Cape Town, the social, environmental and economic impacts of waste, and some strategies Capetonians can implement to better assist the City of Cape Town in its sustainability and resilience journey. The event is in central town, and is just one hour long. Find details here.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Electric sea

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

We won’t be diving this weekend, and there won’t be a newsletter (or diving) next week, but we’ll be back in business after the public holiday on Heritage Day (24 September). This weekend, Saturday looks good, and Sunday ok for diving.

I launched for divers on Tuesday, and they had fairly good conditions (5-6 metre visibility at Sherwood Forest and Castle Pinnacles) but the surface conditions deteriorated as the day progressed and the wind picked up.

Bioluminescence at Fish Hoek beach
Bioluminescence at Fish Hoek beach

This past weekend, helped by the south easter and then the heat, a thick red tide got caught in Fish Hoek bay and as a result we were treated to some incredible bioluminescence (caused by a type of plankton that fluoresces when disturbed by wave action) on Saturday evening.

This occurs at least a couple of times a year, usually in spring and autumn, on this side of False Bay (and it often makes its way around to the Kogel Bay area on the eastern shore). It is an incredible sight to see. There’s a little video here (pardon the screaming – the beach was packed and the people were excited).

Anyway – see you in 10 days.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Looks like spring

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: False Bay dives, conditions permitting

The tree in our driveway has a tiny green bud containing a new leaf. Despite the cold this week, I declare spring.

False Bay is quite surgy after some large swell this week, but I hope it’ll have settled down enough by Sunday for some reasonable diving. I’ll only make the call on Saturday afternoon; please let me know if you’d like to be notified of any developing plans.

Table Mountain from Rietvlei Nature Reserve
Table Mountain from Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Beach cleanups

There are at least two happening this weekend:

Sharks in False Bay

There’s a fascinating update this week from Shark Spotters on False Bay’s white sharks (spoiler: they’re awol but we’re not quite certain why yet) – read more here.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: It is what it is

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

Black browed albatross
Black browed albatross

It is still winter – time for lots of swell, and sometimes odd wind directions. There is all of that this weekend, with too many “maybes” at play to make a diving plan. Hout Bay may work on Sunday but the same could be said for False Bay. I don’t think the odds are too good so we have nothing planned.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Bookshelf: The Seabird’s Cry

The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers – Adam Nicolson

The Seabird's Cry
The Seabird’s Cry

This is such a wonderful book that I read it twice within the span of six months. In between my two readings, during the northern hemisphere spring, Tony and I visited Pembrokeshire in Wales. This is not the home of Mr Darcy, but rather the location of several islands on which seabirds breed. Seeing puffins, gannets and shearwaters in all their glorious breeding plumage animated Nicolson’s descriptions of their precarious lives. (I do plan to share some photos and details of that visit in future posts.)

Early in this book, Nicolson points out that seabirds are the only creatures on earth that are at home in the water, on land, and in the air. To most of us, albatross are perhaps the most familiar pelagic seabirds – Carl Safina’s Eye of the Albatross both introduced and immortalised these extraordinary ocean wanderers for a popular audience. Nicolson devotes a chapter to each of ten species of seabird, including albatross, and writes with such extraordinary lyricism that at at times it’s possible to mistake this book for something other than popular science.

This blurring of boundaries is quite intentional, and completely revelatory. Rather than sounding pretentious or foolish, as most of us would if we tried to channel Seamus Heaney while summarising scientific papers and interviewing researchers, Nicolson achieves a remarkable feat of science communication. He speaks of the wonder that comes not from ignorance, but from knowledge and understanding, and how powerful a thing it is to know the facts of these animals’ lives.

If the idea of trying to join the worlds of science and poetry (or literature, or culture) grabs you, you may enjoy this video of a conversation on the subject between Adam Nicolson and Tim Birkenhead, a professor of ornithology.

Seabirds are in trouble worldwide, more threatened than any other group of birds. They are facing – amongst others – challenges wrought by changing ecosystems as the climate warms and industrial fishing robs them of their prey. To help them, we need to act, and action comes after seeing and understanding. In this book Nicolson makes an appeal to a part of us other than the rational, fact-collecting, logical entity, and asks us to empathise with these strikingly “other” creatures. I urge you to read this book.

You can read rapturous reviews of this book on The Guardian’s website, on Literary Hub, and at the Financial Times.

Get a copy here (South Africa), or here. It is available for Kindle, but you’ll have to search for that one yourself!