Magazine: Submerge

Submerge is the other not-for-free South African diving magazine, alongside Divestyle. (The Dive Site is the free one, and is preferable not only for the reason of its cost…)

The Submerge website is smaller and contains less current diving information than that of Divestyle, and while the Current Affairs section on the website is interesting, the absence of dates on the posts makes for frustrating reading. The same section in the magazine is far more useful.

The magazine itself has a more dated look than Divestyle but I find it to be more content-rich and the photographs are more numerous and in general magnificent. Valda Fraser is a regular photographic contributor. She’s the co-author of More Reef Fishes & Nudibranchs, a stalwart on our Sodwana trip (the book, not Valda).

Regular sections include an Ask DAN column, in a sort of agony-auntie format, and the magazine seems to have a close affiliation with DAN. There are also regular Instructor Diaries (often more than one), and a double page spread of Current Affairs. For those who like to (or bother to) tweak their photos after the fact (clearly I am not one of them), there’s a regular Photoshop section that demonstrates simple effects and adjustments for underwater photographers.

One of my favourite sections is the Portfolio section, where an underwater photographer gets to show off a sample of his or her best work. There are the usual features on gadgets and gizmos, including lots of photographic gear.

There are several regular sections that make Submerge a magazine you want to keep:

  • There’s a regular Dive Sites section, with photos and useful facts about dive sites all along the Southern African and Mozambican coastline.
  • Species Focus is a short one or two page bullet-form article with photos, concerning a particular species
  • There’s a “collectable” fish ID section of which Dennis King is often co-author and photographer. This is very useful for distinguishing different types of ray, butterfly fish, nudibranch, or other marine creature. There are sometimes multiple fish ID sections per issue.

Submerge does sometimes have a column or two on technical diving, but it’s much less of a feature than it is in Divestyle.

Like Divestyle, Submerge comes out six times per year, lagging Divestyle by one month.

Latest issue (February/March 2011)

Submerge (February/March 2011)
Submerge (February/March 2011)

The latest issue is rich on dive travel features, something at which Submerge is very good. Adam Cruise writes an article on diving in Pomene in Mozambique – seahorse heaven apparently! – and there’s a gorgeous photo spread by Valda Fraser of creatures seen on a night dive in the same location.

The featured underwater photographer in the Portfolio section is Mark van Coller, and the cover image (a beautiful seal) is also his. There’s also a feature (with lovely photos) on the destructive crown of thorns starfish. Species Focus is on batoids (skates and rays). Unfortunately our own giant short-tailed stingray was missing!

Submerge is running a series on shipwrecks at the moment, compiled by Wreckseekers. It’s more about the legends and history than about diving the wrecks, but interesting nonetheless.

If you had to choose between Divestyle and Submerge, I’d subscribe to Submerge, particularly if you have a special interest in underwater photography, dive travel or species identification.

Newsletter: Diving is addictive

Hi everyone

The weather has been fooling around for a while now and dive planning has been a little tricky. We had a few real good days in False Bay last week, a clear 6-8 metre visibility night dive on Saturday night and two really good boat launches on Sunday.

Courses

Running at the moment: Open Water, Advanced, Nitrox, Deep, Rescue and Divemaster. There is always space for anyone interested in gaining some special dive skills so feel free to ask questions.

Our blog (http:// www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog) is an excellent source of information for any diving related questions you might have plus a whole lot more. Our website, www.learntodivetoday.co.za, has also had a facelift so visit them and if you don’t find the answers to your questions then mail me.

Since late last year I started running courses with the option of splitting the payments. This has worked well and I will continue to offer this should you wish. Mail me for details.

Recent dives

A few pictures from the weekend’s diving follow:

Lukas on the surface at Long Beach
Lukas on the surface at Long Beach

We were five people for the night dive on Saturday night at Long Beach and with such good visibility it was easy to see where everyone was.

Pleated toadfish on the sand at Long Beach by night
Pleated toadfish on the sand at Long Beach by night

Sunday’s first dive was to the SAS Transvaal, the first 15 metres of water was murky but as the bottom starts to darken so the wreck becomes visible.

Dark wreckage of the SAS Transvaal
Dark wreckage of the SAS Transvaal

Visibility on the bottom was around 6-8 metres and our maximum depth was 33 metres.

Orange gas flame nudibranch
Orange gas flame nudibranch

The second dive, to Partridge Point, was made more enjoyable by a few playful seals constantly swimming around us looking for attention. The visibility was really weird as there were patches of 10 plus metres visibility with the random murky patches where it dropped off to 3 metres.

A playful seal at Partridge Point
A playful seal at Partridge Point

Sodwana is set and ready, we have 12 people but should you think it might be an idea you have a day or two to decide.

Gas flame nudibranch at Partridge Point
Gas flame nudibranch at Partridge Point

MPA Permits… We will soon have to say ”No, you can’t dive” if you don’t have one as the officials are clamping down on dive schools claiming we do not inform our divers. So be informed, you need a permit, please get one at the post office and keep it in your dive bag as you will be asked to produce it at random dive sites by equally random officials.

Be good and have fun

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

<strong><a href=”https://www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/small-colour-e1284626229322.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-486″ title=”Learn to Dive Today logo” src=”https://www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/small-colour-e1284626229322.jpg” alt=”Learn to Dive Today logo” width=”73″ height=”67″ /></a>Tony Lindeque</strong>
076 817 1099
<a href=”http://www.learntodivetoday.co.za” target=”_blank”>www.learntodivetoday.co.za</a>
<a href=”https://www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog” target=”_self”>www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog</a>
<em>Diving is addictive!</em>

Dive sites: North Lion’s Paw

Happy divers on the boat
Happy divers on the boat

On Thursday seven of us decided to do a fun dive from the boat. We dived at a site called North Paw. It’s a short boat ride from the Oceana Powerboat Club launch site close to Camps Bay and Clifton, and despite the howling south easter the site is sheltered. The sea was calm, very little current or surge and the visibility was amazing, 15 – 20 metres. The outstanding visibility always has a catch: the water was cold. At 25 metres the temperature was 4 degrees celsius.

Coral at North Paw
Coral at North Paw

The skipper had mentioned this dive site was anchor paradise and so it seemed, I saw 3 anchors lost at sea. Cecil decided to take one home so he followed the trailing rope, lifted the anchor and discovered just how heavy it was. We attached Bernita’s SMB to the anchor and sent it to the surface.

Cecil's anchor on the way up
Cecil’s anchor on the way up

I was really happy to find a juvenile manefish (Caristius groenlandicus), not much bigger than a five rand coin. Initially I was really excited believing it was a batfish, but the books proved me wrong and a manefish it is.

Manefish (Caristius groenlandicus)
Manefish (Caristius groenlandicus)

On the way back to the slipway, we saw a seal beating a large octopus to death on the surface of the water. After it had finished eating its tasty snack (one tentacle at a time), it delicately wiped its mouth with its flippers.

Seal whipping an octopus around
Seal whipping an octopus around

Sea life: Seals

This post is dedicated to Kate, who has a deep and abiding love for seals, and can think of nothing better than cuddling up to one – underwater or on land. (Actually, not – Kate hates seals, and is convinced that behind their puppy-dog features lurks evil intent. Apparently a woman in Cornwall was dragged off her body board and drowned by a playful seal, and this has led to Kate’s profound mistrust of these creatures.)

Seals at the Waterfront
Seals at the Waterfront

A good place to see seals is in harbours – Kalk Bay, the V&A Waterfront and Hout Bay harbour have large (and I mean that in the sense of numerically and also in terms of waistline) seal populations, no doubt attracted by the presence of the fishermen. A busy day at the slipway at Miller’s Point always includes a seal or two, as the fishermen gut their catch while they wait in the queue. The fish guts thrown over the side of the boats are perfect seal snacks.

Seal in Kalk Bay harbour
Seal in Kalk Bay harbour

There are a couple of places in Cape Town where you can go to dive with seals (and be guaranteed multiple sightings). Both these locations are also suitable for snorkeling, as long as there isn’t too big a swell (you’ll be swimming around a large rock in both cases).

  • Partridge Point contains a seal colony close to the western shore of False Bay. If seals aren’t your cup of tea, the reef extends to the east with numerous exciting sites such as Deep Partridge and Peter’s Pinnacles.
  • Duiker Island in Hout Bay also contains a seal colony, and is a short ride from Hout Bay slipway. The water is much colder than at Partridge Point, but the maximum depth is only about six metres which makes for fantastic light and photographic opportunities.
Seal at Miller's Point slipway
Seal at Miller's Point slipway

We’ve seen seals on many of our other dives. They’re frequent visitors at Long Beach and at the SS Clan Stuart, even on night dives (which can be a bit scary until you know what the dark shape tailing you is!). They like to hang upside down in front of divers, sometimes barking underwater (big teeth!) and often biting on bubbles. It’s lovely (yes, Kate) to have a friendly seal swimming next to you and checking you out with his big liquid black eyes.

Seal in Kalk Bay harbour
Seal in Kalk Bay harbour

On the surface, seals often lie with one flipper sticking out of the water. This is for temperature regulation – like whales, they’re well padded with blubber (this is why sharks like to eat them), but on their tails and flippers the veins are much closer to the surface. It’s a bit like sticking your leg out of the duvet at night to cool down, though I suspect for seals it’s often to warm up.

Happy and playful seals also give us a great deal of comfort as divers, because it means there are no sharks in the vicinity. The absence of seals does not necessarily mean there ARE sharks around, but if you were at one of the seal colonies and not a single seal joined you in the water, or if they were all crawling along the bottom, I’d be a bit worried!

Zero to… HERO!

Congratulations to Kate, who arrived in Cape Town on 8 October 2010 having never dived before, and is leaving on 10 December qualified as a Divemaster, with more than 60 dives and over 45 hours underwater under her belt!

Kate demonstrates incorrect snorkel technique
Kate demonstrates incorrect snorkel technique (in the car, on the wrong side)

While she was here we dived almost every day, in all sorts of conditions. She dived in visibility ranging from pea soup (with croutons) to over 10 metres, water temperatures from 11 degrees up to 18 degrees, and experienced a wide range of what Cape Town diving has to offer. She even did a dive in just a shorty wetsuit – the water LOOKED warm but wasn’t – and I am pretty sure she’s the first diver EVER to do something like that in this city!

She experienced everything from orally inflating another diver’s BCD at 15 metres, to securing Clare’s cylinder when it came loose (oops!), tying knots underwater, a meeting with a very frisky sevengill cowshark on her first ever dive with sharks at Shark Alley, and using a lift bag to ferry our artificial reef out to the correct depth.

Kate transporting part of the artificial reef
Kate transporting part of the artificial reef

She spent a lot of time towing the buoy line, inflated SMBs and balloons underwater (the latter was highly amusing to watch), mapped wrecks and the pipeline at Long Beach, exchanged information on the layout of the SAS Pietermaritzburg with wikivoyage guru Peter Southwood, enjoyed high-speed boat rides to various local dive sites, filled cylinders at a local dive centre, and navigated at night in order to find the yellow buoy at Long Beach. She’s breathed from a hang tank at a safety stop after a deep dive, and from another diver’s octo while swimming to shore. She’s a pro with a compass. She’s also done some underwater photography – thanks to her, the gobies at Long Beach have a serious complex about the paparazzi!

Kate and Clare getting their bearings on the beach
Kate and Clare getting their bearings on the beach. To infinity and beyond!

Kate dived with and without a computer, in various types of gear and several different wetsuits. She knows the difference between an A-clamp and a DIN fitting. She removes and replaces inserts on cylinders with her eyes closed, changes O-rings, and puts on her own kit. She has filled over twenty cylinders as part of her compressor operator course.

Kate was also a fantastic ambassador for diving for the various students of mine that she interacted with. As part of her Divemaster training, she led dives, demonstrated skills, helped students with their kit, and took on various tasks in order to prepare her for the responsibilities that go with this qualification. She did all of this with good humour, good sense and great precision.

Kate helps Anna with her hoodie
Kate helps Anna with her hoodie

During her stay, Kate buddied with all kinds of divers. She met Russians, Swedes, Canadians, French and fellow British divers, and some regte egte South Africans. She assisted foreign-language students with understanding the questions on the quizzes and exams when their English wasn’t up to the task. She got on famously with everyone she encountered, and was never grumpy or a prima donna.

In the ocean she encountered seals (she’s not a fan), giant short-tailed sting rays, hundreds of octopus, sevengill cowsharks, and her favourite friends – barehead gobies! They’re going to miss you, Kate… And especially your underwater singing!

Barehead goby
Look at that sad little goby face!

The courses Kate completed during her stay in Cape Town are:

I am confident that she is a safe, capable diver with excellent experience under her belt so far, and I look forward to hearing about her future exploits in the underwater world.

Kate on the move
Kate on the move