Bookshelf: Shoreline

Shoreline
Shoreline

Shoreline: Discovering South Africa’s Coast by Jeannie Hayward, Jaco Loubser, Claudio Velásquez Rojas

Sometimes I do things in the wrong order, and reading this book (I think) is an example of that. It’s the companion volume to locally-produced series Shoreline, of which I have only watched one episode while having a raucous conversation with my sister about whether her former junior school rival had aged well.

Like the television series, Shoreline the book is divided into chapters by location, traversing South Africa’s 2,800 kilometres of shoreline from the Orange river to Kosi Bay. Much of the text is taken directly from the television program, for which the script was written by the brilliant Tom Eaton. Magnificent photographs by Claudio Velásquez Rojas, who worked with Thomas Peschak on Currents of Contrast. The aerial photos in particular are incredible – much of South Africa’s coast is dramatically rocky with gorges, cliffs and free-standing formations such as Hole in the Wall at Coffee Bay, and seeing it from an unusual angle is very special.

The book is not solely focused on the marine and coastal wildlife and plants found along our shores, although many species are singled out. There is evidence of extremely early human settlement and family groups along the South African coastline, where the poly-unsaturated fatty acids available from marine species such as limpets would allow large-brained humanoid inhabitants of the sea caves along the southern Cape coast to thrive. There is thus a strong archaeological focus to the volume, and the marriage between natural history and anthropology, geology, oceanography, zoology, botany and archaeology is beautifully achieved. The communities that currently inhabit the shoreline and utilise its resources also feature, and I enjoyed learning of the fish kraals at Kosi Bay, the fish traps built by 19th century farmers along the Wild Coast, and the Thembe-Tonga people, who harvest red bait and other invertebrates from rock pools at full and new moon. The book also touches on subjects such as the KwaZulu Natal shark nets, Knysna seahorses, the diamond industry on the West Coast, and a number of other special interest subjects that apply to different sections of our coast.

As soon as I finished reading this book I made plans for a midweek break at De Kelders for me and Tony later this year (during whale season) and I have been plotting how we can explore some of the Wild Coast without going missing or getting stuck in the mud. The South African coast is compelling and varied, and it seems that one could travel it for a lifetime without getting bored. This beautiful book showcases the beauty, variety and history of our coast in spectacular fashion.

There are some representative photos here. A short review can be found here. I’d recommend it for locals as well as for tourists who want a coffee table volume to take home as a souvenir – this one has substance, as well as the requisite pretty pictures.

You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Guest contribution: Robyn’s boat diving video

Here’s a short video put together by Robyn, who learned to dive with us in March-April 2011. The footage shows Roman Rock lighthouse, Simon’s Town naval harbour, and some photos of our dive site for the day, which was Castor Rock.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN4utV8af6g&w=540]

We think it’s awesome – thanks Robyn!

Cape Town’s visible shipwrecks: SS Kakapo

Update (December 2017): The increasing frequency of muggings by armed men in the vicinity of the Kakapo (sometimes hiding inside the wreck) means that you should only visit the wreck in a large group, on a weekend, preferably accompanied by dogs, and – unfortunately – with the expectation of trouble. When the management of Table Mountain National Park finally realises that their mandate requires action on this matter, rather than focusing on just collecting entrance fees to the park and fining the vicious criminal dog walkers who don’t have activity cards, I’ll tone down this warning.

The wreck of the Kakapo on Long Beach, Noordhoek
The wreck of the Kakapo on Long Beach, Noordhoek

The Kakapo is not a shipwreck that you can dive on; it’s actually one that you can explore with your non-diving buddies, and even with your dog. No special qualifications are required to do a wreck penetration here.

Tony walking away from the wreck
Tony walking away from the wreck

On an evening in late May 1900, during a northwesterly gale with rain and thick mist, it seems that the captain mistook Chapmans Peak for Cape Point (this was before the days of the Slangkop Lighthouse), and swung hard a-port, full steam ahead, as he rounded it. The ship was driven so far up the beach – which she hit at an impressive speed of nine and a half knots – that banks of sand rose on each side of the hull.

Me next to the boiler
Me next to the boiler

There’s some confusion as to exactly why the incident took place. Apparently the fog was so bad that the officers on watch couldn’t see past the bow of the ship from the wheelhouse; the ship’s compass was also rumoured to be faulty. The page in the ship’s logbook corresponding to 25 May 1900 mysteriously vanished, so the truth remains unknown.

Regardless of the reason for the presence of this particular shipwreck, I find the story hilarious (although I’m sure there were some red faces all round), and since I love shipwrecks this is one of my favourite places in Cape Town. You can either park in the beach parking area just below Chapmans Peak and walk several kilometres down Long Beach, Noordhoek, or you can go via Kommetjie, which is a lot shorter.

Sunset behind the boiler
Sunset behind the boiler

This is a wonderful walk for a summer evening, or a picnic spot for a warm weekend. It’s far enough away from everything that you can feel as though you have the place totally to yourself.

Wreck sticking out of the sand
Wreck sticking out of the sand

These photographs were taken in early 2010; the sand moves about and at some times more or less of the ship may be exposed.

If you’re interested in visible shipwrecks, check out my ebook Cape Town’s Visible Shipwrecks: A Guide for Explorers!

ScubaPro Day 2011 (Cape Town)

ScubaPro Day 2011 at False Bay Yacht Club
ScubaPro Day 2011 at False Bay Yacht Club

On 1 October ScubaPro held a dive day at False Bay Yacht Club in Simon’s Town. This is an extremely congenial venue to dive from – most of the local boat charters were in attendance, mooring at the floating jetty in the marina. The grass was set up with a fenced off area for each boat charter, a stand for the wonderful Dive Site magazine, and an extensive area showcasing ScubaPro gear, manned by experienced salesmen. There’s a very reasonable little restaurant, a bar upstairs, hot showers, grass, tables and benches to relax on between dives, and lots to look at. We were expecting parking to be a nightmare, but it seemed to be fine.

The venue for the day (all the divers were inside at prizegiving)
The venue for the day (all the divers were inside at prizegiving)

The idea of the day was for ScubaPro to sell lots of gear, and I think the local ScubaPro suppliers will have had a good week after the divers tried out the SeaWing Nova fins, various kinds of BCDs, and regulators! Unfortunately since Tami and I bought our SeaWing Novas, the material from which they are made has been changed – from a really solid, just flexible enough, smooth-edged substance to a cheap and nasty, brittle plastic that is almost transparent and feels as though it’ll snap under stress. The price, unsurprisingly, has stayed the same (so perhaps look for a pair of these fins on gumtree before you rush out and buy some new ones). They are fantastic fins, and it’s a real pity to see nasty knock-off versions being sold at the same price as the original high quality ones were.

Cindy, Maurice and Corne in their trial pairs of Seawing Nova fins (and me in my own pair) on Grant's boat
Cindy, Maurice and Corne in their trial pairs of Seawing Nova fins (and me in my own pair) on Grant’s boat

Several of the Learn to Dive Today divers tested BCDs (and regulators – Sophie was forced to after the inflator hose on her old regulator wouldn’t fit the new BCD). For those whose kit fitted properly reviews were very positive indeed, but unfortunately the salesmen weren’t good at sizing the lady divers and didn’t even have a full range of sizes available, despite Tony emailing in advance to check this very fact… So not everyone who wanted to was able to try out gear, and there were some tense moments on the boat trying to get cummerbunds to close over thick wetsuits!

The floating jetty where the dive boats moored
The floating jetty where the dive boats moored

In order to try gear, one had to hand in an existing set of gear as security. Those divers who didn’t have their own kit had to rent gear first, and then hand it in, before they could test equipment. Expensive, but no doubt very happy-making for the nearby dive centres. Perhaps as a more fair system next year (unless the aim really is just to enrich the local ScubaPro supplier, in which case fair enough) dive cards or ID books could be held as security for those divers who don’t yet own their own gear. The diving community is small enough that divers who run away with kit can be easly tracked down, and named and shamed if necessary! No proof of ID or dive card was requested when exchanging old kit for new, so the reasoning was flawed anyway – I could have said my name was Priscilla, handed in a dodgy old BCD, and skipped home with a new one if that was really what was motivating me.

Walking to load gear on the dive boats
Walking to load gear on the dive boats

The launches went off mostly very smoothly, and it was extremely pleasant to have gear carriers available to tote our kit to and from the boats. We tied up our hoses to avoid them getting banged on the ground. The diving conditions were mixed – visibility from 2-8 metres depending on the site, and truly awful surface conditions thanks to a nasty little southeaster that was blowing. A photographic competion yielded some surprisingly good entries given the conditions – underwater it looked as though snow was falling, and backscatter was the order of the day. Fortunately the requirements were not technical brilliance, but more to capture the “spirit of diving” – how awesome it is, and something that would encourage a non-diver to take up the sport. I had a private chuckle looking at the jellyfish photos – there were lots of compass sea jellies in False Bay – and thinking of a student of Tony’s who has a jellyfish phobia second to none and would run a mile if she saw a picture of a diver anywhere near a jellyfish!

Sophie and I discussing whether to get a hot chocolate now, or later
Sophie and I discussing whether to get a hot chocolate now, or later

In order to enter the photo competition divers had to set the date on their cameras to 25 December 2011, a slightly insulting proviso intended (I assume) to ensure that nobody cheated by entering a photo taken the day before. This, combined with the issue of having to hand in kit in order to try some, left one feeling that the organisers didn’t trust divers at all. I can’t speak for those who have a financial interest in selling gear, but ordinary Joe Soap scuba divers are decent, helpful people in general, and as a rule don’t steal or cheat.

The ScubaPro display stands
The ScubaPro display stands

We did two boat dives, the first (at 0800) and the last (at 1400) launches, to Photographer’s Reef and Roman Rock. We had about eight metres of visibility on the first dive, dropping off as we rounded the seaward side of the reef. Fortunately we had a monster current to distract us! The second dive yielded up about four metres of visibility, and in both cases we had beautiful jellies and small breaking waves to greet us on the surface. The sites we visited are beautiful and I’m looking forward to going there again on a day with better water conditions.

There were some seasick divers, and an emergency situation in which a diver experienced an uncontrolled ascent from 20 metres. He had tingling extremities – indicating possible DCS – and lay on the grass for over an hour breathing oxygen (fortunately several of the boats had emergency oxygen on board) while the organisers tried to find the phone number for National Hyperbarics, who operate a chamber at Kingsbury Hospital. When we realised this was what was going on (it was kept rather low-key and the diver was hidden behind some bushes) Tony went over and provided the number, which he keeps on a card in his wallet. The diver in question was not a member of DAN (I am guessing he now is!) which meant that instead of DAN handing all emergency evacuation procedures, arranging an ambulance and alerting the chamber operator, the recompression chamber operator had to be contacted directly. Unlike the OMSAC events we have attended, where there has been an impressively strong emergency and medical presence, there were no provisions made at this event except for those by the individual boat charters, and the incident was poorly handled. Hopefully some lessons have been learned here!

Gathered in the bar for prizegiving
Gathered in the bar for prizegiving

Despite sub-optimal water conditions, the day was extremely enjoyable. We were very grateful to the dive charters who launched for only R100 per dive – that price makes for razor-thin profit margins and in order to come out even slightly ahead their boats had to be full for every dive. Most of them were, and I really hope that it didn’t end up costing anyone money to participate in this event, considering that it probably enriched ScubaPro quite a bit. Seeing so many divers together, making the most of Cape Town oceans, was very encouraging. I hope some divers – encouraged by the cheap boat dives – got back into the water after a long break, and that the end result will be more happy divers in the Cape.

Dive sites: Roman’s Rest

Tony swims over the rocky bottom
Tony swims over the rocky bottom

Roman Rock lighthouse stands near the entrance to the navy harbour in Simon’s Town. In its general (I use the term very loosely) vicinity one finds – amongst other sites – Tivoli Pinnacles, Castor Rock, Wonder Reef, Rambler Rock, and, of course, the Roman Rock reef system, which is right under and around the lighthouse. Grant didn’t drop the shot line right at the lighthouse as one would to dive Roman Rock itself, but at a set of pinnacles called Roman’s Rest which are at the eastern end of the Castor Rock reef complex. Wonder Reef is at the western end.

A flagellar sea fan swaying in the surge
A flagellar sea fan swaying in the surge

Tami and I agreed that this was one of the most beautiful dive sites we’ve visited in False Bay – it’s comprised mostly of large granite boulders and huge flat, sloping rocks that are rich with invertebrate life. The whole area is populated by various types of sea fan, giving the effect of an underwater forest.

Flagellar sea fan
Flagellar sea fan
Lots of cauliflower soft coral on top of the reef
Lots of cauliflower soft coral on top of the reef

I was a bit cold (it was the second dive I did that day, and I had not put on enough layers of wetsuit to compensate for the freezing boat rides to and from the sites!) so I didn’t manage any half-decent photos of fish. But we saw Roman (of course!), and a large school of hottentot or other nondescript silver fish hanging in midwater over the reef. There were many nudibranchs – contrary to our usual experience of seeing one at a time, we saw several that were often so close together that I could include them all in one photo.

Sea fans stand like small outcrops of trees over the reef
Sea fans stand like small outcrops of trees over the reef

The part of Roman Rock that we dived is a newish area, I think, that Peter Southwood is busy mapping for the Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay wikivoyage site. It’s a very, very special site – highly recommended. With the right equipment and good visibility, lovely wide-angle photographs can be possible.

A six-legged granular sea star
A six-legged granular sea star

There are a couple more pictures from this dive in the newsletter Tony put out in the week after we dived the site. The surface conditions were horrible but you can see that the visibility was very good indeed (by False Bay standards!).

Dive date: 27 August 2011

Air temperature: 19 degrees

Water temperature: 14 degrees

Maximum depth: 21.4 metres

Visibility: 10 metres

Dive duration: 42 minutes

Floating egg ribbon (?) at the safety stop
Floating egg ribbon (?) at the safety stop

Newsletter: Diving and surfing

Hello divers

What would a diving newsletter be without a weather rant. RANT. Big swells, rain and a fair bit of wind have hampered diving the last week or so. The surfers have had some amazing waves at Dungeons, huge is a better way of putting it. There has been a fair amount of northerly wind so the visibility at Long Beach yesterday was a good 10 metres and the water was 14 degrees. The weekend looks windy and a huge swell will again pass by but False Bay should be okay for a few dives. We are diving the Smits wrecks on Saturday deepish 35 meters and then going to Roman Rock. Sunday we hope to do shore entries providing the wind holds off.

Clare and I attended an interesting talk at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre last night on the bull shark research program being run in the Breede river. This was the third talk in the series and they all cover different topics, shark related. The The talks we have attended at Dive Action – about diving medicine and the sardine run, amongst other things, have also been very good so if you are keen to join us for any of them mail me and I will keep you on the list for future talks. If you have not visited their site do it now here

Sadly there have been a few fatalities around the world in recent weeks and the shark is once again taking the heat. The Russian and the Seychelles governments are on a “hunt them down” campaign. A marine biologist friend of mine in the Seychelles tells me people are behaving like lunatics. Closer to home, the Plett incident has thankfully not become a frenzy as yet and I think this is largely due to the fact there are several organisations, like Save Our Seas, doing a lot of work on awareness campaigns. I find it constantly amazing that every time there is a shark attack the media will say it was a great white without a shred of proof.

This weekend we are running Nitrox (Enriched Air) courses, Deep Specialty and Advanced diver while on the boat and will continue with Open Water diver courses on Sunday. We are starting new Open Water students next weekend and a new Advanced diver course. There is always space for you!!! I would also like to do some night diving soon as it has been a while since the last one. Come and test your navigational skills by moonlight and see what the ocean keeps hidden by day.

We are trying to decide where to go for our next trip, the options are Durban and Aliwal Shoal, Sodwana Bay or southern Mozambique. Text me your preference, it does not have to mean you are coming with, it will just give me an indication of what most of you on this mailing list would prefer.

A reminder that if you want to join us on 17 September cleaning up Hout Bay harbour (underwater, of course!) with OMSAC, visit the OMSAC home page to get registration details.

I have no idea of how many of you read the blog but many of you feature on the blog. Just type your first name into the search field in the top right hand corner and sit back and enjoy the fame!!! Should you not appear it means you have not done enough diving in the last year… And you all know who you are…

And, finally, just a reminder about your MPA permits. If you don’t have one, go and get one before you come diving. At the Post Office. Do it!

Be good, have fun, and get wet.

Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099
www.learntodivetoday.co.za
www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog
Diving is addictive!

Roman Rock lighthouse

Roman Rock lighthouse
Roman Rock lighthouse

A recent dive to Castor Rock gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful Roman Rock lighthouse at the entrance to Simon’s Town harbour from the sea. The lighthouse was erected in 1861, and a lighthouse keeper used to live there, but it’s now fully automated. Roman Rock itself is submerged at high tide but sticks out of the sea at low water.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwpKMPDaZxg&w=540]

There are incredible pictures of this lighthouse in Gerald Hoberman’s book Lighthouses of South Africa. I was thrilled to be able to capture it from several different angles while we waited for the other divers to finish their dive.

Roman Rock lighthouse from the sea
Roman Rock lighthouse from the sea

Newsletter: Summer’s last fling

Hi divers

Recent Dives

As part of the Deep Specialty course currently on the go, we visited the SAS Fleur on Saturday morning. The Fleur lies in 42 metres of water (on the sand), and is quite far out in the middle of False Bay. Her sister ship, the SAS Somerset, is that curved grey navy vessel parked behind the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront. The Fleur is a spectacular wreck and we were fortunate to have perfect conditions both above and below the surface, with calm seas and 10-12 metres of visibility on the wreck (though it was dark).

Some photos taken on the SAS Fleur in False Bay, in 35-40 metres of water:

Overgrown wreckage of the Fleur
Overgrown wreckage of the Fleur
Sea urchin and sea cucumber on the Fleur
Sea urchin and sea cucumber on the Fleur
Rusted deck plates on the Fleur
Rusted deck plates on the Fleur

On Saturday afternoon we took a group of Open Water students on the boat to Castor Rock to finish their course. Castor Rock is a rocky reef system behind Roman Rock lighthouse, which stands near the entrance to Simon’s Town harbour. It was a short boat ride from Long Beach but very scenic.

Marinus and Dean showing off their perfect buoyancy
Marinus and Dean showing off their perfect buoyancy
Reef life at Castor Rock
Reef life at Castor Rock
Robyn (with a flooded mask!)
Robyn (with a flooded mask!)

On Sunday we visited the sevengill cowsharks at Shark Alley near Pyramid Rock. This is a physically demanding dive to do as a shore entry, involving a steep climb up and down the side of the shore and a tricky entry over the rocks. The rewards, however, are great. Even though the visibility was only about three metres, we had a super dive and were visited by lots of sharks. It was sad to see that several of the sharks have been injured by boat propellers and fishing hooks.

Sevengill cowshark emerging from the kelp
Sevengill cowshark emerging from the kelp
Cowshark passing overhead
Cowshark passing overhead
Sevengill cowshark with divers in the background
Sevengill cowshark with divers in the background

Weekend plans

The southeaster will continue to howl for one more day this week. Friday and Saturday should be less windy and we will dive at Long Beach both days doing Rescue and Divemaster training. We will be continuing the Deep Specialty course with a dive from Hout Bay on Sunday morning. Sunday late morning and afternoon will be spent in the pool, doing a Refresher and some Open Water students’ confined water skills.

There is a chance we could do a dive to the Aster, a wreck in Hout Bay Sunday afternoon, if there are enough people. Text me if you want in. It’s for Advanced divers, or you could do it as a deep Adventure dive, because it lies at about 28 metres with an average depth of over 20 metres.

Sodwana is getting close. For those coming along the water is warm, 26 degrees today, sunny and 28 degrees on the beach… For those not coming along the water is warm, 26 degrees today, sunny and 28 degrees on the beach… Hehehe!

Courses

There is a group of Open Water students starting on Monday whom I hope to finish diving during the course of next week.

I am also going to run an Advanced course special starting in the next week or two. It will consist of four boat dives and a shore dive and will focus on the skills and knowledge required to enjoy Cape diving and many of the wrecks we have here. We will focus on deep diving safety and this opens up a whole lot of dive sites in Cape Town. Mail me for more info.

Miscellaneous

Please remember your MPA permits. If you’re coming to Sodwana you will most certainly have yours checked, so make sure it’s in date. Also they’re required for all the diving we do in Cape Town, so please make sure you bring yours with you whenever we dive.

Just a reminder, if you don’t want to be on the mailing list please let me know. Also, feel free to forward this to any of your friends who might be interested in diving with us.

Regards

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

Diving is addictive!

Bookshelf: Lighthouses of South Africa

Lighthouses of South Africa – Gerald Hoberman

Word of the day: pharology, meaning “the study of lighthouses”.

Lighthouses of South Africa
Lighthouses of South Africa – Gerald Hoberman

I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.

George Bernard Shaw

I’ve had this book next to my bed for a while, but it got shunted to the bottom of the pile of books and I only rediscovered it recently. Gerald Hoberman is a South African travel photographer who is responsible for many of the postcards you see depicting iconic images of Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula. He often works with one of his sons, Marc, but this is a solo project he did with the assistance of a pharologist.

This is a wonderful book. I loved it – I read half of it to Tony, constantly interrupted him to show him pictures of birds, seals, lighthouses, rocks, and wild portions of the South African coastline, and immediately started trying to figure out how I could live in a lighthouse for a while. He was glad, and I was sorry, when I finished reading it!

This book is a historical document as much as it is a celebration of the people who are custodians of these wild, sea-battered places all along our coastline. Hoberman visited every single lighthouse on the South African coast, and provides detailed technical information for the pharologist (what kind of light, how strong, its range, and so on), and beautiful photographs illustrating the locations, exteriors and interiors of these singular buildings: polished brass, graceful spiral staircases, and shining optics with commanding views over some of the wildest seas on our coastline.

There are several photographs of lighthouse keepers and technicians, smiling and proud and clearly in love with their jobs and fully aware of the responsibility involved. There are some brief interviews and stories from these folk, and I was filled with admiration (and not a little bit of jealousy) that they are able to spend their time in these often remote outposts. Many of the landscape photos were taken from helicopters, and these aerial views perfectly illustrate the isolation of many of the lighthouses.

Several of the wrecks we dive are within view of lighthouses – in Durban there’s the Cooper’s Light wreck, and just recently we dived on the Cape Matapan which is within sight of the Green Point lighthouse. The Green Point lighthouse also looks over the SS SA Seafarer and the RMS Athens. Lighthouses were often erected in response to several shipwrecks at a particular site, or to mark a reef or blinder that was a danger to shipping. I was amused to read that the original Cape Point lighthouse was built too high up, so it spends most of the time when it should be warning ships shrouded in fog. Now it’s a monitoring station for lighthouses around the country. The current, working lighthouse, was built closer to sea level and under the fog banks.

Incidentally, I learned a little bit about photography from this book: taking pictures at first light (not my best time of day!) and just around sunset is once again demonstrated to be the ideal time. And simple composition, especially when your subject is something like the interior of a lighthouse with many complex cogs and gears and shiny metal parts, is best.

Tony making trouble in front of Slangkop lighthouse in Kommetjie. Does this count as "simple composition"?
Tony making trouble in front of Slangkop lighthouse in Kommetjie. Does this count as “simple composition”?

Since the Cape coast is so notorious for shipwrecks – partly because of its wild seas and bracing winds, and partly (I think) because the peninsula is a funny-shaped piece of land to navigate around – there are a lot of lighthouses in the greater Cape Town area. Many of them are open to the public, and I think visiting some of them is now on my to-do list.

There’s a large format coffee table version that you can buy here, and the smaller version (exactly the same content, just smaller – this is the one I have, but be warned that the text is quite small and may be hard to read) that you might be able to find at Exclusive Books or similar. Non-South African readers can buy a copy here.

Rescuing a moray eel

I was on a dive in Durban on a wreck called Coopers Light Wreck, an unknown wreck named after the Cooper lighthouse. Wrecks around Durban are popular fishing sites so there is always a fair amount of fishing line and tackle on the wrecks.

We discovered a moray eel tangled in fishing line. This eel had wriggled so much in an effort to free herself that she was almost dead from exhaustion plus a section of her midriff was white where the line had peeled her skin off. I had a knife so two other divers held her whilst I cut through the line.

This eel was so injured but still kept trying to bite the line off. Having succeeded with most of it she was still tied in a loop of stainless steel wire trace. Fortunately most dive knives have a serrated edge so I was able to saw through this but as the other divers let her go she bit onto my hand and just gently seemed to be holding on whilst I cut the last strands. Once free she swam down to a hole I presumed to be home, stopped and took a look back at me, making me feel honored at being able to save her life.

Moray eel (not the same one!)
Moray eel (not the same one!)

From time to time we see sharks, large fish and other creatures with hooks in their mouths – having bitten onto a “tasty meal” the hook is embedded deeply in their flesh. They fight and sometimes get loose, but the hook stays. If its a steel hook it rusts away quickly, but lately stainless steel is widely used and these hooks stay forever.