Farewell (for now) to the short tailed stingrays

This my the final video (for now) of short tailed stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata) swimming under the boat on a sunny February day in between dives.

The IUCN Red List has these rays as of “least concern”, but they are protected in Western Australia because of their tourism value. There are locations in this region where tame stingrays interact with visitors; much like the rays at Struisbaai harbour.

More stingrays under the boat

We spent quite a bit of time with the short tailed stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata) between dives this past summer. Here’s another short video of one under the boat in shallow water.

These rays can grow to over two metres in diameter and weigh a few hundred kilograms at their maximum. They are a popular target for fishermen.

Watching stingrays from the boat

We visited this beautiful short tailed stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata) near Millers Point between dives one day in mid February. They’re commonly seen during the summer months, when water temperatures in False Bay are between 16 and 22 degrees celsius.

I find them to be more curious about the boat than they are when we see them during dives. Then, they’re most often resting or eating on the sand, and after a short time they swim away.

Newsletter: Friends and family

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Double tank dives from False Bay Yacht Club at 8.30 am

I reckon the better option for diving this weekend will be on Sunday morning in False Bay. The tide is against us but I still think the visibility will be better than in the Atlantic. We will meet in the False Bay Yacht Club parking lot at 8.30 am with the aim of launching by 9.00 am. It will be a double tanker (that means your options are two dives, or none) as the wind speed grows by lunchtime. Let me know if you’re keen to come along.

Sunny Kalk Bay
Sunny Kalk Bay

Water

The latest Wednesday Water File from the WWF is about the power of community. Read it here. On that subject, here’s something on starting a water committee (at your apartment block, office, or kids’ school, for example). Community could be the eleventh good thing about the drought, if one were to extend this excellent list from WESSA.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: High hopes

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Saturday: Meet at the False Bay Yacht Club Parking at 9.00am for a double tank dive

The south easterlies are not ready to leave yet for the winter, but they are giving us a break right now. The forecast is for strong westerly wind tomorrow which will, if it blows, clean up False Bay rather nicely for some good visibility on Saturday. There is a 3 metre swell arriving on Saturday but I think it will be fine for a dive or two, and the tides are in our favour.

We will meet at the False Bay Yacht Club Parking at 9.00am. We’ll double tank it and choose the sites once we’re out there. Let me know if you want to be on board.

Giant short tailed stingray at Millers Point
Giant short tailed stingray at Millers Point

I had a couple of good days on the boat this week, the highlight being watching this huge giant short tailed stingray on a flat calm day.

Water

We shared a blog post about diving during a drought this week. Check it out! Also, the WWF’s fourth Wednesday Water File was published yesterday, and it’s very pertinent. It’s all about toilets. Read it here.

regards

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

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Responsible diving during a drought part 2: The boat

Boats are tough. The hull and pontoons are designed to spend their lives in salty environments, and other than harsh discolouration from caked on dust and dirt, Seahorse the boat weathers Cape Town’s water shortage really well. Each time we launch, the boat gets a good dousing with buckets of salt water to remove the worst of the dust and sand. The motors are a different story. They do need a fair amount of rinsing and special attention. Without any such attention the biggest risk is corrosion of the aluminum and steel parts.

Engine flushing is often touted as critical, however many boats spend their life moored and never get fresh water flushes. This only happens if they are hauled out for service and repair. The downside to not running the motors is that the salt builds up in the water pump housing and reduces the lifespan of the rubber impeller. What I do is to connect a fresh water supply from a bucket via a short hose to the flush port of the engine. This trickles some water into the pump housing and helps to reduce the salt build up. This helps a little, but the impellers are both replaced every 100 hours when service is due. They are good for several hundred hours if treated better.

We have a dedicated rainwater tank alongside the boat and if there is enough harvested water I run the motors briefly before a launch as a safety precaution. If the tank level is lower than the impeller, I leave a little earlier to run the motors in the sea prior to launch times.

The item that suffers the most is the trailer. There has been no option for hosing down the trailer after use with clean water for well over a year due to water restrictions. It takes over 100 litres to lightly rinse a trailer. This has taken its toll and you can see that despite the galvanising, without a good rinse the salt water gets to work eating everything up. I reckon that within the next six months sections of the trailer will need replacing and the entire trailer will need to be re-galvanised. This is not a cheap exercise. The wheel rims and axle are two years old. Despite galvanising, rust treating and coating the wheel nuts and hubs with Tectyl, they have not been spared the rust.

High pressure water sprayer
High pressure water sprayer

I have been using a high pressure spray bottle, typically used for gardening, to clean the boat and trailer. It uses a fraction of the water that a hosepipe would, and its focused high pressure output cleans well, even if it is far more labour-intensive.

Read my prior post about caring for dive gear during a drought, here.

Newsletter: Summer fun

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Sunday: Launching from False Bay Yacht Club for Roman Rock and Shark Alley

Returning to the jetty on a cloudy day
Returning to the jetty on a cloudy day

We have had more diving days this summer than is usual, and 2018 has started well with pretty good conditions and warm water… There have also been a few darker days. On Monday we were in Smitswinkel Bay with 1 metre visibility, but it looks good for the weekend. We had 19 degree water with 5 metre visibility at Ark Rock today, and I hope for the same thing tomorrow.

Saturday will be a bit windy, so we will plan for Sunday in False Bay. The most likely sites will be Roman Rock and Shark Alley, I would like to see a bit more of the sevengills after their long vacation. If you want to dive, let me know.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: Just in time

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

Friday: Boat dives from False Bay Yacht Club

Saturday: Boat dives (maximum depth 18 metres) from False Bay Yacht Club

Sunday: More boat dives from False Bay Yacht Club

Seahorse at Hout Bay today
Seahorse at Hout Bay today

Just in time for Christmas, we have been granted a few days of almost flat seas and very little wind. To top it off the wind direction is also great for False Bay. Friday,  Saturday and Sunday all look like good days for False Bay.

I am keen to launch in False Bay tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday so if diving is in your plans for the next day let me know as soon as possible and I’ll keep you informed of the schedule.

We were at Tafelberg Reef today, then the wreck of the Maori, and then Duiker Island. Although (or rather, because) the visibility was good, the water was cold…. Seven degrees below the thermocline. We had the wind change direction at midday and by late afternoon Hout Bay was starting to darken so I doubt the Atlantic visibility will hold for too long.

This will be the last newsletter before Christmas so I would like to wish those of you that celebrate it a good one, and to everyone without exception a safe and happy time with family over the upcoming crop of public holidays and (hopefully) time off from work.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Newsletter: More purple crayons

Hi divers

Weekend dive plans

No diving

View from Boulders Beach
View from Boulders Beach

There is little doubt in my mind that diving this weekend will be for the hardcore only. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature howling south easterly winds which will make for rough surface conditions. The forecast seems to imply wind strength capable of affecting both sides of the mountain so there will be very few places to hide.

But wait, there’s more

There are some windless days coming up next week. If you’re a lucky one available for weekday diving next week, let me know your availability and I’ll keep you in the loop regarding plans.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

To subscribe to receive this newsletter by email, use the form on this page!

Finishing a boat dive in Sodwana

This isn’t the most exciting video, but I hope it reminds you of how blue and clear the water is off the coast of KwaZulu Natal, and what it’s like to dive in Sodwana on a good day. It was filmed at the end of a dive on Pinnacles on Two Mile Reef, as the divers approached the boat and waited to hand up their gear. Watch out for Laurine, Esther and Christo!

If you aren’t familiar with diving off a RIB (rubber duck), I hope this is a helpful bit of information about how things work at the end of a dive. I’ll share a backward roll video from our most recent Sodwana trip soon, but in the mean time, check out this one to see what it’s like at the start of a dive!