Newsletter: High hopes for better weather

Long Beach panorama
Long Beach panorama

Hi divers

Clare took this panorama at Long Beach whilst the NSRI were out training a couple of weekends back. They were there for a long time as we saw them before and after both dives. They seem to have a very good training program and were hauling people out the water, performing CPR and so on. I have not had too many ocean diving days this past week and have only been in the pool. The wind and rain have been…

Anemone at Long Beach
Anemone at Long Beach
Puffadder shyshark at Long Beach
Puffadder shyshark at Long Beach

Weekend diving

I have Open Water students on Saturday doing dives one and two at Long Beach but we will do two boat dives on Sunday. The usual: deep first and shallow next. Launch times will probably be 9am and 11am – please let me know either by text or email if you’d like to be on the boat, by tomorrow morning at the latest.

Chain attached to the yellow buoy at Long Beach
Chain attached to the yellow buoy at Long Beach

Clare, Justin and I swam out to the yellow buoy at Long Beach. Under it is a large bed of mussels and very fat starfish

OMSAC Treasure Hunt

A reminder, the OMSAC False Bay Treasure Hunt is on the 9th July, go here for more details. Clare and I are hoping to get on the boat dives at 10am (to Boat Rock) and at 1pm (to the cowsharks at Pyramid). I suggest you book quickly if you have strong preferences about where you’d like to go.

Certification cards

I have a small stack of PADI certification cards for some recently-qualified students: Tinus, Lindsay, Marinus, Dean and Dirk. I’ll try and drop them off with you if I’m in your neck of the woods, otherwise next time you come diving or are in the Southern Suburbs we can arrange for you to get them.

regards

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

Newsletter: Animals also have something to say

Hello everyone

For those with awesome gardens the rain has probably been welcomed. There has been plenty of rain, so for many, diving has been scarce, why I don’t know because you get wet anyway! The wind on the other hand does chase divers away, me included. Despite the wind we did have some good diving last weekend.

Joanne in the pool
Joanne in the pool

I spent Saturday in the pool because it was too windy for the ocean, but the pool is still diving for me. Sunday morning we woke up to this view from the beach and decided we would navigate out to the concrete wreck and pay a visit to the chained buoy.

Sunrise at Long Beach
Sunrise at Long Beach

How can you not dive when the morning starts like this?

Three spotted swimming crab at Long Beach
Three spotted swimming crab at Long Beach

This three spotted swimming crab was quite aggressive.

Clare on the surface after a Long Beach dive
Clare on the surface after a Long Beach dive

Some days, when there is no diving, but if the weather is good I just jump in my drysuit and turn on the hose…

Is there a body in that drysuit?
Is there a body in that drysuit?

Just kidding… This is me doing a leak test on my drysuit (which is commonly referred to as a dampsuit at home).

Testing the drysuit for leaks
Testing the drysuit for leaks

Weekend diving

This weekend Grant is away diving a wreck in East London. On Saturday I will be at Long Beach with students and Discover Scuba Candidates but Sunday we plan do do an early launch with a different boat charter, weather permitting.

I can keep my head above water
I can keep my head above water

OMSAC False Bay Treasure Hunt

On 9 July Old Mutual Sub Aqua Club (OMSAC) is running a False Bay Treasure Hunt based at the Cape Boat and Ski Club at Miller’s Point. Clare and I will be checking it out and doing some boat dives – the registration fee is R75 per person if you book in advance (this also entitles you to a goodie bag, a boerie roll and a cool drink). They are running boat dives every hour on the hour for R100, and a couple of treasure hunt dives, a beach clean-up, and some other interesting-sounding stuff with nice prizes on offer. If you’re keen to join in, mail info@omsac.co.za or check out their website.

WHAT an awesome dive!
WHAT an awesome dive!

Notifications of weekend dives

I’m not sure whether you prefer email or text message notification of weekend dive plans. If you’d like to get a text message, please either reply to this mail or text me to let me know that is what you’d like. Thanks!

I'd rather stick my head in the sand
I’d rather stick my head in the sand

regards

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

Leave me alone, I'm busy!
Leave me alone, I’m busy!

Diving is addictive!

Belonging to a dive club

Tony and I recently attended the annual Christmas party of False Bay Underwater Club (FBUC), of which we are members. Tony was a member of the Durban Undersea Club while he stayed up north, but it’s my first experience of belonging to any sort of club (except, of course, for the Cape Town Girls Club, of which I was a founder member at the age of ten) – let alone a diving club.

There are numerous benefits – among them, cheap gear hire, free air fills on club days (Wednesday evenings), and access to courses at reduced rates. FBUC offers CMAS courses to its members and other interested parties, and Tony, Kate and I recently completed a compressor operator course there. The club periodically performs ocean cleanups (Simon’s Town yacht basin was their last one), and is involved in several social responsibility projects – for example, the gifts and baby supplies that we brought to the Christmas party are to be donated to the Beautiful Gate in Crossroads, which cares for babies, children and families in the community, many affected by HIV/AIDS.

FBUC Christmas tree
FBUC Christmas tree

FBUC also holds weekly club dives – there’s a mailing list that informs members where to meet, what day (usually Sunday), and what time. Tony and I have not had a chance to explore any of the Oudekraal shore entry sites yet, and that’s been on hold while we sort out a wetsuit for him that isn’t quite as highly ventilated as his current one, but we look forward to tagging along on some club dives to learn the shore entry dive sites we don’t know in Cape Town.

The thing we have been enjoying most, however, is the access that club membership gives us to the accumulated knowledge and experience of the other members. There are members who are photography gurus, those who manufacture their own gear and accessories, those who repair and service dive kit, mapping and dive site gurus, and experts on marine life. It’s here that we got to check out Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs) first hand. (Tony immediately added one to his Christmas list… high hopes!)

Monty checking on the progress of the snoek on the braai
Monty checking on the progress of the snoek on the braai

We’ve learned a huge amount just chatting to other members over a drink (or a fish braai) on a Wednesday evening at the club. It’s been lovely to meet interesting, like-minded people who love the ocean and exploration and are happy to discuss it.

Everything I’ve described regarding False Bay Underwater Club also applies – one way or another – to the other main diving club in Cape Town, Old Mutual Sub Aqua Club (OMSAC). We accompanied some of their members on a cleanup dive on Robben Island earlier this year.

It’s not particularly cheap to be a member of a dive club, but I think it’s been well worth it so far. Not so much for the gear hire and air fills – Tony has his own gear and requires air fills FAR more often than once a week – but for the other reasons I’ve mentioned.

Article: The Urban Times – Diving Robben Island

I didn’t realise this article had actually been published until today – there were some (shall we say…) technical glitches in getting the pictures sorted out… But The Urban Times has published an article I wrote based on our Robben Island diving adventure in September (part of the OMSAC coastal cleanup activities).

Tony toting our absolutely enormous dive bag off the ferry
Tony toting our absolutely enormous dive bag off the ferry

You can read the full article here. It’s not terribly different to what I posted on the blog originally, apart from some additional historical context. What is really exciting is for South Africa, and South African diving, to get some exposure!

The Urban Times article
The Urban Times article

OMSAC Cleanup Dive on Robben Island

On Saturday last week we participated in the OMSAC underwater coastal clean up in Murray’s Bay Harbour on Robben Island. The weather was magnificent – we had awesome boat rides there and back on the old Robben Island ferry, crusing in between moored container ships and spotting seals.

The Old Mutual Sub Aqua Club organisers had done a fantastic job, and the Metro Rescue team was on hand in their rubber duck. They laid a line down in the harbour demarcating the area in which we were to start the dive (since the regular ferry was still going to be in and out, we had to take care). Entry was via a giant stride off the bottom of some steps in the pier… As it was low tide, the stride was pretty giant. My first time, and lots of fun!

Entry point in Robben Island Harbour
This is our entry point... Duck waddle down the steps, and giant stride off the edge!

Once we were in the water, however, it was a different story. Armed with kitchen scissors (the biggest adventure my lowly pair has ever had), knives and mesh bags to collect rubbish, we were to scour the harbour bottom for debris. Visibility, however, was appalling. So appalling that I spent much of the dive in a state of abject terror – at times it went down to zero, and I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. I held onto Tony most of the time, and couldn’t even see the far side of his body. We surfaced once or twice for fear of crashing into the harbour wall without seeing it, and descending again was frightening because I didn’t know what was beneath me and had no sense of depth.

Murray's Bay Harbour at Robben Island
Murray's Bay Harbour at Robben Island, with our entry point to the right of the jetty, and our exit point to the left between the ships.

The bottom of the harbour is mainly covered with very fine white sand, and the water is permeated with it. There’s also a disturbing suction effect in parts of the harbour – one feels as though you could sink quite deep into the sand if you put your mind to it. In the part of the harbour where the new ferry docks, there’s quite a lot of ridged, smooth rock on the bottom, overgrown with sea plants.

We didn’t see much life – I am sure it’s there, but the visibility precluded much underwater naturalism. On the surface I spotted a night light sea jelly, and Tony saw a puffadder shyshark. Bank and Cape cormorant nest on the breakwater at the entrance to the harbour – we were cautioned against disturbing them.

Cormorants nesting on the breakwater at Murray's Bay Harbour
Cormorants nesting on the breakwater at Murray's Bay Harbour

Tony had decided against bringing his underwater camera because we thought were supposed to be cleaning up, not shooting photos, and at first he was kicking himself because every second diver had brought theirs… However, after seeing the water conditions, we realised he was not missing out on anything!

The harbour was built in 1939 along with an airstrip and gun batteries for military purposes. It’s not a very busy place nowadays – the only real traffic is the Robben Island ferry a few times a day. Tourists don’t hang about there much either – they get whisked away on tours – so there’s not that much opportunity for them to drop litter into the water or let their chip packets blow away. Despite that, I was expecting a lot more rubbish than we found. Part of it was the poor visibility, but we didn’t see a lot of junk at all. Some awesome old cooldrink bottles were found, some net, plastic bags and bottles, and a few other bits of bric a brac.

Dive date: 18 September 2010

Air temperature: 24 degrees

Water temperature: 14 degrees

Maximum depth: 5.5 metres

Visibility: 0.3 metres (not kidding – an optimistic estimate)

Dive duration: 33 minutes (that’s time underwater)

 

Leaving Robben Island
That's Tony and me toting our gear down the jetty after the dive

There’s a gallery of more photos up on the OMSAC website.