Handy hints: Winter boating

Do you remember what it’s like to dive in winter in Cape Town? Do you remember the freezing, spray-soaked boat rides to and from the dive site, buffeted by icy winds and pock-marked by blinding spray?

Here are three alternate solutions to the problem of freezing, bullet-like spray. Take your pick!

Handy hints: Baboon whispering

In order to become a baboon whisperer, a profound relationship has to be established between you and your furry compadres. How you do this is up to you, but Gerard met with great success after sacrificing (involuntarily) a tupperware full of the chocolate chip cookies his wife had lovingly baked for him.

You can see from the following sequence of images that the relationship between a baboon whisperer and a baboon can be a close and enduring one – much like that between a father and his son.

Handy hints: Making friends with baboons

Step one: Fail to adequately defend your dive buddy's vehicle
Step one: Fail to adequately defend your dive buddy's vehicle

Move over, Dale Carnegie. Gerard is here. In order to make friends with a baboon, you need only two things: hubris, and a tupperware container full of Mariaan’s chocolate chip cookies.

Step two: Lose control of the cookies
Step two: Lose control of the cookies

Gerard’s friendship with this large male baboon from the Miller’s Point troupe was hard won, yet enduring (more on that in a follow up post).

Step three: Watch helplessly as your surface interval snack vanishes over the hill
Step three: Watch helplessly as your surface interval snack vanishes over the hill

Unfortunately Mariaan’s little blue tupperware was less enduring, and did not withstand having its lid ripped open by giant baboon fangs.

Step four: OM NOM NOM!
Step four: OM NOM NOM!

(Seriously, feeding baboons creates big problems for both us – humans – and them. There are cases, like this one, where they are simply too quick and too wily to outwit, but do not give them food on purpose. They are wild animals, and feeding them is NOT COOL. Do you hear me, tourists?)

Handy hints: Indoor compressor maintenance

Service day on the compressor came round a few weeks ago but sadly it was pouring with rain so doing this outside was out of the question. The best solution in such a situation is:

  1. You must WAIT until your wife has left for work..(very important step)
  2. Bring the work table and the compressor, with oils, filters, tools etc. and spread them out in the lounge.
  3. Avoid the couch… (especially if it is white)
  4. Now you have a clean sterile environment in which to service a safety-critical item of the compressor.
Compressor all ready for servicing
Compressor all ready for servicing

Footnote

It is very important to make sure the wife has left because should you drop the container of drying agent on the floor (see below) you could possibly end up in trouble.

Drying agent on the floor. Note the towel (bottom right) positioned for just such an accident
Drying agent on the floor. Note the towel (bottom right) positioned for just such an accident

Handy hints: Keeping limber between dives

In Malta we had the privilege of diving with several Russian divers, and Sergey our Divemaster was also Russian. They were extremely impressive in the water – precise, no wasted movements, and demonstrating exemplary buoyancy skills. Unfortunately their English was only slightly better than our Russian, so we had to rely on hand signals (and Sergey’s interpretations) to communicate.

A diver's version of grande battements
A diver's version of grande battements

A couple of them also demonstrated some exemplary ballet/yoga skills, which were whipped out like clockwork between dives, despite still being clad in 5 millimetres of inflexible neoprene. I wonder whether maintaining a good in-wetsuit stretching regimen during the surface intervals wasn’t part of their secret diving mojo!

Streeeeetch...
Streeeeetch...

These pictures were taken at Cirkewwa before and between dives on the Rozi and P29.

Handy hints: Laundry

Requirements

  • something that needs to be washed
  • a longish piece of rope
  • a boat (very important)

Sometimes we do boat dives from Long Beach. The slipway at Miller’s Point, the usual launch site for False Bay boat charters, can be a nightmare when the small area is inundated with fishing boats.

Grant and Colijn ready the washing apparatus
Grant and Colijn ready the washing apparatus

When BlueFlash boat charter pick divers up at Long Beach there is a mat on the beach for us to place our gear. By the end of the day this mat is full of sand so an easy way to wash it is to do so in the sea. All you need ia a long rope and of course a boat… Drag it into deep water, let it self-rinse and haul it onto the boat… Anyone can do it!

Completing the washing cycle
Completing the washing cycle

Handy hints: Snorkel technique

Kate demonstrates incorrect snorkel technique
Kate demonstrates incorrect snorkel technique (in the car)

Note that the snorkel is worn on the right hand side of the mask in these images; this is incorrect, and it should be on the left. Because your regulator is worn over your right shoulder, the snorkel is usually on the opposite side.

Kate demonstrates snorkel remove and replace
Kate demonstrates snorkel remove and replace

Wearing a snorkel on land is not recommended unless you are highly trained, as Kate is.

Handy hints: Looking good on the boat

Enough said
Enough said

Let it be said that I was warm – very warm – despite Grant’s notoriously fast boat driving, wind chill and having just completed a deep dive in 12 degree water while wearing a wetsuit. The fact that I looked like a “jellybean” (thanks Tinus!) or “the Michelin man” (thanks husband!) and that EVERYONE on the boat was laughing at me is neither here nor there. Diving is not a sport for the image-conscious…