Family business

Ready for action at the pool
Ready for action at the pool

Our pool is five by three metres, and just under two metres deep at the deep end. We’ve had a number of students that have come to do their confined water skills, but in December we had two firsts: four students at the same time, and all of them were related. The three Carstens children were doing a PADI Open Water course, and their old man was doing a Refresher.

Exam time!
Exam time!

Not only did all of us fit in the pool at the same time for the basic skills (with me towards the shallow end and the family in the deep end), but we had an awesome time of it. It’s been great having the pool on site. The pool we used to use sometimes had water clarity issues, and there certainly wasn’t the option of popping inside for a cup of coffee and some theory work.

Group photo after successful completion of confined water skills
Group photo after successful completion of confined water skills

Cracking an egg underwater

Brian and his raw egg
Brian and his raw egg

Have you tried this? It’s an art, but if you do it gently you can remove the entire shell of a raw egg without the white and yolk coming apart. The water pressure holds the contents of the egg intact.

South African eggs have really hard, thick shells – I learned this from watching British cooking shows on television – so it’s a delicate procedure to strike the egg hard enough to crack the shell, but not so hard that you splatter the contents everywhere. Having witnessed it, I can also add that smashing the egg on your buddy’s head will not have the desired effect.

Here are Brian and Esti playing with eggs during their Advanced course at Outer Photographer’s Reef.

Whether you manage to crack your egg perfectly or not, a passing fish will be very grateful for the meal. Does this count as chumming?

Newsletter: Shooting animals

Hi divers

Surprised by an early newsletter? Well its going to be short and sweet. We will not be diving this weekend at all, however, the forecast looks good for some really clean water in False Bay so if you can dive, do it.

Navigating slightly off course
Navigating slightly off course

We have had a mixed bag this week and had some early morning good viz in Hout Bay on Wednesday and ended off with some low viz in the afternoon as the wind died and the water warmed up. It was amazing to watch the bay go dark in a matter of hours.

Our Divemaster candidates had a really challenging course to navigate with a huge amount of task loading to prepare them for the role of Divemaster. We set up a course close to Die Josie that was angled across the current, the wind and the swell to demonstrate the difficulty in finding someone or something in low viz and with a current running.

Rescue skills
Rescue skills

Yesterday we spent some time at Long Beach and had pretty good conditions. The visibility was perhaps 4 metres, but it was calm and sunny which was perfect for Discover Scuba students.

So far we have thirteen enthusiastic divers heading off to Sodwana on 26 April. If you’re keen to join us, let me know and we’ll do our best to slot you in!

Clare and I are off early this morning, heading north to a game reserve to shoot a few pictures of the wildlife above the water. We are back on Monday and it will be diving as usual next week.

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Swimming off the edge of the reef

Deep skills at Outer Photographer's Reef
Deep skills at Outer Photographer’s Reef

One cool, green day at Outer Photographer’s Reef, Tony took Brian and Esti for their deep dive as part of their Advanced course. The nice thing about this reef is that it’s a huge granite slab, 15-18 metres deep on top. If you drop off the edge of the slab onto the sand, you can get 25-27 metres. You can descend to the top of the reef, get comfortable (first deep dive, after all – some nerves are understandable!) and then swim over the side to get some depth. This is what’s happening in this video:

A Festivus miracle: Red Sea shenanigans!

Here are two special Festivus miracles (forgive the poetic licence) for you: videos I took while diving in the Red Sea in October. Don’t know what Festivus is? Educate yourself!

Special moment between Kate and Christo
Special moment between Kate and Christo

Airing of Grievances

Kate airs her grievances at Sha’ab Abu Nuhas.

Feats of Strength

Ok not really. It’s just Kate sneaking up on Christo, who was oblivious to the world around him, intently stalking what he thought was some kind of grouper (which turned out to be some broken plumbing or coral debris, I forget). This clip is only six seconds long, so you’ll have to watch it more than once to fully appreciate its beauty.

I should point out that Tony denies all responsibility for teaching Kate the sort of antisocial behaviour you see here. Despite what this picture would suggest.

Low visibility diving

This is what low visibility diving looks like. I estimate the viz on this particular day, diving the wreck of SS Maori in Maori Bay, to be a solid two metres. The video shows Tony adjusting Lisa’s BCD while Dominique looks on (at right, in the yellow and black wetsuit). There’s nothing wrong with my camera; the viz was really this bad.

This was a day after two days of strong south easterly wind and declining water temperatures in the Atlantic, which generally indicates good visibility as the west coast upwelling process works its magic. Unfortunately this time those factors did not lead to the expected result!

Here’s six seconds worth of Tony backward rolling off the boat. I was not more than four metres away but he’s barely visible as he hits the water. Compare it to this footage of a backward roll at Shark Alley last July.

Estimating visibility on the Brunswick

We dived the wreck of the Brunswick in mid July, when the water was cold and the visibility was rather nice. While filming a bit of the wreckage (very overgrown), I came across Tony instructing Craig and Christo to swim fixed distances (one swam 10 metres, the other swam 12) so that they could estimate the visibility. It’s a simple exercise but one that helps to improve your ability to estimate distance underwater, which isn’t easy.

First students in the pool at home

Cara, Anna and Josh
Cara, Anna and Josh

I thought I’d share a couple of photos from our very first bunch of students in the pool at home, when they came to take their first breaths underwater and do some of the basic skills for an Open Water diver.

Josh breathing underwater
Josh breathing underwater

That experience of inhaling underwater for the first time – and receiving clean air from one’s regulator instead of a mouthful of water – is unforgettable. This is a great thing to be able to share with students, and it’s exciting to have a safe, clean, unhurried environment to do it in.

Anna suited up in the pool
Anna suited up in the pool

Mask remove and replace

Kirsten taking off her mask in the pool
Kirsten taking off her mask in the pool

Mask remove and replace is a skill that some find quite tricky, but once you’ve relaxed, adjusted your mind to the fact that you probably aren’t going to see much when the mask is off, and told yourself that water isn’t going to go up your nose, it’s not too difficult to master.

It’s not something you’ll have to do in the course of a routine dive, but it’s to prepare you for the event when your mask strap breaks, a fellow diver kicks your mask off, or your mask floods for some other reason (such has excessive hair inside the seal). Wearing a hoodie definitely helps with the “replace” part of the equation, as the strap goes on easily.

Regulator recovery

Here is Kate doing a textbook demonstration of regulator recovery. Clare was nearby with her camera! Note the bubbles in both pictures – she’s exhaling all the time.

The regulator starts falling down the right hand side of Kate's body
The regulator starts falling down the right hand side of Kate's body

The important thing is to sweep your right arm back along your leg, and then up – if you go up first and then back, you’ll look like a windmill, and won’t find your hose.

Kate leans to the right to retrieve her regulator
Kate leans to the right to retrieve her regulator

Remember to purge your regulator when you replace it in your mouth.