Article(s): The New York Times on the Christmas 2004 tsunami

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the massive Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The quake’s epicentre was off the coast of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, and triggered a massive tsunami with waves over 30 metres high. 230,000 people in coastal communities around the Indian Ocean lost their lives, with most of the fatalities occuring in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. The scale of the devastation is hard to explain; there are plenty of videos to be found online, showing the sea receding and then rushing back, far inland, with unimaginable force. The coastline was reshaped, modified, and entire towns were razed to the ground.

A year after the event, the New York Times published a series of articles about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and they are well worth reading, today especially. Their author, Barry Bearak, spoke to survivors of the tsunami, and wrote down their stories. He outlines the hard-to-understand calculus of natural disasters (and life itself) in the first article in the series:

But the disposition of who lived and who died was more than a matter of distance from the sea. Indeed, some people lived for the very reasons others died. They were in one part of the city when they ordinarily would have been in another. Some were fortuitously late, others disastrously early. Survival was decided by which road taken, which stairs climbed, which hand held. Once in the grip of the waves, hurled and churned through the malign darkness, some made it through the gantlet of deadly debris. And some did not.

You can find the series of four articles here:

Part 1: A Ghost in the Water

Part 2: The Sea is Coming

Part 3: Living Among the Dead

Part 4: A Special Burden

 

Christmas wishes

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, we wish a very happy day with family and friends. Please enjoy this small collection of sea stars.

A giant cushion star on a sandy area of the reef
A giant cushion star on a sandy area of the reef
Brooding cushion star on 13th Apostle reef
Brooding cushion star on 13th Apostle reef
Brooding cushion star on the Maori
Brooding cushion star on the Maori
Lonely sea star
Lonely sea star
Granular sea star
Granular sea star
A red sea star... count the legs!
A red sea star… count the legs!

Christmas gift guide 2014

It’s almost that time of year again. Are you ready to see Santa underwater? I didn’t think so.

Santa diving the Aster
Santa diving the Aster

Adventures

Consider a Discover Scuba Diving experience for non-divers, and for qualified divers a Refresher, a Specialty course, or a voucher for some boat dives. A False Bay or Atlantic Seaboard photo cruise is fun for the whole family.

Email Tony for prices and more information.

Something to read

Everything you need to know about finding a book related to the ocean can be discovered in our list of most recommended books, and our guide to finding the book you need (on this blog, at least!).

Something to watch

A DVD – either a movie, a series box set, or a documentary – is not a bad gift idea!

Dive gear

Smaller items of gear such as cutting tools, masks, clips and other accessories won’t break the bank. Contact Tony for some ideas and suggestions as to what to get and where to find it.

Keeping it local

Support some local entrepreneurs!

  • Rochelle at Oceanscape sells gorgeous ocean-themed clothing at her online shop.
  • Kerri now stocks a range of ocean-themed jewellery at various markets. Check out Accessories for Aquaholics.

Thinking outside the box

What about a day trip to Cape Point, a donation to a worthy cause on behalf of your loved one (the NSRI is always first on our list), an underwater photo shoot, or (if you take photographs or can find a photographer whose work you like and isn’t too expensive) a framed or mounted picture of some of our local marine life?

You can also refer to Christmas gift guides from previous years (2011, 2012 and 2013) for more ideas. Be safe this festive season!

Newsletter: Waiting for Santa to arrive

Hi divers

Weekend plans

On Saturday we will be shore diving at Long Beach and on Sunday we will be diving from the boat, launching at False Bay Yacht Club. Sunday’s wind is not all that predictable as yet, so we will make a firm plan late on Saturday afternoon.

Smitswinkel Bay
Smitswinkel Bay

The water temperature in False Bay is close to the 20 degree mark, so if it’s warm water you have been waiting for then now is your chance. The wind, mostly south easterly, has not really trashed False Bay as it sometimes can but at the same time it has not really cleaned the Atlantic the way it should.

This weekend’s wind will supposedly be more north westerly so False Bay should be quite good for the weekend – not that it’s that bad right now.

Dive update

So, we are into early January and Santa has yet to deliver my present. My request was simple: no swell, favourable winds, and good visibility. Never mind – I am patient and will wait and hope that he arrives soon.

Near Batsata Maze
Near Batsata Maze

Over the last two weeks we have done some diving, seldom in stunning conditions and seldom with terrific viz… But then Santa may still arrive. December and January are traditionally busy months for courses and we are busy with Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster courses right now.

The  Divemaster trainees did part of their mapping project at A Frame today and we had 19 degree water and around 5 metre visibility.

Plans for 2014

When the visibility clears up enough for photography (other than macro) we are looking forward to making some contributions to the Spot the Sevengill Shark project. If you want to know what you can do to help identify the sevengill cowsharks that frequent False Bay, there’s some information here, and you should go and like the Spot the Sevengill facebook page, too.

We’re also going to start thinking about dive travel for 2014. We haven’t been to Sodwana for a little while, so I think that’ll be where we point our noses first… Watch this space!

regards

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

Diving is addictive!

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Christmas gift guide 2013

Ok so this is a bit late, and if you haven’t done your Christmas, Hannukah and Festivus shopping yet, shame on you. Or just shame. Most of these ideas don’t entail going to a mall and having your personal space invaded by ten thousand hormonal adolescents. You can order online, or make a phone call or two. Get going!

Christmas at Sandy Cove
Christmas at Sandy Cove

Books

For the reader, you could check out our book reviews, arranged by topic:

I’m not going to suggest a magazine subscription – I’ve let most of ours lapse as we seem to have entered a long dark teatime of the soul when it comes to South African diving magazines. If the quality picks up, they’ll be back on the gift list at the end of 2014.

Dive gear

Check out What’s in My Dive Bag for some ideas… You can contact Andre for most of these:

Make sure you know the returns/exchanges policy of wherever you make your purchases. Some places can be difficult, and if the mask doesn’t fit it’s no good at all!

For lady divers

For the diving lady in your life (or your man friend with too much hair), what about some rich hair conditioner to apply before going in the water? Suggestions here. A pack of cheap, soft fabric elasticated hairbands is a good stocking filler.

Some high SPF, waterproof sunscreen, or a nice hooded towel for grown ups (available in one or two of the surf shops in Muizenberg) would also not go amiss.

Experiences

Don’t forget to add a memory card for the lucky recipient’s camera if you plan to gift any of these! Contact Tony for prices.

For the non diver, you could inspire a love for our oceans with one of these:

For those who need (or like) to relax

Memberships

Wall art

Clip Clop designs and prints beautiful tide charts for Cape Town and Durban and moon phase charts for the year. You can order online or usually find them at Exclusive Books.

My underwater alphabet is available for R200 in A1 size, fully laminated. Shout if you want a copy.

If you take your own photos, you could print and frame a couple, or experiment with stretched canvas prints if that’s your thing. A digital photo frame pre-loaded with underwater images is also a lovely gift for a diving friend.

Donations

For the person who has everything, or because you’re feeling grateful:

A visit to a boat shop in Denmark

Outside the boat shop
Outside the boat shop

While we were in Denmark just after Christmas we paid a visit to the Tempo Bådudstyr in the suburb of Greve, just outside Copenhagen. It was fabulous. Tony was genuinely browsing the wares, while I photographed things that looked cool. My favourite items were the mini life vests for dogs (we have seen a lot of dogs on the sailing boats that frequent the small marinas throughout Denmark).

We got a ride back from the boat shop with the pastor of the local Lutheran church, who lived in Glostrup where we were staying. He took us home via the hard standing at the marina where he keeps his little sailing boat. In winter all the pleasure boats are removed from the water because the harbours ice up. They are placed on stilts in huge boat parking areas. In spring when the weather softens, they are returned to the sea.

Please enjoy a small selection of photographs of the maritime delights that can be found in this particular Danish boat store:

Newsletter reminiscences

Clare and I are currently enjoying (I hope!) the Scandinavian winter while visiting family in Denmark, so there’s no newsletter this week. Instead, here’s a look back at some memorable newsletters from the last year or two:

I hope you are all safe and well and enjoying time with family and friends… in the sun!

Christmas gift guide 2012

In the interest of planning ahead, here’s our annual Christmas gift guide. This is specially for the people whose idea of a good gift is “whatever’s available in a shop close to the mall entrance on 23 December!”

Books

For the reader, you could check out our book reviews, arranged by topic:

There are also a couple of children’s books to consider.

Dive gear

Check out What’s in My Dive Bag for some ideas… You can contact Andre for most of these:

Make sure you know the returns/exchanges policy of wherever you make your purchases. Some places can be difficult, and if the mask doesn’t fit it’s no good at all!

For lady divers

For the diving lady in your life (or your man friend with too much hair), what about some rich hair conditioner to apply before going in the water – suggestions here, otherwise try what I’m currently using: Aussie Moist Three Minute Miracle, which is available at Clicks. A pack of cheap, soft fabric elasticated hairbands is a good stocking filler.

Some high SPF, waterproof sunscreen, or a nice hooded towel for grown ups (available in one or two of the surf shops in Muizenberg) would also not go amiss.

Experiences

Don’t forget to add a memory card for the lucky recipient’s camera if you plan to gift any of these! Contact Tony for prices.

For those who need (or like) to relax

Magazine subscriptions

Memberships

Wall art

Clip Clop designs and prints beautiful tide charts for Cape Town and Durban and moon phase charts for the year. You can order online or find them at Exclusive Books.

My underwater alphabet is available for R200 in A1 size, fully laminated. Shout if you want a copy.

If you take your own photos, you could print and frame a couple, or experiment with stretched canvas prints if that’s your thing. A digital photo frame pre-loaded with underwater images is also a lovely gift for a diving friend.

Donations

For the person who has everything, or because you’re feeling grateful: