Newsletter: Here comes Christmas!

Hi everyone

Christmas is around the corner, summer has arrived (somewhere), many people are on vacation and many of them are diving. We have been real busy for the last few weeks and had some really good diving days mixed in with some really low visibility diving. The Bay is warm right now, 20 degrees in many places but the downside to warm water in Cape Town is that it’s usually accompanied by low visibility. Yesterday we had 2 metre visibility and for Advanced course navigation it was ideal, but for photography, well, not that great. The Atlantic did not deliver much better conditions and some reported water temperatures of 12-17 degrees with 4 metre viz.

Briefing Maurice, JP and Wiebe before they set off... on the Hunt for Red October
Briefing Maurice, JP and Wiebe before they set off… on the Hunt for Red October

I think there is a remote chance that some if not all of you will have a need to test a new item or three that gets left under the tree by the large man in a red wetsuit! There will be several opportunities to get in the water next week, most charters will launch a few days and I am booking for a day of boat diving on Wednesday. The plan at this point is to dive the Aster, 28 metres maximum depth, on the first launch and then the Maori (6-20 odd metres) on the second launch. All the scheduled dives we had planned for yesterday are going to be rescheduled for next Wednesday. If you were not on the list yesterday but want to be on the boat next Wednesday them please text me soon so I can book.

Eagle ray at Long Beach
Eagle ray at Long Beach

Many of you have a few dives left to complete your course. Now is a good time to get them done as its a lot easier to get a day off this time of year. I am diving Sunday (yes!), Monday and Tuesday doing shore dives, and on Wednesday we will do the boat dives to complete your courses where possible. Please mail me as soon as possible if you have any of these days available. There is a chance we will dive the Oudekraal area next week as it appears we are going to have a taste of the Cape Doctor (strong south east winds). It’s a bit early to be sure of the weather for the next week but I will dive every day the weather permits until mid January.

This is also about the best time to say merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family, and try not drink and drive or drink and dive! And to all those who dived with us, did dive courses, or referred friends and family to me to learn to dive, thank you for your support in 2011. I’m grateful that not only have we had some really good dives together, but Clare and I also count many of you as good friends.


Tony Lindeque
076 817 1099

Diving is addictive!

P.S. For those of you who read our blog, please note that the address has changed to The old blog will redirect here automatically, but please remember to change your bookmarks!

Christmas gift guide 2011

It’s that time of year again. I trust you are all feeling suitably festive. Here’s our annual (well, second so far) Christmas gift guide. Use it/don’t use it…


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:

Probably not a good idea to get a mask unless the place you buy it will let the person exchange it if it doesn’t fit!


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


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

For those who need (or like) to relax

Magazine subscriptions

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.

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.

Friday Poem: Christmas at Sea

Wishing all of you who celebrate Christmas a very special and blessed day, on which you celebrate with your families and friends the Light that came into the world two millenia ago.

Christmas at Sea – Robert Louis Stevenson

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seamen scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But ’twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So’s we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every ‘long-shore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
“All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate Jackson, cried.
…”It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.