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:

Humboldt penguins at Copenhagen Zoo

While we were in Denmark between Christmas and New Year we visited the Copenhagen Zoo. I was specially enchanted by the Humboldt penguins (they look a lot like African penguins, but originate in Peru and Chile). Their exhibit was set up so that you could see them swimming underwater. Even though it was very cold, they seemed quite happy and well insulated.

[youtube=”http://youtu.be/hU-Iw91Qtz4&w=540″]

We occasionally see penguins while boating around False Bay, but I’ve never had a chance to swim with one on a dive. I think they’re shy that way.

Out with the old…

Sunset at Kommetjie
Sunset at Kommetjie

The year 2012 has been wonderful for many reasons, but not without its challenges. We’ve loved adding Seahorse to our family, and our move to the south peninsula has had us wondering why we didn’t do this years ago! We’ve enjoyed meeting new divers and spending time with familiar faces, as well as some wonderful travel, most notably diving in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique in May. Thank you for your support and friendship this year!

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!

Newsletter: Done and dusted

Hi divers

So, 2012 draws to a close and we can look back on some good diving and some really bad weather. Hopefully the southeaster has blown to its limits and has no more to give for the balance of summer.

The Atlantic was dark and green on Monday
The Atlantic was dark and green on Monday

Last weekend was a dry weekend. Viz on Friday was less than 2 metres so we stayed out of the water. During the week we have had a day or two of diving , mostly training, and not very good visibility.

This weekend

I just took a drive to the top of Chapmans Peak and to False Bay. The water looks really clean in Hout Bay, as it should be after the southeaster. The water temperature is 11 degrees and dropping slightly so I think its there we will have the best conditions tomorrow, 10 metre viz is my guess.

Things look a lot cleaner as of this afternoon
Things look a lot cleaner as of this afternoon

False Bay is still green and I doubt it will get better until the wind turns. This it does and Saturday the wind goes north westerly from quite early, so a late start should deliver some good diving in False Bay. Sunday and Monday could go either way and it may be necessary to hop over the mountain again but that’s a call I will make the day before.

So the plan is as follows:

Friday: Hout Bay
Saturday: False Bay
Sunday: Most likely Hout bay
Monday: False Bay

I am going to resist choosing sites as given the current state of the oceans and shady at best weather forecasts, predictable diving is becoming a rarity. We will discuss the options and vote on the slipway.

Irrespective of where or when you dive during the festive season remember, there are lots of visitors, lots of folk on leave and everyone is busy so book early for anything and everything… Even dinner.

This will be the last newsletter for 2012 as we will close on the 24th December and reopen on the 5th January. So have a good festive season and enjoy the sunny weather. Clare and I are going to build a snowman… in Denmark.

Seeya.

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

Diving is addictive!

Whale watching dog

Scanning the horizon
Scanning the horizon

Here’s a gorgeous pooch we met when we were climbing up the stairs from the drip cave at De Kelders. He seemed to be looking for whales.

A few days on the coast: De Kelders

The cliffs at De Kelders
The cliffs at De Kelders

In the second week of October we spent a few days at a bed and breakfast situated right on the cliffs at De Kelders, a tiny residential suburb located about 35 kilometres past Hermanus and less than five kilometres from Gansbaai. It was both a mental health break and an early celebration of our two year wedding anniversary, which actually takes place at the end of next month (our marriage seems to have been both longer – to Tony! – and shorter than that). You can send Noddy badges to our postal address.

Looking towards the inside of Walker Bay
Looking towards the inside of Walker Bay

De Kelders is Dutch for “the cellars”, and is so called because the limestone cliffs on which the town is perched are riddled with caves – some of spectacular dimensions. It is also one of the finest locations in the world for land-based whale watching. Walker Bay is a wide, open bay with Hermanus at its western top corner, and De Kelders on the eastern edge. Each year, many southern right whales make their way to this part of the coastline to calve, socialise, mate and generally delight the tiny humans who flock to this part of the world to observe them.

Gathering clouds over the cliffs
Gathering clouds over the cliffs

I first visited De Kelders briefly with Tony in October 2010 as part of a stay at Grootbos. We spent an early evening eating oysters and watching whales from a balcony at De Kelders. (We didn’t pay for any part of this trip – very fortunate – our style is more Salticrax and Steri Stumpies while sitting in the car!) My acquaintance with this quiet suburb was renewed by the television series and book Shoreline, which dealt in some detail with one of the historically significant caves in the cliffs there. Stone age humans made a home in the caves some 75,000 years ago and added marine protein to their diets from shellfish, seabirds and seals. Poor planning and sheer laziness on my part meant that we did not visit any of the caves that required a guide or an entrance fee, but we did see several caves of varying dimensions in our scramble over the cliffs.

Jagged rocks covered with lichen
Jagged rocks covered with lichen
Dassie on the cliffs
Dassie on the cliffs

It is possible to walk along the cliffs, with varying degrees of rock hurdling required. There are narrow gullies through which the tide rushes fiercely, and one or two tiny sandy beaches that might allow swimming. The cliffs are lined with kelp beds, and during the months of June to November the whales approach right to the edge of the kelp, where the mothers are quite still and their calves test out their vocalisation and physical abilities.

Protected inlets where whales lie
Protected inlets where whales lie

We took a whale watching boat trip on our first full day in De Kelders. The second day was miserably rainy in the morning, so we drove down to Danger Point lighthouse near Gansbaai (and got pelted by rain). That afternoon we watched whales and walked on the cliffs. We drove home on Wednesday via Hermanus, where we saw more whales and visited an abalone farm (on this subject, more to follow). It was profoundly relaxing and a beautiful break.

Path over the cliffs
Path over the cliffs

Documentaries: By subject

Here’s a summary of the documentaries we’ve posted about, categorised loosely by subject.

BBC

Nature’s Great Events
Oceans
Shark
South Pacific
The Blue Planet
Wreck Detectives

Conservation

Blackfish
The End of the Line
March of the Penguins
Oceans
Saving the Ocean

Discovery Channel

Underwater Universe

National Geographic

Blue Holes – Diving the Labyrinth

Reality shows

Deadliest Catch, Season 1
Deadliest Catch, Season 2
Deadliest Catch, Season 3
Deadliest Catch, Season 4
Deadliest Catch, Season 5
Deadliest Catch, Season 6
Deadliest Catch, Season 7
Deadliest Catch, Season 8
Deadliest Catch, Season 9
Deadliest Catch, Season 10

Deadliest Catch – Tuna Wranglers
Deadliest Catch – Lobster Wars

Trawlermen, Season 1

Whale Wars, Season 1
Whale Wars, Season 2
Whale Wars, Season 3
Whale Wars, Season 4

Sharks

Air Jaws
Blue Water White Death
Sharkwater
Shark Week featuring Mythbusters – Jaws Special
Shark Men, Season 1
Shark Men, Season 2
Shark Men, Season 3
Shark

Shipwrecks

Wreck Detectives
Treasure Quest
Treasure Quest – HMS Victory Special
Ghosts of the Abyss