Omsac Night Dive Saturday – 22 April 2017

 

The first ever dive I did with OMSAC was a night dive, so it was an interesting reflection for me to be the one doing the dive briefing for Saturdays Night dive, and in turn introducing four new divers to the wonders of diving at night. To me this is exactly the reason to be part of an active club, an environment where new divers can become experienced divers and divers of all levels are welcome.

Thank you Mandy for organizing our first night dive of the year and for all those that attended to make it such a great evening. It was great to see faces, old and new kitting up. Just on a side note if the conditions are all messed up this weekend please blame Anand and Conrad, who dusted off their gear and graced us with their presence. It was great to have them with.
So with a mix of apprehension and excitement 12 divers hit the water as the sun sank below the horizon at trusty Long Beach. For convenience we again split into groups of four divers. My group went in search of the short tailed stingray with an epic swim to chains and back to the pipeline, we didn’t find the ray, only a huge patch of disturbed sand which meant we were in the right place. What we did find were some unusual fish species which was the highlight of the dive for me. Other groups found the smaller species or ray, as well as the staples of pipefish, sole and beaked sandfish.

Haa, I almost forgot and the seal that gave Mandy a heart attack as it bombed past her as she was looking at the puffer fish, and also played with us for a couple of minutes at the end of the pipeline.
Thank you OMSAC for another great dive

Dive Site: Long Beach
Dive Leader: Various
No Divers: 12
Dive Time: 60min
Temperature: 14-17 Degrees
Vizability 5-7m verticle

Dive Report 26 March 2017

 

The Sunday dive From Carel Past!

Part 1

So it was retro Sunday for Carel van Der Colff from Dive Inn and some of our OMSAC divers Pierre Luke Tanya, benefited from his generosity. One person’s stomach bug is another’s opportunity to dive.

I can only postulate that after a two year absence the Siren call of Pick N Pay, AKA sharks and seals, was too much for Carel. So down the shot we went starting at the Smitswinkle side of Partridge point. Green pea soup greeted us with plenty of whale snot in the water. Oh well I thought I am the DM so I am the only one who cannot get lost on this dive. Returning from warmer climes it was a pleasant 16 degrees.

We started off at a really conservative pace back towards the Millers point side purposely keeping to the 18m contour and not following the shallower gulley for more seal action. It was a nudi fiesta with Coral, Silver tip and gasflame nudibranchs being the most prolific combined with other really nice sightings like big Cape Dorid.

As we hit the first sand patch so the vista opened out from pea green to clean green, however the proportionate increase in visibility was accompanied by an inversely proportional decrease in the water temperature a nice welcome back, for me, from Cape Town Diving. Still there were compensations four juvenile seals joined us at this point and kept us company for a couple of minutes with their normal antics.

We swam on and I particularly enjoyed the huge rock formations teaming with both colour and life, so at odds with the bland reefs of Sodwana. As we hit the 50min mark, signals from cold divers became too much to ignore, with my shivering leading the way. I deployed the DSMB and managed to find a pinnacle at five meters, with some big redbait and sturdy kelp on which to spend the last safety stop minutes of our very pleasant dive.

Of note We also found decomposing remains of a dead seal

The Dive By The Numbers

No Divers OMSAC Divers: 6
Guests/Students: 1
Dive Time: 51min
Average Dive Time: 51min
Acumulated Bottom Time: 51min
Viability: Variable 1-2m 10m in the thermo cline
Temperature: 9°C
Max Depth: 18.6m

Sunday dive From Carel Past! (Part 2)

As we neared Millers point the visibility noticeably cleaned up which boded well for part 2 of our diving excursion a visit to the ever popular Pyramid to rock, to drop in on the Seven Gill Cow Sharks. After a changeover of cylinders we headed back out to a convenient piece of kelp off pyramid rock. With top to bottom visibility there was no need for a shot line so we simply rolled and after collecting ourselves descended into the kelp. Within minutes we were mobbed by at least four juvenile sharks in the 1.5m – 2m size range. They were super relaxed and cruised over around and behind us as they are want to do. After they disappeared we went for a fly though one of the kelp forests of the area. Always fun to dive through kelp forests. After a few minutes of cruising through the kelp forest we turned back towards pyramid rock and swam towards the cave at pyramid. As soon as we broke out onto the beautifully undulating seashell sand we were again mobbed by juvenile sharks with some great fly bys and fly over’s and some particularly close encounters. I as is want to happen as Anna was checking on her buddy a young male swam up to her so as she turned back its spotted flank was the only thing to fill her vision. It seemed like they would ever keep circling, but as we again got into the kelp they again melted away.

Aside from the sharks which were beautiful as always the highlight of my dive was three big variable nudibranchs, with the one pair matting. (I still want that pic Pierre.)

Of Note We observed one young male shark with big bite marks on it’s right flank and we also saw the shark with the hook in its mouth with a small piece of fishing trace attached.

The Dive By The Numbers

No Divers OMSAC Divers: 6
Guests/Students: 1
Dive Time: 62min
Average Dive Time: 56.5min
Acumulated Bottom Time: 113min
Viability: 10m
Temperature: 13°C
Max Depth: 12.3m

OMSAC recently participated in the Kalk Bay Harbour Clean-up

 

 

The Kalk Bay Harbour Clean Up had divers and non-divers join in from across Cape Town, all helping to remove the trash that gets into the harbour. With very low vis, a surprising amount of trash was recovered!

Please visit our Facebook to see more recent events and activities.

OMSAC Facebook Page

 

Here is some video footage of awesome people make a difference! 2 garbage bins, a shopping trolly and lots and lots of rubbish were removed from the harbour filling up the back of a big truck. These guys and girls did their part, now it’s your time to make this world a better place. (Video by RyanCoe Photography)

Below is an article about the big day:

Kalk Bay Harbour Clean-Up Success Story!

Sports Club Report for 2014

OMSAC continues to be the leading dive club in Cape Town and is growing on a monthly basis. We host weekly meetings on a Thursday evening in a room at Mupine Golf Club where we often braai and chat about all things diving. We also arrange weekly dives for all members at various spots around the Peninsula and even travel off to some exotic locations together.

Over the past 3 years we have done significant fundraising and in January this year, we finally reached our financial goal of R100 0000 and bought a new compressor for the clubhouse, replacing our 30 year old grandpa. It has meant cleaner air and faster filling and after some compressor operator training, we’re supplying the best air in Cape Town.

We again hosted the International Coastal Cleanup in Hout Bay in September 2014 which was supported by Pick ‘n Pay and Plastics SA, as well as other dive operators and shops. With over 80 divers again, we cleaned up underwater and pulled out a truck load of rubbish. We also donated to the NSRI who supported us in the harbour for the day. This event continues to be one of the highlights on our annual calendar. We also held our second Finathon at Long Beach in Simons Town. A shortened route was followed this year to cater for the less fit and then laps were completed by those able to do more.  Another R5000 was raised for Shark Spotters and Project Aware.  We also supported the Cape Town Dive Festival both with organisers and a food stall for the weekend.

Our training schedule has picked up with the addition of Discover Scuba Diving days. We have hosted these every 2 months in summer (on average) and this has led to more Open Water students and other speciality training.

We continue to interact with the other dive clubs of Cape Town in various activities, including the Interclub Potjiekos Competition which was held in Bellville this year. We won the floating trophy for the 1st time in many years and walked away with our heads held very high. We also attended the Cannon Run and Pool and Darts evening. There is some great camaraderie between club members. OMSAC were also invited to help clean the submarine SAS Assegaai, in the Simons Town Harbour and were treated to a tour beforehand.

We also held our first ever Diver’s Market for Christmas where we invited various dive shops and other suppliers over to the Clubhouse to get people interacting – it was great fun and something we plan to do again. Our Christmas party was held at the Two Oceans Aquarium where many divers had their 1st dive with the Raggies – always a delight! Another 1st was an excursion diving in Cape Point where some of the divers were lucky enough to dive with Southern Right Whales!

Froggy Pond a.k.a. Justin’s “Bay to the left of A-Frame”

Date/Time: 2014/06/22 12h00
Site: Froggy Pond a.k.a. Justin’s “Bay to the left of A-Frame”
Bottom Time: 45min
Dive Temp: 15 degrees
Visibility: Endless… (Okay 10-12m-ish)

Hi, my name is Martin and I’m a divaholic. It has been almost 2 months since my last dive… until yesterday!

Yes folks, many a dive happened over the weekend and for those who could not muscle up the courage to discard the warm embrace of their duvet, hot chocolate and mini series, let me be that person everyone dreads and tell you that you missed out on one of those rare perfect diving days in the kingdom of Capetonia.

Matter of fact, I almost missed out myself. Have you ever left a crucial piece of gear at home? A mask maybe? Or a spare o-ring? How about YOUR ENTIRE WETSUIT! I suppose my rush to hit the road early Sunday morning clouded my memory somewhat and while I deemed the car “packed”, both my own and Jolene’s wetsuits were still having a jol in the garage. This we obviously only discovered at 09h40 when everybody started kitting up at A-Frame, and there we were left with one of two choices: Abandon a potentially awesome day of diving altogether, or go to Pisces and rent some gear to join the second dive. We chose the latter, and a mere hour later we were back at Le Frame, ready to get salty!

After what seemed like an eternity, the first group of divers emerged from their earlier dive and even from a distance, it was obvious that conditions were great judging by their widened eyes, massive smiles and waving hands. This only reinforced our enthusiasm to get wet asap!

While some of the diver’s from the first group decided to do A-Frame again, Silver Fox Johnson opted to dive what, at that point, was only referred to as “the bay”. This turned out to be the beach to the left of A-Frame, which was super appealing in the blazing midday sun. White sand and calm turquoise water; like something from a honeymoon destination ad.

Some kitting and walking later, we finally hit the water, a very comfortable 15 degrees (okay, not so comfortable in rental suits, but you get the idea). If it wasn’t for the reg in my mouth, I would have most certainly instantly drowned from the massive gasp I took when we submerged. The viz was incredible, and even more rewarding since it’s been ages since I last experienced the absolute tranquil world that exists a mere inch under the water’s surface. Going from hot and uncomfortable to cooled down in silent weightlessness is like falling asleep at night, and having the absolute best dream ever.

By the time we reached the kelp/reef, we were welcomed (and followed) by large groups of Hottentot, some Red Romans and a few scattered Klipfish and Shysharks. About halfway through the dive a huge seal popped in to say hello, and we also came across several Octopi.

All too soon it was time to head back to shore, and we ended the day chowing down on some Dixies ribs and discussing what was one of those odd perfect winter diving days!

Martin Els

Video by Anna Aldridge

Diving the Lusitania / Mark’s Folly

This dive holds mythical, if not legendary status among Cape Town divers. It is the domain of the SS Lusitania who struck bellows rock  at midnight on 18 April 1911before sliding off the rock to the 40m reef below. It is a site talked about by those who have visited her with a note of reverence in their voice due to the proximity of unforgiving bellows rock that was her undoing. Part of her mystic is the fact that this site is driveable only a handful of times a year when conditions at bellow’s rock are forgiving enough for the safe deployment and retrieval of divers.

I was keyed up with excitement to have the opportunity to dive this site as well as a healthy dose of apprehension when we crossed a mill pond False bay to the point. Rounding the point we soon spotted the mighty bellows rock, as even on this, calmest of days she shot a plume of water 2m into the air.

We arrived on site and Carel and I were soon kitted up and ready to go, only waiting for our Tech friends so sling another redundancy or done a 25kg back plate. Then came the count, I took a calming breath and rolled. All Ok, yes all ok, as per our dive plan we dived I could see Carel was not messing around so I turned face down and began to swim. We descended through a layer of pea green into the best visibility I have seen in Cape Town 15 to 20m.

What a site lay before us to behold, the best way I can describe it is like gliding through a mountain range of huge boulders. Now a giant marble, now a gently sloping plateau, now a vertical cliff face fifty meters high. Two leviathans cruised below us their luminous yellow doubles a splash of colour against the grey reef. A feeling of serenity descended upon me as I realised that I was hovering suspended 2m off the legendry Bellow’s reef motionless bar for the current gently sweeping me along. My buddy with his spotlight highlighting points of interest and flooding the monochrome reef with colour. We ascended a couple of meters to maximise our bottom time and swam slowly towards the sun. All to soon it was time to leave this beautiful reef, although I admit to being cold, I would not sacrifice my time on this reef for such a trivial matter.

We ascended swimming toward the sun having deployed a DSMB from the comfort of our deep stop. We ascended back into the green and back into warm water for an uneventful safety stop at 5m. What of the white water from Bellow’s? We had swum far enough from the rock for this not to be a problem.

We concluded the day with a gentle cruise home and exploration of the cave systems under the peninsular. What a day out what a dive.

What of the wreck of the Lusitania I hear you ask? Well those few pieces that we saw did not amount to much of interest, hence the dive site amendment to Mark’s Folly. Did this affect my enjoyment of this dive? Well I will let you be the judge of that. I will however conclude with this simple statement Lusitania, Bellow’s Rock Marks Folly I will be back at the soonest opportune moment.

Stephen Bardwell

Night dive at Long Beach

I was fortunate enough to be in Simonstown for a work function, and managed to get a dive in while i was there. Mike and I met up at Long Beach just after 7 PM, and experienced a comedy of errors while kitting up. The one cylinder didn’t quite fit with my regulator, so we swapped cylinders. Then Mike couldn’t get his BCD strap to clamp down on the other cylinder, while i lost the O ring of my cylinder, but we were keen to dive so we pushed through.

The dive was absolutely worth the effort! We had 20 degree water, with 10 meters of visibility, and a bottom time of 57 minutes. We saw loads of baby fish, two octopi, a bright red cuttlefish and it looked like all the hermit crabs were looking for new homes. But the highlight of the evening was definitely the giant ray. With a wingspan of approximately 2m, and a height of maybe a half meter, it was phenomenal stumbling upon this giant. It was more awesome when we saw it move off, which is when we noticed the smaller one tagging along. Unfortunately it kicked up a storm of sand when it swam away, so we couldn’t follow (and hence the unclear pics), but it was an absolutely spectacular site!

Maggs Hoosain

Windmill Beach

The plan was to meet at Pisces at 09h00 Sunday and dive at A-Frame. At just past 09h00, a scouting party (3 new and 2 experienced divers) was send out to scout the conditions at A-frame. Their mission included that if the conditions was not suitable there, they had to scout for a suitable spot and report back to the divers waiting at Pisces.

A-Frame was found not suitable because of a strong surge. The other sites that was scouted included Shark Ally and Windmill Beach, and the conclusion was that Windmill Beach will be the dive spot. (Some of the scouts might have been glad not to dive at Shark Ally)

The famously brilliant cellphone reception in Simon’s Town helped us not to relay the message through to Pisces, and the scouting team decided they will make the dive at Windmill Beach by themselves.

Unfortunately a leak on a dive computer caused one of the group not to start the dive, so 4 of us entered at North Cove. Some of the life that was observed underwater included a big Pajama Shark, couple of Galjoen/Hottentot/Roman’s and a couple of Nudibranchs.

We had some unexpected training for the new divers caused by a free flowing regulator, but the dive was good fun and the surge made sure we worked for our fun.

Thanks Naomi, Wynand, Jade and Emile! It was good fun!

Jannie Scholtz

Clan Stuart

Anyone who took the time to open a curtain on Saturday would have seen that it was the most awesome, sunny, clear-sky, wind-free day of the summer so far. It was really just the epitome of summer excellence and the surf proved to be on par in dive quality…

We all met at Pisces from 09h00, and by “all” I mean all 5 of us (WHAAAAT?!). Despite the splendid weather we seemed to be suffering a slight participatory disorder on the day, by …nonetheless, it was bound to be a dive to remember!

We were ready to hit the water around 10h00, and with small waves making their debut we decided to go for the Clan Stuart, where the water was looking particularly inviting with a tropical turquoise water lapping against the white sand…

Surface temps were at 23 degrees and did not go down much from there, reaching a dive-low of no less than 19 degrees. About halfway through the dive, I wanted to take off my hoodie and gloves as the heat was actually a little uncomfortable at times. I would have happily done the dive just my shorty. That’s how warm it was.

The abundance of unhindered sunlight together with the shallow depth of the clan and lack of surge meant that the viz was also exceptional on this dive, being around 10m I estimate.

Special fauna for the dive was a HUGE Red Roman which was blind in one eye, meaning I could hide in his blind side and get a good look at him. But the absolute apex of the dive for me was the discovery of not one, but TWO double sash butterflyfish! These exhibit colours the likes of which are not often seen in the frigid capetonian waters and it was great to have a chance to really get a good look at them. Kudos to Jolene for spotting the little juvenile in what I can only describe as a tiny cave under some kelp.

I also spotted a big octopus, but this guy had no interest in coming into the open despite my continuous coaxing with shiny things.

All and all, we could not have asked for a better summer dive. It was one of those that you remember for months to come and often go “remember that perfect weather day..?”

Martin Els

SAS PMB

Today a couple of OMSACcians took to the water to see if the PMB is still as awesome as the rumors claim… Among others, our group consisted of Myself, Jolene, Naomi, Stephen, Irene, Stephen Sr., Wynand and fearless leader Justin “Silver Fox” Johnson leading the expedition aboard the H.M.S. Pisces.

We launched at around 11h30 with calm seas and cloudy, yet thankfully dry skies. A full 3.2 second boat ride and we were ready to drop anchor and get wet! Today was an auspicious day for me seeing as it was the long-overdue first dive with my recently upgraded video lights which I made from modern day sticks and dung: PVC and… well… elbow grease!…

So a quick roll and into the drink we went, passing a mild thermocline and descending on Justin’s accurately placed shot taking us to the middle of ye olde wreck at 20m. The first part of the descent sported some low viz, but once we went through the thermocline it cleared up to a very decent 10m+ at around 13 degrees, depending on behind who you’re swimming

A quick inspection confirmed that the new lights were holding up and I proceeded to do a few zig-zag passes over the deck and through the swimthoughs, followed closely by keen-photographer Potgieter. Over the period of the dive we managed to do multiple passes as well as a fairly complete parameter swim of the wreck which is looking gorgeous as always.

Alas, much as we would have loved to stay down there forever, after about 30 minutes, it was time to start heading up, stopping for a quick smoke at 5m before returning to the dreary, gravity-ridden world above sea level…

Total dive time was 36min, max depth 20.4m and avg temp 13deg.

Now. Let’s all return to work tomorrow. Joy.
Martin Els