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

Peaceful A-Frame

Anand and I met on a peaceful Summer morning to dive A-Frame. The sea was flat as ever and a wonderful 21 degrees. I’ve dived through a trail of caves there before with Carel so our mission was to find as many as possible again. It was a colourful, stunning dive, one of those to remember for a long time. We saw a few octopus, pyjama sharks and nudi’s that I’ve never seen before – very pleasant!

Rochelle

 

International coastal clean-up 2013

False Bay Yacht Club was the venue for our annual International Coastal Cleanup. Once again we partnered with Plastics SA, who organised cleanup’s throughout the South African coastline.

False Bay Underwater Club, University of Cape Town Underwater Club and Old Mutual Sub Aqua Club joined forces to get as many divers as possible involved. About 80 divers pitched up for the event – less than previous years. Probably due to the fact that it was a long weekend and many club members went away.

At registration the 1st comers got goodie bags and even a hoody. The Expresso show on SABC 3 had a crew out and Graeme, one of the presenters, did his best to help remove debris on snorkel, as he is not qualified as a scuba diver. The SA navy divers also joined in and they picked up most of the prizes given out, making us wonder if they were stock piling rubbish for the annual cleanup.

Divers entered the water via the slipways and stairs and we provided the divers with mesh bags so that the rubbish could be easily transported underwater. This year, a regatta was on at the same time, so the divers were warned beforehand of boats moving about. Every one worked well together and we had no incidents.

SAN Parks, who had their boat in the water for safety, also provided the vehicle to remove the rubbish from the slipways. The counting and sorting the rubbish is often good fun to see what has been found underwater. the weirdest items were a fire extinguisher, scale, bikini bottoms, jeans, cell phones and big batteries just to name a few. Plastics were the biggest culprits and glass also featured high on the count list. While counting, we try save critters that are hiding away in the rubbish – mostly animals like slugs, snails, crabs and here and there a Goby.

The rubbish removed was a lot less than previous years, hopefully meaning that the annual cleanups are working and that people are being more responsible.

A brilliant morning at A-Frame

Yesterday Anand, Ander, Daryl, Mark, Jolene, Justin, Wendy and I met up at Pisces Divers for a morning dive. It was a brilliant morning for diving with just a bit of surface swell. We were surprised to see something like 15 or 20 other cars pull up with divers who had the same idea, so we kitted up, divided into smaller groups, and headed in. The water was an awesome 14 degrees with about 10m of visibility. It was an amazing dive, the water was clear, the fish were out and about and the surge underwater wasn’t bad at all. I was surprised to not see any nudibranchs on this dive, but with the drama of losing Jolene underwater (and later finding her), and Mark towing himself on another diver (who seemed to be completely unaware) this was still an absolutely brilliant 59 minute dive!!!

Maggs Hoosain

Night dive at Long Beach

Anand, Jordi, Mark, Stephan and I met up with about 12 False Bay Underwater Club divers to do a night dive at Long Beach on Monday night. The air temperature was a balmy 19 degrees and the water a refreshing 14.  We entered just after the sun went down and did a nice swim around. The vis was about 5m but there was lots of particles floating about with all the divers in the water. Mark led us around with an entire disco light system flashing on his back – which was brilliant for the night dive. There was unfortunately not all that much to see, so we called it at 33 minutes. It was cool to watch the little sea creatures try to crawl back into the darkness when you shine your light on them.

Maggs

Finathon 2013

Greetings fellow people of genus OMSACciana Capetonia!

Despite the few drops of rain we had an awesome time at the Finathon yesterday! I would like to thank everyone involved and who made this day such a memorable event and overall success, not just the people who participated, but those who manned the shore and kept the boerie rolls going as well! They were a welcome refreshment after a high-paced swim. I do however think that our underwater efforts paled against that of Rochelle Harwin, who according to my knowledge, completed the entire surface swim in a time shorter that all our scuba efforts combined. Well done Rochelle!

I would also like to personally congratulate Jolene Potgieter for doing her first TRULY successful boat dive, start to finish, without any equalization or other complications whatsoever, as well as for showing exceptional navigation skills and air economy on what I believe to be one of her deepest and potentially coldest dives to date. She maintained our 210 degree heading without fail, at a site she has never dived before.

Usually I would be able to share the entire dive report with you, but as this was a relay, I can only give you some insight into our little 25 minute experience under water…

We descended to 14 m in just a minute and began our fast-paced cruise at a heading of 210 degrees. Temperatures were a constant 14 degrees with a drop to 13 at about 16 minutes into the dive. Now, I said this in Dixies and it confused some people, but I’ll say it again and hope that it will make more sense in writing: There wasn’t much to see, but everything we saw, was things we’ve never seen before… The stretch we did consisted of just a barren sandy bottom as far as you could see (and the viz was pretty good since we could the the bottom from the boat). The fauna we DID come across however were mainly filter feeders like long, white tube worms which I am yet to identify, some anemone and two HUGE Rooth Mouthed jellies. Apart from that we saw two liquor bottles, a spent high-caliber round casing, and sand… I went from 200 bar to 60 bar in 23 minutes, with an average consumption of 30l/min. We.Were. Swimming. After 24 minutes we got back on the boat, and then jumped back in closer to Long Beach to do the last few meters and exit on the beach. This 7-minute swim was joined by a single Cape Fur Seal, which was feeling particularly gutsy as he made a point of showing off his teeth every few meters, in a fashion similar to Justin Johnson‘s surprise-upside-down-mask-scare! Returning the custom also did not seem to deter him. Just as I started contemplating punching him in the nose on the next pass, we reached the beach and all was well with the welcome sign of friendly faces on the beach, and the smell of boerie rolls in the air…

Once again, thank you to everyone involved, from the organizers, skippers, participants, and suppliers. Your efforts were noticed and appreciated in this worthy cause against the senseless finning of our toothed friends.

Martin Els

A-frame

I had a great dive with OMSAC members on Saturday.  Conditions seemed good for diving but Inner Castle and Pyramid looked a bit surgy so we opted for A-Frame. Justin lead the dive and Pieter and I buddied up at the back end.  We saw a pajama shark, juvenile shy sharks, plenty fish and a good variety of nudis (gas flame, blue, crowned). There were a few surgy spots but my dive buddy steadied me to get a better pic.  All in all it was a very enjoyable dive. Afterwards Justin and some of the others opted for another dive elsewhere.

I know we’re in Cape Town and we’re Capetonians but certain scuba divers take laid-back to a new dimension!! Some of us were seriously worried whether we were actually going to dive on Saturday or rather Sunday at the speed some divers were kitting up! LOL

Zelda van Wyk

Princess Elizabeth and Batsata Maze

False Bay offered the most incredible dives this weekend! 15m viz came standard with flat sea’s and sunshine – the perfect Winter dives!

Angie joined me for the dives on the Pisces boat and our first stop was the Princess Elizabeth, a fishing trawler scuttled in Smitswinkel Bay. It sits at 36m at its deepest so can be quite an adventure but with such great viz, was a real treat. We saw plenty of ginormous fish but my favourite was showing my 2 dive buddies their first ever Horse Fish. Plenty of Frilly Nudibranch’s acted like flowers blooming all over the almost solid wreck.

Our second launch was to Batsata Maze and while kitting up on the boat, we could see the sea floor below us – unbelievable! We were treated to a true Nemo moment when a huge school of fish followed us over the reef and pointed the direction to follow.

Words: Rochelle Harwin

Photos: Helmut Berderow

Port Elizabeth Dive Festival 2013

Hi all OMSAC’ers

I and some mates decided to go visit our PE dive buddies for the PE dive fest.

Saturday the diving was unfortunately cancelled due to some rain and heavy wind, causing big swells. Rochelle and Roland decided to have some fun on their own and headed into town. Me and my mates eventually once up, decided to go visit the aquarium and our aqua friends. Unfortunately it was closed due to construction happening, so we went to the museum that was right next door.

We had some fun exploring all the interesting stuff in the museum including a nice canon expo and wreck display with lots of old artifacts brought up also on show. We also managed to play a bit with a 3 year old constrictor snake at the snake sanctuary interaction display.
After making it out of the maze of a museum we ended up at the Boardwalk Casino, and visited the Magic Company to play some games and have some fun. By this time we were a bit dry mouthed and had to visit the Bar also and eventually ended up at the Noordhoek Ski boat clubhouse having some drinks with the locals, even some pink ones.
Well on Sunday we managed to get in some diving as the weather cleared and it ended up a lovely day in PE. The viz started out at around 3m I believe and by the time I went for my first dive it was 5-6m, with a nice blue color. The temp on all 3 dives I did was about 16C.
On all my dives, deep and shallow, I saw mostly the same sea life which included lots of fish swimming around include some nice colorful ones like butterfly fish, some nice big red fans with basket stars attached, and the rest mostly the same as in Cape Town like nudibranch’s, anemones and lots more colorful reef creatures and plants. I also saw the biggest pajama shark i have ever seen, just short of 1.4m I would guess.
The dives for Saturday was moved to Monday(Public Holiday), but unfortunately we already had plans for the Monday and a long drive back to Cape Town. We heard some rumors that the viz then was 15m, but maybe it is just the locals playing on our feelings 🙂
The 3 sites I dives was Bermuda, Pinnacles and Swim Thru on the Wildside side of PE.
Thanks Heather, Brendon, Rochelle and Roland for a very nice weekend away.
Evert Meyer