Dive Inn first quarter update 2017
Wow, these days the time flies. My idea was to blog every month about something and now I note the first quarter of the year is already gone. Thus the heading for this blog is Dive Inn first quarter update 2017 and almost a follow up on Dive Inn Cape Town 2016 blog of January.
My sightseeing tours are still doing very well with me doing about 8-12 tours a month and the rest followed by Scuba diving. Scuba diving, PADI training, Dan First aid training or nudibranch hunting. So far this year my computer states 58 dives and 60.2 hours underwater.
98 percent of all the tours and dives are still private with 1-4 people per day. I normally do not mix booked guests unless the weather force my hand and then also only with confirmation with my current guests.
In February we had a great Scuba dive trip to Aliwal Shoal and stayed and dive with Aliwal shoal scuba. For 2 days we drove down the coast to Protea banks and dived with Aqua Planet. Protea banks were the first time we dived there and it was really great. We did do a baited dive, followed by a deep reef dive. In future I would mostly do a baited dive on Aliwal rather than protea BUT we did see Zambesi (bull) sharks here. Unfortunately the Tiger sharks did not come by. The water was much clearer and the current very strong. On the 2nd dive we spotted a school of
Hammerheads and were an awesome sight to see. Day 2 we did only one dive in great viz and drifted 4.8 km on the 50 minute dive. Thus stay with the dive master as if you do not do it you will be lost in a flash. ALSO the clear warm water can let you dive too deep so easily so keep a look out on your computer and air usage.
Aliwal we had good viz as well with our one and first dive to the Nebo wreck low viz. The low viz was on the wreck itself, midwater was a nice blue but our Cape Town guys were still able to enjoy the low viz dive. Think the DM’ts on this dive was a bit worried. The rest of the 9 other dives were good, nice colours and I was still able to find some Nudibranchs. This time we had no ragged tooth sharks compared to our trip 2 years back where raggies were almost in my Nudibranch pics.
The next trip to warmer waters will be in September/October to Mozambique you can book by sending a mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week we had a big group from Ukraine and Dive Inn went in partnership with Kimo and Tammy from Redsea Jol for the Cape Town stretch of the tour and dives. They just came from Sodwana and Aliwal. It was a tough schedule but a great one to see our wonderful city. We had Great white shark cage diving with Marine dynamics, followed by a drive to Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa.
Next day was seals and sharks with Shark explorers and penguin viewing. Day 3 was a Cape Peninsula tour with 3 doing an extra seal dive. I chartered Tony form Learn to dive. Day 4 Winelands tour with 10 again doing Blue and Mako shark diving. Day 5 ended most of the touring with a Cape Town city tour. The weather did not play along thus the guys went up the mountain on their off day the Saturday. Organising, touring and diving with such a big group were a first for me but a great experience.
Most of my other tours the last 3 months were in, around, above or under Cape Town. The furthest we ventured was to the game lodges at Sanbona between Montague and Barrydale. We were fortunate enough to have spotted lots of different animals above and below water. Underwater we were even lucky to see rare Nudibranchs and have been
spotting a new well camouflaged and very small Nudibranch. At this point we do not know the name of the species.
The beginning of the month the Submerge Diving Magazine published some of my photos in their “Viewfinder” section. Go get your copy or even better subscribe. I am very satisfied with the outcome of the published photos.
Dive Inn first quarter update 2017
This in short was Dive Inn first quarter update 2017. I hope to get a more interesting blog out in May with more Photos of the rarer Nudibranchs species or even new ones we have been spotting in Cape Town.
Happy Diving, Traveling and Touring
Jacis lodges in Madikwe game reserve is situated next to the Botswana border in the Northwest province of South Africa.
From Johannesburg/Pretoria it is about a 3-4 hour drive. Madikwe also got a runway so you can fly in as well which makes the experience even better. Once there you park and forget about your vehicle. Once there you get spoiled by the guides/drivers and staff at Jaci’s lodges .
Jacis Lodges are divided in 2 lodges at Madikwe game reserve. The Safari lodge is child friendly with their own restaurant and stunning private accommodation. Children have a games room available to them to keep them busy when not looking for animals. Some of the chalets got some nice splash pools to cool you down and bigger pools are strategically positioned between the rooms.
On the river path you can even find outdoor gym equipment for those who need to get rid of the stunning food from Jaci’s lodges.
The tree lodges at Jacis lodges are built on stilts in between the trees and also very very private. These lodges got a child age restriction just to ensure that all can enjoy nature. The tree lodges are all link with “wooden bridge pathways” and ending up at the tree lodge restaurant.
The food was top notch, at both lodges as both have their own staff and chefs and do slightly different menus. So a good excuse to go back and experience both lodge set ups at Jacis’s lodges.
At Jacis Lodges it is quite safe to walk between all the lodges and the terrapin hide. All is enclosed and fenced in with some buck moving around in the bushes and loads of birds all around. I have heard stories that they do have every now and then an Elephant that decide the fencing is not a good idea. Probably the Elephant thinks the grass is greener on the other side and then break through the fence. Then the lodge staff struggles to get the guy back to the bush and the pricey fix of the fence again. (more…)
Cape Town Nudibranch hunting
Cape Town Nudibranch hunting is our speciality and at Dive Inn Cape Town we really love the little critters.
In Cape Town Nudibranch hunting from shore is possible and you have a good chance to spot alot. Nudibranchs do move around and are seasonal. Or this is what I noticed so you are not always guaranteed to spot them. With some they are so well camouflaged and or small so very difficult to spot. And just to make it slightly more difficult our wonderful Cape Town waters can have low viz with a bit of swell and surge. This can make nudibranch hunting and photography quite challenging. And Macro Photography is what nudibranchs are about. The Frilly Nudibranch is the only one I have not spotted from shore yet. Most of the photos in this blog are of all the Nudibranchs I have see in Cape Town.
Last year I did do a blog about Nudibranchs but decided to it again this year but this time mention all the Cape Town Nudibranch hunting from shore I have spotted the last 6 months only. This will mostly be from the False Bay coastline but do have some pics from Atlantic side. (Please note False Bay is still Atlantic Ocean but slightly warmer. The oceans meet at Cape Agulhas which is about a 3 hour drive from Cape Town)
The most dived shore dive site probably is our training beach – Long beach Simon’s town. The next beach from here towards Cape Point is Sea forth beach, Windmill, A-frame, Pyramid rock and Castle rocks. There are other beaches or dive sites that can be dived on this stretch. They can be slightly more work or can even be very boring. Before Simons town there is the Clan Stuart wreck, Whale Lookout and Sunny cove. On the Clan Stuart wreck I found the least species but did found my first Indian Nudibranch there. (more…)
Sodwana Bay on the East coast of South Africa is really a great diving spot. The reefs are mostly full of life and loads of corals are seen on most of the reefs.
With the stunning corals the fish also show off with schools of snappers, Potato bass checking you up from close, rays and even some shark species.
Our Last Dive Inn Cape Town trip to Sodwana in April 2016 we were even lucky to snorkel with a whale shark and dive with a Manta on stringer reef for over 30 minutes. The Manta we also spotted on the surface once and had another quick observation of it on the chains reef. Dolphins were also kind enough to let us see them on snorkel quickly.
Over our stay we did 2 dives each day with 1 one dive on the last day totalling 13 dives for the trip.
Sodwana Bay reef names run according how far away from Jesser point they are. Thus 2mile is the most dived reef just of the launch site. 2 Mile have sites for all type of divers but the deeper sites do offer more Macro life like Sea Horses and loads of nudibranchs. Roonies is the reef for that but nitrox is a good option on this dive. The other reefs down the coast which is dived is then called 5mile 7 mile and 9 mile. Most of them got more dive sites on the reef itself like 9 mile got coral tree, 5mile Teddy bears picnic etc. Coral bleaching unfortunately can also be observed but for the untrained eye the reefs still looks great. You can view more pics on Dive Inn Cape towns Facebook page as well.
The trip crew
The week was perfect, we had good weather, calmish seas making it easier to launch through the surf and of course warm 26 degree water. The warm water for our Cape Tonians a delight and then the clean blue water a bonus on top of that.
Reefteach hosted us in their lodge and took us out on the dives. The Dm’s and beach staff is good and the breakfast on the beach always great for a hungry diver. The bee’s also enjoyed our breakfast most of the days. Every night we went for dinner at a different institution and the consensus was the Elephant water hole was the best. The Light house had a good score and Maak n Jol almost got top scores.
Sodwana bay falls under the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and big plans are there to upgrade parking etc. to the area. Hope the small town will also get a boost. From Durban airport it is a 3.5 – 4 hour drive and if you not staying in the park itself like with Coral divers you would need your own transport to get to and from the beach.
In short Sodwana bay according to me can offer the same as most tropical destinations in the world and much more cost effective compared to the oversea destinations. Sodwana Bay rocks.
Join us on our next adventure to Aliwal Shoal and Protea banks in November 2016.
Cape Point Cape Peninsula Tour
The Cape Point Cape Peninsula Tour is one of the tours we do a lot in Cape Town. And to top it all, it is one of the most scenic drives around the Cape peninsula.
This is a full day tour normally and a couple of routes can be taken out of the city to the point. Route most taken especially by the bigger coaches is via Camps bay to Houtbay and then over Chapmans peak drive heading to Cape Point. The main reason being that Chapmans peak drive only allow the big coaches to go south so they cannot do the reverse route at all. For Dive Inn it is a total different story as we do private tours mostly and do not often work with big groups. Thus this makes us very flexible to pop in and out in and visit different spots on the Cape Point and Peninsula tour.
Another favourite spot to stop at is the penguin colony at Boulders and sea forth beaches. African Jackass penguins can be spotted on shore where they breed as well. If we do the Hermanus shark cage diving or our whale watching tours we stop at another shore based breeding colony in Betties bay. Lot of our guests are really surprised to see the wild penguins in Africa and so to say in a big city and not in a zoo or aquarium. Summer times and time permitted you can take a quick dip in False Bay’s water on boulders beach and hope to spot a penguin flying past you in the water.
Another birdy place we can stop on our Cape Point Cape Peninsula Tour is at the Cape Point Ostrich farm to feed some Ostriches and even get some great ostrich
products at the retail section they have.
Once we reached the Cape Point reserve we head of to Cape of Good Hope, the most south western point of Africa. Depending on the time we perhaps can even go up to the point light house first. After viewing the stunning cliff views we can have lunch at the 2 oceans restaurant overlooking False Bay and enjoy stunning food.
To get to the old light house there is the option to pay for the funicular up or take the 15-20 minute hike up the path to the top of point. Once there you have stunning views of Diaz Beach, Atlantic Ocean and False Bay. On clear days you can see the mountains on the other side of the bay and even going as far as danger
point which is quite far away. Bellows rock on the right on rough ocean days can be spectacular with lots of white water around it and below in the depths the wreck of the Lusitania lies. Because of her the point got another light house on the lower edges of the cliffs. The Old light house can be in the clouds or mist as it was built to high up which caused that its light could not always be seen out at sea.