Exotic species seen in Long Beach, Simons Town
On Sunday 3rd April, for the second dive of the day, divers and beachgoers alike at Long Beach were delighted by the presence of a Basque man (me! See I wasn’t lying about exotic species) diving in turquoise colour underwear! You might be asking yourself, why? Well it was to celebrate my 100th dive. I had been informed a while back by Carel that the tradition in SA is to do your landmark dives naked. I thought, naked no, but maybe just in my underwear, just playing it safe as I didn’t want to die under a stampede by all the excited ladies at the beach rushing towards me.
Once in the water, and safe from all the excited ladies, we went on a 63 min dive, (yep, you read right, 63 min in my underwear!!!) with a good visibility, warm(ish) at 19° C. The Dive Master (Rochelle) planned one of the nicest dives I have had in Long Beach, which consisted of following the pipeline and then guess our whereabouts as we went along, very well planned, until we finished inside Navy property. The dive was delightful, especially for those diving with me! But also for me as we got to see 3 or 4 large pyjama sharks all congregating at the same spot, pipe fish, what I believe to be a birdbeak burrfish, a species of nudibranch which I can’t find in the books as well as many other animals. As I said, overall the dive was magnificent, I reached the 100th dive landmark and it was followed by a nice meal at the pub next to Pisces.
Cow sharks and low viz.
On Monday 4th April, Marco (a friend I’m convincing to join the club) and I went for an afternoon dive at Pyramid Rock. The conditions weren’t great, the wind and swell were picking up, but we decided to give it a go as Marco was very eager to see a cow shark. Once in the water we found that water temperature was good at 19° C but the visibility was really poor (1.5 m or less). Even under these conditions we decided to go ahead. I must say, I found it a bit spooky as we could see the cow sharks wondering past us, but we couldn’t see them properly, but also because for some reason all the fish were swimming close to us and with us. If we turned, the fish would turn and swim in our direction. This has never happened to me before, so in my mind I started thinking, why are they swimming with us, are they hoping to be the first for the scraps after we are mauled by the sharks? 10 minutes into our dive we came across the largest cow shark I have seen, it was a few centimetres behind Marco, so when I pointed it out to him I think he got a bit of a shock. This cow shark also followed us for a bit, before turning around. After this we encountered many smaller than the first cow shark. After 25 mins I told Marco to turn around, we couldn’t see much and I was getting a bit nervous with all the fish swimming with us and possibly some other unseen animals…. The dive lasted a total of 45 min, and at the end of it I must say, it was a bloody good dive after all.