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my life flashed before my eyes, and I wanted my money back...

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South African in Canada
Oct 21, 2002
The icy Atlantic beckoned... the surface was as undisturbed as a puppy's piddle and the dark patches of kelp under the glistening surface promised to harbour tasty denizens of the deep...

Cape Town's reputation as a Great White capital was almost exclusively reserved for the False Bay (Indian Ocean) coastline, although the odd attack had occured on this side of the peninsula. The most ironic of which occured just down the road from Oudekraal at Clifton sometime in the late '70's, when a surfer re-enacting an attack scene from "Jaws" for a laugh was munched by a Whitey... he escaped with a number of stiches and no doubt traded in his surfboard for a chessboard (or perhaps an acting career?).

Thus, the thought of perhaps making acquaintance with a Whitey that day was almost the last thing on my mind...
I slipped into the green swells, muttering curses about the less-than-perfect viz. I hadn't been in the water for more than 2 weeks, and I wasn't going to forsake my "fix" now merely due to poor viz...

I worked my way over to what I call "the cauldron", a depression about 12 meters deep flanked by granite boulders roughly 100 metres offshore. There were always a few nice size "hotties" (Hottentots Vis) lurking about, and, in spite of the poor viz, I could navigate this part of the site blindfolded (I had done my first openwater dive here 12 years ago and had visited it many times since).
I was soon rewarded with a big fat hottie on my stringer - the best I'd taken yet, I mused with a smug grin. My routine dictated that I investigate an underwater ledge next, lying about 50 metres away in deeper water, the top of the ledge coming to within 4 metres of the surface. Once again, I surfaced with a wriggling specimen of about 30cms. Thoroughly chuffed, I reckoned I had enough for my mates and I to enjoy on the 'braai" (barbecue) that evening, so I started making my way shoreward.

It's always an eerie experience swimming over fairly deep water alone in poor viz. Particularly after a strenuous bit of diving in cold water - I find my mind starts wandering when I'm cold and tired, and in that kind of claustrophobic viz, it's only a matter of time until one starts hearing cellos strumming ominously in the background. True as Bob, I'd been finning for just a few moments when I felt what every spearo finds both thoroughly scary and irritating - a telltale tug on my line...

"Whump!" With the first tug I found myself trying to rationalise the sensation - probably caught in a head of kelp, I immediately thought. But the line wasn't consistently taught... nah. Nothing then... "Whump!" This is where one's throat suddenly constricts in a reflex swallow, you're stricken by a sudden chill and the hair on the back of your neck stands on end. Without slackening my pace, I risk a quivering glance over my shoulder... had I seen a large fin or gaping maw of razor sharp pearlies lunging at my bouy, I would probably have resigned myself to survival mode instinctively and disproved the axiom that water cannot be walked upon. What I saw was worse - just an upwelling of water at the end of my line - no doubt where a mammoth tail fluke had thrust downward in preparation of a megaladon about to launch an attack from below... suddenly, I was certain that this was how the many poor, defenceless fish I had so brutally nailed might have felt in their last moments. I even felt sorry for them in the tiny recess of my mind that wasn't occupied with the small bothersome matter of my impending consumption. "Damn!" I thought - "who the hell does this fish think it is? I am a relatively intelligent, rather dashing fellow and here I'm about to become the equivalent of a neoprene clad pizza-pop to something who doesn't even have the sense to realise that I'm supposed to be top of the food chain! Aargh! What an ignoble end - a goldfish food flake...

I suspected that if the monster behind me was of the proportions I imagined, its appetite would hardly be satiated by my relatively measly catch, and it would no doubt be moving on to my posterior for the entree. I finned hard, attempting to look as little like a seal as I could. Pointing my gun below me at the uncertain depths, I waited tensed for the oncoming rush of jaws and horrible teeth from the threatening gloom ... I was a mere 20 metres from a pinnacle upon which I scramble... pleasepleaseplease...

And then it happened - directly adjacent to me, a large black shape erupted from the depths in a spray of water. I'm certain that some people, when faced with the imminent threat of their demise, have profound thoughts, spiritual experiences or even the steroetypical "life flashing before their eyes..." episode. Mine was a simple word: "eeek".

About a nanosecond later, a thought penetrated my fear-stricken consciousness... "what lovely, big brown eyes...". The large seal that had nicked my bag seemed to regard me with mild contempt, snorted once disdainfully at me, and then slipped into the murky depths.

Still shaking, and clinging to the contours of every rock on the way back to blessed land, I wasn't yet at the stage where I could put this down to being a gem of a campfire anecdote.
In fact, I was rather regretting the fact that I hadn't directed a particularly nasty execration at that seal whilst I'd had the chance...
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Yikes!! I like a good terror story dude:waterwork
That brightened my day, thanks,
Erik Y.
Anytime mate... by the by, you wouldn't happen to know how to get pee stains out of a wetsuit, would you? ..:eek:
Great story!
I always have that feeling when swimming in the 'Noordzee' in the Netherlands. 10 cm visibility and you just know there is a monster down there waiting for a snack.
Originally posted by charcaradon
[B, you wouldn't happen to know how to get pee stains out of a wetsuit, would you? ..:eek: [/B]
Haha...I only know how to install the stains ;)
Erik Y.
Great story man!..I had to read it..because I am supposed to study....arghh..thanks
Nice one Boet ...:cool:
Those @#$% seals have taken a couple of years growth off me .
I think I experienced chapter 2 of your story once in that area ; bumped into the body of a seal with it's entire chest area missing from one BIG bite ...:head
Suddenly realized that I had left the lights on in my room so had to go back home .
Ja... character building stuff bru!:hmm Did lots of diving in the False Bay area, but there of course you half expect to come face to face with a Whitey...

You know what I always found surprising? I've done a number of dives (scuba) off Seal Island off the Sentinel in Hout Bay, as well as of the wreck of the Maori, Bos (my all time fav!)and the Astor and haven't ever even heard of a Whitey being spotted there...

Matter of time?

By the way - you hear the Submarine is back in False Bay? Couple of weeks back a 6 metre Whitey took out the aft section of a kayak just off Glencairn... a mate of mine in the Navy reckons they've had to rescue 3 people in the water being harrassed by this glorified goldfish... looks like trouble waiting to happen... :crutch
Hell ,there will always be a "submarine" there .
Danger point and Rooiels is where I learnt spearing , bumped into a size ten johnnie at Hermanus once ...
Sure miss the Cape :waterwork
Damn, I found myself chewing my finger nails towards the end... Wasnt too sure how you could be typing it without arms, but..:eek:

Good story!:)
Hell Abri - learning to spearfish at Danger Point makes you an undisputed hero in my book... :king

The old guard like Tommy Botha and Attie Louw still favour Gansbaai as their spot of choice I believe (for those of you who don't know, Gansbaai is the centre of the famous SA Great White cage diving industry...) ... wow!

Once pulled out some perlie off Danger Point (near the I&J kelp beds) in really poor viz, but you know, with the sunlight filtering down through the murk and a gentle mist kissing the shore, it was one of the most relaxing dives I'd ever had! Never heard a cello once... :D
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Diving in KAK viz

Originally posted by charcaradon
in the tiny recess of my mind that wasn't occupied with the small bothersome matter of my impending consumption.

It reminds me of my last dive. Tuesday, Late Afternoon, Brighton beach, The Bluff, Durban. The viz was not quite enough to see the end of your speartip, but it looked cleaner further out. My dive buddy and I kicked out for about 10 mins. We got to an area where the viz went from 1m to a patchy 2-3m about 200m offshore, and a lot of big jellyfish. We were considering getting out so I thought that I would have one dive to check things out on the bottom. I tucked and started to decend though the murk. As i slowly kicked down. I reached what i thought was the bottom, but instead of my gun sticking into sand it went straight though. It was weird stuff. thick and yellow, sort of like orange juice. i penetrated this layer and found myself in a very very strange place. the layer below this orange juice was cleaner, 3-4m and it was only 1.5-2m off the bottem. i lay there in under this turbulent ceiling. Ahead of me i saw a school of baitfish. moving closer i recognised them. a very large school of red-eye sardines. at that time i was not sure whether or not this was a good thing when something els swam into view. A long thin fish with a flat head, a remora. there was no sign of his ride but i was not too keen to find it. this helped me to make up my mind and headed for the top. After a quick chat, my buddy and i decied that it was a good time to go in, what with the jellyfish and all.
I spent the next 5 mins watching my fins as i kicked for the shore. not that it would have helped- i could only just see the tips of them anyway.
to top off the dive, we got back to the car to find it had been broken into and my buddy's wallet stolen. :(
in the future i wont even bother getting in the water. my optimism is slowly getting squashed by expericence.

Re: Diving in KAK viz

"to top off the dive, we got back to the car to find it had been broken into and my buddy's wallet stolen. :( "

Nooit bru - I reckon that's the real dangerous wildlife in SA - the bloody crooks... I rate SA divers should get a "hardcore" speciality badge... for not only surviving the sharks in the water, but those on land as well...


So how's life in Durbs these days? I was in Umhlanga (stayed in the 'sands) over December - did some amazing spearing off lighthouse reef. Shot some larney blacktail and a sweet grunter... just gave them to the chef at the 'Sands spur and it gets delivered to your room all cooked! Luxury bru!

There were all those incidents with that bullshark in the harbour (nailed that fisherman lightie, munched that corpse...), been anything else happening with regards that?

Cheers boet!

Happy diving, good bags! :D
  • Like
Reactions: Griff
And i thought that the bluff was safe too.
you should see this guy brian's bakkie (or pickup for the uninformed) leaves it unlocked so that they dont break the window, but the door lock is missing on the passenger side anyway. as anti-theft he has a thick steel plate in his drivers footwell, and when he is parked, the plate flips up and covers the pedals so that its impossible to drive.

its the fist time my car has been ripped off whilst diving though.

i have tried lighthouse about five times now, but only had it good once. that was the first time we dived it, with brian and riaan (SASpearo). we had good viz, and the snook were running. brian bagged a four kilo grunter. lots of small blacktips though. it was only when we were out of the water that brian told us that lighthouse has the most spearo/great white encounters on the natal coast!

i havent heard much about shark activity. the last attack off natal was that british photographer who got snompsed during the run.
about the lighty who was bitten in the harbour. he was standing waist deep in the channel, with his fish tied to his belt, at 2 am or something like that. i wont say he deserved it, but he should have known better.

Well now , I guess anyone who hops into the water during the sardine run ought to know the odds are stacked a little higher against you than usual ...:hmm
Standing in the shallows in a harbour at night with fish tied to you , I'm stumped ; can't think of anything else he could do wrong .
Why won't people just ask around and get some info from those more experienced ? Stories like that make me realize what a valuable tool this forum is and the responsibility we all have to help those fortunate enough to have found it .:king
Great story, had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Although at first I thought Sven might of been involved in the writting;)
I was soon rewarded with a big fat hottie on my stringer - the best I'd taken yet, I mused with a smug grin.
Again great story and glad to see you lived to tell the tale.
great story! thanks for sharing. haven't spent much time over hear(story section) but am now aware we have some competent writers. :D

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