Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Killer shark identified as Zambezi after examination of lifeguard‘s bodyA ZAMBEZI shark was responsible for attacking and killing a Port St Johns lifeguard at the weekend, Natal Sharks Board head researcher Geremy Cliff said yesterday.He said warm waters along the Eastern Cape coast in summer attracted the sharks.Seasoned lifeguard Sikhanyiso Bangilizwe, 27, was attacked by the shark on Saturday afternoon while swimming with a friend at Second Beach.He was bitten on the shoulder, right arm, back and buttocks.Cliff said an examination of Bangilizwe‘s body had established that a Zambezi (bull) shark had attacked him.
Dear all,I write to give you the details of our research expedition to the Breede River during the week January 19-25.The purpose of the expedition was to determine whether reports of Zambezi (bull) sharks in the Breede River could be confirmed. Scientifically, confirmed reports would be extremely relevant on a global scale as this would represent the most south-westerly distribution of bull sharks in Africa.Joining us on the expedition was Dr. Steve Lamberth and his team from MCM, Hennie Papenfuss from Big Fish Safari and a team of four from SASC. We fished for 3 days with no luck & were rewarded on the 4th day when Hennie caught a bull shark on his line. After an hour and a half struggle with the fish (during which it towed him 2.5km further upstream), Hennie managed to tire her enough to bring her close to shore for landing. Our team then brought her carefully to the shore, where we were able to collect all the required data.We measured her, tagged her with two acoustic continuous tags and one spaghetti tag, and gathered genetic samples in order to determine whether bull sharks in the Breede River represent a distinct population from those found elsewhere in South Africa.She is a world-record breaking shark measuring 4 metres total length, weighing in the vicinity of 550-600kg. This is the largest bull shark known to science - the previous maximum size was thought to be 3.5 metres TL. We also suspect she was heavily pregnant and may very well be using the Breede as a pupping ground. Scientifically speaking, this discovery is huge and groundbreaking.Following the tagging, we proceeded to track her for 43 continuous hours. She spent the majority of the time in the estuary, with only a few hours in the surf zone just outside the river mouth.
Monday, January 26, 2009
South Africa's newest dive attractions - two artificial reefs - have been established near Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This places South Africa's first World Heritage Site in the company of Australia's Woongarra Marine National Park which boasts the Cochrane Artificial Reef.
Says Andrew Zaloumis Park CEO, "The iSimangaliso Authority seized the opportunity to turn what was a disaster into a tourism and marine research possibility for South Africa's first World Heritage Site.The two rugby-field-size dumb barges, named DAR1 and DAR2, scuttled late last year just south of Cape Vidal are already attracting plentiful marine life in their new role as artificial reefs."
Shoals of fish have homed in on the DAR 2
The barges were wrecked on the beach 7km north of Cape Vidal - one of the most popular holiday hotspots in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - on October 21 after their tow lines snapped.
The Park was facing a disaster. The barges were marooned on a rocky beach in the Tewate wilderness, not accessible by road, and within the Marine Protected Area (MPA). Apart from environmental damage, like risk to turtle nesting sites and possible damage to King Oscar Reef, they threatened the Park's rarest World Heritage values, it's 'sense of place'.
DAR 1 and DAR 2 ran aground north of Cape Vidal after their tow chain snapped in heavy seas
The beached barges were declared 'constructive total losses' by the owners. The owner's insurance cover was only sufficient to cover salvage costs if their removal by refloating and towing was completed quickly and efficiently. The available insurance would certainly not have covered an expensive and environmentally damaging wreck removal should they have broken up on the beach from the buffeting tides and wave action.
The Abu Dhabi-based owners and their Canadian agents showed signs of abrogating their responsibilities as it became imperative and urgent to remove the barges out of the MPA. First there was consultation with Ezemvelo, iSimangaliso’s conservation managers, and other parties.
The owner's agents then confirmed appointment of a salvage team with SAMSA, the SA Maritime Safety Authority.
Independent environmental assessments were undertaken resulting in a technical report involving 13 specialists. These included an assessment of requirements for scuttling vessels and best practice review for establishment of artificial reefs according to the recent July 2008 London Convention and Protocol/UNEP guidelines to which SA is a signatory.
SAMSA then directed a salvage company to remove DAR 1 and DAR 2 and scuttle them at approved sites under the Wrecks and Salvage Act. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) authorised removal and scuttling of DAR 2 at the approved site on November 5 and for DAR 1 on November 21.
DAR 2 disappears beneath the ocean
The bathometric sea floor survey identified a site about 2kms south of Cape Vidal and less than 2kms out to sea. This is outside the MPA, in an area zoned for open use. There are no natural reefs within 500m.
Before scuttling the barges, strict environmental conditions and pollution prevention measures were set. Pollutants were removed and objects like hatch doors were taken out to minimise flotsam.
Everything was done with written approval from DEAT, SAMSA and the iSimangaliso Authority, applying national legislation including the World Heritage Convention Act - and international conventions. Monitoring and strict control of this artificial reef site will be done from Cape Vidal.
DAR 1, which is 15m high, lies at 24m, ideal for first-level divers, while DAR 2 is at 36m. The Park's 220km coastline has hard coral reefs from Kosi Bay to Leven Point, 16kms north of Cape Vidal. In the south are rocky shores and flat rocky reefs. As diving is one of the fastest growing sports, a need has arisen for alternative sites to Sodwana Bay and other sensitive dive areas in the northern section of the MPA.
The newest dive attraction in iSimangaliso
The potential disaster of the barges has been turned into a unique opportunity, not only for dive tourism but for environmental, educational and research benefits. "
Cape Vidal is the Park's flagship tourism destination but until now has had no dive opportunities, with seasonal dips in visitors. There have been repeated requests from tourism product owners and visitors for a dive experience accessible from there. Except for good all-year visibility and ease of access, these reefs will be similar to those created by the Produce and Nebo wrecks near Aliwal Shoal off Umkomaas, and the T-barge sunk by ORI (Oceanographic Research Institute) off Umhlanga.
As the wrecks fall within iSimangaliso, legal mechanisms including a Park Area Notice are in place to ensure compliance. Fishing or spear-fishing are not allowed on or in the vicinity of the wrecks. The reefs are within sight of a controlled launch site and full-time Park compliance staff. A research and monitoring programme has also been tendered.
Head of research at the Natal Sharks Board, Geremy Cliff said the new reefs should have a beneficial role in reducing diver pressure on the Sodwana reefs: "But artificial reefs are known to be fish-attracting devices so they will need to be very closely monitored to ensure anglers and spear fishermen don't target them".
Kerry Sink, manager of the marine programme for the SA National Biodiversity Institute, shares this concern, "however if these relieve pressure on the natural reefs at Sodwana and diversify the dive experience at Vidal, then they have a role", she said.Advanced diver and underwater photographer Dennis King was one of the first to dive DAR 2: "After just three weeks the whole deck is covered with algae and I counted at least 17 species of fish and shoals of goldies," he said. "With the barges 600m apart and close to Vidal this is going to be an exciting new place for divers of all qualifications."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Shocking News for Spearfisherman!! Although it does not come as a surprise the Barges sunk at Vidal look like they are going to be made exclusive to bubble blowers!
In yesterdays Zululand Observer article "Disaster turned to success" the bad news was spilt.
Unfortunately I think there is going to be little anyone can do to help as they are in the Wet lands Park.
Our advantage is they are within the Park and management control and legal
mechanisms including a Park Area Notice are in place to ensure compliance – like
no fishing or spear fishing.‘The reefs are within sight of a controlled launch
site and full-time Park compliance staff. A research and monitoring programme
has also been tendered.’ Head of research at the Natal Sharks Board, Geremy
Cliff said the new reefs should have a beneficial role in reducing diver
pressure on the Sodwana reefs: ‘But artificial reefs are known to be
fish-attracting devices so they will need to be very closely monitored to ensure
anglers and spear fishermen don’t target them.’ Kerry Sink, manager of the
marine programme for the SA National Biodiversity Institute, shares this
concern.‘However if these relieve pressure on the natural reefs at Sodwana and
diversify the dive experience at Vidal, then they have a role,’ she said.
Sorry for Us
After missing out on the mornings spearfishing, I committed to an arvo dive with a mate. The forecast said the wind was going to pick up, but I figured the vis would be ok and would jump in any way.
The reports from the guys who had dived said it was very quiet, and when we got down the South East Devil /Poison wind was blowing. We jumped in any way as this could be our last dive for a couple days with forecast showing east winds and many of the rivers flowing.
The water was a little iffy 26deg on the surface and 25 deg on the bottom - but good water for Cuta. I battled to find the drop off and landed up up on a ledge full of Bat fish. On my second dive while strumming my rubbers 2 cuta came in and a stoned the one. (Damn Rob's new sleek closed muzzle is the BOMB.... this is the 4 or 5th fish in a row which I have stoned)
Any way a little while later another cuta came in while I was on the bottom (the water was not good enough to see them from the top ..unless they swam right underneath you of course) and I got a great shot from below. I first though the shot was too low, as I tend to aim low when shooting up .... lost too many fish shooting up and just getting fine flesh shots in the back.
The shot was good and I landed the fish, not before it almost ran all the line off my reel!!
Morne also bagged a fish before it got dark. The fish were super fat and healthy. Mine were females with eggs. The small on was 8.5kg gutted and the larger one was 11.9kg gutted. Morne's was also good at 8.7kg gutted.
We bumped into some other mates that had dived another reef and they got nothing :-( I guess we were spearfishing in the right place at the right time.
Lets hope the cuta start coming out in greater numbers ... and a little help from the weather will also help.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
So as fate had it I got an sms the next morning saying "should have brought the the dive kit" The swell had disappeared. Sunday was blown out but the swell started to look like it was picking up. But it never really got big. It kinda fell into place when chatting to my mate in J-Bay .. he said that it was only about 6ft there.
Anyway the wind dropped off and we got some great waves before sundown on Sunday and this morning had some great little barrels. The forecast still looks good for the next few days so keep a look out.
On the fishing front I was chatting to a fisherman and he said that 30 -40km out to sea the current is screaming south north and that they have got very few cuta. The Geelbeck are still thick out deep and there are loads of Dorado on the FADs. The guys up at Zinkwazi side have been catching the odd cuta in over 30m but thats about all thats been happening.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When we got to the place we were straying the local 'Maritimo' informed us that they are no longer allowing any type of diving in the area. As the turtles can see you and that chases the turtles away! But you can fish if you want ???
Some More Great Spearfishing Videos
- Giant Tuna being Hand feed
- Spearfishing 3 Kings - New Zealand with MJK
- Spearfishing Madagascar & Mozambique with MJK
- Spearfishing New Zealand Bluefin Tuna & Tonga with MJK
- Coatesmans Pole Spear Spearfishing Fail
- How to make the best Spearfishing Flasher with Chris Coates
- Free Swimming Dog Tooth tuna while Spearfishing Madagascar
- Spearfishing Sailfish Madagascar
- Spearfishing Dogtooth Tuna Madagascar
- Sailfish Attacking Baits