Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shark Attack on Mark Ragotzki

I received this feed back from Fernando fro Centurion Freedivers with regards to Mark Ragotzki's unfortunate shark attack. I also spoke to Jeremy Williams from the Dive Factory who spoke to Mark and Rob. He said that the Zambie came in at a rate of knots and chomped on Marks foot, and did not give Mark much time to respond. Not the kind of thing we like to hear or think about!

Glad to inform Mark is doing well and in hi spirit. Went to visit him last night at Sunninghill Netcare Hospital in Sandton, to convey everyone’s sentiments… he says “THANKS GUYS FOR EVERYTHING”. He told me the whole story which I’ll note down so everyone is up to speed as to what really happened.

Rob, Mark and the third gentleman’s name I can’t remember were aprox 2hrs out to sea looking for big game fish. They stumbled onto a reef in the middle of nowhere that rose from the ocean floor to aprox 15m below the surface. They decided this reef was worth taking a look so Da Boyz got into the water, Mark started his decent and identified the usual fish species that are commonly found where big game fish lurk, went through a school of baitfish and headed down to the reef below. He spotted a Zambi swimming around in a non threatening manner and made nothing of it … saw a Kakaap, shot it and began to surface. Once on top, he called the boat over to assist him with the fish. Rob steered the boat to the location and began to pull the fish in, still the Zambi wasn't interested. Mark told me the speared fish was about 15m away from them when he saw the Zambi charging him and heading straight for his legs. His immediate reaction was to pull his legs up and the shark whacked his left ankle, shook him around and left the scene.
Mark climbed immediately on board, bleeding from the ankle as Rob hauled in the Kakaap which remained untouched by the shark. Another two suspenseful hour boat trip back to land where DAN came to the rescue and airvaced him back to SA. Mark told me that if it wasn’t for DAN, things would have looked a lot worse.

Mark’s only conclusion for this attack is “territorial”, the shark was clearly not after the speared fish. I reckon those sharks in these remote areas have never seen a human, therefore the chance of these sharks coming to investigate are very good. The sharks around South Africa are use to human interaction and know we are not a threat to them and not on their menu, reason why we have become a little laxy around sharks???

The wound was very well wrapped so I couldn’t see the extent of  damage. The top of his left foot has no feeling but the soul of his foot has, which is a good sign. I also had a squizz at his toes and they have a normal healthy colour which means good blood circulation. Given the circumstances, Mark looks well and I’m sure he’ll be fully recovered in a very short while. The doctors are keeping him for observation to make sure no infection sets in … that’s the last thing you want at this stage of the game. He’ll be going for surgery on Friday to see how much dead flesh there is to be cut out and to verify how things are healing. This surgery will be the first of a few to come.

Hope I was “detailed” enough to get everyone up to speed, feel free to pass this piece of news onto everyone that may know Mark or has herd of the incident and are a little in the dark.

Cya later,
 It would be interesting to find out more about the DAN insurance that Mark had. They flew in a small jet with doctors on board to take Mark back to an SA hospital.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spearfishing Update

Hi guys,

Sorry for being so quiet, I have been away and my mobile internet conection took a dive. And when I got back my home internet was also problematic and I am online for the first time in days.

The Cape trip was very good, I met some amazing people, the whole tuna hunt did not go eexactly as planned ...but thats how it goes.
On the the other hand I experinced almost all the sides of the Cape. From my dive at Struisbaai and seeing a Great White to the west coast and shooting a Yellow Tail and Hottie!

 Some West Coast "Tail"
The westcoast was nice and chilly, on the ride out some of the water was 10deg ... fortunatly we landed up in a balmy 14deg so it was only my toes and hands that I lost feeling in!

The weather did clear enough to get out to the canyon to look for tuna. The first day was a little rough but our skipper landed up with a 12kg longfin tuna. I got some great footage of Blue sharks and saw a Mako zipping in and out the chum line.
The second day was calm but the fish were very quiet, we saw acouple more sharks and some seals, but thats about it.
All in all it was a great trip and I learnt alot from the guys  ..... and realised how hard it is to dive in cold water!!

Other sadder news is that Mark Ragotzki - Dive Factory JHB has been bitten by a shark in Vilanculos while diving with Rob Allen. He is in hospital and it sounds like the doc's have saved his foot and he is recovering. I dont have any details about what happened yet. .....thoughts are with you Mark, get well my friend.
Gee this is a sober reminder of the dangers out there!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rabitech Spearfishing in the Cape

Well as you know I am down in the cape waiting for the wind to drop so that we can go and get some Tuna out in the deep. There is no diving going on at the moment so I have been taking some time to catch up with different guys within the spearfishing community. Yesterday I popped into Louis Hattingh's place at Rabitech. Louis is the importer of Omer and SporaSub and I sell loads of Omer fins, snorkels, masks and wanted to meet the man behind the emails and fone calls.

I can tell you how impressed I was with his shop / set up. Infact it is such an inspiration I took some pics with my cell so that can take them home and make some changes to my shop.

Louis Hatttingh's Rabitech in Cape Town
There were a few things that stood out for me. One was the range of fins and masks and snorkels! I have never been into a shop with this kind of selection before and I was fiddling with all the fins for like over an hour. Another thing that was very unique about this shop was the fact that Louis stocks a number of different guns and accessories  from different manufacturer's Along with his Rabitech range he had guns and equipment from Rob Allen, Orca, Picasso, Omer, Pelaj .... and probably more! This blew me away as the norm in this country is that the guys only promote their own gear, and are insanely jealouse of their market share.
Louis's approach to business was very refreshing, and I now have a new perspective on the spearfishing retail market.

More fins ...masks .... the list goes on!
The rest of the time we spent chatting at his coffee bar in the shop chatting about spearing, equipment his new projects and guns. All the while being totally distracted by the LCD screen in the background playing spearfishing dvd's ..... I guess it was my ADD in overdrive!

As you know I virtually never punt a product or business in this blog. I just felt that my visit to Rabitech was so inspiring I had to share it.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Potential SA spearfishing record Ignobilis Kingfish

Rhyno Linde - Massive Giant Kingfish at Bunga Nek

Rhyno Linde has just shot a Giant Kingfish up at Bunga Nek at the No13 beacon. The fish has bottomed out a 70kg scale!! This will smash the Sa spearfishing record if it can be verified and all the paper work is in place.

I will get more info and post it asap. .....what I want to know is what the 4km walk back to the camp with this fish was like!!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Cape Tuna Trip

I am down it the Cape for the Cape Boat and Ski Boat Club October Tuna Competitition. There is a boat of spearfishermen that have entered the comp to see how they fair against the fishermen. At the moment the comp is off due to the strong south east winds that are blowing. It looks like the first day in the water will be on Friday when the wind drops off enough to get out there.

View from the cottage in Simonstown

Yesturday we drove 3 hours east to Stuisbaai to see if we could find some clean water. All we could find was clean water very far out in the deep. We tried 5mile bank and the vis was a yummy 2m and 17deg warm. We did one dive and moved on to Arneston. The water there was a little bit better but not great. We then moved onto a spot off Die Mond in  about 18 -20m, the vis was 1m on the surface and about 5 - 6m right on the bottom. There was more fish life here and I got a Santa which looks like a slim pink Rock Salmon.
I was just getting into diving through the 15deg thermocline when I saw a Great White shark. I was on the bottom and turned around to go look in this gully behind me, and there this shark was have a look see.
It was not that big ...for a white so I am told about 4m! Fortunatly it was just having a look and swam off into the gloom. So that was the end of diving that spot!!

The launch site at Struisbaai.
We headed back to Struisbaai with not a whole lot of fish, but it was an experience never the less. The Cape is varstly different from home and it seems there is something new around every corner.

Today I am just visiting some folk but tomorrow we are going up the West Coast .... my hosts are making sure I experience every aspect of the cape .....13 deg water here we come!!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spearfishing Update - Deep Water Garrick

The sea had a small change of heart this week and actually gave us a gap to dive. Tuesday was actually very pleasant and it got quiet clean out in the deep. Wednesday morning the swell ws up so I decded to surf as the swell had churned the first 100m and it was not looking inviting.

Deep water Garrick on it's down run to the Cape

This morning the sea again dd not look all that inviting, but with next weeks tuna trip coming up I decided to get in anyway and get the blood flowing.
The swim out was bad as it always is on a low tide with swell at Tiffs. The water was not too bad, and there was about 6m vis on the surface getting worse on the bottom with 'Yellow Peril'.
A health Garrick swam up to me on the surface deep out on the drop off. It shooked and then disapeared into the gloom as is headed for the bottom. I chased and it turned to have a look what was chasing it. It gave me just enough to get a shot in.

This might seem unusual but Garrick do seem to swim in deeper water on their return trip to the Cape. I guess this means that the Garrick are on their way back, which will mean that when the water clears there should be plenty of action on the local points.

Thats all for now. It looks like the next gap to get in might be Saturday morning.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Spearfish a Spanish Mackerel?

How do you shoot Spanish Mackerel or Cuta? That's the 'Spearfishing How to' question I hear a lot from guys coming into my shop. I even had a guy who I went for a dive with today say, "will I ever shoot a Cuta?"
The truth is yes, they are not that difficult its all about the 'the right time' + 'right place' ..oh and the right equipment or speargun is going to help alot!

Here is a short vid on spearfishing Spanish Mackerel that we stuck on the DVD Good Times as a bonus feature. I hope you enjoy this and come away with a few helpful tips.

If you cant see the vid go here: Spearfishing Spanish Mackerel Tutorial



Friday, October 9, 2009

Boarder Open Results

Well it was another bleak week on the coast, and nothing to report! I have had a couple guys asking when I am going to post again, but when there is nothing to write about ...well like now there is nothing to write about.

What I did get was the final results back from the Boarder Open at the Hole in the Wall.

Greg Audi
Kurt Roberts
James Lawson Smith
Herman Lahey
Ryan Scheepers
Mark Ahlin
Darren Hanner
Corrie Versluis
Mark Constantinou
Joe Mulder
Tony Swart
Jeremy Williams
Gert Jordaan
Paul Toich
Johan Stone
Rory Haschick
Carl Werner
Trevor Hutton
Jacque Greef
Ashley Willcox
Chris Coates
Justin Lindsay
Shane Johnson
Terrence Roebert
Pierre Scheepers

Rob Allan

Haymish Goodbold

Daniel Swanepoel

Robert Prezel

Carrick Morris

Dominic Becker

Trevor Harris

I guess thats all for now, lets hope the southerly winds today clean up the sea for once!!



Monday, October 5, 2009

Boarder Open 2009

Gregg Audi 22kg Black Muscle Cracker

We thought the weekend was going to be a wash out at the Boarder Open 2009, but it all came together and it was a raging success. The sea even tho it was ruffled by the north east's the vis was not too bad considering and some good fish wee shot.

Gregg Audie won the comp and also shot the biggest fish a 22kg poensie. Kurt Roberts came in second with James Lawson-Smith in 3rd.

It was a real good time and guys came from all over the country to try and see how they could fair in the waters off Hole in the wall. There were 40 divers a new record for the usually intimate Border Open.

See you next year