Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Legend of the Christmas Couta

Rat Adjes 16kg Couta Lemonfish Reef 24th Dec
Every once and while you hear some remarkable spearfishing story that becomes an instant legend. Christmas eve was one of those, when Rat rocked up at my house with a Couta .... that he got off Lemon fish Reef.
I listened to his story in total disbelief, as he told how the sea just came a live for half an hour.

You need to understand that Lemonfish reef is a tiny little rock off one of our local surfing points, it only goes out 50m or so from the point and is not very deep. Every diver in the area cuts his teeth here and it is considered a spot you will get the odd Snoek but that's about it.

I can remember a good friend and dive buddy that I grew up with telling us about a Couta he had seen off the reef at Lemon Fish. These were the early days and we were still puddle jumping and just to see a Couta was a big thing. That was almost 20 years ago, since then I have dived that reef hundreds of times and never seen a Couta or even had a notion that I might see one there.

Anyway Rat said as per his usual day before Christmas thing he takes his family that are visiting to the beach. Last year same day same time he swam our for 30min and got 3 Snoek. This year was no exception, the fish were wild. The shoals of Snoek were every where, but he could not get close enough to get one. He swam on to the inside of the reef to the small gap between the reef and the point only to see this big fish just cruzing along. He lined up and made good on his shot. After a long tussle and line every were he landed the fish, and apparently the snoek were shoaling around him the whole time.

So here is a new legend that will be told, the one about the guy who shot a Couta off Lemonfish on Christmas eve. Good one Rat ......


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spearfishing Dog Tooth Tuna - Latham Island Tanzania

Spearfishing Dog Tooth Tuna Tanzania
Dane Salmon co-owner of the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine recently got back from a spearfishing trip to Tanzania with a crew of guys from Durban. The story has been been published in the latest edition of USM  and on the website.
Go read the article ..its really good. Spearfishing Dog Tooth Tuna Tanzania


Friday, December 2, 2011

Spearfishing Stories Coming True

35.5kg Daga Salmon - Chris Coates - KZN North Coast
You hear these stories about guys getting awesome fish that just make you green with envy. Up our way the tallest of those stories is usually centered around some one 'lucking' a big Daga Salmon. I have had 2 mates that have shot 40kg fish in 2-3m of water puddle jumping off a point. Then there is the 'sleeping' fish story, a guy goes down and finds a fish just lying there. Swims up to it and shoots it, game over!
Oh and don't forget the 'beginners luck' story, how many times have hear of some newby shooting an awesome fish? In fact it was only a month ago some chap in a surf suit and plastic fins got a monster salmon off Shieffield on a reef that I have dived a thousand times and never seen one.

Call it 'luck' but you cant take it away from the guys they walked up the beach with the fish and you didn't. Then there is the earned fish, the ones you target and do the hard yards to get. Daga off the wrecks is a good example, put it what ever way you like its just not easy diving. ....unless you are Jaco!

So where am I going with all this?

Daga have just been an elusive fish for me. It took years to even see one. Then some more years to get one. Then even more years to get one over 20kg, and despite doing the hard yards on the wrecks and get a number of good fish. It just seem like I was never going to break the 30kg mark. What makes it worse I dive with guys that sometimes break the 30kg barrier on a weekly basis ...... it just pisses me off!

So with all our record rains messing the sea up and being on the back end of Daga season. I kinda had written of this being my season, that was of course until yesterday. Desperate for a dive I got my Mrs to drop me off at one of the local spots that looked like it had some dive-able water in between 2 large patched of yukky river water. When I got there I was kind of committed to go, either that or go pick up kids and go shopping, guess what I chose? The water was not looking great and I grumpily put my gear on and headed off, knowing I was probably going to be 'mulleting' around in 2-3m vis in a futile mission looking for shadows.

Long story short the water was not as bad as I had expected and I landed up on one of my favorite ledges. (one that apparently guys have gotten Daga on, but after 20years I have yet to see one there.)
Anyway after diving the ledge for almost an hour I do a dive right under my buoy that is reefed over the ledge. I hit the bottom and scan around to again see very little. Then out the corner of my eye there is this thing that is not reef next to me. I turn and look, my brain does not even register  ..... I swear I though it was a Skate at first. "DAGA" my salt saturated brain finally kicks in, and starts to process at a gazillion terrabites a millisecond. All I can think of as I bring my gun around is when is this going to bolt and wave me good bye, but it just sat there. As I get my gun up and start to aim it sluggishly moves away little, giving me a perfect 45 degree shot above the pec and out the gill plate.

So not only did I pop the 30kg mark, I clapped an absolute sitter! I no longer have to go, " why cant I just dive down and plugg one."  I have gotten my 'luck' shot ...too stoked. Best of all now I have my own 'camp fire' story to tell.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

World Spearfishing Record Daga Mulloway

New World Spearfishing Record Daga Salmon 57.4kg
Great news!! Jaco Blignaut's 57.4kg Daga Salmon (Argyrosomus Japonicus) A.K.A Mulloway has been accepted as a New World Spearfishing Record but the IUSA (International Underwater Spearfishing Association)

Go to World Spearfishing Record Mulloway to see the official record.

Jaco on the cover of USM with a 35kg Daga 
The Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine has used a pic of Jaco which I took of him off Durban on the cover of the next mag to celebrate the Jaco 57.4kg Daga been awarded the South African Record. See previous blog post: South African Spearfishing Record Daga .

So a big congratulations to Jaco on his South African and World Spearfishing record fish. Everybody stand up and give the man a round of applause!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spearfishing Crystal Clean Mozambique

Jeremy Williams Spearfishing in the Crystal Blue Mozambique
I recently got back from a quick spearfishing trip to Southern Mozambique with the Rob Allen crew where we went to get pics for the mag. I was supposed to be on a charter in Inhaca but the wheels came off that trip and the trip was canceled at the last moment. Rob and Jeremy were going up to Milli for a couple days and when they invited me I was all in!

The conditions were epic and we had some beautiful water which made it great for taking pics. Some days I left the speargun on the boat and just did drifts with the camera looking for species to take pics of. I did not get any shots on big pelagics, as you need to get super close with the camera, about 3m!! Got some great pics of other fish and loads of other spearfishing pictures.
Abundant Reef Life in Mozambique
Here is an example of how clean the water was and the abundant reef life Mozambique has. Its just too good, I am already planning my next trip!


Book your own Mozambican Spearfishing Adventure go to: Spearfishing Charters Mozambique

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spearfishing Daga / Mulloway Record

New South African and Pending World Spearfishing Record Daga Salmon 57kg - Jaco Bilgnaut
Great news Jaco Blignaut's 57.4kg (Argyrosomus Japonicus) Daga Salmon has been accepted as a  new South African spearfishing record. It has also been submitted for the IUSA World spearfishing record and we wait patently to hear if it has been accepted.

Jaco is arguably the best diver in the country and is right up there with the best in the world. He is also one of the absolute masters at shooting Daga. Probably because he dives all the spots no one else can dive. His article on the record fish that is going in the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine talks about some of his Daga spots being in up to 40m! So it is good to see him get the recognition he deserves.

Congrats to Jaco on a fine fish, I guess it was only a matter of time before he got a crazy record like this!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekends Spearfishing In KZN

Koos Jordaan - Large Sailfish -  Cape Vidal 
This weekend saw some of the coldest water we have spearfished in KZN. On Sunday the water was a fridged 17 deg on the North Coast. The forecast looked good for Monday so we decided to extend the weekend and get away from the cold water by venturing to Cape Vidal with Koos Jordaan.

The water there was a bit water 21-22deg and we got some great Wahoo between 16-18 kg, some couta and a decent sized Cobia arround 18kg. Koos got a nice big Sailfish that was the cherry on the top of a great day.

Gary Uys - 23 Kob
Back home the guys dived the KZN trials on Sunday. Although the water was very cold at least it was reasonably clean. Gary Uys got a brilliant Kob, this with his 10 fish total gave him first place in the trial. Second was Sean Burns .. who was also diving with Gary! Do you think they found the fish??? I know some of the more competitive guys would have been pretty bleak at not placing well, especially since 'Burnsy's' competitive diving is strictly speaking a 'social' affair. ...... well so he says!

The results are as follows:

  1. Gary Uys
  2. Sean Burns
  3. Brent Borstlap
  4. Guy Le Meme
  5. Carl Werner
  6. Corry Versluis
  7. Iain Ewing
  8. John Girdza
  9. Brandon Barth
  10. Niel Barnard
  11. Calvin

The next trials will be next year and probably on the south coast.

The weather and ocean forecast this week looks a bit bleak and it does not look like there is much chance of it warming up just yet.

And talking about cold and warm waters here is a segment out of the one fish film. The one section is in the Arctic circle with sub 10deg water and the other is in the Persian Gulf with plus 28deg water!!
If you cant see the Spearfishing Video - Go Here

Enjoy Coatesman

 Book your own Spearfishing adventure go to: Cape Vidal Spearfishing Charters and Guided Trips

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spearfishing News: Braiden's Garrick and Cold Water

Braidy 9.5kg Garrick
The east wind s have pushed in some clean water, but as can be expected any water from the east is going to be cold. With the afternoon high tides Braidy and I climbed in to look for some Garrick. He out did me 1- 0 ...and some how I get the feeling that this is only the beginning of him beating me.

Other spearfishing news is that there have been some Snoek on the Westbrook to Umhloti stretch. This is rather strange in the 18deg water that we are having. Maybe they think that they are Cape Snoek!!

The Zululand coast has had some marginal conditions, but the Couta are still coming out in fair numbers.
...... maybe we will go have a look there next week if the sea doesn't warm up here at home.

There are still 18 more days left in the Spierre Carbon Fins Promo on the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine. The topics so far are cooking, and there are also some heated debates going down.

So far the top topics are:

So if you don't feel like working head over to the forum ... 


Monday, October 3, 2011

Spearfishing Weekend Wrap Up

Ryan Berry doing it right.
Conditions along the Natal coast this weekend were a bit iffy for spearfishing, although there was a dive to be had at most spots. North and south of Durban had some diveable water but it was not the warmest water and the od Garrick and Snoek came out here and there. Most guys were not complaining as they were happy to ad least get in the water.

Further up north the story seemed a little different. Ryan Berry an old time local at Sodwana went to test drive his sinuses after a recent sinus op.  It seems all went well with good fish speared and sinuses ok.

Other news is that Brod put up his short documentary on the  Euro Africa Spearfishing Championships this is definitely worth a watch ... give some good insight into how tough it really was.

The Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine and Spierre fins have also started a competition on the USM Spearfishing Forum where you can win a pair of Pure Carbon Spearfishing Blades from Spierre.
All you need to do to win is start a "Hot" topic on the forum and the one that gets the most action wins.

Go here to find out more: Spierre - USM Competition

So even if the water stays cold at least the forum will be heating up this month.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Euro-Africa Spearfishing Qualifier Update

Hey Guys

The Euro-Africa CMAS Spearfishing Qualifier in Peniche Portugal is over and our boys have done us proud. The results were pretty grim and you could be forgiven if you thought the guy blew it. But you need to have an idea of what they were up against and realise they actually did ok.

Well at the end of the day the mission was to qualify for the World Spearfishing Championships, and they achieved this! So hats off to the guys.

Angelo has an in depth report up:

Hi all,
Some feedback from the proverbial 'horses mouth'.
As I am sure many of you have seen from windfinder, windguru etc, the Portuguese coastline around Peniche is hammered by wind. In the almost three weeks we were there we had about 4 days of light winds - the rest of the time it BLEW.
The two official comp zones were very different from ont to the other. The northern zone had quite a lot of reef in the northern 3/4 with a long beach in the south and some reef right ate the south (bear in mind that the zones were about 11 km long). The southern zone had limited reef and long stretches of sand (hence the continual poor viz). Most of the reef was located in the north with some very good patches of reef in the south (but viz tended to be poorer in the south - if that is possible). 
Read More ....


Friday, September 16, 2011

Markus Potgieter - 22kg Garrick Spearfishing

Markus Potgieter 22kg Garrick
The spearfishing the last few days has slowly gotten worse. And now the conditions are bad with some swell and wind all thrown in together. Yesterday seemed like that last gap and a few guys tried to jump in and make the most of what conditions were diveable.

Markus Potgieter snuck out to one of his spots in some deepish only to find a 22kg Garrick in a shoal of snoek?? Here's the mail he sent me:
Hey bud thought you might be interested in my Garrick I shot yesterday; I shot it out of a shoal of snoek. When I first saw it I thought it was a GT at first, but was the biggest Garrick I have seen! Every time I get one it amazes me at the power of the fish! It tipped the scales at 22kgs a personal best!
This is with out a doubt the biggest Garrick of the year this side, and possibly the biggest over the last few years. Ok ...some guys have claimed bigger but when you look at the picks and fish is no ware near shoulder high then you know they need to check the scale.

The last 'genuine' big Garrick I have seen spearfished off our coast was Warren Blackmore's 19kg Garrick in 2004
Warren Blackmore 19kg Garrick - Tinley Manor
So well done to Markus, any more crazy fish like that and we will have to make him 'King of the Coast' ....sorry Brod :-)


Monday, September 12, 2011

Vaalies take the Weekend!

Vaalies PJ Kotza & Mark Rogotzki
This weekend saw some good diving on the natal coast for a change. The forecast looked good and ment that a few "Vaalies' would come down as always to 'try their luck'. Mark and Pj traversed the Vaal river and broke through the 'Boerewors Gordyn' and ventured south to seek out some diving.

PJ is normally the first to admit his shortcomings, and what they might lack in skill and experience he makes up for in shear determination. He has a saying that, "nothing is impossible for a Vaalie"

Anyway I have been hearing reports of guys having some good diving this weekend and the best has to be the 2 Vaalies. They kinda took the cake from us this weekend!

Here is the mail PJ sent me:

Hey Chris!
What a weekend man! I'll send you a short write up (and yet another story) soon!
Basically, Mark and I went out of Saturday with Alan Potter to Aliwal on his awesome little duck.
First Dive of the day, I got my first Saily ever! 45kg! Stripped my gun and belt reel then dragged me on the surface for a good couple of minutes! Epic! I'm still in the clouds!
Then, we headed to Green Point to dive up against the rocks, and Mark goes and shoots a 19kg Garrick! The boat was full with only two fish on it!
To top it all off, I got in, swam right up against the rocks and wham, in about 3m of water I shoot a 13kg Prodigal Son. Too much man! Epic! 3 personal bests in about 3 hours!
I'll send you a proper story later.
Wow, this was the best weekend of my life! I still can't believe it!
Cheers man!
So well done to the Vaalies :-)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spearfishing Daga Salmon in Durban Bay

Good sized Daga Salmon speared off the wrecks.
The late winter this will not be remembered for its diving. The conditions have just been terrible, with cold green water plaguing our coast. Even after a number of westerlies that normally clean things up the sea remained undiveable.
This week saw the first break in the conditions and we were able to get back in the water. The large swell meant that the only launchable spot was in the bay in Durban. Not a bad thing as you can get to all the wrecks and containers as well as all the reefs further north.

The first few spots we looked at were horrible, and diving 28m in only a meter or so vis is not fun. But as we worked our way north the vis improved. We stopped at the wreck of the Fontao, I did not even think to take my camera as the previous spots were not good.

As always I am a little slow off the mark and the other guys dived down while I was still prepping tom dive.
Not wanting to go over where they had been I drifted back in the current. Knowing that this would probably put me off the wreck and in deeper water than I would have liked I took my time.

When I hit the sand the wreck was just visible, and the water was actually very clean. Next thing a whole shoal of Daga came swimming in to have a look and with them 3 or 4 Iggies aswell. What a sight .... absolute eye candy!!! Its times like that you really need the camera.

Not wanting to blow the opportunity and land up having night mares reliving the scene over and over in my head I made sure on a fish that gave me a good shot.

The wrecks are super fun, but you need to be fit. With the diving being so bleak the 26-28m dives became quiet difficult after a while.

We did manage another Daga and some good sized Grunter. Not bad for morning out!

Lets hope we get some more ...


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Phoenix Ship Wreck Pull Off

The Phoenix moments before she left our shores
After weeks and weeks, and much debate over what was going to be the out come of the wreck of the Phoenix at Sheffield beach. The Phoenix was dragged off and miraculously floated! Some including myself were hoping that it would sink some distance from shore and create a new dive and fishing location.

Anyway after 6 weeks and well over 5 million US Dollars later the engineers and specialists got it right. This time there were 2 tow ropes and I am sure a host of other details we don't know about to make sure that everything went to plan.
Early hours of the morning cutting the gang plank off started the proceedings.

What was interesting is that aside from the fact that there was a huge hole in the hull near the engine room, the engineers speculated whether the stern of the ship would be too heavy and cause problems. The countered the problem by pumping huge volumes of air into the effected sections. On the other hand they also said that it would take a number of hours for the ship to sink as there were many bulk heads and other water tight sections still intact.
Its hard to see but the puff of dust on the bow was the winch housings breaking off under the pressure.

The original plan was to pull the ship on the full high tide earlier in the week, but with no swell they took a chance and waited for better swell. So even though the tide was not as high as a few days ago the increased swell height helped rock the ship off the rocks.
The Light bow lifting up in the swell as she made her way.
Once the bow was facing out to sea it took a while for the heavy stern to get pulled free. You could see the bow was light as it lifted over the swells. Once the ship was pulled a safe distance they started to flood the bow with water to balance the ship and towed her over the horizon.

If you cant see the video go to Phoenix Leaving

Here is a short video clip my mate put together of the whole ordeal. Its a classic so check it out. I a sure that there are many happy Sheffield residents at the moment. And although we did not get our reef there are rumors that they will sink her somewhere near Aliwal Shoal.

I guess this is the end of this little saga and Sheffield can now return to its quiet sleepy self.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brods New Video-blog No 5

Here is the next offering my our good man Brod Whittaker. In this vid you will see Jeremy Williams of the dive factory getting some really nice Kakaap up at Milli. The vis is soooo good it makes me wanna go dive.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Billabong Pro Tahiti - Jordy Smith Goes Down!

Billabong Pro Tahiti - Jordy Smith injures his ribs. pic ASP/ Kirstin
The Billabong Pro Tahiti 2011 is going down in a spectacular swell. The 8-10ft thumping barrels exploding over the reef have provided some amazing performances from the worlds top surfers. As always guys like Kelly Slater have made there mark, making it look easy.

Kelly and Ricardo Santos had an awesome duel in round three, which was followed by Jordy Smith and Travis Logie's heat. To be honest they did not look as comfortable as the guys in the previous heat and it looked like they landed up taking off out of position and and a bit deep. Jordy's first wave was too deep and he got smashed, injuring his ribs. With all the attention on Jordy the heat was put on hold, this was rather odd and there were a number of protests.
Travis Logie getting putting everything on the line. pic ASP/ Kirstin

The clock was stopped and the heat restarted, Jordy eventually got back out and finished the heat. Both guys took a couple more big hitts and it was more like a WWF round than anything. Travis put everything on the line and got some scoring waves. Jordy remarkably still got some waves and put some scores on the board.
Travis Logie deep and committed in Tahiti. pic ASP/ Kirstin
Travis was just ahead at the end of the re-started heat, and Jordy got a really good wave posting an 8+ and it looked like he took the heat. Even the on the Heat Analyzer it shows Jordy winning, but the judges did not count the last wave and took the original heat time. This meant that Travis went through the heat and into round 4 and eventually through to the Quarter Finals where he will meet Brett Simpson from California.

It looks like the Quartes, Semi's and Finals will be held in cracker conditions... dont miss it.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kanoa Igarashi - the Future?

I am generally not prone to posting vids of surfing, let alone lightys surfing. But you need to see Kanoa Igarashi this 13 year old from California rip. In fact for me its not so much what he is doing, its the in style that he does it. Most grommets look like grommets on a wave, Kanoa Igarashi has the style and poise beyond his years.

We all watch guys like Slater from the days of  'Black & White' and Jordy Smith busting the bowl at New Pier. And they were not surfing like this! If this guys continues to progress who knows how rad surfing is going to become?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World Spearfishing Record Tanzania

Tanzanian World Record 5.3kg  Blue Lined Large Eye Bream by Eric Allard
For years Eric Allard of OWEA has been lobbying for the legalisation of Spearfishing in Tanzania. He has been in successfully getting permits for certain areas which has meant that for the first time a World Spearfishing Record has been acknowledged in the area.

The International Underwater Spearfishing Association (IUSA) World Record 5.3 kg Blue Lined Large Eye Bream (gymnocranius grandoculis) was speared off Leven Bank, Zanzibar. View Record Here
This is significant as this will further help the authorities in Tanzania to see and understand the the sport of spearfishing as a valuable asset to the region.

Congrats and well done to Eric and his team at OWEA.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Phoenix Sheffield Beach Shipwreck Update

The wrecked Phoenix getting pulled off the rocks ... well almost!
On the spring high tide this afternoon the Phoenix shipwreck was almost pulled off the rocks. The Smit Amandlha and a secondary tug almost succeeded in pulling the stricken vessel off the beach. With a combined pulling force of over 290 tonnes they were able to slowly edge the ship off the rock shelf.

The chain seconds after snapping at the D-shackel

The beach erupted in applause as the ship turned and faced out to sea. Only to have the the crowd groan like in a Sharks Rugby match as the chain attached to the bow snapped at the giant D-shackle.

The marine salvage team, running in to assess the situation.
There was a lot of running around, and a marine salvage team shot in on a duck. I guess everyone on the beach was hoping they would be able to quickly hook the ship up again and resume getting it out to sea. At this stage the Phoenix was still pointing out to sea and it was sad to watch each swell slowly turn her back around.
The Aerospatiale SA 330 J PUMA Helicopter removing the salvage crew for the day.
Eventually the growing swell and high tide had turned the ship to past the point where she had been before. It was quiet sad, but hope is not lost. According to the salvage team they will have another attempt tomorrow morning.

The swell is due to pic up and this could pose a problem, but it could also help. Lets hope that the salvage crew get it right and they get the Phoenix off our beach.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grounded Phoenix Press Release

MT Phoenix, now even more mystery surrounds the stricken vessel.
The operations continue to remove the pollutants from the vessel and to date we can
report the following

• All the drums containing lube oils, grease and other rubbish from the decks have
been flown ashore;
• Pumping of the fuel commenced yesterday to the bladders ashore and then to the
road tankers, it is estimated that some 50 tonnes were taken off;
• The heavy duty pumps finally arrived, having been delayed when the road
transport became stuck in the snow; and were flown on board this morning; this
has increase the pumping rate to approximately 100 tonnes per hour;
• The operation is being slowed due to slower rate of pumping the bladders to the
road tankers against a 40 metre head;
• If the current rate is maintained removal of the fuel should be completed on
Sunday 31 July;
• The work of strengthening the bow is on-going and preparations are being made
to connect the Smit Amandla to the Phoenix before last light today. This is not
an attempt to tow the vessel off the rocks but to stabilize the vessel and stop her
moving on the rocks.

During the operation yesterday the tug Mahaweli towing the bulk carrier Asma 1 to
scrap, requested assistance 24 nautical miles east of Durban. The Smit Amandla was
scrambled to stand by until the Mahaweli resolved her main engine problems. The
weather conditions atrocious with gale force south westerly winds with 8 metre swells.
When the Mahweli regained her engine power the tug and tow were ordered to clear the
coast. The Smit Amanda started her return to the Phoenix.

We have been asked to comment on why with the Smit Amandla in attendance did the
Phoenix ground and was this an “insurance job”. The following facts are now in our

  • The Smit Amandla fired 8 rocket lines to the Phoenix while attempting to reconnect, 6 of these lines have been found on board the Phoenix;
  • Two messenger lines were then put on board the Phoenix in order to allow them to pull the towing gear on board. The Phoenix reported that on both occasions the messenger rope “slipped off” the drum end of the winch. Various maritime experts have been consulted and none of them can recall this happening in previous operations, in these conditions it is possible that the messenger line would part.
  •  The Master of the Smit Amandla had to instruct the Master of the Phoenix to pay out more anchor cable when the vessel started dragging. A very junior officer knows that this is the first action that is taken when a vessel starts dragging anchor.

It would not be the first time that an unscrupulous ship owner was prepared to sacrifice a
vessel in attempt to realise the insured value.

The Smit Amandla Marine salvage crew on board have been suspicious that there is still
one person still on board, all the crew were accounted for when they were evacuated
from the vessel. Last night a medical kit was left in the accommodation prior to the
salvage team being flown ashore. This morning some of the medication was missing. As
the salvage team are totally consumed in removing the fuel from the vessel, the South
African Police Services will be requested to search the vessel. It is not unusual for vessels
coming from West Africa to have stowaways on board.

Contrary to recent newspaper reports the documentation in our possession indicates that
the owners of the vessel are either A & L Shipping Inc. of Panama or A & L Shipping of
Belize. We have also been contacted by Lloyds Casualty Intelligence of London as they
can find no records of the Phoenix, however a vessel of the same type, size and name was
scrapped in India in November 2010.

The vast majority of Sheffield Beach residents have been fully supportive of the effort
being extended to avoid a massive pollution incident which has led to disruption to their

SAMSA and the salvage team would especially want to salute Mr & Mrs Don and
Carolyn Spier, the vessel is beached directly opposite her house. She has opened her
house to the salvage team and her lounge is the operations centre, they are also being
offered food and coffee continuously. The fuel lines run through her garden into her
house and then to the road tankers. This unselfish gesture is making a difficult operation
much easier and we are extremely grateful for her support.

Capt. N.T.Campbell

Regional Manager: Southern Region

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tanker Ship Wrecked at Sheffield Beach on the North Coast

Bulk Tanker "Phoenix" aground on Sheffield Beach.
 The carrier the 'Phoenix' was en-route to India to be scraped when they broke anchor late on Monday afternoon. The vessel obviously was having mechanical problems and the help of a salvage tug Smit Amandla was called in to try and pull the ship out to sea.

The stormy seas and heavy winds made the NSRI's job impossible and the help of Subtech's salvage crew came to assist. At around 9am this morning it looked like the tug was pulling the Phoenix shipwreck out to sea. What happened after that is still not known, but by 11am the Phoenix was wrecked on the rocky shelf's of Sheffield beach just north of Salt Rock.

It was quiet a thing to watch the spray from the waves blow right over the helicopters as they came in and air lifted the crew from the vessel. Fortunately there have been no reports that I know of of any major injuries and all the crew were evacuated safely.
The massive bulk carrier now a major feature at Sheffield Beach
 Fortunately because the ship was being decommissioned it was not caring any cargo or substances other than its own fuel and oil. Hopefully this will be able to get removed from the ship before it causes any environmental problems. Not that a couple thousand tonne ship on a pristine beach is not an environmental disaster. One wonders if there is any hope of being able to haul the ship off the rocks and out to sea?

The Phoenix right on our Garrick Spot!

So what now, will Sheffield have a permanent new horizon? With such a large vessel that is probably full of holes by now the chances are probably slim that it is going anywhere.
I suppose we should look on the bright side that its not pouring oil everywhere, and who knows maybe it will form a cooking wave.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Spearfishing the Transkei

Richard Leonard popping his Daga Cherry
Spearfishing the Transkei for the first time is always an experience one does not forget. My mate Richard Leonard the director of the OneFish DvD we did last year has just come back from his first trip in the Kei.
From the sounds of things they got some class fish, including Rich getting his first Daga Salmon and a nice one at that.
Daryl with a trophy Steenbras
Rich was fortunate to go up with some mates that really know the place well, which translated into some very special fish. It also sounds like they got lucky with the vis and weather ... something that does not always come together down there.
A frame grab off the some of their video footage of the Steenbras.
I am hoping to head down to the Kei some time soon. There is the Border Open which will be in November, which is later than usual. That means there probably wont be Steenbras around but the Cracker should be thick. If you want to go down down load the Border Open Entry Form


Monday, July 18, 2011

Durban Spearfishing Cooks

21+ Orang Spot Grouper
There is a reason that at this time of the year some of KZN's best divers stay at home an dive the Durban basin. The water is all ways good but when you find the fish ... you find the fish!
This past week while the North Coast was murky and not very pleasant, Durban had good water and the fish came on. But this is not for your doppie diver most of the diving is between 26 and 30m and even if you can dive that depth you need to beat guys like Brod, Staats and G-Lem to the spot ..... not lightly.

With Dagga the main course, and huge shoals of Grunter as the side dish its no surprise that there were more than a few guys not at work last week Even the odd Couta came out off the Bluff side. But the fish of the week must go to Brod for a 21+kg Orange Spot Grouper, that is a fantastic fish in any water let alone Durban!

G-Lem and a good Dagga, with some more fish on the floor.
It is a pity the conditions did not hold for the weekend and the Hibiscus Gamefish Comp. Most guys decided to dive the shoal area and it was just one of those days when the fish were not there. The winning fish landed up being a Garrick and not too many other decent fish being weighed.

This week looks promising, the big east swell came and wrecked the good vis that moved in over the weekend. Hopefully it will subside and give us a gap to get in.


Monday, July 11, 2011

King of the Coast

If this was a competition Brod would be 'King of the Coast'
While the rest of us were pondering whether the vis was ok and swell had dropped enough. Brod was putting his spear into a trophy of note! Brod ..being Brod found some half decent or half siff (depends on how you see you cup)  water on a small reef he sneaks out to when no one is looking.

Brod recalls the hunt saying that there were about 10 fish in the shoal all around the same size, eventually he just picked one. Now if you know Brod that means that there was a lot more to the story ... it probably had something to do with some ridiculous bottom time in kuk water or something.

So if you were wondering what a 29.5kg Couta looks like have a good loooook. Almost as tall as Brod and he's no shorty and my guess is that the fish is probably a 32 -34 pant size around the midriff, . One fat ass fish!!!

Weldone Brod ...in my books so far you are 'King of the Coast'


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mr Price Pro Ballito 2011

Nat Young making an unbelievable barrel at Bog Bay.
Yesterday saw the start of the Mr Price Pro Ballito, the conditions were epic and probably one of the best days we have seen in a very long time. Each heat was absolutely mind blowing, the guys were getting some of the sickest barrels across Surfers Point.
Some contestant getting barreled of his nut at Surfers Point Pic M Adjes
While the contest was going on there was an all cast side show going down at Bog Bay to the south. It was hard to pull away from watching the 'Pro' but when you saw what was going down at Bog it made Modern Collective seem a little dusty. Added to that Bog was heavy ..very heavy. And guys like John John and Nat Young were showing everyone up. I have some sequences with John John smacking the lip and then doing a 12ft air drop with a gaping monster barrel coming down.

The high light of the whole sesh was watching Nat get a monster backhand pit that has to be one of the most insane things I have ever seen. The wave broke over him at the top of the point and he disappeared into the foam ball. I stopped swimming thinking that he was history. But next thing he pulls through the foam ball and sets up inside the sickest pit I have seen in years. Because I stopped swimming I was a little out of position but got some great wide pics of the barrel. (pic above) I also got the video of the barrle which is now on my phone and gets played over and over and over!

For those of you who missed the action yesterday here is the Youtube highlights of the day:

The only disappointing thing was them running the last 2 heats in the wind. Which i felt was so unnecessary as there is loads of good surfing coming. Jordy surfed the last heat and got so skunked it wasn't funny. I think every one was so keen to see him surf they put the heat in. But it was a total waste, the waves crapped out and it was a dud heat.

Never the less the next few days have got some great conditions so I am sure the action will be hot!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Sardine Shoals Hit Durban

Sardine netters at Vetchies in Durban this morning.
The first Sardine shoals have started to appear in the Durban area this weekend. These small pilot shoals are fairly sporadic and can pop up any where. This morning they came into the Durban basin and the sardine hunters tried there luck at netting them at Vetch's beach.

Last year the Sardine shoals came into the bay in force and it was a frenzy for a few days down on Durbans south beaches.

This year the shoals coming up are not really that big and the guys have had not too much success netting the sards down the coast.

It will be good if the conditions will settle a bit and we can get some diving in .... especially if the pockets of Sardines are around.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Stand Up Paddle Demo

This past week end saw the conditions for diving go out the window again. Flip its starting to get really annoying, not to mention that this next weekend looks like a blow out as well.
Starboard SUP Demo day at Umhloti Lagoon
All was not lost and we headed over to the Lagoon at La Mercy to check out the Startboard SUP demo that 'Waterman Joe' company I am involved with was running. It was pretty cool as some of the mates and their families pulled in and paddled around the lagoon and enjoyed some bacon and boerie rolls.
Kai my daughter enjoying the Stand Up Paddle jol.
I guess its probably going to be a few more sessions on the SUP before we get back in the water for a dive. The west is blowing at the moment and it looks like there will be a small gap ... but its not looking promising.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spearfishing Inhaca Island Mozambique

I just got back ... a week ago from a spearfishing trip to Inhaca! On this trip I hooked up with Mohammed and Khalid from QatarSub to finish off their spearfishing film they are doing. They came out specifically to hunt trophy fish for the film and this meant that we did not spend too much time at the usual spots.
Mohammed with a 27.5kg Wahoo shot at B24
We spent most of our time at a spot called Poco a deep reef that comes up to 55m. On this reef there were loads of bait and huge shoals of Rainbow Runners. We saw 3 Black Marlin and was able to get a good shot into one of about 200kg. Unfortunately the shooting line snapped at the crimp, and we missed out an a major opportunity.
Every now and then a Wahoo or Couta would come in and we would pick out the bigger ones, still hoping for a Marlin. Even tho this spot was deep on certain bumps there would be Iggies and other Kingfish, big shoals of Seapike and the odd big shark.
A good sized Iggie shot in the Marlin grounds
I landed up the one day with a nice Ignobilis Kingfish, they would come out the deep and sit at about 35m. But every once and a while they would come to about 25m and with in reach of a spear. The nice thing is that its so deep there its hard for them to reef you up so they are not too difficult to land.

We did stop briefly at the some of the usual spots, but these guys shoot loads of big Couta in Qatar so we were always looking for something different. We saw Sailfish twice once on Jeremiah's and once on Santa Maria. Generally the spearfish there was good, we could have probably shot more fish if we hang out longer at spots like B24 and Jeremiah's. But where going BIG or going home on this trip!

I think we dived almost every day with only one down day where we left the luxury of our accond rooms and hit the back streets of Inhaca for some local sea food. But as we found out the place we were staying had hired the head chef from Lucus's Resturant on Inhaca so there was little need to hunting for good food. But if you are on the island the food is good.


Book your own Mozambican Spearfishing Adventure go to: Spearfishing Charters Mozambique

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inhaca Island Spearfishing Trip

Inhaca Island Ocean Charts
The sea has been amazing at home bar the unfortunate fact that there has been absolutely no vis for over a week! The week before that was monstrous swell, so as luck would have it I have not dived in a couple weeks.

I cant bee too bleak tho ... :-) because tomorrow morning I am off to Santa Maria across the channel from Inhaca Island in Mozambique. I have been spending my dive less hours sorting gear and this morning drooling over the ocean charts wondering what each spot will have for us.

Nhonguane Lodge - Santa Maria looks like we are going to have to slum it.
Best of all is we have moved our accommodation from the island to Santa Maria to Nhonguane Lodge that is right on the waters edge and tucked away in this little bay just around the corner from Hells Gate. We are a little bit further away from Baixo Danae about 25km away, but the main reef at Santa Maria is right there so we will be hoping to spearfish some good Wahoo's ...cant wait.

If I get Internet access I will do an update ..otherwise look out for a post when I am back towards the end of the month.


Book your own Mozambican Spearfishing Adventure go to: Spearfishing Charters Mozambique

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Croc Couta Down South

Wayne with 26.5kg Croc Couta caught off the lower South Coast
Its the time of the year when the South Coast starts to come alive. With the prospects of Sardine shoals game fish from up north migrate down to the Transkei to feast, and following not too far behind are the fishermen.
I have a mate who lives down in Port Edward that has been spearfishing and fishing the area over the last few years, and by his own admition its not the easiest place to work out. But for the past few years his and his clients success's have been improving to the point where he is saying ,"I know where the Couta are" with a big cheesy grin.
Anyway this past week saw some good fish come out some were over 30kg. Wayne managed to get his clients a 26 and a 19kg fish, that and some other quality fish that filled the hatch.

At the moment the north coast is quiet and the sea rather unsettled, I am probably going to twist Waynes arm to take me out down south if things dont look up this side soon. Wayne does both fishing and spearfishing charters ..give him a shout on: 084-616–3295

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spearfishing Shark Attack

This past week there were rumors of a shark attack. They ranged from some one hearing of an attack to a 5 meter Great White attacking a spearfisherman to a diver being swallowed by a Great White. I called the local sharks board guy on Thursday morning and at that stage he had not heard anything so I fobbed it off as stories.

That was until I got this email from Fourie Combrinck
Every Spearfishermans worst nightmare

On the 4th of May at about 8am we launched from Glenmore Beach on the lower south coast. It looked like to what was going to turn out to be a perfect day for some diving, flat see and only a light S Westerly blowing. Our late start was due to the problem that we could not get two stroke marine oil at the local garage the reason for this was  the ski boat compos which took place over the long week ends.
After diving on some spots in the Glenmore erea without any success we both decided to head towards one of our favorite spots in the Palm Beach er ea. I noticed a lot of activity in the water which I could make out to be red eyed sardines while turns were bombarding them from the air.
After anchoring and in a flurry to kit up we were soon both in the water because after the long spell of dirty water we where both eager to shoot some fish.The visibility was plus minus 6 to 7 meters and the temperature quite warm for this time of year according to me My dive buddy Trevor Burger beat me to it an soon bagged a nice bronzy. After he landed his second fish and me only seeing a big shoal of pinkys I drifted of to the southern side of the reef, about 20 to 25 meters away. After another fruitless down on which I only came across some black tails and a barbel I surfaced to see Trevor siting on the boat. He shouted to me to get to the boat as there was a shark in the vicinity. This was strange to me as we both have encountered sharks before with out them hassling us.
I was surprised to hear Trevor say that he was bitten by the shark. According to him he shot a banky (finger fin) at about 10 meters and on his way to the surface felt the shark biting on to his lower left leg and shaking him twice before letting go  and swimming away.He only saw the shark after it let go of him from behind and was unable to recognize the species, but we both suspect it to be a dusky as we have encountered them in the erea before. Again I was surprised by the speed of these animals underwater how quickly it attacked and disappeared.
Trevor bandaged his leg while I raced back to Glenmore from where my wife Lindy took him to hospital.
After some serious stitching (58) and crimps four days later Trevor was released from hospital  but like a true spearo cant wait for the wounds to heal so that he can go diving again
To all the people that lend a helping hand on the beach we want to say thank you and to the ouk that saw two spearos being attacked by a 5,5 great white in the same erea...sorry I know nothing of it.

This is not the kind of thing any of us enjoy hearing about, and sends shivers down my spine. Trevor sorry, this is heavy ... I guess on the bright side there is no disabling damage and you have one serious cool conversation starter next time your in the pub trying to chat up a blonde. God speed with your recovery and hope to see you in the water soon.