Aliwal Shoal Report November 2009 - Basie Ackermann

In the picturesque West Coast towns you’ll find, strung on a line between two whitewashed little fishermen’s houses with blue doors, bokkoms. Dried fish all wrinkled and bone dry.

Now for the first time ever, you can find them on the East Coast as well, especially in the southern parts. Instead of fish though, they are spearos, waiting for a chance just to get wet again. Dried to the core, withered and wrinkled, we hang around aimlessly, watching spearfishing DVD’s over and over again, just to hang onto the foggy memories of what we used to do regularly.. Might just as well live inland.

What a terrible month! Not that the preceding three were any better, but this one takes the cake. And icing.

General conditions

For fear of repeating myself, one of the worst Novembers ever.

The underwater wind went from nothing to pushing the needle into the red, pumping so hard that the Shoal actually shifted 2.569m down current, according to my GPS. Just kidding. About the shifting, not about the strong current, especially on the 21st. On other days it was slack and swinging from reverse to north south overnight and back again, achieving nothing, like the two brain cells in a youth league’s leader’s head.

The abovewater wind maintained its manic proportions from the months before, with a huge onshore onslaught of 38knots straight easterly on the 19th, bringing lots of rain and flooding rivers, and therefore really helping the visibility.

Speaking of which, this was another ingredient of the wonderful recipe for this month. The average visibility was 6metres. Hoooorrraayyy!!!!! As for the water temperature, the first two weeks gave us 20-21 degrees Celsius. The last two weeks 16-18 degrees! Bubble blowers actually recorded 14 degrees on the Nebo on one dive. Maybe we are on the West Coast after all. Absolutely ridiculous. Only good thing is that towards the end of the month, the winds did assume a more summery pattern, not blowing its arse off whenever it can, but staying light to moderate.

Fish

Ja right. No self respecting fish will be found dead in these conditions. Definitely not on the end of your spear. Firstly you won’t be able to see them, secondly, have you ever tried to shoot through a frozen fish? I do not recall one diveable day. Emil Pirzenthal tried out of sheer desperation in 4metre visibility, and only saw some Seapike.

One strange occurrence happened on the 21st, when some cuda came out on a jetski. Watching them pass my boat, I must admit, they can handle those machines as well as any of us. Okay. Some cuda were caught off a jetski. Better?? One of 19kg, one 16kg and 3 or 4 smaller ones, as well as some Tuna.

I personally think the cuda were misled after watching CNN – Cuda News Network – where it was mistakenly reported that it had to be Sardine season again, due to the unseasonably low temperatures and dirty water. Guess some reporter lost his job. Maybe it was a she. Then again, male and female cuda look the same, so it is not like the better looking one would get the anchor slot. Wonder how they hold the microphone? Maybe they use earpieces. Can’t see that working either.

I’m digressing. Idle minds type idle thoughts. Idle minds read these idle thoughts. Go and do something constructive. If you haven’t noticed, there’s nothing constructive about my report. Go back to the main page.

Prospects for December?? I’ll aim low and just hope to be able to get out there.

Enjoy our Oceans,
Basie