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Aliwal Shoal Scuba Dive

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:37 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:47 PM ]

Aliwal Shoal Scuba Diving
Aliwal Shoal is approximately 45 minutes drive south from Durban. Selected as one of the top ten dives sites of the world by the Diver Magazine, the Shoal is a absolute "must do" for every shark diver.
During the months of June through to November you can expect to see Ragged Tooth Sharks (Raggies) as they congregate on the Shoal to mate.
 It is not uncommon to find 15 to 70 of these ferocious looking but docile animals on a single dive. In summer you have every chance of seeing Tiger Sharks and Hammerheads.
Depending on conditions the best dives are Cathedral, Raggie Cave and Shark Alley.
Should you tire of the sharks, you can always dive on any of the wrecks and see huge Brindle Bass.


Aliwal Shark Dive


Other species (depending on the season) to see are Manta, Devil and other Rays, schools of pelagic fish, whales, dolphins. Visibility varies from 5 to 40 meters, and the water temperature in summer is 24+ degrees Celsius and in winter not colder than 19 degrees Celsius.
The depths vary between 6 to 18 meters with 30 meter sites for the suitably qualified scuba diver. The majority of the diving is done at the early hours with the first launch as early as between 6:00 and 7:00 am.
Most all dives are drift dives with a current of 2 to 5 knots (very rarely at the Shoal) and more common at the Protea Banks. Read more about the schedule and procedure here....

Aliwal Shark

 

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Mozambique Scuba

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:30 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:36 PM ]

Mozambique Scuba Tofo
Mozambique offers pristine beaches, warm waters and unspoiled reefs. Scuba diving here is truly world class. Mozambique has steadily established itself as one of the top dive destinations in the world. Divers come to Mozambique to swim with the giant Whale sharks that frequent the waters of this beautiful coastline.
The small town of Praia do Tofo (pronounced Torfu) is the home the of largest concentration of Whale sharks in Africa. To get to Tofo you have to travel through the city of Inhambane. Many tourists are under the impression that they can dive from Inhambane itself but in actual fact there is only a harbor in the town and the diving resorts lie about an hour’s drive from Inhambane.
Whale sharks snorkel trip run on a daily basis from most dive centers in Tofo. Whale sharks are friendly and curious creatures, sometimes even coming up to the boat and divers.
Another reason for divers to put Mozambique on their must-dive list would be the friendly but huge Manta rays.
More information on Mozambique Inhambane - Tofo Scuba diving here....

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Scuba Mozambique


Two new species of Manta rays has recently been discovered on Manta Reef in Tofo. The species have not even been named yet as they were only discovered mid 2009. Scuba divers certainly have a lot to look forward to.
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Apart from these two gentle ocean giants, Mozambique has amazing reefs as well as some great shark reefs more to the South. Diving in this country offers great variety.
Mozambique is also known for its dolphin swimming and whale watching. Avid shark divers should definitely visit Mozambique’s top two shark reefs, Pinnacles and Pandaine Express.
The new dive destination of Zavora, Mozambique, now also welcomes divers to come and enjoy their sharks, Manta rays, whales and wrecks.
 

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Scuba Diving Costa Rica

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:21 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:29 PM ]

Bullshark Costa Rica
Scuba Diving Costa Rica. One of the many natural attractions that Costa Rica offers its visitors is scuba diving. And one of the key areas for this kind of activity is the Catalina Islands, where unique rock formations resulting from volcanic activity provide diving lovers with the chance to admire a myriad of sea-life species present at this site — including manta rays, white-fin and bull sharks, barracudas, sea turtles, starfish, and many more.
Catalina Islands is located 15-20 minutes in boat from Flamingo Beach in Guanacaste.

Experts agree that the best time to enjoy the close to 20 diving sites available at Catalina Islands is between December and May. There is still time to make the manta ray season this year but anytime is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in these incredible underwater rock formations.
Some divers have claimed that during these months they have seen manta rays 14 to 20 feet long in a single dive. It's important to point out that on these diving spots undersea currents are stronger and more challenging, so it requires a little more skills that the local dives.
For folks diving with us at the Indian Ocean like Aliwal Shoal or Protea Banks a piece of cake.
The current is less as at that shark dives.
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More info on this great Shark Dive location in Costa Rica...

Playas de Coco

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Scientists tag great whites off coast of Chatham

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:16 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:20 PM ]

Great White tagged
As Chatham officials announced they were closing all of the town’s East Side beaches, state marine biologists were pulling off the high-tech accomplishment out on the ocean.
The first shark was tagged at 9 a.m. near the southern tip of Monomoy Island, off Chatham. A second was tagged at 3:30 p.m. about a mile north of the first - each with a single move. A third was also spotted but not tagged. “They were right around a 1,000 pounds apiece,’’ said Chaprales, a 58-year-old tuna fisherman and lobsterman from Marstons Mills, a village in Barnstable.
Chaprales said he had worked with biologists at the New England Aquarium years ago to tag other species of sharks and bluefin tuna. “We’ve done this before,’’ he said. “It doesn’t hurt the sharks.’’ The tagging occurred days after officials set out to identify the species of five sharks seen about a mile off Monomoy Island last week. As of yesterday, marine scientists had identified three great white sharks in that area. The tagging marked a major high-tech accomplishment for state marine biologists.
Though other types of fish have been tagged with pop-up satellite devices like those used yesterday, this was the first time biologists used those tags to study the movements of the great white in these waters, Skomal said. The tags are programmed to pop off the two sharks on Jan. 15 and rise to the water’s surface. Data gathered until then will be transmitted via satellite to Skomal, who will track the animals’ movements. Skomal calls the device “the latest and greatest’’ technology in tagging great whites and said it that will provide data such as the depth and temperature of the water in which they travel.
Skomal and his team - an assistant at the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, a graduate student, and Chaprales - headed out on the ocean at around 8 yesterday morning. Pilot George Breen of Falmouth aided in the search, hovering above in a spotter plane. Chaprales’s son, Nick, drove the fishing vessel, the Ezduzit.
The sunshine was brilliant. The sea was calm. Perfect conditions for finding sharks, Skomal said. One hour into the search, Breen spotted a great white near Monomoy Island and notified the team on the boat. They headed for the spot, and Chaprales sprung into action. “We screamed and hollered and yelled’’ as Chaprales hit right on target, said Skomal. “I used Billy because he’s a professional,’’ he said. “He knows how to hit his mark without hurting’’ the animal. Ian Bowles, the state’s secretary for energy and environmental affairs, was on the boat when the second tagging was done and called it remarkable. “Obviously the great white shark is a creature that evokes a great deal of public interest,’’ he said. “I’m proud that Massachusetts is taking the lead . . . to better manage these species.’’ Yesterday was not the first time a great white shark was tagged in Massachusetts. In 2004, state biologists tagged a great white that swam into a salt pond at Naushon Island, off Cape Cod. But the tag malfunctioned and gave no information, Skomal said.
State marine officials said shark sightings are common off the Massachusetts coast and urged swimmers and boaters to use caution, though attacks are rare. Nevertheless, Chatham officials announced yesterday that until further notice, swimming will be prohibited on North Beach, Lighthouse Beach, South Beach, and Andrew Harding’s Lane. Many residents and visitors seemed unfazed by the sightings. “I had a couple of them [guests] laughing about it,’’ said Samantha Stone, assistant manager of Bradford Inn of Chatham. Most didn’t believe it was a great white shark.’’ Judy and Bob Powell took four tourists sailing off Monomoy Island yesterday aboard their yacht but stayed near the Chatham coast - and away from the open ocean and seals, which are favored prey for sharks. “My guests here on my boat right now are dragging their feet in the water,’’ Judy Powell, owner of Chatham Sailing Voyages, said by phone yesterday afternoon. “We don’t see fins. And I don’t think they are worried at all.’’ CeCe Fucher said customers at the Ben Franklin Store on Main Street have not been talking much about the shark. “There’s more reaction [over the presence of] news reporters than the shark,’’ said Fucher, Chatham, 23.
Content credits: The Boston Globe
 

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Raggies at the Shoal

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:10 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:14 PM ]

Grey Nurseshark
The Aliwal Shoal is app. 5 kilometers offshore south of Umkomaas. As a reference, the coordinates northern point of Aliwal Shoal, where the wreck of the Produce are laying are 30°15.636'S and 30°830'E. Umkomaas serves as the gateway to the Aliwal Shoal and is the home to the majority of the Aliwal dive charter operations. The Zulu name is Umkomanzi, which was given by King Shaka Zulu himself in 1928 on one of his royal processions with his 'Impi' (warriors).
During a hunting sojourn, he saw a number of cow whales and calves which were basking in the shallows a short distance out to sea from the river mouth. The name Umkomanzi, literally translated means 'The watering place of the whales'.
Under the Umkomaas bridge on the river (uMkomazi) mouth is the launchsite for the Aliwal Shoal excursions.
Pending on conditions / tidelevel you will man the semirigid boat (RIB) still in the river or direct from the beach into the surf. Thats where the difference to "regular resort diving" starts! There is staff to load and secure your scuba equipment and get the boat ready, however - at times you may be asked to lend a hand to push the boat in the surf....
After that it's all as explained in the briefing beforehand: feet's in the footstraps and hold on for the first exiting part of your Aliwal Shoal trip! A surflaunch with an 8m, twinpowered semirigid boat (RIB) passing the surfzone is a "thrill" on itself. At more rough conditions it can be a bumpy event with plenty of oceanspray... ;-)
After an 20 min. boatride you are at the Shoal. The Aliwal Shoal can be an testing divesite if you are visiting the first time. Again: NO resort diving!! All dives ( well, almost all..) are drift dives, the dive leader, either DM (divemaster) or instructor will deploy an top-service signalmarker as reference for the skipper as well for the scuba divers while guiding the dive.
An description of all Aliwal Shoal divesites as Raggies Cave, Shark Alley, Cathedral and others you find here or you use the site-search below.
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Great White Shark

posted Apr 8, 2014, 11:04 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:08 PM ]

Great White Shark
The legendary great white shark is far more fearsome in our imaginations than in reality. As scientific research on these elusive predators increases, their image as mindless killing machines is beginning to fade.
 Of the 100-plus annual shark attacks worldwide, fully one-third to one-half are attributable to great whites.
However, most of these are not fatal, and new research finds that great whites, who are naturally curious, are "sample biting" then releasing their victims rather than preying on humans.
It's not a terribly comforting distinction, but it does indicate that humans are not actually on the great white's menu.

Great whites are the largest predatory fish on Earth. They grow to an average of 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length, though specimens exceeding 20 feet (6 meters) and weighing up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) have been recorded.

They have slate-gray upper bodies to blend in with the rocky coastal sea floor, but get their name from their universally white underbellies.

They are streamlined, torpedo-shaped swimmers with powerful tails that can propel them through the water at speeds of up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) per hour. They can even leave the water completely, breaching like whales when attacking prey from underneath.

Highly adapted predators, their mouths are lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows, and they have an exceptional sense of smell to detect prey. They even have organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by animals.

Their main prey items include sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, and even sea turtles, and carrion. Found in cool, coastal waters throughout the world, there is no reliable data on the great white's population.

However, scientists agree that their number are decreasing precipitously due to overfishing and accidental catching in gill nets, among other factors, and they are listed as an endangered species.

 

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Whale Shark Thrills

posted Apr 8, 2014, 10:56 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:00 PM ]

Whaleshark Scuba
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow filter feeding shark that is the largest known living fish species. The species was first identified in April 1828 following the harpooning of a 4.6 metre (15.1 ft) specimen in Table Bay, South Africa.
The name "whale shark" comes from the fish's physiology; that is, a shark as large as a whale that shares a similar filter feeder eating mode.
The whale shark inhabits the world's tropical and warm-temperate oceans. While thought to be primarily pelagic, seasonal feeding aggregations of the sharks occur at several coastal sites such as Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, Utila in Honduras, Donsol and Batangas in the Philippines and the Tanzanian Islands of Pemba and Zanzibar and the Sea of Cortez.

Are you now curious about this animal? The picture does show a scuba diver with a whale shark to display the enormous dimensions of this fish.

Yet, setting up your scuba rig to have a close encounter with the whale shark is not always necessary. Pending on the presence of plankton, the whale shark sieve's zoo plankton as small as 1mm in diameter through the fine mesh of his gill-rakers while swimming at a slow speed.

Paired with that the whale sharks seem to favor encounters with curiosity and much tolerance. This gives plenty of opportunities for very close encounters!!

 

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Nosy Be Island

posted Apr 8, 2014, 10:53 PM by Thomas Kraus   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:02 PM ]

Nosy Be
Nosy Be is an island 30 km by 20 km lying 600 km north of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The main points of interest are Mont Passot, the silver falls, the indian village, Dzamandzar where rum has been distilled since 1900, pirogue trips and walks to discover the wild life of the island.
Deserted beaches, unexplored reefs and little virgin islands form the attraction of Nosy Be and the archipelago which surrounds it.
The rocky or coral reefs offer a wide variety of dives along drop-offs, in caves, or over the coral heads found in shallower water.
All types of coral reef fish can be found in less than 30 meters of water: surgeon fish, groupers, parrot fish, unicorn fish and also barracuda, king fish, tazar, yellow tuna, sharks, eagle-rays, stingrays, manta rays, whale-sharks, whales.

Both easy and spectacular dives are available in these rich waters, as yet unfrequented by divers.
Learn more about Madagascar and this great scuba dive destination here...

Madagascar

 

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