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Yesterday we had the privilege of diving one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, Aliwal Shoal. The dive site is located about two hours south of Durban in the small town of Umkomaas. Aliwal Shoal was named after an 1849 wreck and features both hard and soft corals, plus an abundance of reef fish and Grey nurse sharks, known by the local as “raggies” who migrate near the coast to breed every summer and spring.
To access the dive site, we loaded up all of our gear into a rigid-inflatable boat (RIB), and raced across the bar into open waters. Our first dive stop was a rocky area with lots of small caves and soft corals. After a back roll entry we descended to 40″ and swam over the reef, observing Grey nurse sharks, rays, Loggerhead turtles, Scorpion fish, and dozens of different types of reef fish.
During our surface interval, we saw female Humpback whales breaching as they headed up to Tanzania to give birth in it’s lagoons. On our second dive we found a big Round ray, Moray eel, groupers, and more turtles. Both dives had lots of surge which can be tiring but also part of the fun. One of the most exciting parts of the dive was the trip back to the beach. In order to get back to shore, the captain drove the boat at full speed towards the beach and flew it up onto the sand. A recovery crew was waiting for us and pulled the boat back onto it’s trailer for the ride back to Scuba Addicts lodge.
Next up is watching the Sardine run off Port St. John’s and the big animals that follow the annual migration- dolphins, tuna, sharks, and sea birds. While I’m traveling, our PADI- certified Divemasters will be conducting our daily scuba diving tours as usual back in Seattle.
After 4 flights and 30 hours of travel, I finally made it to Durban, South Africa last Friday. Durban is a beautiful, laid-back city with a Mediterranean climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool, clear nights. After a rest day on Saturday, Christine and I decided to take a Durban city tour and the Tala Game Reserve tour with Country & Costal Touring.
Our first stop was Moses Mabhida Stadium and a trip up the SkyCar ride to the top for 360 views of the city. Next we headed into the foothills west of town to Tala Game Reserve to check out some wild life. Hippos, impala, giraffe, wart hog, gnu, and Blesbok were some of the species we saw.
In the evening, my partner Brian arrived on his flight from Seattle (via Dubai) and the three of us headed out to the trendy Florida Street area for a late supper.
Next up we are headed down to Umkomass and Awalal Shoal for two dives before finally arriving at Port St. John’s for the Sardine Run. The reserve had lost 3 rhinos last week to poaching, and the remaining 4 are scheduled to be relocated to a safer area.
I’m currently down in Los Angeles, heading down to Durban for the sardine run off the eastern coast of South Africa. The sardine run in South Africa happens when billions of sardines school up for a spawning event, and then hundreds of thousands of predators converge to eat the fish. Predators include Dolphins, whales, sharks, and seabirds.
We will be spending a week or so cruising around in zodiac boats in scuba gear, hoping to find a feeding event. When we locate an event, we will dive into the water and observe what’s happening, and also hopefully get some good photos and GoPro video.
After the sardine run, we will head down to Cape Town to dive with Cape fur seals and also Great white sharks. While I’m traveling, our PADI- certified Divemasters will be conducting our daily Dive Tours as usual in Seattle.