Pisces Weekly News: 18 May 2017

seal

It’s been a wonderfully wind-free week so far and the swell forecast is flat, flat, flat! We are going to be launching tomorrow for a couple of dives and then have a full weekend planned, including a pelagic shark trip on Saturday. We are heading to Whittle Rock at 0900 on Saturday, for those keen […]

Have you spotted? The Shaggy Sea Hare

Shaggy Sea Hare

NAME: Shaggy sea hare (Bursatella leachi africana) SIZE: 150mm. DISTRIBUTION: Langebaan Lagoon to East London, in the shallows. Species circumtropical, but sub-species endemic. DESCRIPTION: Large sea slug with shaggy extensions to skin. Spade-shaped head. Sandy-coloured, may have black spots and occasional blue or yellow speckling. May also have spots resembling eyes. NATURAL HISTORY: Usually in […]

Have You Spotted? Frilly-Mouthed Sea Jelly

FRILLY-MOUTHED SEA JELLY

NAME: Frilly-Mouthed Sea Jelly or Flag-mouthed sea jelly SIZE: Up to 40cm in bell diameter. Tentacles may exceed a metre in length. DISTRIBUTION: From the West Coast to False Bay and into the Atlantic Ocean. Surface to at least 35m. DESCRIPTION: Bluish white with ragged edges to the bell and a sturdy root with convoluted cauliflower-like tentacles […]

Pelagic Sharks Dive

swim with the blue shark

The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is a species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae, that inhabits deep waters in the world’s temperate and tropical oceans. Preferring cooler waters, blue sharks migrate long distances. Even though it is the most abundant shark species on the planet, it is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Although generally lethargic, they can move very quickly. Blue sharks are viviparous and are noted for […]

Have You Spotted? Yellow Sea Spider

YELLOW SEA SPIDER

NAME: Yellow Sea Spider SIZE: 50mm. DISTRIBUTION: Saldanha Bay to East London subtidally to at least 20m. DESCRIPTION: A small body with relatively sturdy legs with white tips. Colour bright yellow. Head with long tapering proboscis. NATURAL HISTORY: Seldom seen, despite its bright coloration, probably because of small size and slow movements.

Have You Spotted? Clown Anemone

clown anemone

NAME: Clown Anemone SIZE: 1cm in diameter. DISTRIBUTION: False Bay to at least 10m. Endemic DESCRIPTION: A small anemone with tentacles which may be banded in whit black and yellow or mostly white or even translucent. All have the curious habit keeping a couple of tentacles extended and the rest flat, giving it the appearance […]

Pisces News: 4 August 2016

Nudibranch Philip Staes

We had a quiet one last weekend – Ryan was out for a training dive at Long Beach as was Danie with a group of shore divers and the vis was predictably poor (2-3m) but we did hear that conditions were somewhat better on the Atlantic side on Sunday – 5-6m and 14 degrees – what a surprise for the middle of winter!

Things are looking much better this weekend with gentle NW today and tomorrow which will hopefully translate into some decent False Bay conditions into the weekend. There is a longish period swell on Sunday which we are keeping an eye on, but tomorrow and Saturday will be very nice.

Pisces News: 28 July 2016

Fish in kelp forest

The cut-off low pressure has wreaked havoc on False Bay since Tuesday afternoon – It’s not looking pretty down here! There is still Southerly swell for the next few days, coupled with some serious wind and my honest feeling is that the Bay is not going to recover by the weekend. The swell goes back to a more normal direction from Monday, so let’s hope for Wednesday diving next week.

It’s a weekend for log-fires, red wine, friends and family. Have a toasty, warm one!

Pisces News: 22 July 2016

Kelp Forest and diver - Wolfgang Polzer

It’s great to be back home, although the Wild Coast and specifically Buccaneer’s at Cintsa has started to feel like home-away-from-home!

And it’s been a pretty wet welcome back home so far which is good for the dams and gardens, but not quite so good for motivating divers to creep out early from under their duvets… Those that have ventured out have been rewarded with some lovely diving – the guys reported 10m viz and a brisk 13 degrees on our Tuesday launches. The boat is out again this morning, so you are welcome to call the shop this afternoon for an update. Wind wise, it’s very calm this weekend, but there is a bit of Southerly swell which might make its presence felt on Saturday. Hopefully the good visibility we have now will hold up for the weekend. Hop on the boat with us, or meet at the shop at 0900 to join our free Saturday shore dive led by Jano.

Pisces News: 30 June 2016

Dolphins chasing Anchovy

It’s been a crazy month for all of us at Pisces! We have been hosting several large groups of overseas divers during the month in Simonstown as well as running the first three weeks of the month up at East London for the sardine run. The guys have been having some lovely winter diving down here with some really excellent conditions and we have managed to dodge most of the storms that have come through. There’s no dodging this weekend, though, and a huge swell makes its presence felt from today onwards. We are planning launches for Sunday and will keep a close eye on the weather and sea between now and then. No launched for tomorrow or Saturday. Graeme also initiated a rescue for a juvenile Humpback whale that had become entangled in rope from an Octopus trap and fortunately the NSRI Station 10 team was able to free the whale quickly.

Pisces News: 26 May 2016

Whittle Rock False Bay

Last weekend was again an epic weekend of diving in False Bay. Can this coming weekend make it three in a row? We had lovely dives on both days last weekend and we also ventured off-shore on Saturday for a successful pelagic shark trip.

We have very little wind in our immediate future, with a bit of a NW on Sunday afternoon, so I am expecting tomorrowand Saturday to remain excellent. Thanks to Rory Bruins who joined us out at Whittle last weekend and grabbed some great shots. Graeme has found a new piece of reef not too far from Atlantis which we are going to go and explore on Saturday at 0900 if you feel like something new. Depth range on the new piece of reef is between 14m and 30m with some promising looking topography.

Pisces News: 20 May 2016

Save our Seas kids

What a wonderful weekend of diving we had last weekend! We had really awesome visibility and flat calm seas. We had quite a front that passed over yesterday and last night, along with a large swell, so gave yesterday a skip and are out today and tomorrow again. The water has been consistently around the 12 to 13 degree mark and the viz remains very nice. Very little wind is forecast for the weekend and SW swell of around 2.5m should deliver good conditions for a second week in a row! We are mixing it up again this weekend and are heading out to Whittle on Saturday morning, followed by Atlantis. Sunday sees us at the Princess Elizabeth first up, followed by the lovely PMB Reef – both sound like good two-tank combos to me!

Pisces News: 13 April 2016

Blue Shark - Harry Stone

It’s been a lovely flat and calm week so far and that continues for a few days before we get some serious SE on Sunday. We will be making hay while the sun shines and getting out tomorrow for a pelagic charter and some more inshore diving on Friday and Saturday. We will stay out of the water for Sunday. If you are one of the mid-week warriors, consider joining us tomorrow for what promises to be an epic day out there! 

Bookings are coming in steadily for the Cape Town Dive Festival and are at about 65% currently. Please take a few minutes to go online and get yourself registered for the event to avoid disappointment. Visit www.ctdf.co.za today!

Pisces News: 8 April 2016

Sevengill shark by Philip Staes

It’s almost a week since our group of Red Sea divers returned to Cape Town and the team at the shop have been super busy in my absence. The IDC has been in full-swing and the candidates are making their final preparations for the Instructor Exam tomorrow. The boats have been busy as well and have been going out most days of the week. This week has had some challenging conditions with lots of wind and swell, but yesterday we found clean water slightly deeper and today the wind has dropped nicely and the Bay is looking lovely and flat calm.

This weekend is looking very nice and we are expecting conditions to be lovely! Looking at the forecast, there is virtually no wind off Cape Point for the next few days – can it be true?

Pisces News: 17 March 2016

Cape fur Seal - Partridge Point

It feels as though the seasons are changing and I for one am really enjoying the cooler weather after the blistering heat of February!

Last weekend we had a windy day on Saturday and we had 15m visibility in 10 degree water (under the thermocline) at Smits. The shallower sites were not as clean (6-7m) Neil sneaked in a very early training launch on Sunday morning before the wind really ramped up and we scuttled home to batten down the hatches. We have just returned from a couple of launches and it was lovely and windless, but quite surgy, with 6-7m visibility in the Bay. There is not much wind for the weekend BUT there is a solid swell arriving on Sunday with quite a bit of South in it – so we will be watching this swell with interest and make a call on Saturday for the Sunday launches.

Pisces News: 18 February 2016

Blue Shark by Harry Stone

Last week was a busy one with lots of launches and training. We also managed to get out to the deep twice, on Thursday and again on Saturday. Harry Stone took some amazing shots again, as always, one of which is below. To see more of his work, there are some photos on our Pisces FB page (www.facebook.com/piscesdiversct/) or look for Harry Stone on FB – love his work!

Last Minute Notice: Our Madagascan connection, Jacques Viera is in town for a few days and he has offered to do an impromptu talk and slide show this evening at Pisces Divers at 1830.

Pisces News: 5 February 2016

Scubapro Stand at Boot Dive Show Germany

I have just returned from a very interesting dive show: The Boot Show in Dusseldorf. It’s a combined Boating, Diving and Sailing show spreading over 14 exhibition halls. Just the Dive Hall takes about half an hour to walk around – without stopping (which is almost impossible!) Two dive centres from SA got an opportunity to be there on the PADI stand, so I was lucky to be there and Louis van Aardt from Pro Dive in PE joined me. We were amazed by how many people who stopped by our stand had either been to SA and were planning to return or it was firmly on their bucket list.

Pisces News: 17 December 2015

Blue Shark - Harry Stone

It’s almost a month since my last newsletter – and I have not even been away on a trip or anything! We have been training and diving like crazy and getting our new boat out to the deep on a few special days. On one of these trips we had well known underwater photographer Harry Stone join us and he has been sending us a few of his awesome images taken on the trip, one of which is pictured below.

Pisces News: 12 November 2015

Reef Scene - Jan de Bruyn

The boat has just returned from a couple of launches in the Bay and the divers were beaming from ear to ear about the conditions! They were calling it 15m on the PMB, or as Ryan said “One of those days when you stick your head underwater and you can see the wreck from the surface!” The weatherman seems to be predicting pretty benign and calm weather for the next few days, so I am pretty sure the current excellent conditions will hold! The next wind we will feel is late on Sunday afternoon, so let’s hope it stays as predicted. 

Pisces News: 14 January 2015

Blue Shark - Olivia Anderson

I hope your year has started in the best way possible! We have been super busy down here at Pisces, which came to an abrupt halt last Thursday when the SE started pounding us relentlessly! So the last week has been a chance to “make and mend”, take a breath and prepare for the next patch of good weather.

We did manage another trip out to the deep last Wednesday and we enjoyed some 22 degree and very blue water. Olivia Anderson was on the trip and she took this awesome shot of a Blue shark. We were also briefly visited by a Mako shark and two Bronzies were spotted as well. If you are interested in joining us for a pelagic trip, please let me know and we will put you on our call list for the next weather window.

Pisces News: 9th April 2015

Maldives trip 2015 group photo

A group of us have just returned from an absolutely fantastic Maldives trip – we are jet-lagged but still basking in the glow of a wonderful trip, with lots of photos to sort through. And we are all missing that 6AM bell waking us up for coffee and the morning dive briefing!

Pisces News: 26th March 2015

Orca - False bay

After some truly awful weather of late, today dawned crisp and calm and there was a special treat out on the water. Skipper Graeme Grant managed to get a couple of shots and says they joined this family group of Orca’s just after they had taken a common dolphin. Let’s hope they stay with us in the Bay for a while!

Conditions report: 16 degrees and 6m visibility. There is some SE arriving, so we will keep you posted on the sea state.

Pisces News: 20th February 2015

Dolphins in False Bay

Here we go again! The wind has cranked back to 20 knots plus and there is a very nasty long period Southerly swell making the Bay a mess. Due to the swell size and period, the Atlantic should not be any better, so I think it’s going to be a dry weekend. Carel will be braving Long Beach with some students, but that’s about it.

Pisces News: 22nd January 2015

Sevengill shark by Jacques de Vos

Right, first off I have to eat some humble pie from last week. We had stunning conditions on the Friday and this inexplicably turned into 1m muck on Saturday. We did our first launch’s dive by brail around Fan Reef with the crap viz going all the way to the bottom with no hint of a thermocline. The temp had jumped from 10 degrees on Friday to 16 degrees – so at least the soup was warm! We cancelled the rest of the weekend’s launches.

Pisces News: 16th January 2015

Simonstown from above.

The weather really has been all over the place this week and we are bracing for a serious SE klap next week! The forecast is for a 17 second period, 4.5m swell on Monday. Fortunately, the spell of NW we had yesterday has really cleaned up the inshore sites and the guys reported excellent viz (in 10 degree water!) at Pyramid this morning.

Pisces News: 18th December 2014

Cape Gurnard on the SAS PMB

Happy festive times are here! With more and more visitors in the Cape, we’re adding a few extra boat launches in the coming days to be sure that everyone will find a place on the boat. And finally we’ll be enjoying some calm days for the weekend and into next week, a very welcome break from the strong southeaster that has been near relentless for months!

Pisces News: 4th December 2014

Extremely rare Tiger Catfish

Ye Olde Southeaster strikes again… inshore on the Bay is so brown that it looks like a muddy river!  We’re so eager to get into the water that many of us strongly considered a shore dive at Long Beach before we saw the colour! Everyone will just have to wait until Sunday. We predict that with this long and sustained southeaster, Hout Bay will turn nice and blue again so our new boat will just have to journey to that side for her maiden voyage!

Pisces News: 30th October 2014

Another southeaster is on its way but we’re determined to get our divers out and into the water! False Bay is just going to be icky so we’ve picked some great inshore sites out of Hout Bay. This past weekend our dives in the Atlantic were graced by phenomenal visibility and super cute seal interactions at Duiker Island. During the week we revisited Duiker Island for some filmmakers and found the water chilly and the seals just as happy as could be!

Pisces News: 2nd October 2014

Baby skate at Long Beach Simons Town

The wind did turn on us earlier this week but in a way, we’re quite glad! We’ve changed the plan for tomorrow to go and play in the Atlantic! For the weekend we’ll stay in False Bay. The Bay is choppy on top at the moment but the colour is still so blue! Carel and Neil have both had a busy week with teaching. We’ve welcomed a new Advanced Open Water diver and have two Open Water students in the classroom as we speak! The wind will drop for Saturday and only pick up during the day on Sunday, so we’re excited to get out there!!

Pisces News: 25th September 2014

Puffadder Shyshark by Neil Taylor

How awesome was it to have a public holiday on a Wednesday to break up the work week? But now, the weekend is fast approaching and we’ve been carefully planning some great boat dives! There is swell and wind coming for the weekend however, we believe that conditions will still be good enough for diving in False Bay. The season for teaching is building up and we’re seeing more students on the boat and getting more divers certified! We love getting divers back into the water to improve their dive skills! Students are always the happiest smiling faces on the boat!

Pisces News: 18th September 2014

Sevengill swimming with seals

We had an amazing diving day yesterday at Partridge Point and Pyramid Rock. The temperature was an even 15, the surface was calm and the visibility was 10-15 metres! Plenty of cowsharks at Pyramid Rock and a Cowshark even came through the group of divers at Partridge Point! It was thrilling to see a Cowshark with seals dancing all around it. On the way back to Simon’s Town, Skipper Dave took the divers to see three breaching Southern Right whales just outside of Simon’s Town! Whilst the weather was lovely for diving yesterday, albeit a bit wet, the windy weather today is going to make Friday a bit bumpy but we’re still hoping for the best! 

Pisces News: 11th September 2014

The wind and swell have kept us out of the water since Monday and with strong winds through tonight, we almost certainly won’t be diving today either! The conditions calm a bit tonight and hopefully will behave for the weekend! We are all feeling too dry and need some time on regs!!

If you enjoy our weekly newsletter, then we invite you to check out our newest blog: the Weekend in Review! This will be posted on our Facebook page on Tuesdays and will feature the dives and training of that weekend! Our first one has been posted so sure be to check it out!

Pisces News: 28th August 2014

Random rock at partridge point

It has been a cold and wet week so far with the latest cold front that moving through Cape Town. It has certainly reminded us that we are still in winter. Fortunately things are looking good for the weekend ahead as the wind and rain backs down leaving us with sunny conditions and a taste of what is to come this summer. Conditions are looking good for False Bay with flat calm conditions on the weather forecast. Friday we are going to explore a bit around D-Frame, so if you are looking for something new and interesting then please call us to book your spot.

Pisces News: 21st August 2014

Reef Teach - Sodwana

It’s been a cold and wintery week and I did feel a bit sorry for Dave yesterday, skippering in the rain for a couple of hours. We had some lovely conditions underwater, however, with 10m viz and flat calm conditions. This weekend it’s looking good for the Bay with nice clean in-shore confitions.

Pisces News: 14th August 2014

Nico Kollakowsky - Advanced Open Water

Mike went out for a drive yesterday during the strong wind gusts and found that it was cleaning out the Bay beautifully! Today is going to be a lovely diving day! Carel and I both saw whales on the way to work – close inshore, as well!Tomorrow we’ll get into the water and dive before the southeaster starts up but Saturday may have a touch of wind still.Sunday will also have a light southeaster as well but nothing too strong. 

Pisces News: 7th August 2014

Sevengill shark - by Jan

For those who have been to Simon’s Town in the past few days, we’re certain that you would have noticed some changes happening to the front of the building… we’re busy having a mural painted! We’ll post photos once it’s completed but we think it will go fast! Pop in and watch the magic happen 😉 Dave just came in and said that there are whales in Bay – spotted by Roman Rock lighthouse. This week’s divers enjoyed great viz and there was one interesting dive in which a seal was found swimming around at Pyramid Rock!

Pisces News: 31st July 2014

Sevengill Shark shot by Wendy Crowther

An exciting week here at Pisces Divers! We’ve had dancers coming to learn to dance underwater, marine archaeologists exploring and learning from wrecks just in front of us here in Simon’s Town and a really thrilling boat trip to the seals and sharks. Whilst our time with the seals was a bit surgy, the water was clean and the seals were very playful. At the sharks we were all taken with the top-to-bottom blue, blue viz and encounters with sharks, cuttlefish, octopus and some interesting klipfish.

Pisces News: 3rd July 2014

Selfie of the sea winners

It seems that our streak of amazing diving has come to a brief halt. The weather this weekend is going to be wet and chilly but chins up – winter diving is not over yet! Our divers enjoyed the great visibility and balmy 16C water we had this week: visiting Smitswinkel Bay, the seals and the cow sharks with great interactions! The basket stars were especially active as of late – stretching out as far as their arms could reach!

Pisces News: 19th June 2014

Neil busy training Dive Masters

Whilst the winter weather returns, we keep our eyes to the coming weekend and the promise of some fine times to be had in the Bay. But the winter weather doesn’t keep our divers out of the water! Just yesterday, one of our Dive Masters, Andre Visser, took some folk on a shore dive to find some cow sharks and found a Puffadder Shyshark laying her mermaid’s purse! What a treat! We continue to have sightings of whales and hope to bump into some during the dives this weekend.

Neil has been busy getting our newest Dive Masters-in-training up to standard. They spent sometime at Long Beach this week working on stress tests, search and recovery and rescue scenarios.

Pisces News: 5th June 2014

We’ve had yet another bout of bad weather this week – just now it even hailed by us in Simon’s Town! We all jumped up from our work to go gawk at the hailstones the size of peas coming down and felt lucky not to be Neil who is at Long Beach right now doing a shore dive! The swell is quieting and we will be launching for Friday and the weekend.

Pisces News: 30th May 2014

Rory Bruins testing his new camera on the seals

The Cape of Storms lives up to her name once again. The surge has moved into the Bay already and both Saturday andSunday are looking messy. The boat divers just visited the PMB and found the water a chilly 12C, the visibility to be between 5 and 6-metres with too much surge for their likings. We are excited about diving next week – those who are dashing of to East London will have their last Cape dives and then we will wait with quite anticipation for their awesome fish tales and photos to start rolling in!

Pisces News: 15th May 2014

Lara on the PMB

Last weekend we had some incredible diving on Saturday with unbelievably warm water and superb viz. I saw some great pics that were posted of dives to Whittle and the General Botha on Sunday, which also looked amazing. We launched yesterday to the PMB and Pyramid and the conditions were also superb. Carel snapped DMT Lara enjoying the 16 degree conditions on the PMB below…

Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end and there is a nasty SE which smacks the peninsula from Saturdaymorning, so we are going to launch tomorrow while it is still going to be good and then give Saturday and Sunday a rest. If you can slip away from work or studies, tomorrow will be the best bet for the next while!

Pisces News: 24th April 2014

Skipper Dave got wet

Boy, have we been having fun in Simon’s Town! The weekend was a touch rough but in that really nice “Cape Town” way *wink*. The wind was howling but that didn’t stop the faithful few that made it out despite the Two Oceans Marathon. While Mike is away, the staff will play and – goodness me – have we been playing! Both Jan and Skipper Dave got their regs wet for the first time in many months! I haven’t heard such numerous squeals of delight underwater since before I started to wear a hood! The next conquest is to get our most trusted service technician Alan under the sea. Last Friday’s boaters were treated to shoaling yellowtail and a nice view of the visiting H.M.S. Portland berthed in the Navy yard.

Pisces News: 10th April 2014

Wendy Crowther

We had a busy weekend with training last weekend: On Saturday Carel filled up the boat with students and we ran normal launches on Sunday, where the surge and chop had died down somewhat. This whole week has been a great week to be in Cape Town – today’s high is 31 degrees! The boat is out at the moment and we will be out again tomorrow. There is virtually no wind or swell forecast until next Tuesday at least and we all know Cape Town traditionally rains over Easter, so come and get it while the going is good!

Pisces News: 27th March 2014

False Bay Reef

The bay is looking absolutely Bee-u-tiful after all the NW and rain earlier in the week – it’s lovely, flat and clean! It should remain this way for the next few days and even the bit of swell that arrives on Sunday will not affect the Bay until Monday. We will be making the most of the good conditions with launches tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday – Do come and join us!

Pisces News: 20th March 2014

Lara looking for nudibranchs

We sneaked in three launches before the swell yesterday and had decent wreck dives at Smits and the PMB. The visibility was pretty good despite the surge! Then the swell klapped us let yesterday afternoon and the sea is in turmoil at the moment. The majority of the swell passes by Friday afternoon and there is pretty light NW and sunny conditions forecast, so we will hope the Bay settles down nicely for our weekend launches.

Pisces News: 27th February 2014

Pisces Divers at the Russian Dive show 2014

It’s great to be back in warm Cape Town after my Russian adventure! It was a fascinating trip and we hope to be welcoming more Russian divers to Cape Town in the next year, with a couple of confirmed groups already.

I have to say some special Thank-You’s to people who made it all possible. Firstly, thanks to Jean Tresfon for his generosity in letting me use some of his excellent Cape Town diving images (see more of his work on the walls of our dive centre or on www.underwaterimages.co.za) which really attracted people to our stand.

Pisces News: 6th February 2014

The second Cape Town Dive Festival is just over the horizon and bookings are now open! Please visit the website at www.ctdf.co.za and start deciding which launches you would like to join – I am predicting that spaces for early launches will start filling up quite quickly, so as with everything in life, the early bird will get the worm. This year we have a new venue for the event – Seaforth Beach – which for many reasons will make this year’s event better than the first one. There will also be DSD’s and refresher dives happening off the beach and nearby Navy pool, much easier parking arrangements, better toilets and changing facilities all of which we hope will combine to making the event even more of a success than the first one.

Pisces News: 24th January 2014

Pisces Divers - Night Dive

We had an incredible sighting on one of our recent launches which I wanted to share with you. On Wednesday we had just completed a dive at Partridge Point and were having some chocolate and securing cylinders for the trip back when I spotted a breach out of the corner of my eye. All I saw was the splash, so I kept looking and hoping it would breach again. And it did. A smallish (2m) White Shark did a series of six massive breaches right in front of us, about 40-50m from the boat. Yes, we did get photos and we will post them as soon as the photographer gets them to us! After chatting to a couple of people about it, we think it was probably being harassed by a larger shark, since it was clearly not hunting anything. Just shows you never know what you are going to see down on any given day of diving in Cape Town.

Pisces News: 15th January 2014

Abalone abstract: Peet van Eeden

We have been on the hop with our group of Russian divers who were blown out of the water on Monday, but have had two days of lekker False Bay dives yesterday and today. The conditions today are lovely and pond-like with the temperature dropping down from 19 degrees to 13 degrees during the week. Visibility is in the 5-8m range today. Our relatively flat and windless conditions continue for a few days and then there is some SE on Saturday which might well cause us to head over the hill to Hout Bay. We will confirm on Friday.

Pisces News: 16th December 2013

Hiding from the sun in Hout Bay

Last weekend we launched out of Hout Bay in very nice, clean conditions and the wind gave us a short respite before blasting through again for most of the week.

It’s been a sweltering day now that the SE has finally abated. It’s about time to plunge into the blue and wobbly stuff before you melt! Carel and Neil have been busy with lots of training and Carel has moved his office to the bottom of the pool for the rest of summer.

Pisces News: 6th December 2013

We are all feeling a bit numb this morning after hearing the news of Madiba’s passing late last night. Although we have been expecting it for so long, it’s still a shock when it finally happens. RIP Tata.

In his words: ““I leave it to the public to decide how they should remember me,” he said, “but I should like to be remembered as an ordinary South African who together with others has made his humble contribution.” Let’s all strive to make our contribution!

Pisces News: 21st November

Strawberry Anemone by Peet van Eeden

Yesterday was fantastic (yes, you’ve heard that line before, but it’s true!) The Bay had 12-15m viz and almost no wind. Today the wind was stiff SE which raised the temperature up to 17 degrees and unfortunately dropped the viz back to around 6-8m. The wind does back off a bit tomorrow, when we will be launching for a full boat of Openwater students. We are going to keep our launches in the Bay as it seems the SE has been bringing some nice blue water, but will possibly move over to Hout Bay for Sunday.

Pisces News: 14th November 2013

Kelp forest by Jean Tresfon

Last weekend delivered some lovely False Bay diving and the Bay has maintained the good viz and temperature this week: 17-18 degrees and 6-8m viz. We were out for a couple of launches on Wednesdayand wanted to dive Livingstone Reef, but were moved on by the Navy due to a gunnery practice. We tried to explain that we felt safer in the target area than immediately adjacent to it, but they were having none of this and we retired gracefully to another dive site. We did our second dive at Pyramid and spotted a couple of Sevengills in between the swarms of jellies. I am hoping the gentle NW yesterday and today will clean them out a bit.

Pisces News: 6th November 2013

Horned Blennie

In a departure from the norm, I am sending out an early newsletter this week. One reason for this is the fact that the South peninsula will grind to a complete halt with the Big Walk on Sunday. Well not a complete halt, but to the speed of thousands of large ladies crammed into too much Lycra kind-of-pace. The other reason is that we can be relatively certain that the Bay is going to be the place to dive for the next few days at least. We have decided to close the shop completely on Sunday and will instead be partaking in a Big Sleep In.

Pisces News: 4th October 2013

2013 Pisces Divers - Sodwana tour

What a great five days we had in Sodwana! A group of us headed up last Tuesday and we joined Jenny and Adriaan who had arrived a couple of days before us. We decided to stay and dive with Triton on the recommendation of friends and what good advice this turned out to be! The team that work for Coelocanth diving legend, Peter Timm, are simply fantastic. We were royally looked after and treated to some of Sodwana’s finest dive sites. The DM’s were great, pointing out many obscure critters that would have been missed otherwise. Kim in the kitchen was a wizard and we all put on a few kilograms while we were up there J A bonus was that our visit coincided with the annual Sodwana Shootout (photographic competition) It was lekker to see how well the Cape Town divers fared up there:

Pisces News: 20th September 2013

Pyramid Reef

Phew, what a week of winter weather!! In between the storms, we launched on Monday for a big group of Norwegian divers and on Tuesday for some Russians. Nice thing about the Scandinavians and Russians is that this is considered pretty mild weather at home!    All of us soft Capies have been shivering in our boots.

Pisces News: 13 September 2013

Red Eye Amphipod

This weekend is in stark contrast to last weekend’s mild and sunny weather! There is a serious storm bearing down on the Cape and we are anticipating some huge swell and gale force winds. I think the prudent thing to do is find a warm place with cold beer to watch the rugby on Saturday morning! There are whales all over the place this morning, with a couple seen right off Long Beach.

Pisces News: 5th September 2013

Sea fan by Geoff Spiby

Welcome to Spring! For a change, it seems as though the back of winter has been broken and there is some fair weather on the way. This weekend is looking very favourable, so we will be out there tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. Today Carel had decent conditions for his shore dives, with water at 13 degrees and viz around 6-7m, which should improve over the weekend.

Pisces News: 22nd August 2013

Mandela Nudibranch

The National Watersports Show last weekend in Johannesburg was an interesting glimpse into the Joburg dive industry. Up there, dive centres are usually located in shopping malls and pay up to R1000 per square metre of retail space per month. Its no wonder they push hard to make their sales! Oh yes, and there are 97 registered centres… It was very nice to meet divers who have dived with us in the past and to meet new divers and try and persuade them to come down for a diving weekend to Cape Town. It was also nice to do some networking with the industry up there. We also managed to pick a good weekend to be away from Cape Town, although by Sunday things had settled down and the boat did two launches with reasonably decent conditions.

Pisces News: 8th August 2013

We had some really great weather last weekend and it’s hard to believe that it was 27 degrees last Saturday as we shiver this morning! There was some seriously huge, long period swell which hit the peninsula late Sunday and then the early part of the week. The big wave crew were out in force and Jean Tresfon captured this rare shot of a surfer getting barrelled at Dungeons (and looking really casual about it too!)

Pisces News: 1st August 2013

Kelp forrest in Cape Town

Last weekend saw the first Finathon taking place and a bunch of intrepid divers braved the 12 degree water for a looooong swim from Glencairn to Simonstown – some even made it J I think it was a nice initiative and I am sure some money was raised for Shark Spotters and Project Aware. I am sure it will become a regular fixture in the calendar.

Pisces News: 25th July 2013

Gannet and snack by Tony Baskeyfield

Last weekend turned out to be absolutely perfect – calm as a mirror and fantastic viz on all the dives. It’s been great seeing all the photos of clean-water again! This weekend we have some serious swell tracking towards the peninsula, mainly focussed on Saturday. We will launch on Friday and Sunday this weekend. The water is still super-clean, so fingers crossed.

Pisces News: 18th July 2013

Humback whales on the Sardine Run

Ahhh, it’s nice to be back home! That is one of the many bonuses of living in Cape Town – its lekker to go away on holiday but just as lekker getting home afterwards! I had a brief few days in Cape Town between the sardine run trip and a family holiday to Mozambique, so it feels like months since I have written a newsletter.

Pisces News: 23rd May 2013

Atlantis Reef stiched by Geoff Spiby

This weekend we are expecting some heavy rain on Sunday, but today, tomorrow and Saturday look very nice indeed – tiny swell and very light winds. Carel reported decent 10m viz from our two-tank launch yesterday and this will maintain through to the weekend. We have decided to have a break on Sunday due to the rain, but will make hay while the sun is shining on Saturday!

There have been some reports that the Orcas are back in the Bay – the most recent report was off Smits yesterday – so that’s another good reason to head out for a boat dive in winter-time!

Pisces News: 17th May 2013

Black Nudibranch macro photo by Geoff Spibey

Last weekend we had some excellent diving in the Bay as predicted – very clean but also very chilly at 11 degrees. There has been very little wind this week and we enjoyed a great mid-week dive at Atlantis this Wednesday. There is a bit of SE on Saturday afternoon but not enough to damage the good conditions we have at the moment and there is precious little swell – I think the Bay will deliver the goods again this weekend.

Pisces News: 9th May 2013

DUC photo competition winner

Its beanie and scarf weather down here in Simonstown this morning! The sun is out but there is a chilly wind blowing… We had a busy weekend last weekend with launches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and this week we ventured out on Wednesday and experienced 8m visibility and around 15 degrees. We were planning a couple of launches for tomorrow, but there is some Southerly swell at the moment which is making the inshore sites quite surgy indeed. This gets smaller over the course of Saturday and again there is very little wind forecast for the weekend. So our plan is to get in on Saturday and Sunday – please wrap up in some warm stuff (before, during and after your dive!) and come and join us!

Pisces News: 25th April 2013

Geoff Spibey - Six legged Sea Star

It’s been the most beautiful autumn weather, but unfortunately the visibility has been a bit less than gorgeous with between 5 and 8m viz in the Bay over the last week. The windless conditions continue for a bit longer and although some swell builds on the Atlantic, it’s very Westerley and will not affect us too much here in the Bay. Spring tides will make some of the launches a bit interesting over the weekend!

Pisces News: 19th April 2013

Pisces Divers at the UCT decompression chamber

Last weekend saw some very nice diving on both sides – Atlantic on Friday and Saturday which was around the 10m mark and then very cold but good viz in False Bay on Sunday. Then we had that big front that moved through bringing with it lots of rain and cooler weather and now its back to SE wind and very small swell for the weekend. I think we will launch out of Hout Bay on Saturday and False Bay on Sunday.

Pisces News: 11th April 2013

Basket Star in Hout Bay

We finally have a weekend with no marathons, big walks, festivals, road-closures or other distractions… And the Atlantic is the call for the next couple of days with this steady SE and tiny swell… Come and join us for what might be the last of the Atlantic diving for some time! We will move back to False Bay for our Sunday launches.

Pisces News: 28th March 2013

Pisces Divers easter egg hunt 2013

Last weekend we launched on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in very warm and fairly average visibility. On Sunday, we held our second Easter Egg hunt at Long Beach where a bunch of divers hunted for golf balls to claim their Easter Eggs with afterwards. All those who joined in had a lot of fun and lots of chocolate was consumed all round! Thanks to Erika, Carel and Neil for the prep and organising!

Pisces News: 15th March 2013

Dr Adam Barnett presenting a presentation at Pisces Divers

We had a nice break courtesy of the Argus Cycle Tour last Sunday and were back in the water on Tuesday with launches. On Tuesday evening we hosted a fascinating talk by Dr Adam Barnett on Sevengill Shark research that he has been conducting in South Australia and Tasmania. Adam has been busy tagging some of the sharks here in False Bay and we look forward to learning more about this enigmatic animal when the data starts coming in. Something I took away from the talk was just how lucky we are to be able to dive with the Sevengills in clean and shallow water at Pyramid. Adam has done his PhD on these animals and he dived with them for the first time here in False Bay. All his studies have been conducted in 50cm of viz or less.

Pisces News: 7th March 2013

Cape Triplefin spotted by Georgina Jones

We’ve enjoyed some moderate and mild weather this week, with a couple of days of flat calm seas and warm water in the Bay. The visibility has been disappointing on the whole, though. What has been interesting is the number of fish being seen on dives. Partridge is bristling with Galjoen at the moment – where are they all coming from? I can’t remember seeing so many at once before!

Pisces News: 1st March 2013

Potjiekos Compition at Pisces Divers

It’s the first of March and the beginning of a new (financial) year – the time of the year accountants are grumpy and small business owners are wondering how they are going to pay their VAT, company tax and suppliers! (did I mention salaries?)

We have been absorbing the increases in our input costs but are forced to make some adjustments to some of our core services. Our PADI materials have increased around 20% due to the weak Rand and we have adjusted our course prices accordingly. From 9th March our PADI course prices will increase across the board, but you still have until then to pay for a course at the old prices, whatever the course might be. To this end, we have given you our schedule for courses for the month of March below.

Pisces News: 21st February 2013

Sand Tongue Fish at Longbeach Simons Town

Whoops, we got it wrong last Sunday – I was up early looking at the sea at 6am and it looked mighty ugly at that hour, but then the wind dropped right off and it turned into a beautiful day on the Atlantic side, with reports of 15m viz coming in faster than news reports of the Oscar Pistorius saga. I think my version of Windfinder might have a virus, because they forecast gale-force wind all day! We did launch on Monday and Wednesday with pretty good results, though. Let’s hope we get it right this weekend with launches tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday in favourable looking False Bay conditions, apart from some SE coming through later on Sunday afternoon.