April is a wonderful month in Maputaland, the days are long and warm and the seas are generally calm with light winds which have little effect on conditions under the water. This year has been no different, with mostly stunning conditions out to sea – we averaged about 20m+ visibility with several days even hitting the 30m mark! The temperature under the water remained a constant 25o C. There were the odd few days where the visibility dropped and conditions underwater were a bit stirred up but we had the best of the weather and certainly made the most of being on scuba.
The month started out with some amazing dives for our Discover Scuba “learner” divers! The Stride and Nolan families had a wonderful dive with sightings of a hawksbill turtle, two honeycomb rays, a blue spotted ray, a honeycomb eel as well as a geometric eel! The second dive of the day was another Discover Scuba dive with Lorrine Muller, who’s been to Rocktail many times with her family - and was now the 4th family member to take the plunge with us. Yarne Lategan, whose mum runs “Ice and Air” just up the coast, was the other Discover Scuba diver on the dive and what a superb dive they had. The girls did so well and loved seeing the same little hawksbill turtle we had seen on the previous dive, as well as finding a honeycomb ray sitting out on the sand, we had a curious big ribbontail ray who decided to swim up really close to us, before it swam on past and settled into a cave to rest. After that we had our hands manicured and perfectly cleaned by the Durban dancing shrimps - what a wonderful experience on their first-ever sea dive.
We also welcomed back Debbie Smith to lend a helping hand during our busy Easter period – and she certainly had some stunning dives during her stay here. On one particular dive at Pineapple Reef, with the Paul and Ashton families, they saw three sharpnose (brown) stingrays with approximately ten cobia (prodigal sons) accompanying the rays. What an incredible sight – and right at the beginning of the dive too. All the divers were amazed to see such a large group of prodigal sons at once, not to mention all the rays!
Nicole van der Merwe was spoilt for her qualifying dive when she and Debbie got to see some bottlenose dolphins whilst on their dive at Aerial. Congratulations, Nicole and we look forward to seeing you and your family back at Rocktail again soon!
Apart from seeing lots of turtles under the water, twice this month we have been really lucky – or rather it was the baby turtle hatchlings which were spotted on the beach that were really lucky. As we drove onto the beach in the middle of the month, we spotted little turtle tracks heading down to the beach from their nest. Ensuring there were no stragglers in the nest, battling to get out, Darryl quickly dug down into the sand and to our amazement we discovered nine more leatherback turtles, stuck at the bottom of the nest. After gently taking them to the water's edge, we released them. We wish these little hatchlings well and hope they grow healthy and strong.
Other great sightings this month included a guitarfish, honeycomb rays, bornella nudibrach, octopus, grey reef sharks, striped pipefish, banded pipefish, eagle ray and couta (king mackerel).
Congratulations to the following divers:
Nicole Van der Merwe for completing her PADI Open Water Course.
Laurine Muller, Yarne Lategan, Christopher and Aidan Stride, Michael Nolan, Dan and Jonathan Barwick, Nicola Watt, Leo Buzac, Annabelle and Matthew Schaefer and Andre Snr, Andre Jnr and Monet du Plessis for completing their PADI Discover Scuba Diving Course.
Emma Mulcany and Claire Stride for completing the pool section of the Discover Scuba Course.
Matthew Nolan, Roeland and Simon Lippert, Jeanne Celliers, Nicolas Holt, Amy Barwick, Alex Soloman, Georgie Schaefer and Gaby Potgieter for completing their PADI Bubblemaker Course.
Yours in diving,
Darryl, Clive, Michelle, Ondyne, Mandla and Sipho.
The Rocktail Dive Team