The Sardine News best seller: Mkambati and the Wild Coast
The Sardine News Online Shop sells all sorts. Fishing lures. Surfboards. Marine Art. Plastic recycling machinery. And books.
One book. And it outsells every other item, individually, in the entire store.
Mkambati and the Wild Coast. By John Costello and Div Devillers. A coffee table book, evidently of the highest order, as sales just keep pouring in.
John Costello himself processes the orders, using the good old post office service, right from where he lives. In jolly old Port St Johns. Deep Transkei. Deep Africa.
The post office has been pleasantly reliable and not one of our deliveries has gone awry. We also use PostNet for an extra R50. But this can take longer since there ain’t no PostNet in Port St Johns yet. So we send from East London or Mtata.
The book is filled with information on the Transkei Wild Coast, and radical imagery. This photography is first class, even using helicopters as props. Just for perspective in some shots of those deep valleys and fissures!
The Transkei, and Mkambati in particular, are so ancient and beautiful at the same time. John and Div have certainly captured this in their extraordinarily successful coffee table book.
It’s a great gift to give someone and if you place your order now, there is a mild chance you will get your copy of Mkambati and the Wild Coast, around Christmas time.
Use the shop facility at the link below (EFT only), or just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for personal attention, or trade enquiries.
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Plastic Fantastic tour update: what we have been doing, where, and with what results. As we traverse Southern Africa on the Plastic Fantastic tour. An initiative to educate grassroots communities, who are inundated with our plastic waste, on how to gather, sort, clean and recycle certain ‘good’ plastics. Into useful items. Like trinkets for sale to tourists. Or useful household items, like door stoppers.
Branko’s 3D Print
Back in Tofo 24 November 2019.
Amazingly enough, Branko of Branko’s Pizza in Tofo, has a 3D printer. And he is a master operator at it.
And so, over another delicious pizza and cold beer, I presented my problem of the moulds, to Branko. He flew into action, and the very next day had me sitting watching over his shoulder as he produced miracles on the screen.
Firstly, he downloaded a bunch of whale sharks and other marine life, until he found the right one. We had to make a mould positive that could be pressed into a mould making substance and be removed, leaving a simple mould behind. And so the underneath had to be flat. And so Branko found a beautful whale shark, and surgically made the bottom of the shark flat. Then he extruded the edges from the outside profile, down. Forming an edge that could easily be removed from the newly-made mould.
The pectoral fins were too low and got cut off too!
So, Branko opened the original model again, removed each pectoral, and placed them on our modified model, just as close to dammit as is perfect.
The next thing, we were ready for printing! I filmed, but literally, I watched, every half millimetre layer of plastic being laid down. That honeycomb motion of the head had me mesmerised and when the model popped out, I stayed mesmerised. Such detail. A perfect model for us to plastic fantastic further with.
Then the evergreen Branko pumped out a turtle.
And we went off to make moulds of all sorts, with these models as references and positives.
A HUGE thank you to Branko at the pizza shop down near the beach on Praia do Tofo.
The Fatima’s Backpacker
Sitting at Fatima’s overlooking our all-new sandbank that just appeared out of nowhere, I had the fortune to start up a chat with none other than a crime reporter from London! The Times!
And so we got chatting about things, when John (never got his surname, never do in these chance encounters), lamented – “Damn, I feel really bad. A kid came up to me in the market selling recycled plastic whale sharks, and I said no!”.
But John’s temporary regret was my best news ever. It meant that the kids in the market had eventually cottoned onto to the Plastic Fantastic methodology, and were now making and selling theirown recycled products. This is marvellous news. Since firstly, you cannot find a bottle top or cap in the whole of Tofo. They have being actively collected, at 50 Mets a checkers bag. I was paying 200 mets per worker in the plastic factory in the back of the market. They were making about 20 finished products per day. I personally sold about 20 whale sharks altogether, and gave the rest away for awareness. But then I left it to the crew and pursued plastic further north in Pomene and up to Bazaruto Island.
When I returned, I was bitterly disappointed. Nothing was being done in the plastic factory in the back of the Tofo market. But I stood my ground and said there would be no more wages or plastic supply by The Sardine News anymore. They had to do it on their own.
And so, another two weeks later, and the news from John, is proof that The Plastic Fantastic plastic cleanup project is kicking into gear.
Return to Pomene
3 December 2019
The return to Pomene was also not as rewarding, but follow up we did. They had made no turtles or things, but, had started collecting caps and tops, at least.
But this was a chance to up the game. To move onto the beach, and collect it all!
The sun was beating down, so I gave myself a few minutes to collect what I could. All plastic that floats, and therefore ends up on our beaches, is either HDPE (#2), LDPE (#4) or PP (#5). And whilst LDPE and HDPE will happily join forces and become a mouldable substance, this is not ideal, since the stuff cannot be recycled as pure HDPE or LDPE, in the future. PP on the other hand only melts at a challenging 160 degrees celsius.
And so I charged on out into the blazing December sun, and grabbed what I could. Bottle caps again made up the most of the collection. But I found some crate pieces, brittle but definitely HDPE. A few whitish bottles made the cut, and I ran back into the shade.
The collection of fan blades in the dilapidated outhouse we found, was raided again. This time, we formed the aluminium into a barrelling wave. Into which we inserted our plastic. The barrel part of the wave was the melting chamber and was about 6 inches long. Deep barrel! The face of the wave acted like a hopper and could swallow plastic as fast as we collected it. The plunging stick came from a tree with a branch the right banana-like shape, as the fan blade mutated with all the metalwork. Voila, ready to extrude.
The first attempt almost worked. But I was a bit slow from fire to mould, and the plastic never came out fluid-like, as I fumbled with the plunger.
This time we got it smoother as Chad (whom you will have met in our YouTube series Plastic Fantastic), heated his machete in the fire, and used it to spread the plastic like peanut butter, once it came out of the makeshift extruder. Since the knife was so hot, the result was smooth and beautiful. The best whale shark underbelly we have produced so far!
And so we got production underway because it was too hot to surf, fish, or drink beer.
The third batch went into the hopper. But something was wrong. The melt wouldn’t melt, as the HDPE got all stuck to and around a PP bottle. Which I had mistaken for HDPE!
This was the first time I had made this mistake. But, it certainly will be the last, I hope. Because the resultant mess was a lump of unusable, or salvageable mess of incompatible plastics.
Don’t do this. Rather religiously use plastic that is marked with its type. Only.
25 November 2019.
It just so happens, that Branko of Branko’sPizza in Tofo, also owns a boat!
And so we came to set sail, from the delightfully scenic Barra, to the even more surreal Panzy Island. All aboard Branko’s dhow!
Our volunteer crew were Pedro and Kristina from Majorca. Anthony and Barbara from the Basque Country. And Fraik and Dorothy from Amsterdam. Plus me and Branko.
It’s a fantastic zig-zag across the endless Inhambane Bay. The low tide took us through the crystal clear channels and in amongst fishermen of all sorts. By the time we had got to Panzy Island, we had picked up quite a few kilos of seafood.
“Is it fresh?”, Branko was heard to joke!
We had blue swimming crabs (karangez), mangrove monsters (santola), whitebait (nyakusi), calamari (lula) and clams (amejwa). Did I mention the oysters (ostras), my favourites?!
When we moored on the lee, the island was full of plastic, we collected two sacks of all sorts, and took it back with us. Kristina from Majorca assisted in making the video and did a whole section in German? Thank you Kristina!
And then we ate. And ate. And ate. Snorkelling and exploring in between. Until finally Branko pulled out his last surprise.
6 Huge sirloin steaks!
And the Plastic Fantastic project gathers momentum.
Watch the Panzy Island video right here…
The Sardine News has been on tour promoting Plastic Fantastic ideology and methodology, all around Southern Africa. If you would like your name or brand to associated with helping to clean the beaches and oceans this way, please get in touch with me, Sean, on email@example.com. WhatsApp +27793269671.
Or see how you could possibly contribute or assist, at this link:
Gunter’s first Wrasse – caught at Tofo Point: It was 4am, and as planned, the knock came at my door. I wasn’t truly awake so requested from Gunter, the knocker, a few minutes. We had been out the night before, Tofo is just so much fun!
Soon we were walking the beach to the point at Praia do Tofo, a long time before the sun. Gunter was proficient with my 9ft spinning stick, and I was super stoked as usual, with my little 5ft 12lb braid outfit. Both of us had MYDO SS Spoons. Gunter had the slightly heavier SS Shad model, and I was fishing with the tiniest SS SMoby Spoon, that we make.
I really like my tiny little spinning outfit, even catching bait is a huge dose of fun. But this morning it was Gunter with the 9 footer, and his SS Shad spoon, weighing in at an ounce or so, that did the walking and the talking this for us.
But I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the toothy little wrasse looking fish. Well, not so little, I nearly had a heart attack as I watched Gunter haul that fish out of the ocean with my new rod bending double! He then dropped the reel right in the drink in his excitement to get the hook out and the fish released.
Which he did, after the rudimentary kiss on the lips. Gunter marched to the edge of the rocks and gave the fish his freedom. It was a magical moment because I never even had to ask Gunter to release the fish. He just did it on his own, without even chatting about it. This is NOT like some of my clients!
Get in touch if you like this kind of stuff. We are always looking for anglers, to help us with our tag and release program. Which we are running in conjunction with SAAMBR and the Oceanographic Research Institue in Durban.
The Roosta Files: There are no atheists in the line-up
By Roosta aka Andrew Lange; This is the first of a series of articles about how to take your surfing further, and of course, survive heavy water situations. No world domination or anything, just some tips and pointers on how to make this wave riding experience better for everyone involved,. if I’m in the water and catching all the waves, that’s no fun. I need everyone in the water to be having a good time with me so this series of instalments are for your own surfing pleasure, take what you want from them, and most of all stay stoked and keep surfing!
Roosta on a session lately.
“Just the other day I was riding an outer reef here on the South coast named after a popular berry, it was a solid, Just two of us out after a 45-minute paddle off the beach i was dry retching out the back, some call it anxiety, i call it adrenaline overload. The best thing you can do in a situation like that is swallow- it sounds simple but after a crazy paddle or beat down the last thing you want is that feeling. Oxygen levels low and all you can do is hiccup like a fish out of water. Fast forward an hour or two with 8 or 9 perfect outer reef waves under the belt i was having what i like to call a perfect session. Simple as that- when the waves are big, just dont fall, no mistakes. Simple. Except when you start getting brave and decide to share one as the biggest set of the morning approaches…”
“My Irish friend and I are flying down this huge face and as it lines up to run into the bay Irish decides to try criss-cross me when i was actually screaming for him to get going down the line! There quite simply is no room for mistakes when the waves are of consequence-and here i am at the bottom of a 10 foot foamy. behind the point still, having lost all my speed on an 8’2 while Irish puts ears back and bolts safely to the shoulder. I never even had time to react, which was probably good as this thing mowed me down with a ferocity i haven’t felt in ages. Finally, pop up, Irish is looking at me a tennis court distance away. I can feel him willing me onto my board as the next wave of the set bears down on me all white, foamy and angry and I cant react, frozen I realize last second I can actually get over this thing, clamber on board and sprint paddle up this vertical face chucking my board to the offshores both hands and legs in the water praying not to get pulled over- again Irish and I make eye contact all I can think out loud to him is if I get pulled over now it’s over… and it doesn’t, but guess what I’m vomiting bile again like a fish on deck- Duncan apologizes but I just scream: “you f…n faded me you dick! you cant do that et al” :I’ve been there before that’s why im here still!!”
Thank you to Roosta, for taking the time and riding the keyboard a while instead.
Now go surfing!
Or watch this video in this article of Roosta tackling another rarely surfed spot down south somewhere.
Stumpy the Octopus announces new YouTube channel: the MasterWaterman
Jason Heyne. For those that don’t know this guy, well, let’s just say he spends more time in the water than out. I was introduced to Jason, in the late eighties, by Darrell Hattingh…another MasterWaterman.
Darrell and I were being chased all over the KZN south coast as we hopped from spot to spot looking for good water to jump into. By a super eager Jason, in his battered but reliable and almost inconspicuous beige camouflaged Peugeot station wagon. Yip, the one with the air suspension.
We were all hustling back then, shooting fish to keep going. An extremely glamorous existence actually. Totally illegal. Being chased by Cedric and his team of the then highly effective and militant Natal Parks Board. We all stopped these shenanigans with a bit of age, Darrell pursues his illustrious marine art career these days, and Jason is an IT professional.
Luckily Jason has put some his computer skills to good use as of late and has produced an all-new YouTube channel. To back up his ongoing and informative dive reports.
Called the MasterWaterman, Jason is shooting on his dives and coming home for an edit. And if this first video is anything to go by, we are in for a breath-holding journey into Jason’s underwater life. And underwater friends.
Like Stumpy the Octopus. This guy lives on a reef near Umhlanga and has become Jason’s new best mate. Stumpy even jumps onto Jason’s back as he swims off and shoots a garrick! And then when Jason was packing up to swim back in through the surf zone, Stumpy said goodbye with a wave of his tentacles and jetted off back to his spot on the reef?
Enjoy the picture show…
You can watch Jason’s new channel, and subscribe/share/like at the following link;