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20kg Garrick story by The Bear

Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot Garrick with the kids

20kg Garrick story by The Bear

Main question I got asked on the busy beach after the dive “How long did it take to shoot this fish?”.

Followed by ”how deep/far out?” which is the usual question besides “what about Sharks!”.

Answer to the first question if you ignore the long drive and various stops to check for right conditions and you start the dive from when I entered the water from the beach…I would say about 5 minutes to 8 minutes tops! The fight and landing (hands on the fish and the usual barb/knife to the brain) there of another 10 to 15 minutes!

But..big BUT!!

I have been looking for a Garrick/Leervis (Lichia amia) of
over 20kg since I started diving in KZN waters for just over 26 and a half years! (give or take a couple of days and hours!) So 26 and a half years and 5 minutes is the correct answer!

Lost a beast in 14m two years back North coast and missed one close to this weight 2 years before at the same spot but backline, waited too long to take the shot being greedy and checking the shoal of 20 odd fish for a bigger one first!

The swim out was quick in the rip current on the south side of the point and I had just got positioned in the 2knt SN current (4m depth to sand on my left and 3m to the slope of point bricks/structure on my right on the southern end Garrick still being on the up run so facing south). I always put Camera with head strap on first before deploying my flasher so looked down quickly to my waist to get the camera out my shuttle crayfish bag and in doing so caught sight of the single Garrick just in line with me coming past me already to my left on the sand just in visibility (6m).

Quick instinct duck dive with the fish head down and moving fast it was just out of range so two fast kicks and a grunt got him to turn slightly and pause just long enough to plant a decent long-range shot just behind the dorsal fin mid-body…shot was good but that noise (DOOF) on impact told me that the spear had not passed through (hit the spine and the spear ran up it towards the swim bladder area). So I let the fish run with the float line rig and float. The fish then decided that the horizon out to sea looked good and subbed my float and so began the fastest 300m swim of my life!

Eventually, I caught up with my float which had now returned to the surface grabbed the stringer and put the camera on whilst being towed a bit. Viz was better out deeper and when I had the spear running line in my hands I could see the spear was pulling but luckily I dive with two guns with the second gun a 130 reel gun on my belt reel and managed to plant the second shot seen in the picture.

Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot 20kg Garrick
Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot 20kg Garrick

My dive mate Paul Roxburgh thought I was seriously deviating from the dive plan at first but then saw that I was doing full on Freestyle and thought maybe I had shot a big Cape yellowtail or Daga Salmon but obviously could not keep up and was 100 odd meters behind me inshore! Excellent camera work Paul…thank you!

20kg Garrick are spear destroyers of note…the brand new 7.5mm spear from Rob Allen is still exactly that…brand new no bend whatsoever! Top kit and master engineering!. Aweh!

At just over 20kg I am super stoked and the epic run and fight made it awesome to say the least…will drop a link to the footage when I edit and upload to Master Watermen YouTube channel!

As always dive safe and straight spears…

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Off the Grid Living: Episode 9 – Homebrew

Off the Grid Living Episode 9 - Homebrew

Off the Grid Living: Episode 9 – Homebrew

Homebrew: when Cyril last night announced the extension of Lockdown 2020, the entire country went silent.

As everybody pondered how they were going to get through this new double or quits challenge, here at Jonny’s house in Johannesburg, where I am fortunate enough to be, Jonny – flew into action. Our pantry still looked okay since we had an emergency food shop done a few days before. Lots of fruits and all sorts. Healthy stuff.

But Jonny had a different plan. Since he grew up on the beaches of Port Alfred and surrounds, and went to boarding school somewhere there too, he learned some skills that could only have come from there. Jonny learned, in school, how to make pineapple beer!

Ok, but we don’t have pineapples!

But we have apples.

“Next best thing!” – proclaimed Jonny. “We can make cider.”

Who then promptly built a cider still, right in the kitchen here in Jukskei Park! A nice clean 20 or so litre plastic drum. A fish tank thermostat heater. Some irrigation tubing and a 2 litre plastic bottle. Some glue will hold it all together, making sure of a good airtight seal at the lids (something to dow ith gasses Jonny mumbled when I asked).

Chop up the apples into cubes that go into the drum. Along with 3 litres of hot tea made with 20 tea bags. 2 kgs of sugar (there’s the hangover). Some yeast dissolved in hot water – a small sachet is fine.

Chuck it all in mate!

And fill up with water.

Whenever the 2 litre bottle expands too much, open and burp the excess gas out. Do this every now and then for three days. After five days it should be just ready to enjoy with ice and a slice of lemon.

Or you can just watch the video right here…recipe at the end…

There are more Off the Grid Living instalments at the following links…

Off the Grid Living Episode 2 – Growers

Off the Grid Living Episode 9 – Homebrew

We are on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

Try our video content on YouTube right here.

https://thesardine.co.za

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Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

Fishing Benguerra

Fishing Benguerra: 2 Black marlin, one brown – on same live bait in same minute!

We had been catching and tagging Zambezi sharks. And recording humpback whale and calf conversations. For three weeks straight. In all kinds of seas and conditions. And so it was absolutely great to be out to tag marlin again. The core BCSS crew were aboard. Captain Bento and crew Pedro and Mario. Dr. Mario Lebrato. And me. We are all fishing mad and this heaven-sent day was just what we all needed to unwind and blow off some steam.

I wanted a marlin for Dr. Mario but when we got down to business, the sharks had eaten our entire box of 22/0 circle hooks. And we were left with our sailfish sized models. But there have been loads of small fish about, and sailfish. So when that beautiful little very unlucky skipjack found itself on the deck. I rigged it up with the small circle and let it go.It took a while to find a frigate bird way up on top, circling with promise. The bird was way above a flock of terns enjoying the action down below. And as we sneaked up on the bait ball, with action all around us, I got a solid strike. Then the fish picked up the bait and headed off with purpose. When the lines and smoke got cleared, I looked down to see the heavy shark purposed braid already melted off towards the half way mark. I pushed the lever forward and felt that almighty power as a huge black marlin took to the skies. Her bill was soooo thick. By now the reel was down to a third and it was with some relief that we all saw her throw the bait, still kicking, way through the air. We would never have turned that boat in time to give chase. But we were out for a laugh and we have been seeing so many marlin that we really, just had a laugh about it.

Then. The bait righted itself and there it was, kicking away merrily. Slowly I brought the bait back towards the boat, when bang, another strike. I was hoping it was not the same fish! And it wasn’t. A fish half the size of the first one greyhounded around us. A spritely male that also regurgetated the bait. Completely intact and still kicking determinedly we watched the unlucky skipjack fly through the again. Hitting the water with a splash we heard over the water from 30m away!

When I felt the bait still kicking again this time, I just handed the rod to Dr. Mario. Who promptly hooked a hammerhead of about 120kgs, that Mario broke the rod on, and we had to handline up. Easy job with that heavy braid.

It was super to encounter that first real big fish. She was so thick and fat. Compared to the rat that took the skipjack the second time. The reel wasn’t big enough either, even with that power braid, we would never have stood a chance. So in the end, the hook matched the tackle just fine. And it’s great that the fish got away scot-free.

Everyone else around us is also getting marlin every day. It’s an incredible scene. You can keep up by staying on top of The Sardine News’ various channels…YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

You can also check out Captain Duarte Rato and his marlin taming antics on their website http://fishbazaruto.com and social networks too. Duarte really has raised the bar and produces excellent results by global standards as he consistently releases marlin after marlin, species after species, up here in the waters around Benguerra Island and surrounds.

If you would like to join us fishing like this, The Sardine has many options on offer. From super budget camping and small boats. To luxury lodges and sportfishers. To live aboard mothership with 24ft gamefisher and a huge range.

You might also be interested in the goings on at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies. It’s exciting times as scientists and researchers have begun utilising the facility.

Get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com or try the menu item Trips and Travel above.

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What do boiled eggs, oranges, and bananas have in common, on a boat?

Bananas - banned on boats!

What do boiled eggs, oranges, and bananas have in common, on a boat?

Boat superstition! That’s what!

We were travelling into a head-sea, and had gotten 5 miles off Maputo, past Xefina Island and nearing the turning channel buoy, when caotain of the good ship Joker Bino Nordine shouted – “What’s to eat?”

I readily hollered back – “You want a banana?”

The boat nearly came to a dead stop as Bino hauled back the throttles, eyes widened with dismay.

“Bananas!, Where are they!”, he cried.

I jumped forward and got my food bag, and before I could react, Bino had my hand of delicious finger bananas, and threw them overboard! In a flash!

His expression came back to normal. Julio Rito, guest on the boat – was on his back, rolling with laughter. And there I stood, gobsmacked.

“Very bad luck bananas bru! We never take bananas!”, went Bino as he grabbed a cheese roll and smashed it.

And so off we went, and had a great days fishing!

Now down in the Cape, I know that boiled eggs are out. And on some boats in Natal – oranges. But wondering what other forbidden fishing fruit or food might be on the list, I did some research.

Bananas are definitely out! Boiled eggs do get a mention. Oranges turn out to be good luck. But bananas take the cake.

Turns out that in days gone by, of sail not steam, bananas were a logistical challenge for maritime personnel, to say the least. They were the first to ripen and therefore could hasten the ripening of other fruit on the ship. They stink when they rot. They carried poisonous spiders in the bunch with them and bit the crew, sometimes fatally. When a ship sinks, all it’s bananas float to the top, so when other seafarers come across a wreck site, all they find are the bananas suspiciously in amongst the flotsam! And then the dedicated banana boats – as they were termed, had to go really fast, and so could never put a line out to fish. Hence if you worked on a banana boat, you never caught anything!

To come on a dream fishing trip (with or without bananas) with The Sardine team, click on over to our tour offerings here…

https://thesardine.co.za/product-category/fishing-experiences/

Catch us on Facebook at…

https://web.facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

Or just get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com and we can get the ball rolling…

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Pumula Local. Surf and shad check.

Pumula Local. Surf and shad check.

An Instagram feed journal of the activities of The Sardine News activities…

The KZN South Coast is brimming with character and characters – like this evergreen shad killer checking things out down at Pumula this week.

Pumula Local. Surf and shad check. Super stylin'. More at the sardine.co.za #thesardine - Instagram Journal

The shad have been jumping out if you find yourself at the right spot on the right tide, up and down the KZN South Coast lately.

Try the new MYDO SS Lanispoons out, available in the MYDO Online Factory Shop. Click here for more. The shad love them!

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Solar eclipse from Pomene Lodge

Solar eclipse from Pomene Lodge

This shot of young “Buddy” at watching the Solar eclipse from Pomene Lodge last week nicely captured the lunar moment out there. Our team jacked the welding helmet from the workshop at Pomene Lodge and facilitated the live show for all present out on the remote peninsula.

Solar eclipse from Pomene Lodge
Solar eclipse from Pomene Lodge

Buddy was enthralled at the concept of moons and suns. He couldn’t stop grinning. Such was the effect on the local people who would have passed the moment without knowing at all why is was darker at mid-day, that day.

Our attempts at capturing the moment fell way short of the media’s abilities…but we had fun trying! Pomene is quite far up towards the equator and so the eclipse was quite substantial.

Pomene is quite far up towards the equator and so the eclipse was quite substantial. Lasting for a good few hours through the mid-day, the light was discernibly dimmer. The flamingos and other marine wild-life in the estuary that day thought nothing of it and continued their playful existence.

The Sardine and it’s partners in Inhambane have started offering two and three week trips to Pomene, by boat. And its not all just fishing! Snorkeling the Sylvia Shoal, and Bassas do Zambia, are two highlights of the adventure. As are the pristine mangrove lined lagoons we get to explore. The perfect waves in crystal clear warm water that peel for miles.

All these achievements made easy by using the ocean to get around on.

Check it all out at the following link…

https://thesardine.co.za/product-category/fishing-experiences/

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Footloose fishing lessons

Footloose fishing lessons

Spending some time in The Big Smoke, working The Mydo distribution run…and being land locked presents a host of problems.

But there are always bass.

And so, a chunk of the Von Biljon family and I set out on Sunday, to Footloose Trout Farm. Which is not a trout farm. It was. Remnants remain from the bygone days when hatcheries and race tanks spawned gaggles of trout and anglers.

Now, the handful of well-kept dams are stocked with bass in the summer…and replaced by trout in the winter.

An all round cool spot with lovely grass and trees, jungle gyms, a kiosk and licensed restaurant..kids and families everywhere.

Water moves down from the top dams trickling through sluits down through the bottom ones. And they are each nicely populated with fish.

The bass dams at the top are the most picturesque and popular. The ponds are just the right size and are well maintained. Benches and shady gazebos dot the fishing spots – it is all very cozy and good fun.

Even when it all goes bad.

Andrew von Biljon had brought the A- team. His sons Dustin and Tristan. Johnny von Biljon brought his girlfriend Ansie. And I was the sole outsider.

In preparation, I spooled my Okuma Ceymar 30 with 5kg braid, and attached it all to a Sensational Adventure stick – the lightest model. Very nice feeling rig. Leaders and all.

I was fishing Mydo Buck Shot #1. Pearl white. A deadly offering that looked so good on my rig.

My first cast bought a cackle on as I overshot the end of the dam and squared the bull rushes. Vas!
But this happens to me a lot and usually a few solid strikes drawn from slack line shocks the ultra sharp hook through the grass, and free.

Not today.

Snap, went my new braid. Guffaw, went the Von Biljons.

S&%£&!

Being so supremely confident meant that was my only leader, never mind my Buck Shot. And there was no way I could fight my way over those particular bull rushes. Steep bank. Perfect bass spot.

I quickly tied on a #1 Mydo Luck Shot rigged with a 4 inch plastic. A few casts and I was feeling great. In with a shot as the Von Biljon team occupied an entire quadrant with floats and worms. Their previous visit had produced so many fish that the kids were super amped. So were the adults.

Then I hit the bullrushes again. Exactly same result. Phwaaaar! Went the Von Biljons.

S%-++!

Extremely embarrassed I was disclaiming with the ultra light braid (is there such a thing?). But I could bite through it so I took off all the used braid and started again all fresh. As I was threading the last eye, I saw the problem. The tip had been smashed, probably against the roof of the tackle shop I got it from. Half of the super hard tip eye insert, was a blade. And I only had to touch my new braid on it lightly to cut it clean through.

So, once again and for the umpteenth time, I had to bypass my tip eye. I went off in search of fishing solitaire.

When I got to the farthest dam, in stealth mode ace out, there was nobody around. Skirting the bank, polaroids on, I could very clearly make out some huge fish, in the next bay between the bullrushes. Very slowly I stalked in and soon clearly made out the shoal of carp. Maybe 10 of them. They were burrowing under the bank, rolling about, tailing…but not quite spawning, barely a metre from my face. They were big enough. 3 to 5kg’s. I flicked my lure out behind them, dragged it slowly across a dik carp’s nose, and woosh, they were all gone.

I threw the Buck Shot a few times but had to accept, especially with the featureless bottom contour, that this was a carp dam.

But set up this video shot of the shoal when they had reassembled, a few minutes after I spooked them.

So back on up to the “bass” dam zone, where soon the recent rain, floods really, took the blame for the no-bite. But being extra determined I finally ended up at the place I started. After a couple of casts I got some pressure back?! A tiny strike and I was elated to see both sets of lost braid tangled in my luck shot. What a luck. And this was still new braid, only broken because of the smashed tip eye. So together, I jerked hard a few times and bingo! Both my lures and all the braid retrieved!

Dustin and Tristan, chose to fish for barbel in a lower dam. Gillie Andrew was hard at work keeping it all under control, when team Von Biljon went two sticks away!

I had cashed out, stoked to have my two lures back, and arrived on the scene for some pics, as this went down. The only fish of the entire day, from everyone there.

Well done Dustin and Tristan!

Lessons from the day:

1. Rod eyes, tips especially, are clearly a weak link. Braid and it’s odd characteristics exacerbate it all. Check every time.
2. Weather plays an enormous role in fish activity. It was a complete different story last visit to Footloose. They were jumping on every bait – exact same dam(n)s.
3. Never give up! Fish your life away!

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Chelsifire and The Rolling Stones

Chelsifire and The Rolling Stones

Chelsifire (aka Chelsea aka Smellsea) gave us her rendition of ‘Miss You’, by The Rolling Stones. Chelsea is a long serving member of thesardine.co.za staff, her focus mainly on quality control and sales.

She is also a mean fishing dog and has pounced on many a hapless ‘couta, tuna, dorado…as it hit the deck. She also howls like this when a rod goes, the best ratchet sound I ever heard. It’s like a joy filled siren.

Chelsea has done many seasons at sea, her favourite fishing grounds are the Inhambane waters between Praia do Rocha and Pomene. She has helped boat quite a few marlin. She loves the water, and at one point, when we passed an island, she just jumped off, of her own accord, and swam ashore?!

Her best bait is a freshly crushed ghost crab. She can murder 5 in a 5 seconds, when the moon is full. Her pet hates (ha ha) are terns (my favourite birds), and she could chase them up and down the Barra peninsula all day long. I think she suspects by now that the mightily intelligent tern has been purposely leading her into the shore-break at full speed, all this time?

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Bruce Gold checking in…

Bruce Gold checking in…

11198391_1049220901774551_1165388366_n
Bruce-I-fire frame grabbed flying thrlough the zone at you-know-where…

And another commentary instalment from Bruce Gold aka “Bruce-I-fire” as the winter swells start rolling in. Looks like JBay squeezed the most out of this little swell – by the time it reached us here on the KZN South Coast it was full of lumps and holes, like something bullied it off the Transkei coastline or something?!

So here’s some wide perspective video coming at you from the office overlooking Supertubes…of this last swell rolling in through the Bay…

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Saltwater Pilgrim: Tofo Chicks let loose in Indo

Tofo Chicks Let Loose in Indo

Lucy Small can wield a keyboard as good as she can a surfboard. She also strikes a good pose! However, it was on that headland behind Lucy, that she was attacked and soome creep in undoes tried to rape her. She bravely decided that this was not going to happen, and fought back, beating her attacker off and back into the bush where the savage came from! Nice Lucy, girl power!
Introducing surf adventurer and scribe – Lucy Small (Saltwater Pilgrim)

International surf adventurer Lucy Small (Oz) can wield a keyboard as good as she can a surfboard. She also strikes a good pose! Lucy and her friend Anna MaCauly have been chasing the dream all over the world, but as you can clearly see from Lucy’s writing, Africa is calling her home. So we’ve added a new column called Surf Travel and Lucy is about to fire that up.

All this travelling and high adventure comes at high stakes though. It was on that headland behind Lucy in this shot taken of her paddling on my inside (Tofinho Point, Praia do Tofo, Inhambane, Southern Mozambique), that she was attacked and some creep in undies tried to sexually assault her. She bravely decided that this was not going to happen, and fought back vehemently, beating her attacker off and back into the bush where the savage came from! Nice Lucy, girl power!

Lucy has recently joined thesardine.co.za as a scribe and her very nicely put together blog can be read right here…Follow Lucy Small at her Saltwater Pilgrim blog.

In the meantime, her latest caper, involving none other than Tofo girls Mel Rodriguez and Ghiz Laine – an unbelievable crew, is in and around Indonesia scouring the place for waves and kicks…reads below.

Imagine bumping into that bunch over there hey?! Wowser!

And over to you Lucy (in the sky…)…

“I touched down in Bali at one in the morning. A small guy, probably called Made, flagged me down and drove me into the wet streets of Denpasar and eventually a dark complex somewhere vaguely near Dreamlands.

 

I was greeted in the driveway by Renet, Plettenberg bay native and stewardess of international waters and Melanie, Spanish surfer babe and longtime resident of Tofo, Mozambique.

 

I didn’t really want to be in Indo. To be frank. There were a gazzilion other destinations with far greater allure that I could think of going with the limited cash in my bank account, but I was never going to let the debauchery of the paradise islands slip by without my attendance.

 

So there I was. Sitting on the floor of an apartment, blurry eyed and sleepless, with familiar faces and mosquitoes lurking all too close to my ear lobes. For all I knew, I could have been right back in Tofo.

 

We had one scooter between us. The following evening saw us missioning to Dreamlands, three chicks, three boards and one scooter wandering through the jungle. The waves were cooking, the post sunset drive home was a hazardous one. Eventually, after a few wrong turn, no phones, no money and no petrol, racing to get back in time to dance the Sunday night away, we ran into some friendly South Africans who pointed us in the right direction.

 

“What on earth are you ladies doing out here?” they said.

 

Not sure.

 

It was a good way to kick off the trip.

 

We had to bail from the party after a few days, heading west to the quiet village of Balian. The wave is an A-frame peak, set against a black sand beach and murky rivermouth. It breaks over river stones, having a distinctly sharky vibe, made even worse by the stories from the locals – probably made up to keep the wave count up and the surfer count down.

 

There were a few days that it cooked, our lives became early morning stumbles to the waters edge, lunch time mie goreng in a tiny warung with the same sun affected Australian and backhand hacks as best we could.

 

Collapsing in bed as the sun disappeared.

 

We drove into the jungle one afternoon. Craving the wind in our hair as we flew into the mountains on our break-free, automatic scooters. Cocks fought in the street and people waved at us like they had never seen foreigners before.  Eventually, after frantically pointing us in the direction of fried rice, we sat in a tiny shop, eating some version of strange food and taste testing samples in plastic bags, which could have been pretty much anything.

 

Bali has the kind of views to make you wet yourself. Some might say that you want ‘drink in’ the scenery, but I’m more inclined to say I want to chop it up with my credit card and put it up my nose. It’s addictive to say the least. This impromptu drive into the mountains was no different.

 

Eventually we got sick of the simple life and took a boat across to Nusa Lemongan. A tiny island just of Bali, undergoing some drastic developments as more and more cashed up foreigners make themselves comfortable.

 

After our transport boat nearly getting dumped on a reef we were amping for the swell on its way up from Western Australia. Spending the afternoon nearly getting washed off the island in a turning tide current, the following day was a whole different story.

 

The island is basically set up with three main breaks next to each other -each varying in direction and difficulty.  We stayed in front of Shipwrecks, a hollow right-hander where we pretty much moved only between the waves and the bar.

 

With the arrival of Ghizlane, our fourth counterpart – Moroccan seastress and Tofinho local, along with some serious swell, we all spent some serious time with the reef on our second day. Stumbling up the beach one after the other, our dreams of barrels for breakfast all but shattered.

 

By the following day though, I had it wired. Some of the bombs of my life. A half hour dream session with only girls out and water so clear I could see sharp fangs of coral through the wave face.

 

We returned to the mainland that afternoon, in the pouring rain. Dancing the Sunday away over the cliffs of Uluwatu.

 

There were no more waves to speak of, so we turned to the bottle (long-neck Bintangs specifically) until finally we our last night took us to the fish market. South African expats, Marshall living in Sumba, Lance in Bukit, Sue and Rohan, at Dreamlands, all of whom had been to Tofo, Sue and Rohan having lived there in a past life as well.

 

Krusty, also a part-time resident of Tofo, played his guitar as the sun sunk below the shimmering waterline. Blocking out the stench of decaying fish was the six kilogram tuna before us and the mountains of shellfish. Delicacies in numbers I would never see at home.

 

I could have sat at the table forever.

 

Krusty’s voice fading in and out of the conversations, occasionally accompanied by the others that knew his songs.

 

I flew out early in the morning. Teary at saying goodbye.

 

Wishing my flight was to Africa. Not bloody Australia.”

 

Hey Krusty you got a mention man! Nicey nice!

Thank you Lucy, for joining up with thesardine.co.za and sharing your awesome life and views with us.

Your Czek is in the mail!

Another Lucy Small anecdote, My Last Day in Africa, can be read by clicking right here… My Last Day in Africa by Lucy Small

 

 

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St. Patricks Day in Indonesia

St. Patricks Day in Indonesia

Two Irish. Two Saffer. Two Ozzie. Six kids from the Channel Islands. A few more scragglers. And a girl.
Lucky, the agent.

Indonesia. Hankering to get to Desert Point…winter, 2003.

“$250 Get’s you Desert Point…one week on beeeg boat. All foood. All driiink.”, goes Lucky. “Whoohoo!”, go me and Roosta.

Jam into tiny vans, millions of boards and the crew grows to full strength of 16, by the time we reach the harbour, where a big dhow will take us to our even bigger dhow – an hour away. So much stuff. So much heat. So much noise. Then peace as we set sail on towards our new home. And there it is. Three storeys of colour and grace. Just beautiful. Huge. Wooden. Home…

By now, Bintang’s are out, ice cold. Chickens are roaming the deck unexpectantly. Food cooking. Music playing. Even surf videos on a tv in the huge dorm like cabin. Bunks. Smells. Just amazingly what we expected.

Three engines, Yamaha Enduros. 40hp Each. 80ft Boat. And a skiff, and off we go. Gently humming along to music and waves. Soon enough though, the first of our problems. One engine splutters to a standstill. A third of our power gone. Not enough speed to get to Deserts. Pull over and parallel park at an enchanting island in the middle of the ocean.

One engine loaded onto skiff, the other tied to the back, and off they go. Getting engine repaired. Hours go by. We snorkel. Talk shit. Swim. I swim to the island. There are people. I rent a bike, and discover that the island is loaded with Arak wine. I buy 5 litres altogether and swim back out to the boat, where the Irish and the Ozzies and us annihilate the 5 litres, ok, over another hour.

Skiff returns, the music is blaring. Engines attached back onto big boat. Skipper says he doesn’t want to cross the deep channel this late, we might not make it by dark. We refuse to accept this prognosis and vehemently demand weighing of anchor and immediate departure.
16 Of us win the argument and next thing we are sailing across this hugely deep channel. A sailfish pops up next to us, fin and all. What kind of omen could that be, I wonder. The Irish brothers proclaim that it’s St. Patrick’s Day and we all join in for a Bintang and a dance on the open deck as the sun bids farewell…

It gets dark.

The boat slows to almost nothing as the crew makes out the headland in front of us. Somebody return flashes a torch, we must be there!

All of a sudden. Lightning and thunder comes out of the blackness. And a torrential downpour hits us, whiting us out completely – cannot see a thing. Just spray. 10 Minutes drifting, the sea getting a bit more interested in us by now. The only girl on the trip has proclaimed lesbianism but I don’t believe her and am on the third floor extolling to her the benefits of male anatomy when out of the corner of my eye, I see…a wave. A breaking wave coming up behind us at 45 degrees. It hardly moves the “ship” as it first strikes, but as it moves along the hull, it picks us up completely and propels us forward and sideways – straight down smack bang onto the very reef that is Desert Point. The outriggers are built from huge logs and are about a half metre by a half metre. They just snapped like matches as they impacted – lurching the huge ship around as we bounced ashore.

Chaos. “Save yourselves! Save yourselves!”, is the cry from the stricken crew.

In a moment of clarity, we all don reef shoes. It’s all we can do as wave after wave batters us further an further onto the reef. The tide is coming in. The chickens are going out! The TV topples out of the window, and then a huge pot of chicken curry leaves the kitchen for a swim. Roosta and stay on the boat as the rest of the gang spread out to make a human chain with which to scuttle the ship. Waves keep coming. Roosta and I got into the cabin to get whatever we could, especially looking for pasports to hand up and off to safety. A big wave breaks, we grab the masts and hold tight as possible to no avail – the power of the impact throws us both around like rag dolls. Get most of the stuff out. Now the petrol. About 20 drums on the stinky stuff that we did not want to allow near the pristine reef.

After midnight, we have formed a laager with the fuel, water, supplies, boards all around us. Small fires are going and no-one is really having fun. The locals had come out in their droves and with no regard for personal space, literally sat on our laps as they pored though our belongings with that envious curiosity so prevalent in these lost outer island communities. Roosta stayed awake and on guard as the adrenalin wore off and peeps collapsed all around. I was almost out when something crawled over my face. And again. My neck. my feet. I grabbed one. Crabs! Millions of crabs made sure I never slept much either.

The dawn broke red and more beautiful than ever. We were shipwrecked. For real. No cellphone signal. No nothing.

May aswell go surfing as the last of the swell enticed us into her arms. Desert Point is a perfect wave, it was much smaller by now, but it is a perfect wave, and has been called the most perfect wave in the world, a few times, before.
Whilst we were surfing, the two Ozzie captains and an Irishman had set off for help, and came back at lunch time with a 4wd truck, that could load us all, and take us through Dengue infested forests on a four day journey, to a port, where we would have to pay more dollars, to get all the way back to Bali! We had no choice, and started loading.

All of a sudden, around the headland, came the apparition representing a three masted yacht of absolute beauty. It happened to be the dude who used to captain the boat used in The Crossing, sea testing his own brand new second hand sailing beauty! Seeing our wrecked vessel he sent a skiff ashore to check things out and then offered to rescue us for $5 each!

The skiff spent an hour loading and off loading kit and surfboards, and by the end of it we were sweating buckets and so decided to swim out to the anchored yacht a few hundred meters off shore. And so we swam. And swam. And were soon whisked away into the deep by the infamous Desert Point current carrying billions of tonnes of water and thousands of tiger sharks through one of the deepest gulfs on the globe!

Only a handful of the group that attempted the swim made, I wasn’t one of them – swimming with a hat on…but the skiff rounded us all up and soon we were drinking ice cold bintangs…

…and sailing away from our shipwrecked crew on Desert Point, Lombok Island, Indonesia.

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Meet the team at thesardine.co.za…

Meet the team at thesardine.co.za…

The team that powers thesardine.co.za...
The team that powers thesardine.co.za…

The Wild Bunch comes to mind…but these guys run a tight ship – you can trust them with your online marketing goals…

Check out thesardine.co.za’s entry level campaign offering right here. Starting at R500 for a foot in the door and the peace of mind knowing that your products or company messages – are OUT THERE!

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Swan Surfing Kirra

Swan Surfing Kirra

Now how do you explain this?! Perhaps the black swan is so cognitive, they saw Kelly and crew ripping the place apart, whilst flying over, stopped to watch, and as soon as the famous break got uncrowded – out they paddled (uh flew…).

Kel Mills who lives in Kirra, shot and narrated the clip. 

From the website…http://www.svswans.com/black.html

“Before European explorers had reached Australia, it was believed that all swans were white. Dutch mariner, Antounie Caen, was the first to be amazed at the sight of Australia’s Black swans on the Shark Bay in 1636. Explorer Willem de Vlamingh captured two of these creatures on Australia’s Swan River and returned with them to Europe to prove their existence. From that point on, black swans and Australia have been closely linked. During the nineteenth century, the original Western Australian colony was called “the Swan River Settlement.” In 1973, the black swan was officially proclaimed as the “bird emblem” of the Government of Western Australia and now appears on the state flag.”

Click here for more information on the surfing Black Swan of Australia…http://www.svswans.com/black.html

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And surfing becomes a sport…by the BBC

 And surfing becomes a sport…by the BBC

The folks at BBC do a good insert, and here’s one just right for us.

It certainly looks logistically easier than some of the engineering marvels proposed and built before. And that sure looks like a shredable wave, as demonstrated by the grom near the end of the clip. It also seems like the system could be adapted to existing bodies of water. Sets the imagination wild…farmers hundreds of kilometres inland could build one of these on the dam in front of their house, and bang, we’ve got a whole new inland surf industry. And then a huge wave, probably throwing 5m spitting barrells right across that Vrystaat sunset!?

The huge foil towed by 6 massive turbo charged 4WD tractors… “Check me on dis one Pa!”.

Imagine the competitions?!

“Claasens, Retief, van der Merwe and Boshoff to the competitors tent please…”.

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And another billfish in the boat…

And another billfish in the boat…

This time a sailfish at Crocodile Bay in Costa Rica…!

Once again, these guys were doing everything right, except for their combined reaction times being very slow.
Luckily sailfish are a bit more manageable than marlin, they didn’t really have to jump overboard – but getting away from that bill can only have improved their lot…except for the skipper driving off and leaving them bobbing!

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Season in Tofo!

Santa Claus was spotted in the Tofo market today. Photographed here by Captain Gallop, with Mikelangelo in the background…checking out for cops or something?!

DSC_0136

Santa Claus in the Tofo market on his way to the school pageant and awards ceremony at Tofo Mar Hotel. As depicted by Mike Moye.

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INHAMBANE: HEAD OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION SUSPENDED

Maputo, 18 Jul (AIM) – The head of Inhambane’s Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), E. P. Vilichane, has been suspended over a shoplifting allegation.

The incident took place at the Wang Rong supermarket in Inhambane city.

According to Radio Mozambique, a security camera caught the police officer taking razors, scouring pads and other goods without paying. He has been suspended whilst an investigation takes place.

Meanwhile, the police in Inhambane have confirmed that another officer is under investigation over accusations that he sold thirty bullets for an AK-47 AKM assault rifle.

(AIM)

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Tropical Thunderings at Linga Linga

An infamous cast, tropical location and action boat – the shooting of ‘Tropical Thunderings at Linga Linga’, gets underway today.
Famous names include Captain Gallop and Captain Cook, with quite a few upcoming acts in the mix.
The launch from Barra is set for low tide. Tonight is set on Survivor Island – main activities being fire, food and fishing.

Tofo this morning…

Tomorrow the crew heads way up into the Morrombuene Estuary searching for the prawns, mangrove forests and rock salmon.
Stay close to this blog. Updates every few scenes…

Day 2 (not sure what happened to day 1, but it was spent on the island and under the stars)
Captain Dave Charley heads out to get some livebait this morning at Linga Linga. Although he came back with two karapaw and a flounder, it was not enough to get a strike on the fishing trip later in the day.
Slow trolling around the ocean side of the Linga Linga peninsula did not prove exciting so back to Linga for more strategising.

Loving the smell of Linga Linga in the morning…

Guest Greg out from North Carolina caught the only fish this day…a delicious Lula, or pencil squid. Many of the same fish species and methods of catching them are common to both Florida and Mozambique. We’re just looking for a tarpon now!

Oh ya…Frenzy just reminded me she caught a lizardfish and a sandsoldier that afternoon too…

The action vehicle…what a boat! This ones got a twin cylinder Lister Diesel motor! A bit smelly and noisy sometimes but perfect for cruising the Inhambane Bay. Slowly.
Renske and Steamer warming up…

Ettiene, Amanda, Benny and Pedro came by on their way back from the fishing grounds off Morrumbuene. 5 nice couta and smiles all round…Ettiene runs silverfishlodge.co.za up the Morrumbuene Estuary. They offer deep sea charters and accomodation right on the lagoon.
Being out here puts you within striking reach of many fresh fishing spots. The Sylvia Shoal starts about 10kms north of where we are on this trip! Acres of reef.

Day 2
This morning we woke early again, to try fulfil one of our objectives – a couta from the shore on spoon. 500 casts later, to fish jumping all over – couta in the 4 to 8kg size, we had to give up. It’s hard work and we had to get 100m of line out to reach the action. There were so many fish. Greg was pacing with encouragement and the dogs were beside themselves seeing the fish flying 5m through the air. I remember the semblance of a chase early, but with so much baitfish available, the couta were being very picky. Humbling.

The wind picked up a little this day, so cruising the estuary towards Morrumbuene was enough for us. Resting and eating, in preparation for the morning. We never saw any fish this night either.

Day 3
Early to bed, early to rise. The water was glassed off and crystal clean. And we headed to the wreck of an old whaler scuttled in wartime, out front of Castelo do Mar. Another objective, in fact a permanent one, was to find the rock salmon. As I popped my head over – there they were! 5 Rockies cruising around, about 2kg’s each. Frantically I ran back to the boat for my dropshot rig and Captain Gallop and stalked the fish. As we searched the wreck, out of the depths every now and then, in between the mullet, karapauw, wrasse, glassies, sardines…etc…the dark and ominous red shape of the bigger rock salmon could be seen. Cast after cast yielded nothing. And then it happened…

The neaps make this estuary mouth quite useable through the tides. We were on slack low and almost as the tide turned, the place came alive. The first gamefish to launch an assault were kingfish, not huge but destructful as they herded and smashed the baities. Yet still naught for us as we casted to them, in front of them, and behind them, trying to predict their next moves.

The makolo’s had appeared on the scene now. Anchoring about 10m away from us. Calmly and with that knowing look, out came the tiny hooks as the young salts started catching live bait. It wasn’t a minute before he caught a karapauw and with one big single hook behing the neck, sent it swimming straight down the mouth of a beauitiful couta – 8kgs about! Right in front of us. On handline! The fight was spectacular as he expertly maneuvred his makolo inbetween the other guys, and eventually handed it off to his older comrade to be gaffed and boated.

So now we had seen it. I never imagined a place where you could fish like this. The forward thinking gentlemen at Costelo do Mar have been placing dollosse (huge star shaped concrete things) on either side of their little beach for 6 years now.

This has had a startling effect on the environment. Firstly, the netters can’t simply drag the bottom now, without snagging. And along with cages filled with crushed cans dropped in the middle of the 10m deep channel, they have created an amazing artificial fish attraction.
The baitfish are herded into the beach in front of Costelo do Mar, just before the wreck. The drop off is intense so the couta come ambushing upwards at huge speed from the deep and literally explode into the shoals of panicking baitfish.
First you see the baitfish feeding. In this distraction the couta setup their charge. 2 or 3 couta hit at the same time. It is spectacular. Water everywhere. And what a sound! Every few minutes the cycle would repeat. We had two strikes but were so mummified by the scene, they both came off before we got serious about them. The makolos were now making hay and 6 fish came out in 30 minutes. We bought one in the end!

Then as soon as it started, it stopped. As the tide came in the fish seemed to swim past us and into the estuary for high tide relaxing.
So. Rock salmon (mangrove snapper), kingfish and couta. All in a 50m radius cut in perfectly calm, clean and flat water with a source of livebait and beer a wade away!
At this point Anna jumped in with a speargun and mask and was surrounded by couta. On 3 seperate occasions they came in to inspect her. The gun was too small but Anna proved you could also shoot fish here, in the rare right conditions. When the tide gets bigger, the water muddies up and the current screams, making it more dangerous than enjoyable.
In fact, these waters and this fishing relies heavily on the right conditions prevailing. It can be wild out here and it is very remote.
Luckily there is a wide choice of accomodation and recently EDM were connected up so there is power now.

So there it is…Linga Linga and Morrumbuene…on a plate. Contact us!
umzimkulu@gmail.com