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082-456-7885
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039-973-1345
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Cath
083-505-9036 
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and
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Gauteng   083-456-3929
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Dive 4 Life Gauteng Manie Botha 084-288-6958
Dive Action Cape Town Sarah
Barry
021- 511-0800
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Diversity Scuba Mozambique   +25 8 82 468 5310+25 8 82 468 5310
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Duck n Dive Cape Town Jacques Rossouw 021-511-2468
East Rand Scuba Gauteng Anelle 084-273-9088
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School
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Honey Coastline Gauteng Meg 082-455-2970
Indigo Scuba
Diving Centre
Cape Town Deon Jonker 083-268-1851  
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Today
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Rolf 072-135-1508
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Carl
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Centre
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Scuba Diving
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  Justin 082-829-0377 
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  Trevor 082-334-4841 
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Durban
KZN
Dean Channon 031-332 5820      
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Wild About
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Gauteng Mike
Nadine
011-326-0885011-326-0885
Adventure Mania in Sodwana
If ever there was a reason to explore scuba diving - this is IT!

If you are a scuba diver already and have not yet sampled what Sodwana offers, take a look at this...


 

             

The mysteries and magic of Sodwana Bay.

The Find:  The Passion ignites! 

Finding a living Coelacanth in the waters of Sodwana Bay put this little town squarely on the
world wide conservation map. 

To understand the significance of this find and the experience of nature at its best, we feel it
important to start our feature with some background on this prehistoric animal.

The Coelacanth is a fish thought to have been extinct for 65 million years. 

In 1938, the curator of a tiny museum in East London, Marjory Latimer was called out
after a fishing trawler landed a very strange looking fish in the nets. 
According to Marjory it was the most beautiful fish she had ever seen.  

Not knowing what fish it was she reached images in a research book, and discovered
astonishing similarities between the blue, 2m fish she found and a picture of a fossil of a
pre-historic fish.

The Coelacanth was the most significant Zoological find of the century!


Since the 30’s, several Coelacanths have been found, most of which in the waters of
the Comoros islands, but as far as Kenia.


 

Coelacanth in Sodwana!


Subsequent to the discovery in East London, a number of Coelacanths have been found in Sodwana bay. 
They mostly live in waters deeper than 100 metres, however, Christo van Jaarsveld, owner of
Adventure Mania based in Sodwana Bay, found a Coelacanth at 54 metres in 2004!  Christo,
a man who takes nature and marine conservation very seriously, said it was the find of a
lifetime –to see a living prehistoric fish with his own eyes!


The Man and his team:

 


Our adventure was arranged by Christo van Jaarsveld who is the owner and founder of Adventure Mania. 
His passion for diving started in 1978 when he first qualified as an open water diver. 

As years went by, Christo’s passion drew him ever more to the sea and from running scuba diving charters
to Mozambique, Sodwana Bay and Aliwal Shoal, Christo eventually settled in Sodwana Bay where
Adventure Mania now operates from.

We have taken trips to many diving spots in South Africa as well as in Mozambique, but never to Sodwana Bay.
One of the reasons is the growing feeling amongst our fellow divers that Sodwana Bay is too crowded,
too over-commercialised and most importantly, crime has become a major problem.  So we stayed away.

Through my research on scuba diving charters operating in South Africa, I came across Adventure Mania. 
During my conversation with Christo I quickly realised the name of his company, Adventure Mania,
translates directly to what this man is all about.  After sharing with him the reservations about Sodwana Bay,
we were invited by him to visit as a “matter of urgency” and find out for ourselves what Sodwana is all about.

The decision was made to make the trip to Sodwana with no expectations and discard any reservations we had.

   
Christo, Jeacques and Kathy                            Christo

The Trip:
Many roads from Pongola lead to Sodwana Bay, but to be different, we chose to go through Mkuzi Game Reserve. 
This took us on a gravel road less traveled en route to the reserve which turned out present some of the most
beautiful landscapes we’ve experienced.

Surrounded by luminous green vegetation we made our way to Mkuze.  After entering, we were treated to more
luminous green fields and trees, as well as herds of Impala and even Nyala.

Mkuze Game Reserves forms part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.  Formerly known as Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park
this area is situated on the east coast of Kwazulu-Natal.  It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area spanning
280 km of coastline from the Mozambican birder in the north to Mapelane south for the Lake St. Lucia estuary and is
made up of around 3 280 square kilometers of pristine natural ecosystems managed by the iSimangaliso Authority.


Mkuze is overlooked by Ghost Mountain, previously a historic battle field. This mountain is said to be the tombs
of the previous Chiefs of the mountain and, according to legend, it has been the scene of a number of bloody fights.
With its dramatic silhouette, in the shape of an old woman or witch head, it is not difficult to understand why the mountain
is said to be haunted and to be the theater of paranormal activities.

   


The Destination:

We are used to camping on scuba diving trips.  However, Christo invited us to stay at his lodge, Lafika
(meaning “something good that crosses one’s path”).   Mmmm - new experiences all round!

We drove through Mbaswana, the nearest town to Sodwana Bay. Should you need to, buy provisions at the local Spar. 
Including a Tops...
The first thing we noticed as we approached Sodwana is how rural it actually is.  Over-commercialised?  A definite no.
Sodwana is a community that has retained it's small-town look and feel.

There are hundreds of visitors to Sodwana, but everything is very well organised on and around the beach area. 
Most of the dive and fishing charters as well as lodges and camp sites are based a few kilometers from the beach. 


We arrived at Lafika and were greeted by a beautiful home and a very inviting swimming pool.  Sodwana gets
very hot and humid during summer months but every room at the lodge is fitted with extremely welcome
air-conditioning.

Something very good has just crossed our path indeed!

                          
                                      







The DIVING:


 

To find a more energetic team would be difficult, and everything is done with a smile :)
Diving is always exciting but to go diving with such passionate people was an even better experience.


For those who have never scuba dived before, have a look at these awesome, amazing pictures of
live under water.  This is what you are missing out on.  Christo is a highly qualified diving instructor and
will get you diving in no time. 

For those who already scuba dive, plan your next trip to Sodwana and go dive with Christo and Adventure Mania. 

And now - for your in-flight entertainment, here are some pictures of what you will find when diving in Sodwana Bay.

Pictures were taken by Christo and Kathy.
ENJOY!


                 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                          

                                           

                                  


      Call Christo on 082-653-7824 and find MAGIC!
         










Adventure Mania in Sodwana
Scuba Diving is serious fun!
Scuba Diving is serious fun!
The most common reason why people are reluctant to dive is because they are scared of SHARKS.

Believe me when I tell you there is NO reason to be scared. Sharks do not randomly charge scuba divers and take a chomp.

I am no expert on sharks, but I have been diving for a while, and have not felt threatened by a shark, nor felt in danger.

There is a world waiting to be discover by you and it is worth every minute.

If you are not sure, why not find out which diving clubs offer open days where you can go and find out whether you would like it. All gear can be rented at the club for the day.

Diving is serious fun! Just go try it!


Camping is Fun....

      and so is

Scuba Diving

       



So you are thinking about it – secretly.  Come on, it looks sooo inviting.  But maybe it’s not for you.  Mmmm, why not?            



First of all, let’s cover a few issues many people think about, but confess to no one.



Scuba Divers tend to camp in tents
– divers don’t really do 5-star lodges. 

Make sure to find our article on
camping 101, and the How to Choose feature.




 The Swimmer line...

" I’m not such a strong swimmer. 
I can’t have my buddies know. 
So I can’t dive". 


You don’t have to be an Olympic
swimmer to do fun diving. 
You don’t even have to be a
very good swimmer. 

Pretend Dude. 

Basic skills should do. 

However, if your swimming skills
are limited to doggie-style,
you would find it ineffective
when wearing “fins”. 

 

The Claustrophobia line...

"Ooo nooo. 
I am terribly claustrophobic. 
Could never dive. 
Can hardly do elevators".


Hey, I was crowned Princess of Claustrophobes. 
Come on, who can boast that? 
My husband dragged me to
scuba school by my hair. 

So I decided to score top marks
in theory class and then head for
the door never to be seen again.

Didn’t exactly turn out the
way I planned. 
Maybe there was a hint of
pride involved. Or whatever. 

I can’t exactly remember how I
ended up 5 meters under water in the pool doing scuba drills.

“You just need to train your brain that breathing under water is possible” the instructor said. 

Under normal circumstances I am a bit slow, so I was terribly surprised when my brain managed to make the connection before I turned 80.

Afore I knew it, there  I was, standing proudly with my “Qualified Open Water Diver” certificate in my hands. 

Where did the claustrophobia go? 
I don’t know.  I still don’t do elevators. 

But I dive and it is yards and yards of fun.

 
















Don't freak - have you heard of Photo-shop?




Seriously, people. 
Sharks don't have teeth, see?






If you are still scared of sharks you seriously need to consider that you might be a whoosy.


 

The Shark Line ...

"I don’t like sharks. 
Sharks eat people. 
It’s not that I am scared;
I just don’t like ‘em".


Jaws hit the cinemas in South Africa
when I was a young, impressionable teenager.  How mean is that?   

Should I blame my parents.  Should I
blame Apartheid.  Global warming? 

I cannot quite place my finger on the
guilty party.  The repercussions were devastating and lifelong. I never swim
naked in the ocean after sunset anymore. 

But I dive, in a wetsuit, with cylinders
strapped to my back and diving
happens in groups. 

Thing is, when one goes diving like we do, one is not easily mistaken for a
seal in distress.  Personally, the most comforting thing is whenever I dive;

I have a deep understanding that I
will always be surrounded by a bunch
of people far cleverer and far more experienced than I am. 

They will know what to do when a bunch
of sharks find the group. 

The rules are quite simple when it comes
to sharks; recreational diving
does not include shark petting. 

However tempting, stabbing your dive
buddy with a knife is not the correct way
of avoiding a shark attacking you.




Go dive with folk who know the ropes.
 
 
"I am slightly overweight.  Doc says I'm obese but the jury is still out on that.  However, those suits sure look mighty small."
 
Don’t despair!  Wetsuits can
be custom made and divers could
not give a flying old tekkie
what you look like. 

There is only one thing on
everyone’s mind – getting down there and finding as many
awesome sea saltwater inhabitants as possible.  Barbie divers are frowned upon.  Magic. (Barbie divers are the female versions of Kaptein Sardyn)


 







Kaptein Sardyn.
(Scuba Diver version)










Check yourself in the mirror; 
if you resemble any of the men in these pictures, you are over dressed.  Now go take it back to the shop.





 
 
What you can expect
from an open water
diving course:


After enrolling, you go for theory classes after work.

You do swimming pool sessions fully kitted, progressing to drills at 5 meters below.

You go for your qualifying dive in deeper water inland, or even in the ocean.

  You get your certification.

You are now qualified to dive!

 

Hoodie



Booties


 

Mmm.. Nope.


 
 
Let’s have a look at some gear… 

Please note, all the tips in this
article are derived from personal experience and not based on any scientific facts. 

I can also not go into too much
detail now as I still need to keep
stuff to send you next time.

I will have to sell my house to afford the gear?

Only if you want to. 
But if you don’t want to, there are clever ways to get yourself kitted out. 

Tip:  if you’re not sure you will enjoy the sport of scuba diving for
a long time to come, don’t
go buy anything yet.  

Besides, you do not want to rock up at diving school looking like Kaptein Sardyn. 

 


Regulator.


 

When you do the course, you use the equipment available from the diving academy. 

From not knowing back to front,
and finding it hard to remember
calling flippers “fins” and
goggles “mask”….  Well, it can all be
very confusing in the beginning. 


These are not evening gowns.  They are fins.
 

Becoming comfortable with loan gear should help in
making an informed decision
when the time comes for buying
your own stuff. 

Gear is very much a personal thing. 

Most academies have
gear for sale, and it is a good
idea to have a chat to your
instructor and with other divers. 

 

            Wetsuit                                         Drysuit 
    



We South Africans are “touchy-feely” people, so I am sure the
shop assistants would not mind
if you paw the gear a bit –
as long as you don’t spit in the masks. 

Also, don’t chew on all the mouthpieces of the regulators. 

 

Mask & Snorkel


 

The most expensive gear is not necessarily
the only option. 

What you should not skimp on is the regulator.  (That’s the thing you put into
your mouth before you start breathing
under water.) 

Choosing a known brand is important,
but once again, it does not have to
be the most expensive.   

While we deal with things around the
head – we don’t believe it necessary
to buy a hoodie at first. 

Unless you want to do your qualifying
dive in Antarctica as part of a National Geographic experiment. 

(A hoodie is the thing you pull over
your head until only your eyes, mouth
and nose remain visible.)

 


Facial Hair that could compromise
a snug-fitting mask:








 

The mask: 

Tip to self: a suitable mask for open water diving would not be available at your local supermarket.  Move on. 

The best way to choose a mask is to try it on in the store. 

Warning:  for this exercise it is advisable
not to take your teenagers with you. 

They will not be helpful and they will
not want to know you. 

Place the mask securely over mouth and nose and breathe normally…. Oh, sorry, wrong line. 

Place the mask on your face, and
gently press the mask down on your
face just letting some air escape
and the mask stays on your face. 

This should be achieved without the
strap placed around your head.

There should not be much effort exerted
here and if you need to suck out
all the air through your nose
to get the thing
to stay, then it is probably not the right mask for you. 

Going down:  Booties. 

Not what you sit on, right? 
It’s what you wear on your feet. 

The booties are more than just the very items that completes your outfit;
it protects the feet from chaffing when wearing fins, and when crossing beach sand towards the boat – not nice if attempted barefooted. 

I am sure the pros can give a much
better description of the importance of
booties, but at the moment we are
doing entry level stuff. 

 





Don't go home with your wetsuit around your ankles.  If you can't get it off by yourself, ask for help. 


The suit: 

The wonderful thing about scuba
diving is that by the time you reach 18
meters under water, you are down
at least10 dress sizes. 

The problem is when you put it on,
you are not 18 meters under water. 

Many a wise scuba diver has said
that getting into the suit is the
hardest thing
to do as a scuba diver. 

Especially when the suit is new.
Trust me: pushing a 12-seater
rubber dingy into
waves is easier. Jeepers. 

Snug-fit is an understatement.

However, it should be like that,
because if it is a nice comfy fit
above water, by the time
it’s taken on some
water and you are way down
there,you and your wetsuit
will be separated.
 
Not cool. 

 

There are two different types of suits:  wetsuits and a drysuits.  It’s kind of self-explanatory:  with a wetsuit your body gets wet and with a drysuit it stays dry.

 Drysuits are ideal for advance thermal insulation, but it can get darn hot if
you dive in Indian Ocean waters – like Mozambique for example. 

The normal “go for it” would be a 5mm  Metalite/nylon neoprene wetsuit. 

If you practice saying these words in the mirror until they roll off the tongue,
you will impress hugely when you go shopping for one. 

And hey, you are still sticking to basics!

  Good news – the more the wetsuits are used, the easier it gets to manhandle yourself into it. 

That’s the theory anyway.
(I think I make it sound a lot harder than it is)

 

Wetsuit fit Fail:





Oh, and let us not forget;
the “Buoyancy Compensator”
or fondly known as a BC. 
That’s the jacket thing you put
on over your wetsuit –
you strap the cylinder to it, all kinds
of cool clips hang from it,
and even extra pockets where one
can shove more weight in. 

Best of all, you use it to manage
air-in and air-out of it in order to float weightlessly in the water.  Clever people and advance divers mostly use their lungs to fulfill this function.  Awesome.


Beware of cheap imitations.


Wetsuit fit Fail:

Last but not least, the weight belt. 
The amount of weights you stuff into your weight belt is a status symbol. 

The LESS weights you carry, the
better a diver you are.  I am over status, so I carry the equivalent of a home gym around my waist.  It’s not because I am anti-establishment; it’s simply because without it I just won’t sink - kind of the point when need to end up 18 meters below. 

When you feel confident making an informed decision, shop around some.  Retail stores, Internet surfing. 
Even classifieds. 

You might be lucky and find gear for sale posted by a Dude that went on a Kaptein Sardyn shopping spree and decided he actually prefers reading a book.

 Pool Training

Enough for now.  Have to keep some
fun for future reference so
visit us habitually and snoop for updates. 

Check out notifications on our Facebook page. 

 

Cheers,

 

Vanessa and the Happy Camper Team.

 

Men can Multitask! Yaaay!

Mias Scuba and Fishing
Mias Angling and Scuba is one of the oldest fishing tackle dealers in South Africa.




 

Mias Angling and Scuba is one of the oldest fishing tackle dealers in South Africa.

Currently we stock more than 4000 line items ranging from fishing tackle, scuba gear, clothing, books, caming gear, air rifles , GPS, fishfinders and tons of items to make your outdoor getaway a memorable experience.

Pay us a visit today at any one of our four branches in Gauteng or our Middelburg branch in Mpumalanga.

 


Branches:

Mias Woodmead
011-804-4102/4
20 Waterfall Crescent
Woodmead
OPEN SUDAYS
From 10am-1pm
email:  info@miasangling.co.za

Mias Fourways
011-465-9652
(We are moving - watch this space)

Mias Randburg
48 Malibongwe Dr.
Randburg
email: info@miasangling.co.za

Mias Benoni
011-422-2995
email: info@miasangling.co.za

 


With brances in and around Gauteng, Mia's offers scuba divers a fantastic range of diving gear at the best prices!

Visit your nearest branch today and gear up!

Mias Scuba and Fishing
 
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