Lekker weather. Bogger all surf. So had to be content with kiff sunrises and sunsets and not much water action. Couple teeny lines out west late in the week, and a few dribbly one's over the weekend kept everyone from having a serious bout of non-surf grumpiness (only a surfers partner knows the feeling).
The zero swell conditions meant that the red tide had time to sneak it's way back into the bay and come really close in to shore. Seems to extend from the bay all the way out to Seals. Eish.
The council is getting pretty sticky about having dogs on leads on the beach. Looks like it could cost you a wee bit should you fail to adhere to the regulations...
It is of course a lil photoshop job by someone, but worth a giggle nonetheless.
Early morning dawn patrols didn't yield much in the way of waves, but were made worth the effort cos the sunrises didn't disappoint. Stand by for an upcoming blog on why we get such lekker sunrises and sunsets in winter.
Shark Rock Pier is PE's "go-to" spot for sunrise and sunset shots. Although it seems like it's been around forever construction on it only began back in 1988. Which I 'spose is kinda "forever" ago. You can check out the history of Hobie Beach and Shark Rock Pier here.
Doesn't matter if the surf's flat - now there's no excuse to not get some exercise anyway. The gym equipment that used to be at Hobie has now been moved to Pipe (cos at Hobie it had to get removed every year for Ironman).
Sardine run time of year so keep those eye's peeled for finned visitors passing through. Fair sized grey suit cruised the Seals and JBay line-ups over the weekend which resulted in a sudden thinning of crowds.
Dave Lippie got to Seals on Sunday and couldn't believe his luck when he saw a few fun lil peelers and no-one out. Not knowing there'd been a visitor earlier he was out in a flash, and had a coupla hours all to himself. Luckily he isn't exactly bite-sized, so very little chance of a quizzy shark encounter.
Just in case you thought when ou's said it was flat they were exaggerating...
Looks like a bit of a bump in the swell hopefully later in the week, so hold thumbs. Water been fairly nippy lately, so probably a good time to consider that new suit of you been trying to see how far into the winter you can push that leaky-seamed, hole-in-the-crotch wettie you been hanging on to.
Apologies for the lack of regular blog posts lately but was Maldives Local as opposed to Millers Local for a while. Spent some time over there getting our new baby up 'n running. Been a long time dream of ours to have our own yacht in the Maldives and finally the dream became a reality. Pretty damn stoked about that! All thanks to an amazing husband who worked his butt off to make it happen.
Nothing about owning a boat is simple. Or cheap! But yrrr, it's all worth it when you wake up in the morning, look out the window and see a kiff lil runner peeling off about 50 m away. That's my kinda front yard!
We didn't get much surf time in the first month cos was just full-on boat fixing, fiddling and tinkering mission. At least learnt some boat terminology along the way so what we called the cocktail deck to start with we now know is actually the fly-bridge. Yip. We were that clueless.
I finally pulled the pin on the "all work no play" situation when spotted a dik swell heading our way. What klaps JBay gets to Maldives in about 5 days time. So it was all systems go for a strike mission down south. Did my first night watch, which entailed sitting glued to the radar in varying states of terror hoping I would avoid smashing into an unlit fishing boat.
The 20 hour sail was worth the effort as we got rewarded with some really fun waves at our favourite possie. It isn't a secret spot anymore unfortunately (up until 5 years ago we could sit there for weeks and not see another surfer) but we still scored days when we had it to ourselves.
Nothing beats diving off the back of your own boat and paddling over to the line-up. Had to keep pinching ourselves that it was finally real. The daily routine entailed waking up as the sun rose, sticking your head out the cabin's hatch like a meerkat to see what the surf was doing, and if it looked good off you went. Else just drop back down into the cabin and catch some more zzz's.
Normally a surf or two before lunch, grab a bite - the whole time watching fun waves peeling off going - arg - I should be surfing not eating! Then another surf in the arvo. After a week or so of that your body is pretty much screaming at you. Ribs are bruised, hips are bruised, shoulders ache, nose is sunburnt. Life is good!
When the surf backed off for a few days it was time to snorkel and explore the island. It's unfortunate that garbage disposal in the Maldives generally means "chuck it overboard", so there is a bunch of trash that collects on certain parts of most islands. Doesn't help that the surfari boats also just go dump their black bags on the island - thinking that some miraculous "garbage fairy" will come remove them!
Our philosophy is you pay to play - so if we were there enjoying the surf the least we could do was clean the place up. Spent plenty of hours collecting and burning rubbish til we got it pretty much cleaned up. Chatted to the locals about trying to keep it that way, and also gave all the safari boats we saw a lecture about not just dumping their stuff there.
Fishing was a bit like feast or famine this trip. Usually we catch something decent every coupla days and it keeps the freezer full. Had precious little to show for our efforts the first few weeks, when luckily a crap situation threw up a very silver lining.
Despite the governments webpage stating we could extend our 30 day tourist visa by another 30 days, when the time came for the extension is turned out to be a no-go. Which meant we had to do a visa-run to Sri Lanka. Mission of note. Basically fly to Sri Lanka - walk in through customs, get stamped, walk out the door and 100m to the Departure terminal - and fly straight back to Maldives. We were in SL for about 40 minutes.
We'd thought of leaving the boat down south and just grabbing a local flight back up to Male (the capital) to do the visa-run, but then had to get the air-con fixed anyway so decided to sail back north. En route we hooked into a seri-ass fish. That kiff sound of the ratchet screaming had hubby sprint out the saloon and hit the deck running. Slips on the mat and nearly goes flying straight off the back of the boat. Rule no 1. Don't run on a boat.
A hour of blood, sweat and tears later - actually an hour of moaning cos we didn't have a fishing bucket and the substitute cushion wasn't quite as effective - and a beautiful big marlin was brought in. Had hoped to release it but it had been foul hooked and the fight had exhausted it and so we decided to keep it as it was going to die anyway. A bitter sweet scenario. Stoked to catch it but sad to have to keep it.
However, 90 kgs of meat meant we weren't going hungry for a while! Marlin steaks. Marlin curry. Marlin fishcakes....
Speaking of steaks. Best damn buy for the boat was the Weber braai. Cos if you a Saffa you have to have a braai. It's the rules. So it got air-freighted over from SA (along with a bunch of other essentials. Like an inflatable pink flamingo). Double bonus was we found a supplier of South African meat in Maldives, so could get awesome steaks, boerie and chops. Happy as!
Despite knowing that reef sharks are supposedly harmless I still get freaked out by them. Haven't ever seen them whilst surfing, but a coupla times whilst wading out in waist deep water fishing, or just walking between sandbanks, have had one swim by.
Feel safe enough with a fishing rod in hand cos at least can poke him if he comes to close, but the one day I had been exploring a sand bank and whilst wading back to the dingy saw a big black shape out the corner of my eye. Luckily he was only about 1m long, but I decided that mommy and daddy might be nearby and was outta there in a flash. I'm a total ninny when it comes to sharks.
We met a bunch of great peeps on the trip. Surfers are generally cool and interesting people. Generous too. We were running low on beer supplies - basically down to the last 2 Tigers, and a nice Saffa and Kiwi on a surfari boat donated a case of Heini's to us. It musta been "our stars have aligned" kinda day, cos earlier another chap we'd been surfing with for the past few days paddled over with a bottle of Taittinger for us - which is a kick-ass French champagne.
Getting alcohol in the Maldives is a mission - being a Muslim county you can't exactly pop over to your local bottle store to grab a few drinks. We do have an alcohol licence for the yacht - which allows us to purchase liquor via our ships agent in Male, but that's the only place you can get it.
Finally we had to start thinking of going home. That annoying thing called work. Wasn't without some sulking cos had seen a really solid swell on it's way and was doing my best to plead and nag that we could stay for it. Got veto'd unfortunately so we started our trek north. Guess we had to pull the plug sometime else we'd never leave!
Thankfully we have a fellow Millers Local and his missus looking after Shantaram whilst we home for a while. Gonna be so hard seeing a swell on it's way and not just jumping on a plane straight back. But hopefully get back there sooner rather than later. Much as I love Millers, Maldives is pretty damn fine too! Blessed to now be a local of both.
Check out our yacht here www.sailshantaram.com
Waves? Yeh there were waves! Snooze you lose. Hummies was the pick of the bunch for the week, although the Fence guys might beg to differ, and the House locals. JBay wasn't too shabby either. You can check Joann Stassens shots from Friday of Hummies and Pipe here.
When the ocean turns on everyone is stoked, but sometimes it turns on in the wrong way. The plankton critters are back and have caused a red tide which is pretty widespread along the coast.
Drones are kiff, but the real deal throws out even better shots. Vernon Els snapped this lekker shot of the bay - not often you see aerial shots which include a view of the wildside as well.
Drones are really fun when your kids have em and snap picks of dad cruising down the line. Dave Collins taking advantage of his son Tom's new toy.
Winter finally seems to be shaking of it's cobwebs and coming out to play. We're owed a good one after 2 lean El Nino years. Holding thumbs....
Not only the plankton critters making a showing, an orca made an appearance at Jbay just to keep everyone on their toes...
Not to be outdone the locals decided to let everyone know that they're the cool kids on the block. Can actually be pretty daunting with a whole pod bearing down on you in a wave - cos you have to wonder whether you'll head butt one during your duck dive. And in the man vs dolphin head butt compo dolphin always wins....
PE always plays second fiddle to JBay and it looks like that runs true for the fishy department as well. Instead of dolphins cruising the surf, we have lil feeshies doing a runner.
SAMREC had a penguin release on the weekend and a bunch of the lil black n white waddlers made a dash for freedom. Shot to SAMREC for all the great work they do in rehabilitating local marine wildlife. Pop in and visit when next you in Cape Recife and stuff a few bucks in the donation tin.
Did I mention there were waves this week? Yes I did...here's a reminder....
Shane Pyke put together this kiff lil edit of a Hummies sesh during the week.
Jordy Smith stepped up to the plate and hit the ball out the damn park - winning the Bells CT event in style. So good to see the Saffa back on the podium again - make it happen this year Jords!!
Shot to local ladies Faye Zoetmulder and Emma Smith for their 2nd and 4th places in the Corona Durban Surf Pro.
PE surfers said their goodbyes to an absolute legend of the sport. Turtle Morris passed away recently after a period of ill-health, He will be sorely missed by all and fondly remembered for being a great surfer, a gentleman and all round lekker ou. Rip those rights in the sky Turtle, RIP.
Here's a collection of random shots from the week that was to end off...
Waves, waves and more waves. And Easter bunnies. And rain. And rainbows. Not a shabby week all in all. Of course out west was heaps better than the bay, but still enough to get wet on for sure.
Always lekker when the week starts off with a bang. Shake off the Monday Blues by wearing a thick lip on the head!
Tuesday didn't disappoint either. Some green rooms to be had if you put some fuel in the tank.
Midweek saw the rain clouds warming up their act in preparation for the end of the week obligatory Easter downfall. What would Easter be without a day's pissing rain?
Unfortunately the poofy plankton has showed up again, with a big patch visible in the Sundays River area. It's one of those annoying things that will keep recurring since it first reared it's head a coupla years ago. Once it's occured once in an area it's pretty much there to stay. The lil cyst things stay dormant, just waiting for nice conditions and then go into bloom. Bleh.
'The pylons at Hummies are good for many things - besides creating the kiff waves they are also host to braai's, picnics...and the occasional flying swan dives! Which look lekker, provided you don't belly flop!
CarPark John is super stoked with his new stick from Graham Smith. Expect big things from the ballie - plenty of air 360's coming up!
Thursday wasn't gonna be outdone in the stellar week, and threw up some fun surf as well as a kiff sunset to round things off in preparation for the long weekend.
The long weekend dawned with rain and rainbows - and gold at the end of the rainbow for sure.
Saturday and more rain and rainbows. And waves.
Still north of the equator, stoked to have scored a few fun waves the past week. Nothing wrong with shoulder to head high waves in warm water. Some double overhead crackers on the east side, but we're west side peeps so happy to park off waiting for the SW swells to wrap their way all the way round from JBay to Maldives.
When the week kicks off with a Monday that looks like that then you now it should be a good 'un! Mondays are meant to be blue, but sometimes they can be pretty too.
Tuesday decided it wouldn't be outdone so threw up a lekker morning. If you took a drive west there were a few waves to be found.
The midweek swell wasn't as big as predicted but it was still pretty damn decent. Forecasts still seem to be overcalling many of the swells for some reason. Maybe a change in algorithms or something?
You know the east has pumped a lil bit cos these critters showed up. Marc Pautz spotted them at Cape Recife
Dawn broke beautifully over a quiet Friday morning. Many took the day off to join the peaceful protests against our Muppet-in-charge. We even did our bit this side of the equator.
It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to a real legend on Friday. Turtle Morris passed away after a battle with pneumonia. Turtle will be sorely missed by the whole surfing community. May the surf always be 6ft and offshore for you from here onward. Love and shaka's to James Morris & family.
There will be a memorial church service at 10am on Saturday 22nd April at Covenant Grace Church (corner La Roche drive and Schaefer square, Humewood), There will be a paddle out at Millers at 4pm and then the wake at Something Good. Everyone is welcome to attend. Come say your goodbyes to a real legend of the Bay.
Check out Hagen's lekker article about the history behind why Turtle was called Turtle.
PE hosted it's first WSL comp over the weekend. Surf was better than the usual Pipe slop, although still some heavy onshore to deal with. Mikey Feb was on fire and took the win from Dylan Lightfoot. Crystal Hullet too the win in the Ladies division from Emma Smith.
Pity the skollies were on the prowl - breaking into CT surfer Adin's cabby whilst he was grabbing a wave at Hummies.
Some friendly dolphins to round off a pretty good week. Roll on winter.
Maldives not Millers for me this week. So a "Week That Was..." wrap from the other side of the equator. Waves up here and waves back home. But I think the one's here are a wee bit better.
Snuck a fun session slightly overhead sesh in at Cokes in between work,work,work. So kiff to be surfing in boardies on some juicy waves. Also fun to get that "oooh vok" feeling when the freak hourly set rolls through that's triple the size of the normal sets. Point those toes and paddle ya ass off....
A few waves about, with the wildside being the pick of the bunch. Normal story - further west you drove the better the surf you got. Although wave size and wildlife seem directly proportional. Ou's had a visitor at Seals beachie over the weekend....
Congrats to local legend Jon Scheepers who celebrated his 70th birthday last week. Ya all owe the ballie a few b'day waves! Wonder how many car-parks he's worn out in his years of surf checks??
I'm not the only one surf tripping at the moment. Ex-local Brad Moolman (now living in Dubai) took a spin over to Sri Lanka to grab a few waves. Looks like it was pretty schweet.
Pretty flipping spectacular week for sunrises and sunsets in the Bay. For all the kak we have to endure to live here, it's the things like this that make Africa worth all the effort.
Sunset Sards © Etienne Stassen
Not content with just putting on a light show, the clouds decided to get in on the action as well. Chris Scott snapped some alien-looking one's out in SF.
It was Ironman weekend, and PE put on it's best show for all the tourists and competitors. Lekker to see SuperSport getting our 'hood some coverage. And she showed up for the party for sure.
Waves in Aus for the Margaret River Pro. Jordy recovered from a sketchy Round 4 heat and won his Rd 5 tie against Flores - so he's in the Quarters.
For every yin there's a yang, so you pay for the good days with the flat one's. One thing's for sure. Every week in PE has it's flat days...
Looks like the possibility of a few fun lil waves this week, so snooze you lose. Nothing like a dose of salt water to wash away the worries.
Just another week in the 'hood. Some waves, some sunsets, sticky hot days and kiff rain. What more do you want? Other than cranking 6ft lines groomed by a light offshore!?
Not a lot made it round Cape Recife into the bay, But what there was was enough for a few fun sessions and a salt water rinse.
The annual Bell Bouy swim took place on Tuesday with the guys doing a total of 8 km. Personally would never manage that without the Jaws theme music playing the whole time in my head! Not sure why a thin piece of fibreglass (otherwise known as a surfboard) imparts such a sense of security. Feel so exposed when am in the sea without it.
Robbie Irlam, the JBay local shutterbug, sometimes has to contend with seagulls and drones getting into his shots. And sometimes something bigger....
Another week of some awesome sunsets. Just something about an African sunsets & sunrises that can't be beat anywhere else in the world.
Actually, PE can look pretty in the middle of the day too!
CT eye-in-the-sky photag Jean Trefson popped by the bay this week and got some lekker shots.
The misty days saw a few aliens sneaking in....
The latter half of the week saw a few fun runners coming through. More fun the further west you went.
The first Billabong Junior Series comp of the year kicked off at Pipe on Saturday, but the swell dropped so the ou's had to do a wild side mission on Sunday. Shot to Zia Hendricks of JBay who won the u12 section.
Nothing much expected for the bay next week but still enough to get wet on, But nothing beats sitting looking out over the sea wondering, "what if...."
Johann Stassen got some cool shots of the east swell last week at Pier and Millers.
Photo credits: Johann Stassen
Ysss, we on a bit of a run here. Another week with plenty of waves in the bay. Monday was a cracker with some solid east swell pulling through. Good size at Humewood and Pier, and even some decent sets at Millers. Lotsa peeps bunking work.
Here's hoping this run of good surf is a positive omen for a cracker winter, cos El Nino has diddled us the past 2 years, so we owed a good one.
The cyclone swell pummeled the Durbs coastline for days. ou's getting shacked off their pips. Stand up hands free barrels were the order of the day. St Francis local Richy Basnett did a duck back to his old home town and scored some booooombs.
Besides getting good waves we had good days too. Sure, Cape Town has it's mountain, but we ain't half bad either.
Tuesday Thunderstorms! Was a cracker literally and figuratively. Normally PE storms can only muster up the odd growl and one bolt and it's done. Tuesday's sky show saw Schoenies looking like Armageddon and the poor chokka boats kakking off as bolts were hitting the sea all over the show.
After a bit of a breather midweek the swell returned, water temps had dropped a bit, enough to realise that summer is nearing it's end of days..
Early birds generally get the worms, specially true in PE. Where early morning winds behave themselves and stay pretty clean til about 8-ish - when the land breeze comes up and goes all NW wonky.
You can only imagine how decent the surf out west has been if the bay's been getting fun waves. Usual story - spend the petrol money and score the goods.
The groms kicked off the 2017 Billabong Grom Games at the Pipe on Saturday in some good surf for the lighties - clean and overhead for most of the gremlins. The comp finishes on Monday.
Stoked with the custom cap I ordered from local artist Ryan Allen. Long story short is that partner-in-crimes nickname is Spongebob. So gotto have a Bob cap. Tune Ryan here if you'd like to get a custom design, cos #localislekker #supportlocals
Friday had some really good waves. It also had some crazy crowds. probably amplified cos was the start of a long weekend. Still some waves to be had early Saturday morning before the wind got on it.
Owen Wright pulled off a miracle return to competition by winning the Quik Pro at Snapper, taking out fellow goofy Wilko. Owen suffered a serious head injury at Pipe back in Dec 2015 and had a long, slow recovery to full health - literally having to learn to surf again. Seems he did a pretty good job of it!
Jordy is looking pretty sharp which bodes well for the season, and Slater also seems to have got some froth back. Judging was a bit odd at times with the panel seemingly preferring the 10 windscreen wiper turns to the beach by the goofy's vs the inventiveness of the regular footers.
When the winds go bad for the bay you gotto get behind the wheel and go searching. Luc Hosten grabbed this cool shot of local logger Dean Simpson heading through Schoenies on a wave hunting mission.
Pretty damn good week all in all. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like our luck will hold for 4 weeks in a row of good surf - as the coming week looks pretty small and mostly onshore. Time to catch up on some work again everyone!
The good run of swell continued, with the week opening up with a bang. Hard to argue with cooking surf on a Monday. And more on Tuesday. And by Wednesday everyone was boggered and lil lines rolled in by late arvo with no-one to ride 'em.
Bryan Moulang and his single fin reaping the benefits of great manners. Bryan's lady is learning to surf and she had just caught a wave, so he paddled in to check on her and paddle her back out - and this lil peeler swung wide and he was in the perfect spot to hook it.
#MannersMakethMan (also helps him score waves!)
Out west definitely had some peach days during the week, and those that put the k's on their cabbie were rewarded with some bombs. But for once you didn;t actually even have to leave the bay to get some good one's.
International women's day midweek meant you had to be nice to the ladies and hand over a few set waves. Pretty much every day of the week every week of the year is some or other International Day. Eish. We been commercialized to the point of no return. Even surfing has it's own day.
Some surf spots have pretty obtuse names. Others don't entail too much deduction as to why they're called what they're called. Pipe would be one of the spots which fits in the latter category. Here's why...
Some tourists got value for money this week when their boat trip out past Cape Recife saw them happen upon an Orca hunting pack that were chasing a pod of dolphins. Always someone bigger than you in the food chain...
Some serious easterlies during the week meant that the blue bottle army showed up on our shores again. A lot smaller than a killer whale but will hurt you all the same! Remember the best way to treat a sting is to use hot water - as hot as you can bear, as this breaks down the protein of the stuff that's stinging you.
At least the east isn't wasted. The kiters get out there and make the most of the onshore washing machine conditions.
Props to Chris Bertish who completed his SUP across the Atlantic in 93 days. Crazy gnarly conditions and totally unsupported during the trip, Chris is a legend!
Slummies surf photag Pierre de Villiers was in PE for the weekend. Unfortunately the waves didn't co-operate, but Pierre still managed to hook some lekker shots of our hood.
After a slight lull the surf got back to being fun on Friday, Lyell Watson getting some nose time at Pipe,
Despite the homping pomping winds of Saturday there were still some nooks and crannies that could deal with the conditions. Throw in a lekker full moon to complete the picture.
Greg Christy's new toy got some nice aerial shots showing how the sand spit at the Kromme river mouth is still solid enough to keep the spring tide swells out. Been long standing concerns that the sea will finally break through the spit and cause all sorts of kak for the canal system.
The week wouldn't be complete without a sunrise or sunset shot from Schoenies local Luc Hosten.
Bit of easterly groundswell due to hit the bay first thing this week. Just hoping the winds hold off long enough for everyone to sneak a ride or two in.