It's a slow, slow summer so far. Maybe we need a mass board burning to switch the wave machine back on? Always just seems so ironic that one has to waste all the warm water, perfect weather and time off. Why can't we just get swell in summer too? It doesn't seem fair!
Summer means plenty of east, which means a churned up bay and murky water. Unfortunately this brings the boys with fins close to shore. Last Wednesday saw the beaches cleared from Anne's to Main Beach as a rather large fin, no doubt attached to an equally large shark...with similarly large teeth...cruised the lineup looking for a snack.
Pity that it happened to coincide with the first day of west winds in weeks, coupled with some fun east swell peaks. No matter how desperate I get for waves, nothing will get me in the water at Anne's straight after an east. It's Shark Central! Plenty of shark fishing records have been caught here, so if that's not enough evidence for you, not sure what is! It's one of the few places where I'll start paddling from knee deep water, just to get my feet off the bottom...
Plenty of finned friends around at the moment with about 35 being caught (and released!) in and around the Krom mouth last week, including a 160kg monster. Legit, I saw the pic. Scary. You'd paddle very, very quickly if you spotted this fellow - based on the photo I'd say he has some bad dental issues!
On the subject of water creatures we aren't mad about, the out of town kiteboarders have been causing some havoc at Seals lately. Rumour has it there was an altercation in the water last week when a visiting kiteboarder left his manners at home and went flying through the pack of the surfers. He ignored some polite requests to move off, so one of the locals had to show him some good ol East Cape hospitality to help him get the picture.
Those ou's are either just muppets or plain clueless, or maybe both. Either way, nothing against kiteboarders in general, provided they keep to themselves. No-one's mad keen on getting sliced and diced by a super sharp kiteboard rail or guillotined by a kite string.
Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and that maybe the waves we were meant to get as Christmas presents are just stuck in the typically inefficient SA postal system and will arrive right after New Year.
Shew, a small respite from the unrelenting east. Sunday dawned with a light west.....and hardly a dribble of swell. But hey, if it's west, I'm going to surf regardless. Need the saltwater through my gills.
There was a teeny peak in the corner of the beachie, which usually wouldn't warrent getting wet for. But after no surf for 3 weeks standards of what qualifies as surfable had dropped appreciably. Luckily local knowledge ensured that I arrived with hoodie and booties, as after weeks of east the water temp plummets. And I wasn't wrong, ice-cream headache stuff.
News spreads quickly in these parts and within half an hour of the peak coming to life it was crawling with 30 peeps of varying ability levels and on all sorts of craft - including some kayaks! After 45 minutes I'd had my fair share of hip high peelers and decided to call it quits.
We've been trying to fish a bit seeing as the waves aren't cooperating. However, the Krom during December is completely overrun with highly testosteroned Vaalies and their monster 250hp's. A friend has a great saying which perfectly sums up what they're all about, he calls it "Meer geld as verstand", which basically means more money than brains. And nothing is more evident than when you mix the Joburg boytjies and boats.
I don't have an issue if you want to race up and down the river like maniacs, each to their own. Maybe those guys just don't operate on anything other than 5th gear, a throwback to living life in the fast lane. But darn, at least get to grips with basic boating etiquette. If guys are fishing don't moer past at 100km/h 2m away from their boat when the rivers like 200m wide and there's plenty of space to get past without showering us with spray and wake.
Not to be outdone, the next knucklehead coming by decided the perfect place to pass us was between our boat and the bank - a mere 5m gap. Despite much gesticulating on our part he happily continued on his chosen course, and promptly rode over our lines and stripped them completely. Waving as he went! Guess we'll just have to stick fishing in the sea til they all go home...
Today is the 9th straight day of east. The nightmare continues until Sunday....so by then we'll have endured 12 days of onshores. Groundhog Day on steroids.
Groundhog Day was a classic movie from back in '93, starring Robin Williams & Andie McDowell. The storyline is basically this guy who's a weather forecaster that gets sent to cover Groundhog Day. It's when this thing called a Groundhog (bit like a squirrel) comes out of it's burrow for the first time after hibernating during the winter, and is meant to signify the start of spring. He has to cover the story every year and is pretty frustrated by the whole deal.
Anyhow, he wakes up the next morning to find out that he's actually stuck in the same day, Groundhog Day, again, and again, and again. Just having to relive the same day, every day. Kinda like what we feel like now. Wake up....east. Wake up....east. Wake up...east. You get the picture. Good idea to go grab the movie on another of our easterly days, it's a good laugh.
A brief respite on Sunday sees the west sneak through for a day. Problem is there doesn't look like there's a drop of swell. So how's that for further frustration - west at last.....and flat as a pan. East back on Monday, then thankfully looks like the hoodoo is broken on Tues/Wed with some west again, and maybe, just maybe, something surfable.
"Surfable" being a relative term, as our standards are so low by having had to put up with onshores for so long, that even knee high looks like a good bet!
Someone just go burn a board or something to turn the ocean back on please....
Millerslocal is stoked to announce that many years of hard work has finally paid off!
What started as an idea 5 years ago whilst on a surf trip in the Maldives has finally come to fruition. Back in 2005 I got sucked backwards through a reef pass whilst out surfing a spot down south. In between wondering how the hell I was going to get myself out of the situation, I still had time to be amazed by the amount of power the current had. And that's where it all started...
I already knew how climate change threatened the Maldives due to the rising sea levels (see my article in the latest Bomb magazine about this), and thought it ironic that they produced all their energy by burning fossil fuels - thereby contributing to their own demise. I decided there must be a way for them to use their abundant ocean energy as a renewable energy source. And so the idea was born...
I got home, and for the next 6 months studied everything I could about tidal energy, whilst putting together a research paper on the Maldives energy profile, and the potential for this to be supplemented through renewable energy (yes, I am a nerd!). I then contacted various research institutes and universities around the world that were involved with tidal energy research (still in it's infancy 5 years ago), to see who I could interest in the study.
The Robert Gordon University, a world leader in tidal energy research, were kind enough to entertain my crazy idea. So together we collaborated on a proposal, which I went and presented to the Maldives government. We received approval for the study - but they couldn't provide funding - and so the long mission of tracking down the money began. Pretty damn hard to get seed capital to investigate something for which the technology is still on paper, and was not yet proven back then. Just to add a further challenge - the previous Maldivian government (who we had the original agreement with) got replaced by the first democratically elected government in 30 years. So back to square one..
Anyway, I'm the persistent sort. And thankfully the new President is outspoken in his fight against climate change. I had a meeting with him in 2009 to present the idea to him, and got his approval to go ahead. However, the funding for the research still remained the stumbling block.
Eventually the Scottish government came on board and agreed to assist with funding. So for the last year it's been a case of trying to get the Scottish minister and the Maldivian minister in the same place for an official signing and press conference. It was actually all planned for April this year - then that stupid volcano in Iceland blew up and the flights were cancelled....and so was the meeting!
So at last they both ended up in the same place....the global climate change conference being held in Cancun at the moment. The deal's done. The ink is dry. Our project is a go. I'm officially involved in a renewable energy research project in the Maldives. WOOOHOOO!!
Who knows, maybe one day Millerslocal's will be lucky enough to upgrade to being Maldiveslocal!
You know summer's back when the beachies at Seal's start to work. Had some really fun waves there the last 2 weekend's as the banks are pretty good. Although very tide dependent, you snooze you lose.
As usual, just before December the local municipality gets something to play with. Two years ago they got a truckload of stop signs, and decided the best place for them was every hundred meters on the way to Port St Francis. This year they got a bakkie load of tar and proceeded to repair the speedhumps along the beach road at Seals. Well, they aren't speedhumps anymore, they're pavements. Think vertical edges like a kerb, instead of the gradual rounded incline of a hump.
Expect your shocks to get shocked. Our old skedonk SFB surf bakkie made hard work of them, to the point that I'm having to re-route to get to the bottom car park to avoid the kerbs. I have a horrible feeling my wheels might eventually fall off after too many bounces over those things.
Luckily the municipality aren't reknowned for employing particularly skilled contractors, so do expect the kerbs/bumps to be a shadow of their former selves by the end of the holidays, and we'll all be able to use the road again.
London has "Mind the Gap", Seals has "Mind the Hump!"
In between working and shooting a lunch hour gopro session at Millers, I also repaired a cracked mirror in one of our antique dressers. And there behind the mirror, ensuring it's proper fit into the door, was an old newspaper from 1891!
Wednesday 30th September 1891 to be exact. It was called the Scotsman. Heaven help you if you had crappy eyesight back then, as there'd be no ways you could read the print on this thing without anything other than 20/20 vision. Yellowed from age, there it was - a mini time machine back into another century.
You could rent houses with water closets and coal cellars, there was much demand for "Situations" - which turned out to be job vacancies. Butlers and ladies maids were in abundance, with hopefuls describing themselves as "thoroughly good servants"!
There was an argument on the Letters page about whether drinking was the only cause of drunkeness, as one writer maintained that he'd seen people intoxicated on tea! And then there was the announcement of the discovery of Niagra Falls in the US.
Quite fascinating seeing a window into the past. On replacing the mirror, I packed a bit of a recent Sunday Times in behind it. Imagine what people will think reading one of those a 100 years from now?!