Sunday, July 26, 2009

Only 36 days to go!

Hey! 36 days only? Of course this is not strictly true. It is not like the whale sharks are keeping a diary! You may arrive even earlier of you wish and find lots of sharks to dive on. Of course without aerial support that is extremely unlikely…

Back here in Wilderness (my home town) I have been doing some flying. In fact I have been doing some great flying and to be honest it is not without good reason that I have gravitated to this little coastal village. It is good here. Real good. Today I had another great day.

Last week we had some snow falls on the higher peaks. (Boy it was cold!) but of course the idea came to mind that I could sneak up there for a solitary peak at the snow! Why not? Of course the weather is a huge limiting factor – with big mountains, clouds and strong winds around it was a combination fit for hot chocolate and TV! This morning though I got my chance. Right after church I raced up to my little strip and got ready. Two days had passed and unfortunately most of the snow had melted but I was going up there anyway!

The views were breathtaking. In the far distance the mighty Swart berg mountains were completely covered in snow. They were of course much higher – rising to over 7000 ft asl. My goal was nearer and only at 5500ft. Still, with massive cliffs and a 10km breeze… Who am I kidding! The only thing fearful about the conditions was in my own mind! I managed to soar for a few minutes on the cliffs backing in the sunshine while snapping a few pics. Now all I need is the warmth of the tropics!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Believe it or not!

The truth is that I do not think highly of customs or any clearing agents. Given the very nature of their work there must be a propensity for making things more difficult for others. I almost want to say, " goes without saying!" Our little orange wings is still lying with the 'supposed' clearing agents after another three week stint of lying around those whatsenames warehouses. (Of course who do you think must pay for this 'storage'?) Does it ever help to argue with them? I would love to know if anybody has found the secret to speedy service from customs yet...

We seem to be having difficulty in finding a pilot willing to take of two months to join us on the whale sharks survey season. So far there are takers but only ones that can take off for one month at a time. If we do not find a suitable candidate I just might have to fly the whole season on my own. Like the good old days... Right! Still, it would be a great pity.

We have just passed the fourty days mark (on day 39 now!) and counting down!

Make sure you do not miss out...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Are we stationary?

Did you know that whale sharks never stop swimming? Really? Not! ;) They often stop and remain stationary while "sucking" (or is that "slurping"!) away on a thin layer of plankton. The most common of these happens when a very shallow layer of plankton is concentrated on the surface of the water and the whale sharks find it most efficient to hang vertically in the water while their lips and mouths are just a few inches away from the surface. They would feed like this in ideal conditions for more than an hour without moving! :-)

While we are hoping that Guy will still be joining us I have some interest from a few other likely candidates. Most likely we will give preference to those that have previous experience with us. David Daniel, who was our pilot for half the season in 2008 has expressed some interest. So its not like we are completely destitute! ;) Whether Guy or David I have not doubt the season will be a good one!

So have you booked your place yet? Don't miss out!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Things are heating up!

Well! Just about a month to go and Guy decides to pull out. I must say we are not a happy bunch with that move. Guy is one of our best pilots and we were relying on him for this years aerial support. Seems like he is too in love! ;-) His reason for not making it - too much of a sacrifice to stay away from his beloved Aurilee. Guy met Aurilee two years ago while in Seychelles as our survey pilot. The two are obviously still going strong. Good for them!

Of course the game is not over just yet. Guy said he is still willing to come provided Aurilee gets a job too. (If she can go with then he will go - logical hey!) Perhaps the magic will happen, perhaps not. Either way we are now on the hunt for another pilot to help with the season. If you have the qualifications then get in touch with me. Send your CV to Who knows? Your dream might come true!

Till later!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

5th July 2009 - Its here!

Finally customs cleared our little orange plane (the undercarriage part) and it is in the factory busy with the needed repairs and maintenance. We too are getting things ready, starting to think about little odds and ends. One would think that after doing it for so many years it would be easy! Truth is I have been doing much work on my own personal little plane in our coastal village of Wilderness. In this aviation industry (all aviation for that matter) maintenance plays a bigger role than the actual flying. Of course the difference is it is good peace of mind to fly something that you know YOU checked out as apposed to some other supposedly trained person. As many pilots tell their AME's, "I will pay you as long as you come do the first flight with me!" ;)

But time is getting all the more closer to the start of the new whale shark season and I know there are many other people out there getting just as excited. (Who knows how many interns we will be getting this year?) Of course, new faces bring new challenges but also the chance for making new and lasting friends.

Chat later!